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Role of Genes in Avian Flu Wins Top ARS Postdoc Award

By Sharon Durham
November 14, 2000

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2000--Agricultural Research Service veterinary medical officer David Suarez has won an ARS award for his research proposal to develop a system to remove a gene for avian influenza virus, modify it and reinsert it to study the virus’ ability to cause this serious poultry disease.

Suarez and his colleagues at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga., study the role of viral genes in virulence and the ways in which mild avian viruses become highly pathogenic. The researchers’ goal is to develop better diagnostic tests and improved vaccines.

Suarez won the T.W. Edminster Award for the top-ranked proposal out of 50 proposals selected by the Agricultural Research Service for its 2001 Postdoctoral Research Associate Program. The program provides postdocs an opportunity to work closely with an experienced researcher in their field of interest. At the same time, postdocs get a chance to perform valuable research to help solve agricultural problems.

“The excellence of our researchers is evident by the number of extraordinary proposals submitted,” said ARS Administrator Floyd P. Horn. “The postdoctoral program helps us to direct funds toward critical research areas that focus on solving key agricultural problems.”

ARS has allocated $4 million to fund 50 projects selected from a list of 450 proposals. Each ARS scientist whose proposal was accepted will receive $80,000 to provide a two-year appointment to a postdoc for high-priority research.

Other winning proposals were from:

Contact: Edward B. Knipling, ARS Associate Administrator, Washington, D.C., phone (202) 720-3656, fax (202) 720-5427.