McDowell and Collins present translational research at NIH tropical disease workshop

Department of Biological Sciences faculty Mary Ann McDowell and Frank Collins recently represented Notre Dame at a National Institutes of Health workshop, "Neglected Tropical Diseases [NTDs]: Defining Opportunities to Accelerate Translational Research." McDowell and Collins presented at the session "Surveillance, Diagnostics and Genomics: Applications to development of interventions"; Collins gave the overview, while McDowell discussed vector research and genomics.

The workshop centered on translational research, a multidisciplinary approach to biological study in which researchers, rather than categorizing their projects either as the study of a field’s fundamental principles or the application of principles already discovered, instead incorporate fundamental advances directly into clinical trials and other practical work. In light of this, the attendees discussed the state of the science in NTD research, the gaps and opportunities in the field at present, and potential new roles and collaborations for public- and private-sector entities.

Both McDowell and Collins are members of the Eck Institute for Global Health. McDowell's laboratory studies the immunobiology of infectious diseases, while Collins' performs malaria vector research and genome-level studies of arthropod vectors of human pathogens.

Notre Dame alumni and former faculty in attendance at the workshop included Adriana Costero, NIAID Vector Biology program officer; Captain Philip Coyne, Jr., of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the United States Public Health Service; Tim Geary, director of the McGill Institute of Parasitology; Thomas Quinn, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Global Health; and Marcelo Ramalho-Ortigao of Kansas State University.