CANDIDATE: Dr. Leon has completed his first year as a junior faculty at the Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University. He plans a successful career as an independent translational investigator in the multidisciplinary fields of immunology, epidemiology and statistical modeling. His long-term research goal is to identify effective interventions to optimize a population's natural and vaccine-acquired immunity to diarrhea-inducing enteric viruses like rotavirus (RV) and norovirus (NoV) and thereby protect children from diarrhea. ENVIRONMENT: Drs. Reynaldo Martorell and Usha Ramakrishnan, two established, NIH-funded leaders in global nutritional epidemiology will mentor Dr. Leon. BACKGROUND: Newly introduced RV vaccines could have a significant impact on preventing childhood diarrhea, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. We postulate that child nutrition, with other susceptibility (e.g. maternal influences like breastfeeding) and exposure (e.g. socio-demographic) factors, directly modulate immune-competence, including RV vaccine-acquired immune-competence. Adequate immune-competence, in turn, protects a child from diarrhea. This five-year mentored K01 research proposal will test this model through epidemiologic and statistical modeling approaches to quantify the combined effects of nutrition, immune-competence, and RV vaccination on pediatric diarrhea.
SPECIFIC AIMS : 1) To understand how immune-competence and nutrition influence pediatric diarrhea. 2) To identify the mechanisms through which nutrition affects immunecompetence. 3) To quantify the influence of severe malnutrition and immune-competence on RV infection and diarrhea after RV vaccination. TRAINING: Dr. Leon will complement his strong laboratory immunology background with mentored training in epidemiologic and statistical modeling. He will be trained, in Aim 1-2, at Emory University, through coursework and by studying clinical specimens and data from an ongoing cohort study, at the Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Mexico, of over 800 Mexican mothers-infant pairs. He will also acquire mentored field experience in the design and execution of prospective cohort studies. He will be trained, in Aim 3, at the Rotavirus Surveillance Vaccine Program in Bolivia, by recruiting and collecting data and specimens from over 200 infants for one year after RV vaccination.

Public Health Relevance

Models to test the combined effect of these fixed and modifiable risk factors could provide much needed and timely scientific evidence for pediatric diarrhea interventions and global rotavirus vaccination policy. Our goal, in this five-year mentored K01 proposal, is to use advanced epidemiologic and statistical modeling approaches to quantify the combined effects of nutrition, immune-competence, and the rotavirus vaccine on pediatric diarrhea. The useful predictive models of the effect of nutrition, host susceptibility and exposure, immune-competence, and rotavirus vaccine on pediatric diarrhea would inform public health pediatric diarrhea interventions and global rotavirus vaccination policy.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
5K01AI087724-05
Application #
8700312
Study Section
Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Research Committee (MID)
Program Officer
Cassels, Frederick J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
5
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Emory University
Department
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Type
Schools of Public Health
DUNS #
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30322
Burke, Rachel M; Suchdev, Parminder S; Rebolledo, Paulina A et al. (2016) Predictors of Inflammation in a Cohort of Bolivian Infants and Toddlers. Am J Trop Med Hyg 95:954-963
Newman, K L; Moe, C L; Kirby, A E et al. (2016) Norovirus in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals: cytokines and viral shedding. Clin Exp Immunol 184:347-57
Leon, Juan S; Winskell, Kate; McFarland, Deborah A et al. (2015) A case-based, problem-based learning approach to prepare master of public health candidates for the complexities of global health. Am J Public Health 105 Suppl 1:S92-6
Griffin, Shannon M; Converse, Reagan R; Leon, Juan S et al. (2015) Application of salivary antibody immunoassays for the detection of incident infections with Norwalk virus in a group of volunteers. J Immunol Methods 424:53-63
Newman, K L; Moe, C L; Kirby, A E et al. (2015) Human norovirus infection and the acute serum cytokine response. Clin Exp Immunol 182:195-203
Devasia, T; Lopman, B; Leon, J et al. (2015) Association of host, agent and environment characteristics and the duration of incubation and symptomatic periods of norovirus gastroenteritis. Epidemiol Infect 143:2308-14
Newman, K L; Leon, J S; Rebolledo, P A et al. (2015) The impact of socioeconomic status on foodborne illness in high-income countries: a systematic review. Epidemiol Infect 143:2473-85
Leon, Juan S; Winskell, Kate; McFarland, Deborah A et al. (2015) Leon et al. Respond. Am J Public Health 105:e1-2
Newman, Kira L; Leon, Juan S; Newman, Lee S (2015) Estimating Occupational Illness, Injury, and Mortality in Food Production in the United States: A Farm-to-Table Analysis. J Occup Environ Med 57:718-25
Osetinsky, Brianna; Gaydos, Laura M; Leon, Juan S (2015) Predictors of completed childhood vaccination in Bolivia. Int J Child Adolesc health 8:413-423

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