|As with children almost everywhere, this group in Asembo Bay, in western Kenya (where Drs. Julie Moore and Dan Colley have ongoing research projects in placental malaria and schistomiasis, respectively), gather almost instantaneously in front of any camera.|
The Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases (CTEGD) of the University of Georgia (UGA) is a university-wide, interdisciplinary center established in 1998 to foster research, education and service related to tropical and emerging infectious diseases.
Based on a strong foundation of parasitology, immunology, cellular and molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics, CTEGD's 18 faculty are from 8 Departments in 4 Colleges.
CTEGD also benefits from the participation of adjunct faculty from the Division of Parasitic Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and its linkages to the Emory Vaccine Center, both in nearby Atlanta, as well as its relationships with UGA's Faculty of Infectious Diseases, Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and other related programs at UGA.
The Center is made up of a wide range of research programs that focus largely on protozoan and metazoan parasites, their hosts and their vectors. Many of these programs have major international, on-site components for both research and training, where the faculty and trainees deal with these global infections and the populations that harbor them. CTEGD's investigators and their laboratories have made major contributions to our understanding of the diseases they study, such as malaria, Chagas disease, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, lymphatic filariasis, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis -diseases of poverty that contribute enormously to global death and disability.
See: Seeking Immunity," from Georgia Magazine
The Center pursues its mission to foster university-wide involvement in these challenging basic biomedical science and public health areas through course offerings, holding a weekly Journal Club/Research in Progress series, hosting an annual regional symposium, and sponsoring, with the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism, the “Global Diseases: Voices from the Vanguard” lecture series each Spring semester.
In 2006 the offices and laboratories of many CTEGD faculty moved into wonderful new facilities, occupying the third floor of the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical & Health Sciences. In addition, the CTEGD administrative office and the CTEGD run Flow Cytometry Core Facility moved to the first floor of the Coverdell Center. This now provides CTEGD with a place to call home and spectacular new laboratory and office space. CTEGD’s Flow Cytometry Core Facility provides campus-wide flow cytometry analytical and cell sorting facilities that are used by over 40 independent laboratories.
|Brazilian currency depicting Carlos Chagas and the life cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi|
CTEGD has been central to the development of programs in functional genomics and bioinformatics on the UGA campus. Such interdisciplinary approaches are necessary to tackle the challenges of identifying targets and tools for the development of vaccine, drug and genetic interventions to detect, treat and prevent wide-spread, complex parasitic diseases. Such cutting-edge biomedical approaches are also essential for the identification and understanding of newly emerging or re-emerging and bioterrorism disease threats.
Parasitic and other tropical diseases continue to pose huge public health problems in much of the world, where infectious diseases remain the leading cause of human deaths, and over 2 billion people are infected by soil-transmitted, schistosome or filarid worms -many by all three. In addition, parasitic diseases are also one of the major causes of crop and livestock loss, accounting for billions of dollars in expenditures or lost revenues in agriculture. Responsible for millions of human deaths each year, it is also becoming clear to economists that by leading to billions of hours of lost productivity annually, these diseases are a major contributor to the prevention of development in the non-developing world.
|Transgenic Toxoplasma gondii parasites|
Vaccines do not yet exist for human parasitic diseases and drug treatment is a constant challenge due to the development of resistance by the parasites, serious adverse reactions, and a lack of knowledge of their mechanisms of action. While there are now global efforts to eradicate Guinea worm (dracunculiasis) and to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), these are extremely challenging public health endeavors. Control efforts in regard to most of these diseases are not even able to keep pace with the magnitude of these expanding global scourges.
- To maintain and extend our position as one of the preeminent centers for research and education in parasitic diseases in the world
- To translate research results into medical and public health interventions for the populations at risk of these diseases
- To promote international and biomedical research and educational programs at the University of Georgia and throughout Georgia.
Research programs in the CTEGD are supported by a spectrum of funding agencies (the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Merck), the University of Georgia, the Georgia Research Alliance, and the Sanford and Barbara Orkin Foundation.
One of the Center's NIH-supported programs is a $3.4 million grant for a Tropical Disease Research Unit (TDRU) for vaccine development and testing for Trypanosoma cruzi. This TDRU grant is one of only four such grants in the USA and is part of a program that is competed only once every five years.
The CTEGD is part of the Georgia Research Alliance-supported Infectious Disease Cluster, which provides significant funding in support of the Center's core facilities and recruitment of new faculty.
- Recruitment of additional on-campus and off-campus faculty
- Development of additional international research and educational programs
- Identification of additional program funding and building an endowment for CTEGD