UCI Infectious Disease Science Initiative Newsletter – Summer 2021

Dear colleagues,

We would like to thank you for your support of the UCI Infectious Disease Science Initiative (IDSI) throughout the year. Please see below highlights from the past few months from IDSI and affiliated faculty. Wishing you a great summer.

Regards,

Sanghyuk Shin
Director, Infectious Disease Science Initiative

2021 Seed Grants Awarded to Fuel Promising New Infectious Disease Research

Zeba Wunderlich and Jennifer Prescher

Zeba Wunderlich, Department of Developmental and Cell Biology and Jennifer Prescher, Department of Chemistry

Using Real-time, Non-invasive Measurements of Infection Dynamics to Uncover Drivers of Survival

Individuals vary greatly in their innate response to infection. The research aims to optimize a set of bioluminescence imaging (BLI) tools for real-time monitoring of microbial load and host responses in hundreds of individual animals using the Drosophila model system thus enabling a more thorough dissection of the factors that drive infection response and outcome.

Read more about their research
https://infectiousdiseaseinitiative.uci.edu/research/

Elizabeth Hemming-Schroeder

Elizabeth Hemming-Schroeder, Program in Public Health

Spatio-temporal Malaria Transmission Hotspots and Epidemiological Patterns

Elizabeth Hemming-Schroeder, Program in Public Health with Co-Investigators: Veronica Berrocal, Department of Statistics and Brook Jeang, Program in Public Health

This study addresses the pressing need for enhanced understanding of heterogeneities and complex malaria transmission dynamics in settings of declining malaria transmission via field-collected parasite samples, high-throughput DNA sequencing, population genetic analysis, remotely-sensed and gridded data to develop hotspots of malaria transmission and parasite sources in Ethiopia. These data and forecasts will be shared with the Ethiopia Ministry of Health to inform programmatic decision-making.

Read more about their research
https://infectiousdiseaseinitiative.uci.edu/research/

Recent Publications

Guiyun Yan

Guiyun Yan, IDSI Co-Director, Department of Public Health

The Impact of Large and Small Dams on Malaria Transmission in Four Basins in Africa

Solomon Kibret Birhanie, last year’s awardee of the Infectious Disease Science Initiative seed grant, and Guiyun Yan, IDSI Co-Director, Department of Public Health

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of both small and large dams on malaria in four river basins in sub-Saharan Africa (i.e., the Limpopo, Omo-Turkana, Volta and Zambezi river basins). Small and large dams represent hotspots of malaria transmission and, as such, should be a critical focus of future disease control efforts.

Read the Article on Pubmed
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34172779/

Shruti Gohil

Shruti Gohil, IDSI Co-Director, School of Medicine

Asymptomatic and Symptomatic COVID-19 Infections Among Health Care Personnel Before and After Vaccination

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines provide 95% protection from symptomatic disease to date, but concern exists over asymptomatic infection and transmission risks in vaccinated individuals. Health care personnel (HCP) may be routinely tested, enabling assessment of vaccine impact on asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. The study evaluated COVID-19 rates before and after HCP vaccination in Orange County, California, the sixth largest U.S. county and one of the hardest hit by COVID-19 during the winter surge from 2020-21.

Read the Article on JAMA
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2781727

Sanghyuk Shin

Sanghyuk Shin, IDSI Co-Director, School of Nursing

Engaging the Community in Designing a Hepatitis C Virus Treatment Program for Adults Experiencing Homelessness

Despite the availability of cure for hepatitis C virus (HCV), people experiencing homelessness (PEH) are challenged with initiating and completing HCV treatment. The design of culturally sensitive HCV treatment programs is lacking. The objective was to employ community-based participatory research methods to understand perceptions of HCV-positive PEH, and providers, on the design and delivery of a culturally sensitive, nurse-led community health worker (RN/CHW) HCV initiation and completion program.

Read the Article on Pubmed
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34189974/

Vladimir Minin

Vladimir Minin, IDSI Co-Director, Department of Statistics

COVID-19 Trends by UCI

Two Websites Help Display Numbers of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Orange County and all of California

https://www.stat.uci.edu/covid19/index.html

https://www.stat.uci.edu/oc_covid_model/

Towards a Holistic Understanding of the Pandemic


Towards a Holistic Understanding of the Pandemic: Advances in COVID-19 Research at the UC Irvine Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing Event Recap

The Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing recently hosted a COVID-19 research symposium to highlight the diverse efforts of UCI faculty during the pandemic.

This virtual event was recorded and can be viewed at: https://nursing.uci.edu/2021/06/advances-covid-19-nursing-research/