Published August 9, 2023
The Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York (SUNY) has received funding to expand its Global Infectious Diseases (GID) Research Training Program. The GID is supported by the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training that will lead to capacity building in Jamaica through UB/SUNY and the University of the West Indies (UWI) collaboration. Importantly, this new funding includes CTIS, a key cloud project implementation partner, and a women-owned small business with expertise in providing informatics solutions for clinical trials and research for over 30 years.
Jamaica and the Caribbean region endure cyclic epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases, including chikungunya, dengue, yellow fever, and Zika. Ministries of Health (MOH) across the region constantly monitor the spread of these viruses and conduct routine surveillance for the emergence of pandemic strains of respiratory viruses including influenza and SARS-CoV-2. The UWI Mona Campus in Jamaica plays a key role in viral surveillance as it houses the National Influenza Center which provides weekly reports to the MOH Surveillance Unit. In addition, it has Jamaica’s only next-generation sequencer, a technology used in both surveillance and research to rapidly sequence and compare genetic variations associated with diseases.
The CTIS partnership will expand the work of the GID Research Training Program led by Gene Morse, PharmD, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and John Lindo, PhD, Chair of Microbiology at UWI Mona. Michelle Brown, MBBS, PhD, Director, National Influenza Center and a recent GID postdoctoral fellow will play a pivotal role, and Srikanth Uppalapati, CTIS’ Chief Innovation Officer will lead CTIS efforts. The award will include a new trainee opportunity for a UWI post-doctoral fellow and initiate the capacity building in this important area in Jamaica.
The work will allow migration of virus surveillance data to the cloud to allow for deeper analysis by researchers and trainees from multiple UWI and SUNY campuses and access to richer data for new collaborative research projects. At the same time, it will provide opportunities to increase working knowledge of data migration and data manipulation in a shared computational cloud environment for tomorrow’s leaders in medical virology, an essential feature of a robust training program in any field of global health.
The funds are being awarded as a one-year administrative $150,000 supplement by the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy, which leads and coordinates activities within data science, bioinformatics, data sharing policy and compliance, and emerging technologies.