Richard Guerrant

Guerrant, Richard L.

Primary Appointment

Thomas Harrison Hunter Professor Emeritus of International Medicine, Medicine: Infectious Diseases and International Health


  • BS, Davidson College, Davidson, NC
  • MD, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia
  • Residency, Medicine, Harvard Medical Service: Boston City Hospital
  • Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Chief Resident, University of Virginia Hospital
  • Fellowship, Infectious Diseases, University of Virginia Hospital

Contact Information

PO Box 801379
345 Crispell Dr (MR-6, Room 1520)
Charlottesville, VA 22908

Research Disciplines

Infectious Diseases/Biodefense

Research Interests

Enteric infections, toxin mechanisms, pathogenesis and long-term impact

Research Description

Guerrant’s research is focused on the long-term impact of diarrhea and repeated enteric infections in developing areas. With longstanding NIH support and colleagues in Fortaleza Brazil and South Africa, he and others have described the vicious cycle of diarrhea or enteric infections and malnutrition with long-term consequences for stunted growth, cognitive development, and metabolic syndrome. He further discovered that the cognitive deficit most affected was Alzheimer-like semantic fluency impairment and then found that the Alzheimer risk gene, ApoE4 actually protected favela children against diarrhea and cognitive impairment, helping explain the evolution of this troubling allele.
He is senior editor of “Tropical Infectious Diseases,” “At the Edge of Development: Health Crises in a Transitional Society,” and over 700 scientific articles (18 with UVa’s 3 Nobel Laureates, Gilman, Murad and Marshall) and has recently published “Evolution of Evolution: The Survival Value of Caring,” and “Why Care? …and How?”

Honors and Awards

  • Honorary PhD in Public Health, University of Venda, Limpopo, South Africa (2018)

  • Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement NIFD (2014)

  • Virginia Outstanding Scientist Award (2012);

  • Thomas Jefferson Award (2010)

  • Distinguished Scientist Award at University of Virginia (2009)

  • Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) Mentor Award (2009)

  • Walter Reed Medal of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2008); President 1997.

  • Elected to the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Medicine (2003); Chair, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases interest group in 2007-10; Board on Global Health (2007); Chair, 2008-2013

  • IDSA Smadel and Abbot Awards of the IDSA (1997)

  • Henderson Inventor of the Year Award for the University of Virginia (1997)

  • Emilio Ribas Medal from the Infectious Diseases Society of Brazil (1997)

  • American Clinical and Climatologic Association (1996); Chair, US Cholera Panel 1993-98;

  • Listed in Castle-Connelly Best Doctors in America 1995-2011

  • Horsley Research Prize at University of Virginia (1974);

  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Raven Society, SmithKlineFrench Fellowship – Congo (1967)

Selected Publications