Senior Scholar in Global Infectious Disease
New Scholar in Global Infectious Disease

Advancements in basic scientific research, medical science, and translational research and technology have opened new opportunities to create healthier lives for many. Unfortunately, the vision is often perceived through a myopic lens. Funding for well-publicized diseases, while laudable, often absorb the bulk of U.S. resources. Reaching outward beyond the privileged societies, there are many diseases that present a major global challenge and, in fact, account for much of the world's morbidity.

The Ellison Medical Foundation Global Infectious Disease Program was established to address this concern through support of biomedical research on parasitic and infectious diseases caused by viral, bacterial, fungal, protozoal or helminthic pathogens of major global public health concern that are relatively neglected in federally funded research within the U.S. The program centers on the most basic molecular and cellular mechanisms of disease, informed by the vision of how this can ameliorate some of humankind's most pressing problems.

The Global Infectious Disease Program aims to focus its support by placing emphasis on:

Innovative research that might not be funded by traditional sources, including projects involving the application of new concepts or new technologies whose feasibility is not yet proven, projects seeking commonalities among pathogens that might yield new insights into mechanisms of infection, invasion and pathogenesis, or projects seeking to bring together diverse scientific disciplines in the study of infectious diseases.

Aspects of fundamental research that may significantly impact the understanding and control of infectious diseases, but have not found a home within traditional funding agencies, such as:

Our microbiome: natural microflora and pathogen ecology and evolution
Therapeutic role of probiotics
Diet, nutrition and immunity
Implications of disease eradication
Zoonoses: wildlife and human disease
Comparative immunology
Threats from newly explored habitats
Host factors, human genomics and disease susceptibility
Signaling and gene flow between parasites & hosts
Parasite molecular mimicry
Fever and other symptomatology
Plasmid and phage determinants of virulence
Phylogeny and ultimate origins of viruses
New concepts for antivirals and antiparasitics
Nosocomial infection and sanitary precaution
Dyshygenic abuse of antibiotics and microbicides
Vector control and pesticide development
Any fundamental studies on exotic microbes and diseases*
*Investigations on model systems and familiar diseases are by no means precluded, but should be informed by a vision of their applicability to the global disease burden.

The principal vehicle of support will be the subvention of individual research scholars in the full range from graduate students to established investigators. This will be supplemented by awards for conferences, publications and electronic communications, special training courses and infrastructure support for scientific-community oriented resources.

For the present, awards will be confined to U.S.- based institutions, but special attention will be given to encouraging collaborations with partner-institutions overseas offering the opportunity for exchange of students and training that merges laboratory skills and field experience. The Foundation, as in the past, will work closely with government agencies, international bodies and societies and other foundations with shared goals.

The Ellison Medical Foundation contributes toward the funding of the Biology of Parasitism Summer Course held at the Marine Biological Laboratory. The course offers lectures and modern approaches for studying protozoan and helminthic parasites. See Summer Courses and Training Awards

For further information, contact:
Stephanie L. James, Ph.D.
Director, Global Infectious Disease Program
Deputy Director
The Ellison Medical Foundation
4710 Bethesda Avenue
Suite 204
Bethesda, MD 20814-5226
(301) 657-1830 (Phone)
(301) 657-1828 (Fax)
Contact Dr. James