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Proposal to Shake Down Protozoans Wins Top
Award By Rosalie Marion Bliss
November 14, 2002
Service scientist Benjamin M. Rosenthal has won the agency's T.W. Edminster
Research Associate Award for the top-ranked proposal for the ARS 2003
Postdoctoral Research Associate Program.
Rosenthal and colleagues at the ARS
Epidemiology and Systematics Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., have been
working to discern how similar parasitic species are related to one another and
how to tell them apart. These parasites include Neospora, Hammondia,
Besnoitia and Sarcocystis, which form cysts in the muscles of
certain animals, wildlife and even people.
Rosenthal proposed to compare how genetically variable these
parasite species are to Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite threatening the
health of pregnant women and immuno-compromised persons. The work will help
define the risk to human health posed by such related parasites.
ARS, the chief scientific research agency of the
U.S. Department of Agriculture, allocated $4
million to fund 50 projects, which were selected from 434 proposals submitted.
Each ARS project scientist awarded will recruit a qualified postdoctoral
research associate for two years to help solve agricultural problems critical
to the national agenda. Other winning proposals include:
- Development of an economical method to measure the
bioavailability of elemental iron powders used in food fortification. Low iron
is the nutritional deficiency most common worldwide. The development could
serve as a basis for formulating policies for iron fortification of staple
- Identification of regions in the tropical maize genome that
control the plant's response to day length. The research could support breeding
that adapts tropical maize to temperate conditions, which would broaden U.S.
corn breeders' genetic base.
- Development of methods to bio-convert low-value, surplus
fats, oils and byproducts from agricultural processing and animal rendering
into commercial products. Such biosurfactants form the basis of detergents,
industrial cleaners and cosmetic creams.