- Today in Papua New Guinea (PNG) infectious diseases impose a significant impact on public health. Malaria and pneumococcal pneumonia rank among the top 3 causes of out-patient visits to health centers, hospital admissions and death. Support for assistance to control and reduce the burden of infectious diseases has come through programs purchasing resources (e.g. anti-microbial drugs, insecticide-treated bednets, vaccines). However, gaps identified through experiences of the 2005- 2010 Case-PNG Global Infectious Disease Research Training Program (GIDRTP) make clear that the PNG National Department of Health, the University of PNG and the PNG Institute of Medical Research still lack important human resources needed to conduct and sustain scientific research that will evaluate whether donated resources have been used effectively. Specifically, there are no professional PNG biostatisticians or epidemiologists at the National Department of Health, UPNG (includes the School of Medicine), or PNGIMR. Also, it is not currently possible to initiate graduate level programs in entomology in PNG because there are no professional PNG entomologists. Progress toward addressing these gaps has been accomplished during 2005-2010 Case-PNG GIDRTP. A cadre of 23 Bachelor of Science (BSc) honors students will have graduated from the University of PNG by April 2011;18 have already completed all of their requirements. Evidence that these graduates are eager to advance their careers in infectious disease research has been demonstrated as 8 of these BSc honors graduates have secured funding to pursue Masters Degrees in Europe, Japan, Australia and the United States. Two have been awarded prestigious Fulbright International Scholar awards, and are enrolled in Masters Degree programs at Case Western Reserve University. This Case-PNG GIDRTP renewal proposal seeks to continue progress toward closing the important gaps that limit (a) instruction in math and science, (b) application of skills required for data management and analysis, and (c) development of infectious disease research expertise.
Specific Aims to address these gaps are as follows.
Aim 1 -Sustain and expand ID research training opportunities for PNG undergraduate honors students to maintain the established 'feeder'program that is now preparing students for graduate degree work in ID research.
Aim 2 -Advance ID research training opportunities for PNG students through Masters Degree programs in Public Health and Biology (CWRU) and Entomology (Michigan State University).
Aim 3 -Provide opportunities for PNG trainees and faculty to communicate research findings through writing abstracts and manuscripts, developing posters and oral presentations.
Aim 4 -Prepare PNG scientists to become familiar with the process of writing and submitting grants to raise independent support for research projects and ID research programs.

Public Health Relevance

- Infectious diseases impose a significant burden on the public health system in Papua New Guinea. Public health practice and scientific research on infectious diseases relevant to Papua New Guineans lags because of insufficient training and expertise in Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Entomology. This GIDRTP addresses these needs through linkage of the PNG Institute of Medical Research and academic partners with graduate degree programs at Case Western Reserve University and Michigan State University.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
International Research Training Grants (D43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Sina, Barbara J
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Case Western Reserve University
Schools of Medicine
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Willie, Nigani; Zimmerman, Peter A; Mehlotra, Rajeev K (2018) Plasmodium falciparum Histidine-Rich Protein 2 Gene Variation in a Malaria-Endemic Area of Papua New Guinea. Am J Trop Med Hyg 99:697-703
Willie, Nigani; Mehlotra, Rajeev K; Howes, Rosalind E et al. (2018) Insights into the Performance of SD Bioline Malaria Ag P.f/Pan Rapid Diagnostic Test and Plasmodium falciparum Histidine-Rich Protein 2 Gene Variation in Madagascar. Am J Trop Med Hyg 98:1683-1691
Thomsen, Edward K; Koimbu, Gussy; Pulford, Justin et al. (2017) Mosquito Behavior Change After Distribution of Bednets Results in Decreased Protection Against Malaria Exposure. J Infect Dis 215:790-797
Willie, Barne; Gare, Janet; King, Christopher L et al. (2017) A preliminary assessment of Toll-like receptor and ?-defensin gene polymorphisms in Papua New Guinea - what does it mean for HIV/AIDS? P N G Med J 60:51-59
Keven, John B; Reimer, Lisa; Katusele, Michelle et al. (2017) Plasticity of host selection by malaria vectors of Papua New Guinea. Parasit Vectors 10:95
Reimer, Lisa J; Thomsen, Edward K; Koimbu, Gussy et al. (2016) Malaria transmission dynamics surrounding the first nationwide long-lasting insecticidal net distribution in Papua New Guinea. Malar J 15:25
Logue, Kyle; Keven, John Bosco; Cannon, Matthew V et al. (2016) Unbiased Characterization of Anopheles Mosquito Blood Meals by Targeted High-Throughput Sequencing. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 10:e0004512
Barnadas, Céline; Timinao, Lincoln; Javati, Sarah et al. (2015) Significant geographical differences in prevalence of mutations associated with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax drug resistance in two regions from Papua New Guinea. Malar J 14:399
Logue, Kyle; Small, Scott T; Chan, Ernest R et al. (2015) Whole-genome sequencing reveals absence of recent gene flow and separate demographic histories for Anopheles punctulatus mosquitoes in Papua New Guinea. Mol Ecol 24:1263-74
Mehlotra, Rajeev K; Hall, Noemi B; Bruse, Shannon E et al. (2015) CCR2, CCR5, and CXCL12 variation and HIV/AIDS in Papua New Guinea. Infect Genet Evol 36:165-173

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