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ASU researchers receive NIH awards for studies of malaria and emergent disease
Date:10/29/2008

ty of Washington working on human-primate interactions. In this work, Jones-Engels and Escalante, together with researchers from University of California at Davis and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, will examine the evolution, recombination, emergence and exchange of simian retroviruses between human and nonhuman primates. Escalante will also explore the dynamics of nonhuman malarial parasites as part of his vivax-macaque malaria project.

This project will provide valuable information for assessing how human society influences the ecological contexts in which cross-species disease transmission occurs. To date, most research on emerging primate-borne disease has focused on perceived high-risk human populations, such as bushmeat hunters in Africa, and zoo and primate laboratory workers in Western countries. In contrast, little is known about the pathogen exchange between primates in close contact with humans in Asia.

According to Escalante, humans in Asia come into contact with primates in many different ecological contexts besides bushmeat hunting and consumption. There are urban primates, temple primates and wildlife and pet markets. Primates, such as macaques, are also used to harvest coconuts. These complex human-primate interactions increase the potential for cross-species shifts in disease. Jones-Engel and Escalante will be based in Bangladesh with an accessory field site in Indonesia for this work.

Prior to joining ASU, Escalante was a researcher with the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he still maintains strong ties. His research has had global implications, involving a network of partners in the United States and international collaborators in Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru, Tanzania, and Venezuela.

"My long-term goal is to establish bridges among the epidemiological, ecological and evolutionary biology perspectives to ad
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Contact: Margaret Coulombe
margaret.coulombe@asu.edu
480-727-8934
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert

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