Former Fogarty Scholar Melissa Ketunuti is mourned

February 1, 2013

Dr. Melissa Ketunuti

Dr. Melissa Ketunuti

A former Fogarty Scholar, Dr. Melissa Ketunuti, was found murdered in her Philadelphia home on Jan. 21. Ketunuti, 35, was a pediatrician and infectious disease researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She had spent a year in Botswana in 2005 as a Fogarty-Ellison scholar, conducting HIV/AIDS research.

Originally from Thailand, Ketunuti was a graduate of Amherst College and received her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. She was particularly interested in the prevention of childhood infections in the developing world. During her Fogarty fellowship in Botswana, she focused on the identification of acute and early HIV infections. Colleagues remember Ketunuti as a dedicated and compassionate physician with an ability to inspire those working around her. Her passions included biking, running, travel and photography.

"Our thoughts are with Melissa's family following this senseless tragedy," said Fogarty Director Dr. Roger I. Glass. "She showed enormous potential as a global health scientist. Her loss will be felt by so many, both here at Fogarty and in the global health community."

The Philadelphia Police Department has arrested and charged a local man with her murder. The suspect, an exterminator who had been working in Ketunuti's home, is being held without bail after confessing to the crime.

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