Natasha Hochberg Awarded 2019 Global Programs/BU Foundation-India Seed Fund

Willis Wang, Natasha Hochberg, Nalin Kulatilaka standing in front of BU School of Medicine
L to r: Willis Wang, Natasha Hochberg, Nalin Kulatilaka

Associate Professor of Medicine Natasha Hochberg, MD, MPH, has been awarded the Boston University Global Programs and Boston University Foundation-India Spring 2019 Seed Fund. Her research proposal “Scaling Up Nutritional Interventions to Stop Tuberculosis in India,” seeks to determine optimal implementation strategies for nutritional interventions as part of the effort to combat tuberculosis (TB) in India.

Dr. Hochberg’s study includes identifying the direct and indirect costs of TB for an individual and his or her family, including lost wages, absenteeism from school and money needed for treatment. This will form the basis for developing a cost-benefit analysis of the intervention programs that reflects direct health benefits as well as broader community and social impact.

“I’d like to thank BU’s Global Programs and BU Foundation-India for this opportunity,” said Dr. Hochberg, who is also associate professor of Epidemiology, BU School of Public Health. “This work will help us understand how to scale up nutritional interventions to stop tuberculosis in India, where more than a quarter of the world’s cases occur. In collaboration with our partners at BU and in India, we hope to address some of the complex biomedical, public health and economic challenges associated with this disease.”

Dr. Hochberg will work with a multidisciplinary team of BU co-investigators: Nalin Kulatilaka, PhD, Wing Tat Lee Family Professor in Management, professor of Finance, and co-director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy, Questrom School of Business; and Lindsey Locks, ScD, assistant professor, Health Sciences, Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Drs. Kulatilaka and Hochberg met last year at an International Education Week event sponsored by Boston University Global Programs, where they were panelists for a talk on “Why Engaging Globally Matters.”

The BU team will also collaborate with an India PI on this study, Subitha Lakshminarayanan, MBBS, MD, associate professor, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry, India.

“We are excited to win the seed grant for this project,” said Dr. Lakshminarayanan. “This will facilitate testing optimal implementation strategies for nutritional interventions as we work to help fight TB in India.”

Dr. Lakshminarayanan offers extensive experience in teaching and in researching non-communicable diseases, public health advocacy, medical education and health management, especially as it relates to India.

“We are thrilled to award the 2019 seed fund to Dr. Hochberg,” said Willis Wang, JD, Vice President and Associate Provost for Global Programs. “Dr. Hochberg’s work and international experience in studying infectious disease, parasitic disease and tuberculosis is prolific. Her collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of BU co-investigators, Drs. Kulatilaka and Locks, and the India principal investigator, Dr. Lakshminarayanan, will illuminate the power of working together on complex, global issues. We look forward to learning about the progress they make in helping combat tuberculosis in India.” 

About the Award

The BU Global Programs and Boston University Foundation-India (BUFI) Seed Fund Program is designed to seed new or support existing collaborative research projects in India conducted by BU faculty and their peers in India. The research project may be in any discipline, but must directly benefit India.  Review criteria for the seed fund include:

  • Clearly articulated potential for measurable positive impact on India and leads to improved quality of life for its people
  • Likelihood that the project will lead to subsequent external funding
  • Well-defined and achievable project scope, activities and goals.