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Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases

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Lead Institution: Department of Entomology, CALS, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Partners and Associated Institutions:

  • Center for Vector Biology and Zoonotic Diseases, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven, CT
  • New York State Department of Health
  • Columbia University, New York, NY
  • Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • New York State Animal Health Diagnostic Center
  • Connecticut Department of Public Health
  • Calder Center, Fordham University
  • Cornell University Cooperative Extension and New York State IPM Program

PIs: Harrington, Andreadis, Kramer, Diuk-Wasser, Backenson

About the Center:

We have assembled a highly skilled team of experts across the region to address our most pressing educational and applied research needs. Our team includes medical entomologists, virologists, epidemiologists, ecologists, modelers and molecular biologists across the spectrum of academic institutions (Cornell department of Entomology, College of Veterinary Medicine, NYS Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Columbia University and Fordham University), institutes (Wadsworth Center), Experiment Stations (CAES), Department of health (NYSDOH, CTDPH), regional education and outreach programs (NYS IPM, Cornell Cooperative Extension). Together, we will collaborate to offer multiple educational opportunities to train the next cadre of medical entomologists and public health practitioners to address the current and future challenges of our time. In addition, we have developed an innovative applied research agenda that enables us to directly evaluate new strategies for vector borne disease monitoring, prediction and control. Many of these strategies were not possible to address before due to limited resources for applied research. Our approach will create partnerships across states and our CDC NE Regional Center will provide a forum towards more uniform approaches to surveillance in the region. Collectively, our training and research activities will allow us to develop new and lasting relationships with partners in the region across academia and public health foci to provide communication for innovation and development of solutions to vector borne diseases in our region.

Our Goals:

  1. Conduct applied research to develop and validate effective vector borne disease prevention and control tools and methods necessary to anticipate and respond to disease outbreaks.  To address this Aim, we have formed six applied research clusters comprised of highly collaborative teams to study some of the most pressing problems in our region. Our research clusters are: (1) Evaluation of Novel Trapping Methods for Mosquito Vectors and Mosquito-Borne Viruses; (2) Predicting current and future human risk of infection with vector-borne pathogens in the Northeast and the US; (3) Vector- pathogen interactions; (4) Climate, diapause and overwintering survival of Ae. albopictus, I. scapularis, and A. americanum in the Northeast; (5) Chemical control, resistance monitoring and management of vectors; testing new and integrative control strategies; and (6) Basic field biology and behavior of Ae. albopictus in the Northeast.
  2. Train a cadre of public health entomologists with the knowledge and skills required to rapidly detect, prevent and respond to vector-borne disease threats in the United States. We are developing an MS/MPH program to educate the next generation of vector biologists and public health practitioners. Our curriculum will be offered at Cornell University with participation from a large number of collaborators on this project.  Our long-term goal is to develop online modules and provide curricula so students located anywhere can learn this essential knowledge about vector borne disease. We will offer other options for those with less time to invest via our Vector Biology Boot Camp and our Summer Short Course.  In addition, our postdoctoral training program will fill more advanced training needs for the next generation of scientists and public health leaders
  3.  Build effective collaborations between academic communities and public health organizations at federal, state, and local levels for vector borne disease surveillance, response and prevention. Through our applied research program and our training curriculum, we will build unprecedented connections between academia and public health organizations. Eight specific mechanisms have been developed to reach this goal.