The NIAID has decided to establish 10 new malaria research centers and will provide $14 million to do so in the first year. The seven-year awards will establish the International Centers of Excellence for Malaria Research (ICEMRs) in regions where malaria is endemic, covering 20 countries including parts of Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Latin America.
Sustainable and effective malaria control requires research in multiple settings on the complex interactions among the parasite, the mosquito vector, the local ecology, and the human host, notes Lee Hall, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the parasitology and international programs branch in NIAID.
“The ICEMR program seeks to address this need by creating a network of multidisciplinary research centers in malaria-endemic settings. The centers aim to generate critical knowledge, tools, and evidence-based strategies to support intervention and control programs by government organizations and healthcare institutions.”
Overall, these centers are expected to bring critical infrastructure to these endemic regions and help build training and research capacity to combat malaria worldwide. Each center will design and conduct multidisciplinary research on the epidemiology, transmission, and pathogenesis of malaria in endemic geographic regions.
They will also each design and conduct special projects to capitalize on new opportunities and emerging public health needs. The centers will integrate clinical and field approaches with laboratory-based immunologic, molecular, and genomic methods. Additionally every center will develop and conduct training and career development programs for researchers from malaria-endemic areas.
These regions include some of the focus countries of the President's Malaria Initiative, an effort that began in 2005 to fight malaria in areas most affected by the disease. Infection by malaria-causing parasites results in approximately 240 million cases around the globe annually and causes more than 850,000 deaths each year, according to the NIAID. Malaria has been eliminated from many parts of the globe, but 40% of the world's population still lives in areas where they are at risk for contracting the disease, the NIAID continues.
The principal investigators selected to establish the ICEMRs are as follows:
- Malaria Transmission and the Impact of Control Efforts in Southern Africa
Principal Investigator: Peter Agre, M.D.
Lead Institution: Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
- Center for the Study of Complex Malaria in India
Principal Investigator: Jane Carlton, Ph.D.
Lead Institution: New York University School of Medicine, New York City
- Southeast Asia Malaria Research Center
Principal Investigator: Liwang Cui, Ph.D.
Lead Institution: Pennsylvania State University, University Park
- Program for Resistance, Immunology, Surveillance & Modeling of Malaria in Uganda
Principal Investigator: Matthew Dorsey, M.D.
Lead Institution: University of California, San Francisco
- Latin American Center for Malaria Research and Control
Principal Investigator: Socrates Herrera-Valencia, M.D.
Lead Institution: Caucaseo Scientific Research Center, Cali, Colombia
- Research to Control and Eliminate Malaria in SE Asia and SW Pacific
Principal Investigator: James Kazura, M.D.
Lead Institution: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland
- Population-based Approach to Malaria Research and Control in West Africa
Principal Investigator: Donald Krogstad, M.D.
Lead Institution: Tulane University, New Orleans
- Malaria Evolution in South Asia
Principal Investigator: Pradipsinh Rathod, Ph.D.
Lead Institution: University of Washington, Seattle
- Determinants of Malaria Disease in Malawi
Principal Investigator: Terrie Taylor, D.O.
Lead Institution: Michigan State University, East Lansing
- Peruvian/Brazilian Amazon Center of Excellence in Malaria
Principal Investigator: Joseph Vinetz, M.D.
Lead Institution: University of California, San Diego