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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Ssentongo is a physician-scientist and an Assistant Professor at the College of Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology, Penn State University. His clinical research focuses on characterizing the epidemiology and pathophysiology of infectious causes (SARS-CoV-2, HIV, Malaria, CMV, Paenibacillus thiaminolyticus) of brain disorders, particularly post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, mental health disorders, epilepsy, and hydrocephalus. He is currently working on NIH-funded projects to study neonatal sepsis and hydrocephalus in Africa.

Dr. Ssentongo pioneered and developed the first murine models of epilepsy as a sequela of malaria and the first murine model of Paenibacillus thiaminolyticus, the causative agent of postinfectious hydrocephalus. With a global public health perspective, Dr. Ssentongo’s work further deconstructs the intersection of micro-and micronutrient malnutrition and infectious disease dynamics. His work incorporates spatial epidemiology and statistics, remote-sensing, predictive modeling, and meta-analyses with an overarching goal of optimizing precision medicine and public health.

Dr. Ssentongo's research output has guided public health recommendations and guidelines by The World Health Organization, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations. His research has featured in various press releases, including the US News and World Report, Reuters, CNN, The Guardian, The Washington Post, NPR, ABC TV, Penn State News, Yahoo News, Futurity, WebMD, HealthDay, Lancaster Online, and The Hill.

Dr. Ssentongo profoundly believes in the power of mentorship. He volunteers to mentor undergraduates, graduates, medical students, and residents in study designs, biostatistics, SAS and R programming (including Shiny Apps), ArcGIS, writing grants, systematic reviews/meta-analysis, and how to successfully publish high-quality research studies. His mentees have been first authors in various journals, including JAMA Network Open, BMJ Open, Scientific Reports, among many other peer-reviewed journals.

Creative works

Creative works

Creative works

Creative works

Creative works

Creative works

Clinical interests

My clinical research focuses on delineating biomarkers of post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC). I am building predictive models of PASC parameterized by genomic, environmental, and biological covariates.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Epidemiology (Global Health, Infectious Diseases and (Mal)Nutrition), PhD, Penn State College of Medicine

Aug 2018Aug 2021

Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MPH, Penn State College of Medicine

Aug 2015May 2017

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Neuroinfectious diseases), The Pennsylvania State University

Nov 2012Aug 2015

MD, Makerere University College of Medicine

Sep 2005Jan 2011

External positions

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Nutrition

2021 → …

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Public Health

2021 → …


2021 → …

Researcher Defined Keywords

  • Health Equity
  • COVID-19
  • HIV
  • Malaria
  • Global Health
  • Predictive models
  • Precision Medicine
  • Precision Public Health
  • Meta-analysis


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