Campus News

Three projects chosen for disease research collaboration

Three collaborative research proposals aimed at preventing critically neglected human and animal diseases were selected for funding in a recent competition that unites UGA researchers with colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Funded by the UGA Research Foundation and the CDC, the awards provide pilot research project funding to promote collaboration in scientific innovation and technology development at the interface of human, veterinary and ecological health, increase quality and output of research, and strengthen interactions between CDC and UGA scientists.

“We see this program as an opportunity for the complementary strengths of the CDC and UGA to unite,” said Duncan Krause, professor of microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and director of UGA’s Faculty of Infectious Diseases. “By collaborating like this, it allows investigators from both institutions to add new dimensions to their research programs and take advantage of expertise they might not otherwise have access to.”

Previous collaborations have generated nearly $2 million in additional funding from outside sources since the program began in 2009, and researchers have maintained strong working relationships that have accelerated scientific discovery.

Scientists from UGA and the CDC evaluated 19 proposals for scientific merit, the potential to enhance UGA and CDC collaborative interaction, and the promise for future funding support. The 2013 funded proposals and their principal investigators are:

  • “A Genetically Tractable Model to Study Cryptosporidiosis to Prevent Severe Diarrheal Disease in Small Children,” Lihua Xiao, CDC, and Boris Striepen, cellular biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences;
  • “An Anti-vector Vaccine for Chagas Disease,” Ellen Dotson, CDC, and Rick Tarleton, cellular biology, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and
  • “Use of Near-infrared Spectroscopy to Rapidly Identify Mosquito Vectors of Lymphatic Filariasis (Brugia malayi) and Dog Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis),” Robert Wirtz, CDC, and Ray Kaplan and Andrew Moorhead, infectious diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine.

Each team will receive $50,000 per year for two years. A fourth round of CDC-UGA Collaborative Research Awards is planned for 2014.