Battling neglected diseases

photo of two people in a lab

CTEGD teaser.jpgGreat overview of the work by Franklin College faculty in the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases, where multi-track efforts are yielding gains against some of the world's worst scourges:

Founded 20 years ago by Regents Professor of Cellular Biology Rick Tarleton, CTEGD consolidates UGA’s extensive, campus-wide tropical disease knowledge and drug discovery expertise into an interdisciplinary research unit that focuses on finding solutions for parasitic diseases. The center has garnered more than $135 million in research funding, and its 25 faculty, spanning eight departments across four colleges and schools, focus on more than a dozen diseases commonly associated with poverty.

Parasite-caused illnesses ravage developing nations across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, especially in areas already afflicted by inadequate housing, poor sanitation and unsafe water supplies, and stagnant or failing economies. In addition to a significant death toll, neglected disease means billions of dollars in lost productivity—the kind of economic hit that can upheave governments.

“These diseases cause poverty. Poverty breeds unrest. Unrest breeds political difficulties,” says Daniel Colley, professor of microbiology and the center’s former director. “If you can provide people with good health, you can take away a tremendous amount of angst in people’s lives.”

Research led by Kojo Mensa-Wilmot, head of the department of Cellular Biology, infectious disease expert and cellular biologist Dennis Kyle, and Distinguished Research Professor of Genetics Jessica Kissinger are featured here as well, highlighting the work of some of the best scientists in the world housed here at UGA, just as Tarleton and others originally envisioned. It's an extraordinary commitment from university administrators and the state of Georgia that reaches beyond a present moment and into a future of vaccines, healthy children and productive lives. It's a passion for knowledge and discovery that is making a difference at UGA and around the world.

Image: Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases Director Dennis Kyle's lab currently focuses on malaria, one of the world's most prolific parasitic diseases, and the diseases caused by free-living amoebae. (Photo by Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)