Human monkeypox(MPX) is a smallpox-likedisease primarily reported in the rainforestsof CentralAfrica. Until recently, MPX was considered a rare zoonoticinfection in humans;howeverthe dramatic increase in ?eports of human MPX over the last decade in the DemocraticRepublic of Congo(DRC) and recent outbreaks in the United States, Republic of Congo,and Sudan underscore the importance of understanding tie capacity and geographic rangefor disease emergence.To study the risk factors driving MPXgeographic distribution, prevalence, and risk of future emergence necessitates an interdisciplinary approach. The candidate proposes to undertake three primary career development activities: 1)training in remote sensing and spatial statistics;2) training to understandthe fundamental aspects of specimen processing and analysis, including virus growth, PCR, sequencing of MPX virus specimens;and 3) training in advanced pidemiologic methodsto integrate ecologicand laboratorydata with epidemiologic and clinical data/These training objectives are linked to the following research objectives: 1) to determine if prevalence and geographic distribution of human MPX has increased over time;2) to identify behavioral, demographic and environmental risk factors for human MPX infection;and 3) to understandthe role played by differential transmission and evolution of MPX.The researchcomponent will supplement and leverage a unique collection of biological specimens, existing research infrastructure in DRC, and access to remotely sensed data sets. The proposed research represents the first study in two decades to assessthe prevalence of MPX in an endemic region and to establish if the epidemiology of the virus has changed over time. Together, the career development and research activitiesproposedin this application will advance understanding of the variables that drive emergence of human MPX and support the development of the candidate as a productive independent investigator with the capacity to study fundamental ecologic, epidemiologic and biologic drivers of viral emergence.
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