Unifying Wildlife and Zoonotic Disease Research on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) Campuses

Wildlife Health research, and the related field of Conservation Medicine, are academic areas that are growing rapidly in importance. This growth is being driven in part by concern about zoonotic diseases — cross-species diseases that travel to humans from other animals — such as rabies, Lyme disease, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), avian influenza, West Nile virus, and other emerging infectious diseases. Similarly, diseases such as bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis travel from wildlife to livestock and thereby threaten our agricultural production systems. Furthermore, diseases such as chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk, and chytridiomycosis in amphibians, are examples of growing health threats to valued wildlife populations themselves. The Center for Wildlife Health (CWH, est. 2003) at the UT Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) recently has formed an Organized Research Unit (ORU) supported by the UT Office of Research, UTIA AgResearch and UTIA College of Veterinary Medicine. The CWH-ORU supports the CWH's mission by fostering research collaborations by UTIA and UTK faculty with expertise in wildlife and zoonotic diseases.
 
Such issues require not only fundamental research into wildlife disease ecology and diagnosis, but also application of research findings in ways that provide practical assistance for resource managers and policy-makers. These problems must be addressed using a team approach that involves wildlife biologists, entomologists, veterinarians, animal production managers, public health specialists, epidemiologists and numerous other disciplines. A key objective of the Center for Wildlife Health is to assist these specialists working closely together, both on the UT campus and through off-campus collaboration.
 
The Center for Wildlife Health (CWH, est. 2003) at the UT Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) recently has formed an Organized Research Unit (ORU) supported by the UT Office of Research, UTIA AgResearch and UTIA College of Veterinary Medicine. The CWH-ORU supports the CWH's mission by fostering research collaborations by UTIA and UTK faculty with expertise in wildlife and zoonotic diseases.
 
The CWH-ORU presently comprises three directors, two associate directors and numerous research faculty from different disciplinary areas. The backbone of the CWH-ORU is a seed grant program geared toward collecting new data that will supplement research proposals for extramural funds. Travel grants to present results at conferences and initiate new collaborations with researchers outside of UT are another component. The CWH ORU further fosters interdisciplinary collaboration by inviting eminent scientists to UT for seminars and interaction with our faculty, staff and students.
 

Leadership Team

Directors

  • Dr. Debra Miller (Professor, FWF; CVM)


  • Dr. Melissa Kennedy (Associate Professor, CVM)


  • Dr. Chunlei Su (Associate Professor, Micro)
 

Associate Directors

  • Dr. Matthew Gray (Professor, FWF)


  • Dr. Shigetoshi Eda (Associate Professor, FWF; Micro)
 

Programs

  1. Seed Grants
    The centerpiece of the CWH ORU is seed grants (eight $10,000 proposals will be funded for FY16) that facilitate inter-campus research projects that are expected to result in substantial extramural grant applications and funding. A requirement for the application is participation by more than one tenure-line investigator from different administrative units (i.e., > 1 department), one of which must be from UTK. ORNL investigators must be funded through an affiliated UT department or program. Support can be used for personnel (excluding PI salary and benefits), supplies, and minor equipment. Grants are evaluated by a panel of experts appointed by the ORU's co-directors. The awards are for one year with the possibility for continued funding if the project shows significant progress in the previous year. The split of monies among investigators is determined by the applicants. The potential for extramural funding based on seed grant findings is a key component of proposal evaluation.

  2.  
  3. Travel Support
    UTK and UTIA scientists can submit an application to the CWH ORU for travel support for conferences to present research findings or for research planning meetings with professionals outside of UT. Five travel grants at $500 each will be awarded.

  4. Seminars
    Two seminars will be organized to bring to Knoxville noted speakers whose research on wildlife and zoonotic disease will be of interest to diverse students and faculty members. These seminars will be followed by a social gathering in order to facilitate informal interactions among students and faculty dispersed throughout the campus. The two seminars are each budgeted at $1500 for travel and $500 for the social gathering.
    • Spring 2015 Seminar: Dr. Maria Forzan (University of Prince Edward Island)


    Get Microsoft SilverlightUTCVM Forzan seminar 5-28-15 MP3 file
    Get Microsoft SilverlightUTCVM Forzan seminor 5-27-15 MP3 file
  5. Grant Documents

 



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