This subproject is one of many research subprojects utilizing the resources provided by a Center grant funded by NIH/NCRR. Primary support for the subproject and the subproject's principal investigator may have been provided by other sources, including other NIH sources. The Total Cost listed for the subproject likely represents the estimated amount of Center infrastructure utilized by the subproject, not direct funding provided by the NCRR grant to the subproject or subproject staff. Birds are a key transmission vector and host to human infectious diseases and are susceptible to environmental contaminants, drought, and other environmental stressors that can disrupt normal physiological functions without causing avian disease. These factors make avian populations excellent sentinel systems for monitoring potential threats to human health and resources from the predicted 30 new zoonotic diseases in the next few decades. A prime example is the current use of captive sentinel chickens to monitor the emergence of West Nile Virus (WNV). However, a major drawback to the use of birds as sentinels has been the lack of a strong science-based approach that would allow the detection of disease before it has progressed into the human population. The main objective of this proposal is to build a scientific foundation for developing an advanced state-of the-art sentinel biosurveillance system based on detection of early biomarkers of health in avian populations that are relevant to agents in the environment that also threaten human health and welfare. This project builds upon unique resources at Los Alamos including an established Avian Nestbox Network currently used as part of an ongoing mission in environmental monitoring and risk reduction;combined with the National Flow Cytometry Resource, and the new Biosafety Level-3 facility. The approach will be to develop a panel of new technologies for sampling and measuring functional immune response, DNA damage, and pathogen and parasite loads in birds. An expert team of avian ecologists, molecular microbiologists, and technologists has been assembled. The major product will be an innovative, sensitive, and accurate panel of biomarkers for measuring responses in the field. The biomarker panel will enable an entirely new capability with potential far-reaching impact on our nation's ability to detect and forecast emerging threats to human health, agriculture, and wildlife.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Biotechnology Resource Grants (P41)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CB-K (40))
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Los Alamos National Lab
Los Alamos
United States
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