1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
To fund research projects, proposal development, travel and general program costs at the STCU in support of the ARS – Former Soviet Union Scientific Cooperation Program. Funds originate from the Department of State and Department of Defense and are used to engage scientists from priority institutes in agricultural projects.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
The STCU will fund the Ukrainian and Georgian sides of approved ARS research projects and provide oversight and coordination of these. Individual projects will be implemented through individual project agreements signed by the STCU, FSU institute and ARS/EAD. ARS scientists from multiple locations will develop the proposals with FSU scientists and serve as collaborators throughout the life of the project.
3. Progress Report:
During FY12, ARS continued to support two on-going projects with Ukraine and one with the Republic of Georgia. The focus of the two Ukraine projects are: 1) the investigation of cellular and molecular mechanisms of mucosal immunity and new control strategies development for avian influenza virus; and 2) monitoring of avian influenza, Newcastle disease and other paramyxoviruses among waterfowl, coastal birds, migratory and settled sea birds from Azov-Black Sea region. ARS also continued to support a research project in the Republic of Georgia involving scientists from the Laboratory of the Ministry of Agriculture (LMA), Tbilisi and ARS scientists from Plum Island Animal Disease Center. The objective of the project is to develop countermeasures for the control of African Swine Fever in the Republic of Georgia and complemented the long term training of a Georgian scientist from LMA at Plum Island funded by the Department of Homeland Security, which completed in December 2010. In 2012, ARS scientists hosted two sets of visits by Ukrainian scientists in 2012 to develop three new research projects for collaboration. The State Department approved for funding a project focused on the development of vaccines against Newcastle disease using DNA technology and study of their protective effects in chickens. This project will begin in fall 2012. A second Newcastle disease project focused on the genomic, epidemiological and biological characterization of Newcastle disease virus isolates from Ukraine was also developed during the site visit to the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory and submitted to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for potential funding. A third project on the potential role of ticks in African Swine Fever disease transmission and establishing wildlife reservoirs was also developed during site visits to ARS labs Pullman, WA; Kerrville, TX, Manhattan, KS and Orient Point, NY and submitted to DOD-DTRA for potential funding.