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Health Challenge Research

Current Projects

Meningitis Risk Prediction

Meningitis Risk Prediction

The complex ecological factors driving the distinct seasonality of meningococcal disease epidemics in the African meningitis belt are poorly understood. Evidence suggests that dust, low absolute humidity, rainfall, wind direction and velocity, land cover, and surface temperature may contribute. more >>
Health as an Ecosystem Service

Health as an Ecosystem Service

Although sub-Saharan Africa’s national parks provide significant foreign currency to the government, the revenues they generate are rarely invested in the surrounding community health systems. Rural natives living in the parks’ vicinity have minimal access to basic health care, and many by default rely on traditional healers for treatment for zoonotic and vector-borne diseases. more >>
Immune Function & Disease Risk

Immune Function & Disease Risk

Scientific understanding of women’s disease risk and immune function during pregnancy and lactation is surprisingly limited. This is partly because pregnant and lactating women are challenging study subjects; hence human studies are often constrained to small sample sizes, sub-optimal controls, and/or biased metadata. more >>
Disease Informational Structure

Disease Informational Structure

Infectious diseases are carried by individuals, but survive in populations. The transmission of infectious disease is influenced possibly as much by information and human behavior as by the biology of the infection and the ecological landscape. In some sense, information and human behavior are part of the larger ecological landscape in which diseases operate. more >>
Humoral Immunity in Human Health

Humoral Immunity in Human Health

Antibodies are essential for resistance against infectious diseases such as malaria and influenza. Yet antibodies can also cause debilitating autoimmunity when they attack host tissue and/or accrue at such high densities that they damage organs. more >>
Graphene Nanosensors

Graphene Nanosensors

Direct interfacing of nanosensors onto biomaterials could revolutionize health quality monitoring and adaptive threat detection. Graphene is capable of highly sensitive analyte detection. Here we show that the nanoscale nature of graphene allows it to be printed onto water-soluble silk. This in turn permits intimate biotransfer of graphene nanosensors onto biomaterials, including teeth, skin and food. more >>
Politics of Health Care

Politics of Health Care

This research grant will contribute to a large, multi-country study of political Islam and its impact on health outcomes in the Arab world. The project seeks to define and quantify the Islamic share of the market for medical services, to identify where and to what social groups such services are offered. more >>
Influenza Vaccine Production

Influenza Vaccine Production

A set of human proteins have been identified that act to block the growth of viruses. They are termed viral restriction factors. We discovered several of the known viral restriction factors, including the family of sirtuin proteins. It is possible to delete or “knock down” expression of viral restriction factors to improve the growth of viruses. more >>
Infectious Disease/Biodiversity

Infectious Disease/Biodiversity

Andrew Dobson and David Wilcove are focusing on the role that biodiversity plays in buffering infectious disease outbreaks of zoonotic and vector borne diseases in East Africa providing important insights into shaping health policy throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This award supported the research of five undergraduates during the summers of 2010 and 2011; four in Tanzania and one in Kenya. more >>
Global AIDS treatment

Global AIDS Treatment

Using the Brazilian therapeutic response to HIV/AIDS as an ethnographic baseline, João Biehl assesses the aftermath of large-scale drug access programs in Latin America and Africa. The project has involved more than 20 undergraduates in field research projects around the globe. Funding from the Ford Foundation has supported forward movement. more >>
Disease management

Disease Management

Simon Levin and Ramanan Laxminarayan lead an integrated research and teaching program to address challenges in drug resistance management and the role of social norms in health care. Nine undergraduate interns have conducted research on antibiotic and antimalarial resistance at study sites in Washington, D.C., New Delhi and Nairobi. more >>
Disease management

Tuberculosis Prevention

John Groves and Joshua Rabinowitz use advanced imaging technologies to monitor changes within human cells in response to anti-tuberculosis therapy. Their study focuses on iron uptake by the bacteria which can be exploited as an early indication of tuberculosis infection. The findings have potential for determining new drug therapy regimes. more >>
Disease management

Applying Basic Bacteriology

Zemer Gitai is studying bacterial structure at the molecular level to identify novel pathways for antibiotic action. His research revealed new mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and identified a simple and inexpensive compound that blocks the growth and virulence of a wide range of human pathogens. Gitai was awarded the National Institute of Health Director’s New Innovator Award. more >>
Disease management

Potable Water

By designing, manufacturing, and installing ceramic water filters in rural Nigeria, Winston Soboyejo has essentially eliminated the occurrence of diarrhea among participating households. Princeton students have contributed to the development of the filters, the establishment of a manufacturing factory in Nigeria, and assessments of corresponding changes in community health. more >>
Disease management

Infectious Disease Governance

Evan Lieberman and his students have mapped the authority structures for responding to the threat of infectious disease in a high HIV prevalence region of South Africa, highlighting the accountability deficit in the existing goverence framework. The project also tests a set of hypotheses about the drivers of citizens’ and elites’ perception of the threat of infectious disease. more >>
Disease management

Next Generation Therapeutics

Erik Sorensen is developing more effective, synthetic analogs of pleuromutilin, a compound derived from mushrooms that has antibiotic response to tuberculosis. Undergraduate research is making significant contributions to their effort to find an analog effective against drug resistant strains of tuberculosis. more >>
Disease management

Fighting Endemic Fluorosis

This multidisciplinary team has developed a simple fluoride-removing filter that can be manufactured in villages in India to combat dental and skeletal fluorosis. Led by Peter Jaffé and Satish Myneni, researchers are optimizing filter manufacture and plan to collect health data while testing a version in a village school in Jharkand, India. more >>