Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New UNC laboratory to help track and control tropical diseases

29.09.2008
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health has established a new Gillings Innovation Lab to track and map tropical infectious diseases such as malaria, using state-of-the-art molecular and demographic methods.

Better information about the prevalence and location of diseases will help national and international health organizations around the world treat and control these diseases.

Steven R. Meshnick, M.D., Ph.D., UNC an epidemiology professor in the School of Public Health and an expert on molecular epidemiology and infectious diseases, will lead the new project, known as the laboratory for molecular surveillance of tropical diseases.

The lab will work with the research and evaluation company ORC-Macro, the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and the Kinshasa School of Public Health in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together, the group will measure the distribution of malaria, drug-resistant malaria, African sleeping sickness and other infectious diseases in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"Infectious diseases remain the leading cause of death and disability in developing countries," Meshnick said. "Current maps and prevalence data on tropical diseases are usually estimates based on samples that paint a potentially inaccurate picture. We want to help international and national health organizations get better data and maps for tropical diseases from representative population-based surveys. Better information will help guide efforts to control tropical diseases, and also will help in evaluating the effectiveness of efforts to control their spread."

The team includes geographer Mike Emch, Ph.D., associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, and molecular microbiologist, Melissa Miller, Ph.D., assistant professor in the pathology and laboratory medicine department in the School of Medicine. It also includes Democratic Republic of Congo scientists, which should help build expertise within the country.

Meshnick said he hoped the new lab's disease surveillance approach will become a model for similar surveillance programs in other developing countries.

"This work will help the 'poorest of the poor,' who bear the brunt of the burden of tropical diseases," Meshnick said.

The team's initial work will involve analyzing 9,000 dried blood spots collected in 2007 for tracking HIV infection.

The Gillings Innovation Labs, part of Carolina Public Health Solutions, were established in the school in 2007 and are funded through a $50 million gift pledged by Dennis and Joan Gillings. In honor of the gift, the school will be renamed the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health on Friday (Sept. 26).

The labs' purpose is to anticipate future public health challenges and accelerate solutions through groundbreaking science, research, teaching and practice, and through interdisciplinary teams and effective translation of interventions to high-impact settings. Meshnick's is the 10th such lab announced by the school. It will begin in January 2009 and continue for two years.

Other Gillings Innovation Labs have been established to develop vaccines for respiratory diseases that are simpler to store and administer than current vaccines; provide greater access to safe and clean water; improve care for the mentally ill; monitor air quality; and weigh benefits of locally grown foods.

Patric Lane | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unc.edu
http://www.sph.unc.edu/accelerate

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists present new observations to understand the phase transition in quantum chromodynamics

The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.

This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.

Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...

Im Focus: Patented nanostructure for solar cells: Rough optics, smooth surface

Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.

"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...

Im Focus: New soft coral species discovered in Panama

A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.

Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...

Im Focus: New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

Physicists explore long-distance information transmission in antiferromagnetic iron oxide

Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.

Im Focus: Finding Nemo's genes

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome

An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

One of the world’s most prominent strategic forums for global health held in Berlin in October 2018

03.09.2018 | Event News

4th Intelligent Materials - European Symposium on Intelligent Materials

27.08.2018 | Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Glacial engineering could limit sea-level rise, if we get our emissions under control

20.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

Warning against hubris in CO2 removal

20.09.2018 | Earth Sciences

Halfway mark for NOEMA, the super-telescope under construction

20.09.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>