Dr. Nardell is an associate professor in the Departments of Medicine and of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and in the Departments of Immunology and Infectious Diseases and of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is an associate in medicine in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), in both the Division of Global Health Equity and the Pulmonary Division. His research interests involve the control of tuberculosis under resource-limited conditions, with a focus on the pathogenesis of drug-resistant tuberculosis, its airborne transmission, and transmission control in institutions.
Dr. Nardell recently tested interventions to prevent transmission of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) in a unique experimental facility in South Africa, in which large numbers of sentinel guinea pigs served to sample the air from a six-bed MDR-TB ward, part of an MDR-TB referral center. An early observation of this research led to new investigation on TB pathogenesis, specifically the possibility of transient TB infection in guinea pigs as well as humans. Another important finding is that effective treatment rapidly (within days) stops TB transmission, even due to MDR-TB. Further planned research will determine which drugs are responsible for this dramatic effect. Ongoing experiments are also studying the impact of inhaled TB drugs on TB transmission. Another long-standing research avenue is the application of germicidal irradiation to reduce airborne transmission. Dr. Nardell also is developing more efficient, less expensive UVGI fixtures for resource-limited settings. In addition, he has worked on developing and validating a computer-assisted design software package to facilitate planning of UV installations in buildings. He has also begun testing a novel, environmentally safe chemical vapor that may be effective in reducing airborne transmission.