University or Institution

NC State College of Veterinary Medicine

Area of Research:

The Vector-Borne Disease Epidemiology, Ecology, and Response (VEER) Hub is a multi-disciplinary research collaboration comprised of researchers and public health practitioners at North Carolina State University (NC State) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). The primary goal of the collaboration is to develop and implement evidence-based, surveillance, response, and control strategies to protect people, animals, and livelihoods from the threat posed by vector-borne diseases.

Primary Mentor:

Barbara Qurollo, MS, DVM Associate Research Professor Department of Clinical Sciences-College of Veterinary Medicine Vector-borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory North Carolina State University [email protected]

Mentoring Team:

Ross M. Boyce, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Division of Infectious Diseases University of North Carolina School of Medicine [email protected]

Michael H Reiskind, MPH, PhD Associate Professor Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology North Carolina State University [email protected]ncsu.edu

Natalie Bowman, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases University of North Carolina School of Medicine [email protected]

Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, DACVIM The Melanie S. Steele Distinguished Professorship in Medicine Professor, Internal Medicine Department of Clinical Sciences-College of Veterinary Medicine Vector-borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory North Carolina State University [email protected]

Greg Wilkerson DVM, PhD, DACVP Associate Research Professor                            Intracellular Pathogens Research Lab, Department of Clinical Sciences                              North Carolina State University [email protected]

Description of Potential Research Projects:

The fellow will be part of a multi-institutional, inter-disciplinary team comprised of computational biologists, epidemiologists, entomologists, physicians, molecular biologists, pathologists and veterinarians assembled as part of the Vector-Borne Disease Epidemiology, Ecology, and Response (VEER) Hub in North Carolina. VEER will implement a strong translational research program for advancing our understanding of tick-borne disease (TBD) in NC and the Mid-Atlantic region.

The fellow will be expected to lead an independent research project that applies a “One Health” approach to the challenge of TBD in NC and the Mid-Atlantic. Potential projects, pending the fellow’s interest, include: (1) characterize spotted-fever group Rickettsiae, including novel species, (2) establish sentinel surveillance sites across NC counties of predicted high TBD transmission intensity and vector suitability, (3) conduct an epidemiological study of newly recognized ticks (e.g. Haemaphysalis longicornis) and emerging, zoonotic pathogens (e.g. Heartland virus) that may impact human and animal health, and (4) survey TBD in humans, companion animals and reservoir hosts through participating households, clinics and wildlife processing stations, respectively, in NC. Hosts will be tested for a range of bacterial, protozoal and viral TBDs using serological and molecular identification (PCR, RT-PCR and/or NGS modalities). The fellow may also participate in testing intervention programs to minimize tick-host interactions with the goal of reducing the incidence of endemic (i.e. rickettsioses) and emerging (i.e. Lyme disease) pathogens.

Additional Training Opportunities:

As a fellow at NC State’s CVM, they will have access to seminars, symposia, writing workshops, and teaching opportunities. Specifically, fellows may attend and present at veterinary specialty rounds (at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital), the CVM Research Forum, the Postdoctoral Research Symposium, and the CMI Symposium; participate in grant writing workshops and a monthly K Grant Writing Group through CVM’s Office of Research; teach veterinary and undergraduate students as a guest lecturer, facilitator, or through week-long electives for veterinary students (allows the fellow to design electives and practice teaching methods such as active and problem-based learning or flipping the classroom); mentor students through the VBDDL, mentors’ laboratories or through the CMI Summer Interdisciplinary Research Initiative; and participate in the Teaching and Communications Certificate program, Preparing the Professoriate program and Academy of Educators program. For further career development opportunities, NC State and UNC both offer Professional Development Series’ including the NC State Preparing Future Leaders program and the UNC Center for Faculty Excellence. Working with collaborators, the fellow will participate in seminars and weekly meetings through UNC-CH School of Medicine, Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, and weekly Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and Ecology Laboratory meetings. The fellow will be allowed to shadow physicians in the Infectious Diseases Clinic and observe TBD management in human medicine. VEER will support travel to a professional conference each year, first authorship of manuscripts and grant writing opportunities for federal and state funding of projects.

 

Fellowships are for 2 years and provide stipend and employee benefits at the NIH post-doctoral pay scale, plus a total of $2500 for travel. Fellows must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Fellows may supplement their stipend with up to 25% effort towards clinical work, if such work is in alignment with the research and career development plan and can be financed separately by the training institution.

This cohort of fellows will have a start date of fall 2023.

Contact Information for Interested Potential Trainees:

Barbara Qurollo, MS, DVM Associate Research Professor Department of Clinical Sciences-College of Veterinary Medicine Vector-borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory North Carolina State University [email protected]