CFAR’s John Bartlett Passes the Baton to Drs. Thuy Le and Dorothy Dow

After many years of service as clinical core director at the Duke Center for AIDS Research, John Bartlett, MD, professor in the division of Infectious Diseases and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania, is passing the baton to Thuy Le, MD, D. Phil, associate professor in the division of Infectious Diseases, and Dorothy Dow, MD, MSc, associate professor in Pediatrics. Le and Dow will lead the clinical core as co-directors.

“The CFAR Clinical Core is in highly competent hands with Thuy and Dorothy,” says Bartlett, who has partially retired. Bartlett has held clinical research leadership roles with the CFAR since 1992.

Bartlett is a senior fellow within the Duke University Health Inequalities Program, and has co-chaired the Duke University Africa Initiative. His research has focused on the treatment and complications of HIV infection, and has been the recipient of numerous U.S. National Institutes of Health research grants.

See Bartlett Shares Reflections on His Involvement in CFAR Over the Years

Bartlett has also received numerous teaching awards from Duke University medical students and house staff, and is a past recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award. A major focus of Bartlett's ongoing work has been capacity building at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.

Georgia Tomaras, PhD, professor of surgery, immunology, and molecular genetics, and Duke CFAR co-director, recognizes the incredible legacy that Bartlett has had at Duke. “John inspired ongoing research at Duke to understand natural control of HIV replication in PLWH. His work to build the infrastructure for these types of studies at Duke have been enabling for the research programs of several early career investigators,” she says.

Tomaras notes that Le and Dow bring strong leadership to their new rolesand vision to the mission of the clinical core. "Their efforts have already enriched the Duke CFAR programs," she says, "and I look forward to working with them to put their great ideas to action in the coming years."

“Drs. Le and Dow are highly regarded physician scientists with strong clinical research programs in the field of HIV and complimentary expertise and experience,” says Susanna Naggie, MD, CFAR co-director and vice dean for Clinical Research. “I am confident that Thuy and Dorothy are the ideal leaders to move the Duke CFAR forward in clinical research from both a domestic and global health perspective and look forward to working with them to support Duke investigators.”

Le is a practicing infectious diseases physician and scientist with a research passion in advancing diagnosis, treatment, and prevention at the junction of HIV, medical mycology, and global health. She was recruited in 2018 from the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam to Duke by John Perfect, MD, chief, Infectious Diseases, and has since received four NIH grants as PI focusing on talaromycosis –a leading cause of HIV-associated deaths in Southeast Asia.

Le led the first-ever randomized controlled treatment trial for talaromycosis that has defined US and international treatment guidelines for this disease. She serves on numerous World Health Organization treatment guidelines and review committees on global HIV management, management of advanced HIV disease, management of cryptococcal meningitis, and histoplasmosis. Le leads the talaromycosis section of the NIH/CDC Guidelines Committee for HIV-associated opportunistic infections and coordinates the development of the European Confederation of Medical Mycology Guidelines on Diagnosis and Treatment of Endemic Mycoses.

“The changing of the guards is always a challenging time, especially when the guard is Duke’s legendary Dr. John Bartlett,” says Le. “Luckily for me and Dr. Dorothy Dow, he has prepared us well for this transition and refuses to stop providing his support.”

The research portfolio of the clinical core has experienced a recent expansion both in depth and diversity, and with this expansion lies many opportunities and challenges in the near term,” Le adds. “My goal is to ensure that our researchers and mentees have outstanding support from the leaderships of the Duke CFAR, divisions, and departments to champion their missions. It is critical to continue to nurture a sense of community and comraderies between the different cores and disciplines. The Duke CFAR will always stand stronger as a united front and we will continue to innovate and collaborate.”

Dow is co-chair of IMPAACT Network Protocol 2016 and a member of the AHISA network.  She is co-site leader of the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre-Duke University Collaboration where she works nearly full time in Moshi, Tanzania, though returns to Duke University Medical Center two-weeks twice per year to attend on the clinical inpatient consult service. 

Dow’s research focuses on prevention and treatment of HIV in pediatric populations including a focus on adolescent and young adult populations and the intersection of antiretroviral therapy adherence and mental health.

Bartlett has been an exceptional mentor throughout Dow’s career, Dow notes, and he leaves a tremendous legacy advancing HIV research, service, and mentorship within the Duke CFAR clinical core.

“My first grant was a CFAR development award that truly launched my career,” she says. “I am humbled for the opportunity to now serve alongside Dr. Le as co-director of the CFAR clinical core.  To the core I bring an unwavering commitment to ensuring that children, adolescents, and pregnant women continue to hold a prominent place within the clinical core agenda as we continue to advance the field towards an AIDS free generation.”