Senior Scientist, Injury Prevention Research Center Innovation Fellow, Gillings School of Global Public Health
Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta is a scientist who studies drugs and infectious diseases. His passion is telling true stories about health, with numbers. Centered in epidemiology, his multidisciplinary approach draws on field research, large database analytics, laboratory investigations, randomized trials, and community-based interventions. Through his work he aims to amplify community and patient voices in public health.
His scientific interests encompass two themes. Since 2002 he has done pioneering work in pain management, opioid overdose prevention, and addiction treatment. Second, he has deep expertise in infectious disease surveillance, including visual design of dashboards.
Current Research Objectives
1) Understanding the medical and nonmedical use of opioid analgesics and heroin
2) Increasing patient participation in side effect reporting, including COVID vaccines
3) Innovating digital health methods for mobile apps, social media, and the darkweb
As an applied epidemiologist, Nab has expertise in translating research into practice. He has served as an advisor to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and local and state health authorities.
At the UNC Injury Prevention Research Center, he works at the Opioid Data Lab (OpioidData.org). Studies at the Opioid Data Lab are organized into three sections: Theory, Practice, and Lived Experience. Dr. Dasgupta is the Innovation Fellow for the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. He works with the Research, Innovation and Global Solutions group, helping students and staff solve local and global health problems.
Prior to returning at UNC on faculty, he was the Chief Science Officer of Epidemico, a health informatics startup he co-founded using technology developed at Harvard Medical School. He is proficient in natural language processing and machine learning methods for public health.
Working on health tech teams, Dr. Dasgupta co-created websites and mobile apps that are used by millions each year. Some include StreetRx.com (crowdsourcing black market drug street prices); apps for patient reporting of side effects to health authorities in North America, Europe, and Africa; PrescribeToPrevent.org for clinicians to prevent overdose; and PoisonHelp.org, the emergency web app of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Nabarun co-founded the non-profit organization Project Lazarus in Wilkes County (North Carolina), which was hailed by the Obama White House as a model for community-based overdose prevention. Project Lazarus was the first program in the world to provide the antidote naloxone to pain patients and people who use drugs to reverse overdose. Recently, he has been pioneering methods to test street drugs for dangerous fillers in order to prevent injection-related health harm. His work is informed by harm reduction and participatory research principles. Operating with an appreciation for the social determinants of health, he is committed to countering the impacts of racist drug policies.
Dr. Dasgupta is an editor at the American Journal of Public Health where he is responsible for the surveillance methods section. He also serves as an editor at Pain Medicine and is on the editorial board of Drug Safety.
His work has been funded by the US FDA, US CDC, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE), the European Union, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, National Geographic, Forbes, STAT News, ProPublica, Travel + Leisure, and other media.
Nabarun earned degrees from Princeton University (molecular biology of viruses), Yale University (epidemiology of microbial diseases), and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (pharmacoepidemiology). Bibliography of scholarly publications. Follow Twitter (@nabarund) for more.