M. Kariuki Njenga, research professor in the Allen School, has been awarded $3.4 million from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for infectious disease surveillance in human and animal populations, antimicrobial resistance studies, and efforts to determine the presence of the Zika virus in Kenya. The money will fund the first year of a five-year cooperative agreement with the CDC titled “Conducting Communicable Disease Research in Kenya.” Allen School co-investigators are Douglas Call, Eric Lofgren, Tom Marsh, Terry McElwain, and Jon Yoder.
Drs. Douglas Call, Eric Lofgren, Guy Palmer, and Shira Broschat are collaborators on the new Community Health Analytics Initiative, funded by the WSU Office of Research Grand Challenges grant program. The project will establish a large-scale interdisciplinary program in computational and analytics based health care and medical sciences research at WSU. With permanent University funds and matching college funds, the $5 million investment includes hiring two new faculty members in the Allen School. The initiative is a collaborative effort between the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Congratulations to Mushtaq Memon who retired on July 11 after 25 years at WSU. Dr. Memon, whose professional work included complementary and alternative veterinary medicine, held a joint appointment in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.
Eric Lofgren, an epidemiologist specializing in computational and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, joined the Allen School faculty in December 2015. Lofgren’s work focuses on developing disease transmission mathematical models to better understand how diseases spread and then evaluate possible interventions. His data visualizations help communicate potential epidemic scenarios to decision-makers. Lofgren’s modeling expertise offers many collaborative opportunities with Allen School faculty members and others at WSU, including proposed research on the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance. He earned a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health in 2013.
Thumbi Mwangi, clinical assistant professor, was selected as an Aspen New Voices Fellow for 2016. The Aspen Institute based in Washington, DC offers experts from the developing world a year-long program to learn how to craft their messages and receive media training from experienced communication mentors and trainers.
Thumbi Mwangi, clinical assistant professor, received a three-year, $608,000, Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Public Health and Tropical Medicine to support research on rabies
elimination in Kenya. His work will examine the demographic and ecological factors of rabies transmission, and develop and assess strategies for rabies control and elimination. Coinvestigators include M.K. Njenga and Guy Palmer from the Allen School and Sarah Cleaveland and Katie Hampson from the University of Glasgow.
Rowland Cobbold, associate professor of veterinary public health at the University of Queensland, Australia and adjunct faculty in the Allen School, was a visiting scholar at the Allen School in January and February 2016. His sabbatical strengthened collaboration between UQ and WSU for global animal and human health challenges. Current collaborative work focuses on antimicrobial selection in developing countries and how to develop prudent use approaches for reducing the threat of resistant infections.
Anders Omsland, assistant professor, was awarded $406,543 from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the sexually transmitted Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium, a leading cause of preventable blindness in developing countries.
Thumbi Mwangi, clinical assistant professor, and M.K. Njenga, research professor, together with colleagues from Centers for Disease Control-Kenya and Kenya’s Zoonotic Disease Unit, led a team of about 40 professionals working in the human health and animal health sectors in Kenya to prioritize and rank zoonotic diseases in Kenya. Participants in the September meeting developed a ranked list of 38 zoonotic diseases of importance in Kenya. Results from the meeting will help rational allocation of resources towards surveillance, research, prevention and control.
Dr. Timothy Baszler has joined the Allen School as head of global health surveillance. Dr. Baszler, executive director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, is also a professor in the WSU microbiology and pathology department. His research includes infectious disease diagnosis and surveillance, new test method development and validation, and biomedical laboratory accreditation.
Dr. Terry McElwain has stepped down from his position as associate director in the Allen School to focus his time on program development. He played a major role in developing the Allen School East Africa program and in the school’s efforts to increase global biosafety and biosecurity. He will continue as a full-time faculty member working to develop and implement disease surveillance programs around the world. He will work closely with Dr. Tim Baszler, now the head of global health surveillance in the Allen School.
Dr. Felix Lankester received a $100,000 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Exploration Grant. Lankester will use the fund to learn whether supplementing a Tanzanian school-based drug administration program—aimed at reducing neglected tropical diseases—with a popular dog rabies vaccination campaign to eliminate rabies will improve the coverage and impact of both programs and make the delivery of rabies vaccinations more cost effective
Jennifer Zambriski, clinical assistant professor, has been awarded $291,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study Cryptosporidium, a parasite that is the second leading cause of diarrhea in infants worldwide. Children under two years of age who contract this parasite are at an increased risk of malnutrition and stunting, which can irrevocably affect cognitive development. There is currently no vaccine to prevent infection, but two medications hold promise as effective treatments. Because calves are also susceptible to the same infection, Dr. Zambriski and her team will treat animals with the drugs to learn more about their effectiveness. Their results could help children in resource-poor areas, while also helping agriculture in the United States and abroad. Her work will be the foundation for a large-scale clinical trial in children in Africa.
Shira Broschat, adjunct professor in the Allen School, received a Women of Color Empowered Award for Women in Male-Dominated Careers from the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation. Dr. Broschat and 13 other women were in Seattle to receive the award in February 2015. The Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation started Women of Color Empowered to enhance the quality of life for women of all races and backgrounds, empower women in the workforce, and help women give back to their communities.
William Sischo has been awarded a USDA-NIFA grant of $2.2 million for his project “Integrating Biology, Psychology, and Ecology to Mitigate Antibiotic Resistance in Food Animal Production Systems.” Drs. Douglas Call, Margaret Davis and Dale Moore are co-PIs on the project.
Douglas Call was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire, associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences, is a new affiliate faculty member in the Allen School. Shelley’s expertise is related to human nutrition during the lifecycle, especially during lactation and infancy.
Dr. Mohammad Obaidat, professor of food safety and zoonotic diseases at Jordan University of Science and Technology, visited Dr. Margaret Davis’s lab to learn techniques for genotyping bacterial pathogens. Dr. Obaidat is conducting field studies in Jordan to assess antimicrobial resistance in dairy cattle and small ruminants.