Severson receives NIH international research collaboration grant

Marissa RunkleDate: May 05, 2009

David Severson

The University of Notre Dame has received a three-year Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award (FIRCA) grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund an international research collaboration to investigate the transmission of dengue fever.

David Severson, professor of biological sciences and director of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health, will lead the study with the University of Pune in India. The research, which will primarily be conducted in India, will focus on the midgut bacteria in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The proposed research will provide new information regarding the influence of midgut bacteria on the biology of the mosquito, including the ability to support and transmit the dengue virus to humans. With no existing vaccine to counter it, dengue is a threat to 2.5 billion people, with estimates of 50 million cases of dengue fever each year.

The FIRCA grant provides $40,000 annually over three years to support the work of Severson and his collaborators in India. The grant will serve as seed funding to start research collaborations which are expected to lead to long-standing partnerships that generate future grants with larger funding. The University’s award was one of only five grants which were given jointly to universities and an overseas collaborators in low- and middle-income countries. The FIRCA program is intended to benefit the research interests of both U.S and foreign collaborators while increasing research capacity at the foreign site.

Severson is optimistic about the new opportunities that the award will create for Notre Dame to expand research partnerships in India.

“Collaboration has always been an essential component of effective global heath research,” said Roger Glass, director of the Fogarty International Center. “These newest FIRCA awards continue this trend, providing an enormous opportunity for the international exchange of methods, information and perspectives, as well as creating career opportunities for scientists in their home countries.”

Contact: David Severson, director of the Eck Institute for Global Health, 574-631-3826,