Marcia Castro is Andelot Professor of Demography, chair of the Department of Global Health and Population, director of the Brazil Studies Program of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) at Harvard University, associate faculty of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and faculty member of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies.
Her research focuses on the development and use of multidisciplinary approaches to identify the determinants of infectious disease transmission in different ecological settings to inform control policies. She has more than 20 years of research experience in the Brazilian Amazon, with a strong record in conducting household surveys and thorough knowledge of the local culture. Furthermore, she has more than 15 years of collaboration with Brazilian researchers, health secretariats, and the ministry of health, particularly related to infectious diseases.
Currently, Castro has projects on malaria, COVID-19, arboviruses, infant/child mortality and development, and climate change in the Brazilian Amazon. Specifically, she has been assessing the spatiotemporal pattern of COVID-19 spread in Brazil, mortality and fertility changes due to the pandemic, risk factors for mortality, and vaccine effectiveness.
During recent public health emergencies, such as the Zika virus epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, Castro made important contributions. At the World Health Organization, she served as co-chair of the Technical Consultation on The Burden of and Response to Malaria in Urban Areas in 2021 and as an advisor of the Evidence Review Group on border malaria in 2017.
She serves on several advisory boards in Brazil, including the Institute for the Studies of Health Policies (IEPS), the Science Center for Early Childhood (NCPI), Instituto Todos Pela Saúde (ITpS), and Instituto Cactus. She is a columnist for Folha de São Paulo and an elected member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.