Investigators at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health and University of South Florida’s College (USF) of Arts and Sciences have received a five-year, $2.5 million research grant from the Fogarty International Center to study the interaction between infectious disease transmission and agricultural practices in the Senegal River Basin. Dr. Justin Remais, associate professor of environmental health at Emory will lead the study, along with co-PI Dr. Jason Rohr, associate professor of integrative biology at USF.
Agriculture is rapidly expanding and intensifying in tropical developing countries, and these are also regions where the risk of parasitic disease emergence is greatest, and also where disease surveillance, particularly for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), is limited. Dr. Remais and Dr. Rohr will examine how environmental changes — particularly the expanding use of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers — can affect the transmission of the parasitic flatworm that causes schistosomiasis. The research team will conduct laboratory, mesocosm and field experiments examining the effects of agrochemicals on schistosomes, their hosts and host predators, and will develop mathematical models that can be used to identify changes to agricultural practices that can enhance crop yields without increasing schistosomiasis. The highly interdisciplinary project team includes collaborators at Université Gaston Berger, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and Monash University. For more information, see here.