Title: Chief and Assistant Professor
College/Institute: College of Medicine
Department: Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine
Curriculum vitae: PDF
Research interests: Pulmonary medicine; tuberculosis; Mycobacterial infections
Hobbies: Spending time with family, reading
Dr. Michael Lauzardo has been with Emerging Pathogens Institute since its inception in 2007. Along with his work with EPI, he serves as the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine, director of the Southeastern National Tuberculosis Center and director of the Florida Department of Health Tuberculosis Physician Network.
After completing his internal medicine residency at Carolinas Medical Center, Lauzardo became a fellow in pulmonary medicine at the University of Florida where he focused on public health and tuberculosis (TB). He also completed a master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of London. Lauzardo said that he always wanted to be part of positive change in the world and that trait led to his work in public health and infectious diseases.
“I always wanted to do something significant. I think that public health is one of those things that have a very big impact,”Lauzardo said. “It is an area that I always wanted to do the public service piece and it is an area where you get to apply science to a direct problem immediately.”
Lauzardo is an innovator in TB research. He currently participates in a large CDC epidemiological study looking at optimum use of diagnostic testing in latent TB. The study also hopes to provide innovative ways to do diagnostic testing and treatment of TB in low resource settings.
Lauzardo oversees TB research at UF’s Haiti lab in Gressier. He has been part of the development of the UF and Haiti’s Laboratoire National de Sante Publique joint LNSP Training Program. The program trains Haitian laboratory technicians in both the U.S. and Haiti in advanced tuberculosis diagnostics. Lauzardo has also been part of the development of the UF, Programme National de Lutte contre la Tuberculose, and the CDC’s joint Cross-cultural Tuberculosis Training program, which provides a comprehensive tuberculosis course for Haiti health care providers to build capacity for clinical knowledge in TB epidemiology, diagnostics, prevention and control.
“The Ministry of Health in Haiti, non-governmental organizations, federal agencies and the university collaborate in creating effective, low-cost, sustainable solution for laboratory training, services and eventually clinical services in Haiti,” Lauzardo said. “This is a very unique and innovative way to solve a big problem in most places around the world.”
TB remains as one of the most important infectious disease killers in the world with 1.5 million deaths per year. Haiti has a big TB problem with a rate of 300 cases per 100,000 people. Lauzardo said that a drug-resistant strain and lack of effective diagnostic testing has led to the high mortality rate in Haiti.
The overall purpose of Lauzardo’s research and work is to use his knowledge to make the lives of people from all over the world better. He hopes to leave a positive legacy.
“In academics it is easy to lose sight of what we are really here to do. We are here to do good things and to make people’s lives better. We are here to use innovative ways to do that. I would like to one day say that we were able to make lives better of people who have been marginalized or do not have many resources,” he said. “It is not about the number of papers or number of grants that we get, even though those things are critical to what we do. At the end of the day we have to keep our eye on the prize which is that we are here to do good things, big good things.”