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CVM Global Health Program Awards New Research Grants

Ethiopian farmer
A livestock owner shows her daily milk yield on a farm in a rural district in Akaki Kality, a subcity of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A research project from the CVM's Andy Stringer is looking into the gut microbiome of Ethiopian children. Photo by Andy Stringer.

Three NC State College of Veterinary Medicine research projects addressing some of the world’s most pressing health challenges have been awarded grants from the college’s global health program.

This year’s winning projects come from CVM faculty tracking bacterial pathogens in India, refining animal welfare practices in Ecuador and assessing childhood health in Ethiopia.

“These projects not only reflect the key focus areas of our program, but showcase the impactful research done every day at the CVM,” said Sid Thakur, director of global health at the CVM and NC State University. “They display the powerful role veterinarians have in addressing grand global health challenges.”

Research assistant professor Shivaramu Keelara Veerappa is teaming with Paula Cray, the head of CVM’s Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, to look at the prevalence of drug-resistant organisms, including E. coli and Salmonella, in Goa, India.

Tracking the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant organisms is a priority worldwide to prevent outbreaks in animals and humans. There are no systematic studies on antimicrobial resistance in Goa, which has an economy dependent on agriculture and livestock farming, as well as tourism.

For their project, Monique Pairis-Garcia, associate professor of global production animal welfare, and Maria Correa, professor of epidemiology and public health, will research the level of animal welfare knowledge in Ecuador. Their goal: developing effective and standardized animal welfare training programs in Latin America.

Few countries in Central and South America have animal welfare laws. The countries often rely on the veterinary community to enforce welfare standards for livestock species and educate the public.

Andy Stringer, clinical assistant professor of director of global health education, will lead a project examining the gut microbiome in Ethiopian children with environmental enteric dysfunction (EED). EED is thought to have far-reaching impacts on human development by preventing proper gut function. That can lead to conditions such as stunted growth, malnutrition, and limited effectiveness of oral vaccines.

Stringer and his collaborators will also collect information about each child’s households to uncover more factors that increase the risk of developing EED.  Such information could help determine specific interventions to reduce EED and stunting in the country.

The CVM’s global health program, which merged global health research with the college’s existing global health curriculum in 2018, awarded its first research seed grant last year.

Led by Thakur and Stringer, the CVM’s global health program aggressively addresses key and ever-evolving world health challenges of the 21st century, including infectious disease control and food security, that impact humans, animals and the environment.

For an in-depth look at the grant-winning research projects, go here.