Mr. Zachary Silver
Specialization: Biology
Home institution in US: Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
Host Institution in India: Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu  
Start date/Month in India: August 2012
Duration of grant: 9 months

Brief Bio:
Mr. Zachary Silver graduated in 2012 from Tufts University, Massachusetts with a B.S. in biology. Since his first introduction to immunology, Mr. Silver became fascinated by the complexity of the immune system. In the summer of 2010, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Edouard Vannier in the Division of Geographic Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. In Dr. Vannier's laboratory, Mr. Silver studied the genetic and immunological determinants of host resistance to Babesia microti, a parasite endemic to the northeastern U.S. His two years of research ultimately became the subject of his senior honors thesis.

Mr. Silver is also passionate about global health equity and the use of medicine as a means to bring about international development. In 2011, he helped found GlobeMed at Tufts University, a student-run nonprofit organization that partners a grassroots global health NGO, Nyaya Health, which administers a hospital and provides mobile medical care in Achham, Nepal. As part of GlobeMed, Mr. Silver has helped fundraise over $7,000 dollars to expand Nyaya's Community Health Worker Program and build Far West Nepal's first microbiology laboratory. He has also worked with Nyaya as executive assistant and will continue working with them after graduation as a data and research intern. In his free time, he enjoys riddling himself with the unsolvable questions of existence and solvable games of Sudoku. He also enjoys music and is an avid guitar and piano player who maintains that he acquired fame at Tufts University as the guitarist for The Dirty River String Band, an all-string bluegrass band.

Mr. Silver’s Fulbright project, “Immune Responses of Children in India to Cryptosporidiosis,” aims to characterize the protective immune responses of children exposed to chronic cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal illness that is the leading cause of mortality in the first year of life in Vellore, Tamil Nadu and a major problem in India. Cryptosporidiosis is caused by the intestinal parasite Cryptosporidium and can lead to stunted growth, impaired cognitive development and malnutrition. Mr. Silver will assist with epidemiologic data collection in semi-urban slums and assess immune parameters on patient blood samples. He expects this study to guide the design of a universal vaccine against Cryptosporidium.