McDade developed and validated a method for quantifying SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in finger stick dried blood spot samples. This approach allows people to self-collect samples from home, and then mail them to the lab for analysis. McDade’s scientific aim and public health goal is to expand understanding of predictors of community transmission and levels of immunity across racial, ethnic and class-based disparities both in terms of likelihood of infection and severity of infection.
Thom McDade is Professor and Faculty Fellow at Institute for Policy Research and Director at the Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern University. Thus, he is a biological anthropologist specializing in human population biology. Prior research in Samoa, and ongoing research in Bolivia and Ecuador, investigates how local cultural transitions associated with globalization affect human development and health, while research in the Philippines is exploring the long term developmental consequences of early nutritional and microbial environments. He is currently applying conceptual and methodological tools from this work to US-based research on health disparities, with an emphasis on the potential contributions of stress and environments in infancy.