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Fogarty International Center (FIC)

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Monday, November 3, 2003


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Fogarty International Center Announces Awards for Global Health Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators

Bethesda, Maryland — The Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and six NIH partners* announce eight new grants to support the re-entry of young NIH-trained foreign investigators from the developing world to their home countries. The combined financial commitment from FIC and its NIH partners will be approximately $2.2 million over the five-year duration of the awards.

The Global Health Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators (GRIP) is part of a broader effort by FIC to enhance scientific research capacity and research infrastructure in developing countries while supporting research on critical global health issues, including AIDS, women's health, environmental pollution, cancer, and the growing burden of neurological and mental illness. The GRIP provides support on a competitive basis to assist well-trained young investigators from the developing world to contribute to health care advances of benefit to their home countries and the global community. There are currently 19 GRIP grantees conducting research in laboratories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Central Europe.

"Establishing equal partnerships between U.S. scientists and collaborators abroad is the foundation upon which global health advances are made," said FIC Director Gerald T. Keusch, M.D., on behalf of the NIH partners. "The GRIP is an important part of this process. It ensures that developing countries do not lose the benefits of talented scientists, while at the same time allows U.S. scientists to continue collaborating with well-trained young investigators abroad," he added.

The GRIP provides partial salaries to the junior researcher returning home, equivalent to similar professionals in the home country, and provides support for research projects. Developing country scientists supported by this grant are expected to continue to pursue independent and productive careers, including expert training, consultation and/or research on scientific issues, and teaching within their home institutions.

"This grant allows young investigators to have a level of control over their early careers in ways previously unavailable to them," said FIC Deputy Director Sharon Hrynkow, Ph.D. "The GRIP program enables an increasing number of young scientists to return to their countries and, importantly, to continue the international collaborations begun in the United States. The experience of competing successfully in the NIH system will stand them in good stead as they launch independent careers and puts them on a path for future competitive support," she added.

*FIC's NIH partners are the National Cancer Institute (NCI), The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH).

The recipients of awards under the Global Health Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators are:

Dr. Anna Bebenek, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, will study replicative polymerases in an attempt to better understand the accuracy of DNA replication, a key element in growth and development. When this system goes awry, the results can be developmental abnormalities or cancer. Dr. Bebenek was a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Dr. Ximena L. Burbano, Fundacion Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia for a project involving the impact of delivery models in HIV health care in Bogota. Dr. Burbano was a trainee under the FIC AIDS International Training and Research Program (AITRP) at the University of Miami.

Dr. Saurabh Ghosh of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata (Calcutta), will study statistical methods for mapping multivariate phenotypes in order to learn more about the complex gene-gene and gene-environment interactions. Dr. Ghosh was a trainee under the FIC International Clinical, Operational and Health Services Research and Training Program at Washington University.

Dr. James N. Kiarie, University of Nairobi, Kenya, will work on interventions to reduce HIV-1 incidence in the first year after childbirth using counseling and female-controlled prevention methods. Dr. Kiarie was a trainee under the FIC AITRP Program at the University of Washington.

Dr. Edith Nakku-Joloba, Mulago Hospital, Makerere University, Uganda, to study the seroprevalence and incidence of genital herpes in Uganda including its relationship to other STDs and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Nakku-Joloba was a trainee under the FIC AITRP program at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Sergio Rosenzweig, Fundacion Hospital de Pediatria, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to investigate recycling of the interferon gamma receptor-modulated IFNg responsiveness, the understanding of which may shed light on susceptibility of infections and a further understanding of auto-immune diseases. Dr. Rosenzweig was a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Jose Terron, Cinvestav-IPN, Mexico City, Mexico will study brain serotonin and the angiotensis II system in patients suffering from migraine headaches, a common and often incapacitating illness. Dr. Terron was a postdoctoral researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dr. Rosa M. Wong-Chew, Fundacion Mexicana Para la Salud, Mexico City, Mexico, to evaluate the immune response to the aerosol measles vaccine in children and to study the antibodies subsequently developed. Dr. Wong-Chow trained at Stanford University under the FIC Program, Actions for Building Capacity in support of the NIAID International Collaborations in Infectious Diseases Program (ABC).

FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Press releases, and other FIC-related information are available at http://www.fic.nih.gov.


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