50 years have passed since Dr Hugo Lumbreras founded the Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Alexander von Humboldt” (IMT AvH) at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH).  In this short time the institute has become one of the main centres for research in infectious and tropical diseases in Peru.  Based on the premise that treating patients individually is an inadequate method for addressing tropical diseases, the IMT AvH focuses on all scientific disciplines related to prevention and control of these illnesses. These disciplines include clinical, diagnostic, epidemiological, socio-anthropological, and ecological aspects; as well as methods for community involvement in the tackling of environmental and population problems.

Associations with foreign programs allows for the diffusion of the Institute’s work beyond our borders.  Our investigators keep in close collaboration with laboratories and research centres in Latin America, the United States of America, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands.  Collaborations with these countries mainly involve research and personnel training.


presentacion_dosConsistent success in the execution of research studies and posterior scientific knowledge development has firmly placed the IMT AvH in a key role in the generation of health and education in Latin America. A holistic approach to research promotes a continuous interaction between doctors and scientists, which has led to; work on disease prevention and control, diagnostic test development, epidemiology, molecular biology and world health, always prioritising the care of remote rural populations.

Our region’s shifting epidemiology has resulted in changes in research priorities.  From Hansen’s desease, intestinal parasitosis, diseases caused by fungi and yeasts, Carrion’s disease and other bartonelosis, leishmaniasis and malaria, to brucellosis, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, Helicobacter pylori infection, cholera and HIV, and later on to HTLV-1 and tuberculosis. Additional current investigations explore; paediatric diarrheas and acute respiratory infections, hospital-acquired infections, antibiotic resistance and stewardship, free-living amoebae infections and the study of emergent and reemergent diseases.

Located in Hospital Nacional Cayetano Heredia, the Institute includes a hospitalisation ward with 36 beds for patients with infectious and tropical diseases, and four offices for outpatient evaluation.  Both areas are managed by the Institute’s physicians and specialists.  There is also an area equipped for high risk dental procedures in HIV infected patients, as well as twelve research laboratories, a cryobank for the storage of samples, an auditorium, and a specialised library.



For the past 50 years the IMT AvH has carried out research in various areas of tropical medicine. Important developments in scientific knowledge have been reached and presented in over 800 publications in high-impact, indexed journals, which represent 80 peer-reviewed publications per year.  Most of these publications have been achieved through collaboration with other national and international institutions, such as The Tropical Medicine Institute at Amberes, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington, and the University of Vanderbilt, amongst others.  These partnerships have established networks that allow scientific exchange and high quality education for professionals throughout the world,