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Virginia Tech researchers find human virus in chimpanzees
Date:6/3/2008

utz of CAUS and a team of university students, using "biomimicry" as the initial design direction, and incorporating state-of-the-art environmental technology to model the adaptability found in living organisms, the PLUG was born. The field laboratory weighs much less than a ton and can be assembled and disassembled in only a few hours by as few as two people using no tools. PLUG was field-tested in March 2007 then packaged for transatlantic shipment where further 'in-situ' testing has been conducted at Mahale Mountains National Park.

The PLUG has become an integral part of the base station where Kaur, Singh, and their four-year old daughter have been living in western Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the second deepest lake in the world, as part of a broader research project that seeks to establish a long-term health-monitoring program for these endangered great apes.

The project is sponsored through a five-year National Science Foundation CAREER grant awarded to Dr. Kaur in 2003 so she can develop a more "holistic" approach for the integration of technology, research and education through a program called "Bush-to-Base Bioinformatics."

Kaur and Singh have been working for several years with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) officials on the project that seeks to protect the endangered species.

The family has learned to adjust and function in the bush, where diseases such as malaria and cholera can be contracted, and dangerous creatures like black mambas, crocodiles, leopards, and others must be avoided.

Living in the wild has also encouraged their resourcefulness. A stubborn warthog kept digging up an area near the PLUG's external photo-voltaic cables and batteries. Their solution was to install an automobile alarm. The loud, piercing voice ordering the marauding warthog to "Step away from the car, step away from the car" every time it disturbed the
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Contact: Jeff Douglas
540-231-7911
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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