(Press-News.org) ITHACA, N.Y. -- To help respond to emerging and established vector-borne threats, the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases (NEVBD), led by Cornell, has received a five-year, $8.7 million award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to train and educate current and future vector-borne disease professionals and to evaluate the effectiveness of community and regional prevention strategies.
The award, effective as of July, follows $10 million in CDC funding, which launched the NEVBD in 2017. The current grant cycle will seek to engage diverse communities, including Indigenous people, with a goal of increasing training for members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields.
Collaborating institutions include Cornell, Columbia University, the University of Maryland, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Suffolk County Vector Control and Suffolk County Cooperative Extension, and MaineHealth.
“We’re enhancing our ability to train the next generation of public health professionals who will be more capable of dealing with the next vector-borne disease situation,” said Laura Harrington, NEVBD director and professor of entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).
In the Northeast, tick-borne infections are a major issue, while West Nile virus is entrenched in every state, she said.
“We also want to optimize the tools and resources that we have to address and prevent vector-borne disease threats and evaluate how effective they are and how we can improve them,” said Emily Mader, NEVBD program manager in the Department of Entomology in CALS.
In the training portion of the grant, the NEVBD will continue to support and provide continuing education for working professionals. For example, Mader holds a monthly meeting with public health and vector control officials involved in surveillance in the Northeast where they share current human and vector surveillance data with each other. Also, an annual two-and-a-half day bootcamp training program exposes early career public health professionals to essential aspects of vector biology, surveillance and control, while also giving them a chance to network.
The center will continue to support vector biology education programs, aimed in part at recruiting students traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, including an interdisciplinary two-year Master of Science in Entomology at Cornell to educate the next generation of vector biologists and public health practitioners. The degree program, which began in 2018, involves a thesis on a pressing question in the field, where students work closely with vector control professionals. Almost all graduates to date have published their theses and all have found gainful employment. All masters’ students are fully funded with tuition, a stipend and health insurance.
Also, an undergraduate summer internship program will provide room, board and project-related stipends for five Cornell students per year, and subcontracts will support undergraduate students and tribal youth in a similar capacity at participating NEVBD institutions. Students will be placed with a professional mentor and will be introduced to concepts in vector biology, field surveillance, research methods and public health communication.
A collaboration with partner institutions will establish an undergraduate minor and a concentration for graduate students with courses in vector biology and vector-borne diseases. Support will also be available for an Applied Practice Experience program for Cornell and partner institution master of public health (MPH) students, which will provide opportunities to learn from public agency mentors in the field.
Assessing the effectiveness of communication and outreach strategies will be a major focus. Mader is working with colleagues from the Cornell MPH program and the Department of Public and Ecosystem Health to evaluate and optimize messaging from Northeast health departments on the best ways to engage individuals to protect themselves.
“Unfortunately, a lot of vector-borne disease falls to individual personal prevention activities and behaviors,” Mader said. “Sometimes individuals aren’t aware of the risks, and how to use tools and resources available to them.”
Within that, the team will put attention on high-risk populations, such as agricultural and other outdoor workers.
The grant will continue a program to monitor and measure mosquito pesticide resistance in the Northeast. A Lyme disease control project will additionally evaluate an oral vaccine for rodents, which are reservoirs for the Lyme pathogen.
With the new funding, the center will also assess how best to train clinical providers on vector-borne disease topics, as medical schools don’t cover those areas well, Harrington said.
The Office of the Provost has contributed support to fund one M.S. in Entomology student and one undergraduate intern.
$8.7M to vector-borne disease center funds training, evaluation
ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:
New device rapidly controls postpartum hemorrhage
NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 14, 2023--A study led by Columbia obstetricians has shown that a new intrauterine device can rapidly control postpartum hemorrhage, a major cause of severe maternal morbidity and death, in real-world situations. “Our findings show that the device is an important new tool in managing postpartum bleeding,” says Dena Goffman, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and senior author of the study. “We had ...
Grant funds study of video game for preventing unintended teen pregnancies
Weill Cornell Medicine has been awarded a five-year, $5 million grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services through the Office of Population Affairs under the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program to conduct a randomized trial testing whether a bilingual video game called “No Baby No (No Bebé No)” can increase the use of contraception among sexually active Black and Hispanic adolescents. “Nine out of ten teens play video games. No Baby No empowers Black and Hispanic adolescents to learn about contraception, and the potential consequences of not using it, in a risk-free virtual ...
New evidence indicates patients recall death experiences after cardiac arrest
Philadelphia, September 14, 2023 – Up to an hour after their hearts had stopped, some patients revived by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) had clear memories afterward of experiencing death and had brain patterns while unconscious linked to thought and memory, report investigators in the journal Resuscitation, published by Elsevier. In a study led by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, in cooperation with 25 mostly US and British hospitals, some survivors of cardiac arrest described lucid death experiences that occurred while they were seemingly unconscious. Despite immediate treatment, fewer than 10% of the 567 patients studied, ...
Clinical whole genome sequencing test developed at JAX
Until quite recently, it was extremely difficult to detect the variants underlying many genetic disorders. In the absence of a defined cause, clinicians have little to guide treatment for those left without a genetic diagnosis, forcing patients and families to embark on a diagnostic odyssey with no guarantee of finding answers. A decade ago, sequencing centers began offering clinical whole exome sequencing, but these only cover the portion of the genome that codes for proteins – approximately 1.5 percent of the entire genome. While relatively successful, the diagnostic yield for most clinical exome sequencing programs is roughly 25 percent, leaving 75 percent of cases without ...
UCI researchers announce publication of an open-label clinical trial suggesting that N-acetylglucosamine restores neurological function in Multiple Sclerosis patients
Irvine, CA – Sept. 14, 2023 – UCI researchers have found that a simple sugar, N-acetylglucosamine, reduces multiple inflammation and neurodegeneration markers in people who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition, they also found this dietary supplement improved neurological function in 30% of patients. According to the World Health Organization, MS affects more than 1.8 million people, and while there are treatments to prevent relapses and improve quality of life, there is no cure. The study, N-acetylglucosamine ...
Vocal learning linked to problem solving skills and brain size
The European starling boasts a remarkable repertoire. Versatile songbirds that learn warbles, whistles, calls, and songs throughout their lives, starlings rank among the most advanced avian vocal learners. Now a new study published in Science finds that starlings, along with other complex vocal learners, are also superior problem solvers. “There is a long-standing hypothesis that only the most intelligent animals are capable of complex vocal learning,” says Jean-Nicolas Audet, a research ...
Study finds spiritual coping behaviors may be key to enhanced trauma recovery of Black men who survive firearm injury
PHILADELPHIA (September 14, 2023) – High rates of firearm injury among urban Black men in the U.S. can lead to long physical and psychological recovery times, worsened by limited access to mental health services. In the face of firearm injury, urban Black men may feel they have lost control over their lives, leading to fear, paranoia, lack of forgiveness, and different dimensions of mental health challenges, which can be difficult to overcome. In a pilot study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing ...
In the “I” of the beholder: People believe self-relevant artwork is more beautiful
People have fairly consistent preferences when it comes to judging the beauty of things in the real world—it’s well known, for example, that humans prefer symmetrical faces. But our feelings about art may be more personal, causing us to prefer art that speaks to our sense of self, research in Psychological Science suggests. “When there is personal meaning in an image, that can dominate your aesthetic judgments way more than any image feature,” said Edward A. Vessel (The City College of New York) in an interview. Though self-relevant ...
Aspergillus fumigatus is a saprotrophic fungus that can cause serious life-threatening invasive infections in immunocompromised individuals
Aspergillus fumigatus is a saprotrophic fungus that can cause serious life-threatening invasive infections in immunocompromised individuals; by constructing a recombination map, this study shows that A. fumigatus produces the highest number of crossovers per chromosome ever described (~30 per chromosome pair). ##### In your coverage, please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Biology: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3002278 Article Title: The human fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus can produce ...
During failure of core protein quality control in the nematode C. elegans, a specialized anti-aggregation mechanism relying on pathogen response factors and lysosomal mediated degradation is triggered
During failure of core protein quality control in the nematode C. elegans, a specialized anti-aggregation mechanism relying on pathogen response factors and lysosomal mediated degradation is triggered, promoting tissue-specific resilience to age-dependent protein aggregation and its proteotoxicity. ##### In your coverage, please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper in PLOS Biology: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3002284 Article Title: A safety mechanism enables tissue-specific resistance to protein aggregation during aging in C. ...