Over the past 20 years, unprecedented changes in biodiversity have coincided with the emergence and re-emergence of numerous infectious diseases around the world. To address this problem, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have announced funding for eight projects under the Ecology of Infectious Diseases (EID) program, a multi-year, joint-agency effort now in its seventh year of funding.
"The joint program supports efforts to create a predictive understanding of the ecological and biological mechanisms that govern relationships among human-induced environmental changes and transmission of infectious diseases," said Samuel Scheiner, program director in NSF's biological sciences directorate, which funds the EID program along with NSF's geosciences directorate.
Interdisciplinary projects funded through the EID program will study how large-scale environmental events -- such as habitat destruction, biological invasions and pollution, as well as a variety of interventions -- alter the risks of viral, parasitic and bacterial diseases emerging in humans and animals.
These studies will contribute knowledge and analytical tools that will help public-health officials, wildlife managers, farmers and others to control the spread of diseases among humans, domestic and wild animals, and crops, say EID scientists.
This year's awards include developing a better understanding of the effects of avian migration and human-caused change on the distribution and risks of avian influenza; predicting variations in West Nile virus transmission in different regions; the changing dynamics of malaria and other diseases in Papua New Guinea; disease resistance in estuarine populations like oysters and the response to climate change; sudden oak death and links among pathogens, hosts and environments; the influence of environmental change on how parasites move through human, invertebrate and environmental pathways;
Contact: Cheryl Dybas
National Science Foundation