An Ec2 - NSF PR 00-86 November 2 2000 Media contacts Cheryl...

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NSF PR 00-86 - November 2, 2000 Media contacts: Cheryl Dybas, NSF 703-292-8070 Jennifer Cabe, NIH 301-496-2075 This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts . Ecology of Infectious Diseases Grants Jointly Announced by National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation Initial awards have been announced to fund 12 research projects under the new Ecology of Infectious Diseases initiative. The joint NIH-NSF initiative supports efforts to understand the underlying ecological and biological mechanisms that govern relationships between human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases. The highly interdisciplinary research projects will study how large-scale environmental events - such as habitat destruction, biological invasion, and pollution - alter the risks of emergence of viral, parasitic, and bacterial diseases in humans and other animals. The initiative is a team effort to bridge gaps between scientific disciplines in order to meet a critical need. The grants are funded jointly by NSF and three NIH Institutes and Centers - the Fogarty International Center (FIC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). These four organizations have jointly committed more than $23 million to fund the projects over a period of 5 years. Other Federal agencies participating in the program are NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). "FIC initiated this collaborative effort to address an important gap in the ability of the scientific and public health communities to predict the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases in relation to our rapidly changing global environment," says FIC Director Gerald T. Keusch on behalf of the NIH partners. "This initiative will allow institutions throughout the world to participate in studies that can lead to the development of predictive models for disease emergence, allowing implementation of strategies to prevent and control disease before an outbreak occurs." Adds NSF Director Rita Colwell, "The current spread of the West Nile virus, for example,
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