Wake Forest University Receives Fogarty Grant to Support International Collaboration

May 8, 2009

WakeForestUniversity and the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés in La Paz, Bolivia are one of four pairs of recipients of a Fogarty International Research Collaboration Award (FIRCA) grant that will fund their international research collaboration.

The FogartyInternationalCenter, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently announced it will award approximately $537,000 over three years to fund five international research projects. FIRCA grants are given jointly to an NIH-supported investigator and an overseas collaborator in a low- and middle-income country, with the financial support going to the foreign collaborator. The FIRCA program is intended to benefit the research interests of both collaborators while increasing research capacity at the foreign site. The five new grants will support research on a wide range of public health issues including obesity, chronic mountain sickness, dengue fever and central nervous system injuries.

Lorna G. Moore, Ph.D., dean of the GraduateSchool of Arts & Sciences and professor of public health sciences, obstetrics and gynecology and anthropology at WakeForest, is the principal investigator of the Wake Forest-San Andrés project.  She is joined by co-investigator Colleen Julian, Ph.D., at the University of ColoradoDenver and Enrique Vargas, M.D., and Daniela Davila, M.D., from the Bolivian Institute of High-Altitude Biology.

The grant will fund research focused on the perinatal origins of chronic mountain sickness. The sickness is a common but poorly understood disorder that affects up to 10 million people worldwide or nearly 10 percent of the male population over the age of 40 living at altitudes above 8,000 feet, and can result in death from pulmonary hypertension and heart failure. A major public health problem in the highland regions of South America, it has no known remedy except descent to lower altitudes. The proposed studies will seek to determine whether chronic mountain sickness has origins in the period immediately before and after birth, and if so, whether more effective treatments can be designed to cure and ultimately prevent this disorder.

Each project will receive between $33,000 and $41,000 annually over three years. The new grants aim to increase access to emerging research techniques and capabilities, and unique populations and environments. Four of the new grants are going to U.S.-foreign collaborations, while a fifth will go directly to a foreign institution, the University of Chile. The other institutions are: University of California, San Diego and Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; University of Chile, Santiago, Chile and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Instituto Leloir, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind., and University of Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Fogarty, the international component of the NIH, addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships.

Media Relations

Bonnie Davis: bdavis@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-1597

Shannon Koontz: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587