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Illinois receives Grand Challenges Explorations grants
Date:11/20/2013

project with U. of I. department of pathobiology postdoctoral researcher Diego G. Diel, University of Nebraska-Lincoln veterinary and biomedical sciences professor Gustavo Delhon, University of Connecticut pathobiology and veterinary science research associate Edan Tulman and Universidade Federal de Santa Maria professor of preventative veterinary medicine Eduardo Flores.

Kuhlenschmidt's project focuses on the development of a system to better study a microscopic parasite called Cryptosporidium, a protozoan transmitted in contaminated water, causing a diarrheal disease in humans. According to the World Health Organization, diarrheal disease is the second-leading killer of children younger than 5 years old and, Kuhlenschmidt said, "about 50 percent of that is due to Cryptosporidium."

Without a way to grow the protozoan in the lab, it is difficult to study Cryptosporidium, because "if you can't culture it, every time you want to study its pathogenesis, you have to go back into an animal and that is laborious and expensive," Kuhlenschmidt said.

"The real challenge is making a system useful for drug screening," Kuhlenschmidt said. "If we can make a continuous culture that gives us the ability to look at the entire life cycle of Cryptosporidium, we'll see rapid progress in making a vaccine or therapy."

Kuhlenschmidt will work on this project with two researchers from Washington University in St. Louis: professor of molecular microbiology L. David Sibley and professor of pathology and immunology Thaddeus Stappenbeck.

Grand Challenges Explorations is a $100 million initiative. Begun in 2008, it has awarded grants to more than 850 people in more than 50 countries.


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Contact: Chelsey B. Coombs
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

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