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ARS Home » Research » Research Project #435437

Research Project: Epidemiological Workforce Development in Support of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility

Location: Foreign Animal Disease Research

Project Number: 3022-32000-064-014-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2019
End Date: May 1, 2024

This research project is aimed at developing capacity on applied epidemiology to contribute to the workforce of the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) in Manhattan, KS. Specific desired areas of expertise include study design, data analysis, interpretation of results, and recommendation of management practices and policy, for the ARS with a focus on Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) and /or African Swine Fever (ASF). The strategic integration of ARS research programs with epidemiology research will be paramount for the development of effective biosecurity and disease control programs for those diseases. Specific objectives include: 1. To support workforce development for the FADRU/ARS in the transition from PIADC to NBAF by training two PhD students/post docs that could eventually be eligible for a position with the ARS on applied epidemiology of ASF and FMD, respectively, using data of interest for the ARS-collected in South/South East Asia, Africa, and any other endemic region of interest, or experimental data generated at the ARS FADRU laboratory. 2. To produce scientific evidence of the training in the form of presentation to scientific meetings and publications.

1. The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety at the University of Minnesota (CAHFS/UMN) and ARS, PIADC will identify graduate student / post docs with an interest on foreign animal disease research to be trained in the epidemiology of foreign animal diseases; specific to Foot-and-Mouth Disease and African Swine Fever. 2. CAHFS/UMN will provide graduate level training and facilitate mentoring activities to the students. 3. ARS, Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC) scientists lead various ongoing field studies in regions where transboundary diseases are endemic. Viral genomic sequencing data and other results of field samples analyses, and related metadata will be shared with CAHFS/UMN scientists to support collaborative research interests. An important goal will be students/postdocs professional development through collaborative research activities which will be published as part of the students’ dissertations and scientific publications, developed collaboratively with ARS scientists, and communicated through scientific meetings. ARS scientists will take an active part in the training. 4. Areas of animal disease epidemiology for which research is urgently needed and that will be emphasized through the program include, for example, characterization and quantification of animal disease transmission and its relation with host specificity; environmental influences, management practices, forces, and factors that prevent or facilitate disease spread; countermeasures research and modeling; quantification of disease impact; temporal and spatial patterns of prevalence and risk; cost-effectiveness of surveillance strategies; evaluation of diagnostic tests; and strategies for early disease detection, warning, communication, and intervention.