DURHAM, N.C. — An internationally known researcher into HIV and AIDS will lead the new Global Health Institute being launched at Duke University.

Michael Merson, MD, was named to the post on Wednesday.

The Institute will focus on interdisciplinary education, research and healthcare delivery in an attempt to close gaps in health between the poor and the affluent. It will incorporate environment, medicine, law, nursing, engineering, business, natural and social sciences and divinity.

Merson is a professor of public health at Yale University. He is director and principal investigator of Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. He worked at the World Health Organization for 17 years, From 1990 to 1995 he led the organization’s Global Program on AIDS.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to join colleagues so committed to local, regional and global health problems. Interdisciplinary collaboration is crucial to solving global health problems,” he said. “I think the Global Health Institute can really make a difference in thousands, even millions of lives.”