Dr. Richard Lester is an assistant professor in Global Health and the director of the Neglected Global Diseases Initiative at the University of British Columbia. He is also a consultant at the BC Centre for Disease Control,  and the founder of the WelTel International Health Society.

Dr. Lester earned both his undergraduate degree in honours physiology and his medical degree at the University of Alberta. He completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Toronto, a clinical fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia, and a research fellowship in infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba and University of Nairobi.

He has two principle research areas of interest. The first is innate immunity, which includes innate immune mechanisms of susceptibility to infectious diseases, the role of innate immunity in vaccine design, and the control of inflammation and its role in HIV pathogenesis. The second is the use of cellphones in patient care, which involves using mobile technology to improve patient support and health services in resource-limited settings. His work in the latter field has been featured on CBC’s The National.

Dr. Lester is the principle investigator for CTN 284: WelTel Retain, which will evaluate the effectiveness of using communication via text message in improving patient retention and adherence to treatment in low-income health centres in Nairobi, Kenya. He has contributed to two CTN research publications based on data collected during this study.