Tag Archives: JIDC

Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Perspectives in JIDC: Immune Status, The Elderly and Pandemics. by Stephen Huang

On 31 March 31 2013, the Chinese National Health and Family Planning Commission officially announced the emergence of novel avian influenza A(H7N9) virus infection in humans.  This virus has now caused disease in 108 people (as of 23 April 23), including severe cases and mortality.  Although the virus has not been shown to transmit from human-to-human, avian influenza A(H7N9) virus poses a pandemic threat in the human population due to the lack of pre-existing immunity and its high fatality rate, should human-to-human transmission occur.

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Figure 2 from Guan et al., 2013: Typical wet market in China showing staked cages of chickens, ducks and pigeons

In this issue of JIDC, Yi and colleagues of the International Institute of Infection and Immunity, Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, Guangdong, China, published a manuscript reporting a possible route via the mixed poultry-mammals  environment in the Chinese live markets as the source of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus human infections.

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Figure 3 from Guan et al., 2013: Typical wet market in China showing close proximity of multiple species including rabbits

Furthermore, based on the predominant number of severe cases in the elderly, the paper also puts forth the elderly population as at high risk for avian influenza A(H7N9) virus H7N9 human disease.

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Figure 5 from Guan et al., 2013: Number of nrH7N9 human cases per age group in
China as of April 15

The manuscript describes the lack of knowledge in designing effective H7N9 vaccines and immune surveillance, as well as lack of understanding in the disease’s pathogenesis, especially in the high-risk group.  This issue requires immediate attention for assessing a possible new pandemic outbreak.  The article can be found under this link: http://www.jidc.org/index.php/journal/article/view/23592638.

Stephen Huang

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Filed under China, Countries, Environmental Issues, Infectious Disease, Influenza, Outbreaks

Introducing DR. Ana Carolina Ritter, PhD! Moving from PhD student to Post Doctoral Fellow

So you can’t wait to finish your PhD.  The years have been slowly slugging by.  It seems you have been at it for eternity…  And then BAM!!! You are done.  It seems it has come all at once.  So what comes next? What comes after the PhD is completed?  And importantly, now that you have finished (which is what you have been waiting for), it may be hard to know how to move on or what to do next.  I HAVE BEEN THERE. And so has Ana Carolina.

Ana last wrote of her interesting PhD research on Salmonella, telling us how she was able to study and conduct her lab work in both Italy and in her native Brazil.  Now Ana updates us with her exciting news that she has received her PhD.  She also shares how she navigated the difficult road from PhD to landing a postdoctoral fellowship in Bologna, Italy.

Good Luck Ana!

Alyson

Italy, I’m coming!

Hello! Good news, I’m going back to Italy … To do the postdoctoral research, this time in Bologna!

In my last blog post, I wrote a little bit about my experience completing part of my PhD at the University of Sassari… Since then, I have completed my PhD and the desire to return to Italy increased!

AnaPhD Talk

Ana’s PhD Seminar in Brazil

Therefore, while completing my doctorate, I sought out a group conducting strong research in food microbiology in Italy to do my postdoctoral research. After searching through PubMed, I found some papers published by the group led by Professor Maria Elisabetta Guerzoni.  I was very interested in the research they perform at the University of Bologna, more precisely in the Distal.  I contacted Professor Guerzoni and we were extremely well matched.

Upon receipt of her acceptance, I applied for a scholarship from a Brazilian funding agency for research, called “National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development” (CNPq)1.  I outlined a project where I proposed working with new technology for disinfection of food, called Gas plasma2.  In late September I received a positive response from the Brazilian government, and will embark for Bologna in January 2013! Very cool huh?

Currently, it is exciting times for research in Brazil as the government is supporting researchers in bringing new technologies to Brazil by funding global travel for scientific education.  This initiative supports the development of competent professionals, through the granting of many scholarships to enable researchers to study in top universities worldwide.

I’m very excited as I am going through a new experience both in my personal life and academic life. And I hope that this partnership with the University of Bologna allows me to publish work as was the case happened with the University of Sassari3… And of course, I’ll be closer the Central Office of JIDC and old friends.

See you!

1: http://www.cienciasemfronteiras.gov.br/web/csf-eng/

2: Ragni, A., Berardinelli,A.,, Vannini, L., Montanari, C, Sirri, F., Guerzoni, M.B., Guarnieri, A. Non-thermal atmospheric gas plasma device for surface decontamination of shell eggs. Journal of Food Engineering 100 (2010) 125–132.

3: Ritter, A. C., Bacciu, D., Santi, L., Silva, W.O.B, Vainstein, M. H., Rubino, S., Uzzau, S., Tondo,E.C. Investigation of rpoS and dps genes in Sodium Hypochlorite Resistance of Salmonella Enteritidis SE86 Isolated from Foodborne Illness Outbreaks in Southern Brazil. Journal of Food Protection. Journal of Food Protection. , v.75, p.437 – 442, 2012.

AnaPhDParty

Ana’s PhD Graduation Celebration

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Filed under Brazil, Countries, Infectious Disease, Postcards, Salmonella

Bet you can’t guess my Halloween Costume

Well, I realized I was developing  quite a reputation for myself when a friend emailed me a couple of days ago.  Her email read something to this effect:

“Alyson, I have the perfect Halloween costume for you….You could be an Immuno-GOBLIN!”

Haha…yes I loooved this idea, Antibodies on a Monster!  So, I decided, yes, I do need a Science Halloween Costume this year.  I was a MAD SCIENTIST for Halloween when I was 11, and it’s time to bust out the Science for Halloween again.

So guess what I am…

If you said a CD4+ T cell you’d be wrong.

There are 4 more CDs on the back…I am a CD8+ T cell.

Anybody else got a good one for Halloween this year?

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Mummies, Bones and Ancient Pathogens — The Official Conference Poster

Below is the Official Poster for the Ancient Pathogens Conference in Sardinia, Italy.  More posts on the conference are to come including the full conference program.

And until then, here is a link to a past post on pathogens — My search for the Contagion Sign in Toronto.

http://blog.jidc.org/2011/09/16/some-friday-science-fun-contagion/

PDF of the Poster for Download:  AncientPathogensConference_SardiniaItaly

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Filed under Conferences, Countries, Events, Infectious Disease, JIDC News, News, Tuberculosis, Uncategorized, Yersinia pestis

A Plague of Bones: Conference!

Without a doubt, my favourite research project I have ever been a part of is the ancient Pathogens project. This was my research focus during my Visiting Professorship at the University of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy in 2010. This was my Indian Jones moment, except the treasure was not rare artifacts but the discovery of ancient pathogens.

In Sardinia there is an abundance of ancient and medieval mass graves (see burial map).  Although these mass graves data back more than 3,000 years, the reason for the mass grave construction still remains a mystery.  Thereby a fascinating scientific problem exists:  What did these people buried together die from?

Archeology of Sardinia

We hypothesized that by sequencing the nonhuman DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of the victims in the mass graves, we could identify a pathogen that may have infected these people and caused their death.   Our list of pathogenic suspects that may have caused death included Yersinia pestis, Salmonella enterica, Bacillos anthracis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  This mode of attack, sequencing ancient DNA to determine cause of death, is not new and previous examples include identification of Salmonella enterica enterica serovar Thypi as the causative agent of the ancient plague of Athens in 430 BC [1] and Yersinia pestis as the agent of the Black Plague [2–4] although the later has been disputed [5].   Importantly, mass graves are commonly devised during a disease outbreak to limit the spread of disease, as in Europe during the Black Plague.  Therefore, we speculated that the people buried together in the mass graves of Sardinia died of the same cause, a disease epidemic.  By identifying and studying the causative agent of ancient plagues, we hope to learn about the evolving nature of human and animal modern pathogens so that we can model current and future epidemics.

Since I left Sardinia and my little project, the ancient Pathogen Project has grown enormously.  And that brings us to the announcement of the Ancient Pathogens meeting hosted by Professor Salvatore Rubino in Sardinia, Italy, in September.  The conference is sponsered by JIDC, University Health Network, Shantou University Medical School, Immune Diagnostics and Research, Comune Di Stintino, University of Sassari. This is an exciting opportunity!

Mass grave excavation in Alghero, Sardinia

Titled Mummies, Bones, and Ancient Pathogens, the conference will take place 7-8 September 2012, in Stintino, Sardinia, Italy, at the STINTINO Palazzo Comunale. Over the course of the two days, four sessions on “Archaic and Modern Genomes”, “Evolutionary Medicine, Ancient Pathogens and Pathologies”, “Ancient Pathogens”, and “Bioarchaeology of Sardinia and Sicily” will be held. Several of Europe’s foremost researchers in the fields of Archaeology, Bioarchaeology, the History of Medicine, and Ancient Pathogens are featured speakers, including Prof. Carsten Pusch of the Institute of Human GeneticsUniversity of Tübingen, Germany;  Prof. Bernardino Fantini University of Geneva, Switzerland; Prof. Marco Milanese, University of Sassari; Susanna Sawyer University of Tübingen, Germany; Prof. Raffaella Bianucci University of Turin; Prof. Paolo Francalacci University of Sassari; Prof. Marco Rendeli, University of Sassari; Elisabetta Garau, Unversity of Sassari; Rossella Filigheddu, University of Sassari; and Dr. Alberto Leo Shantou University to name a few. Just to tantalize you, here are some titles of the exciting presentations:

“Archaic Genomes: A Story Written in Neanderthal and Denisova DNA”

“Placing the sequence of “Ötzi the Iceman” in the high resolution Y chromosome phlylogeny by whole genome sequencing”

“Cancer and Infectious Diseases: the Challenge of Soft Tissue Paleopathology”

“Vector-Borne Diseases in Ancient Human Remains”

“The Sicily Mummy Project”

“First Insights into the Metagenome of Ancient Egyptian Mummies Using Next Generation Sequencing”

“Sequencing DNA from Ancient Seeds with Medicinal Properties”

For more information including registration, please visit the conference website http://www.mummiesbonesandancientpathogens.org/  or email Prof. Salvatore Rubino at rubino(at)uniss(dot)it

Reference List

    1.    Papagrigorakis MJ, Yapijakis C, Synodinos PN, Baziotopoulou-Valavani E (2006) DNA examination of ancient dental pulp incriminates typhoid fever as a probable cause of the Plague of Athens. Int J Infect Dis 10: 206-214. S1201-9712(05)00178-5 [pii];10.1016/j.ijid.2005.09.001 [doi].

2.    Raoult D, Aboudharam G, Crubezy E, Larrouy G, Ludes B, Drancourt M (2000) Molecular identification by “suicide PCR” of Yersinia pestis as the agent of medieval black death. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 97: 12800-12803. 10.1073/pnas.220225197 [doi];220225197 [pii].

3.    Drancourt M, Aboudharam G, Signoli M, Dutour O, Raoult D (1998) Detection of 400-year-old Yersinia pestis DNA in human dental pulp: an approach to the diagnosis of ancient septicemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95: 12637-12640.

4.    Drancourt M, Raoult D (2004) Molecular detection of Yersinia pestis in dental pulp. Microbiology 150: 263-264.

5.    Gilbert MT, Cuccui J, White W, Lynnerup N, Titball RW, Cooper A, Prentice MB (2004) Absence of Yersinia pestis-specific DNA in human teeth from five European excavations of putative plague victims. Microbiology 150: 341-354.

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Filed under Countries, Events, Infectious Disease, JIDC News, News, Salmonella, Tuberculosis, Yersinia pestis

Impact Factors and Drinks…A Toast to You!

It has arrived!  The Journal Citation Report (JCR) of Journal Impact Factors from Thomson Reuters is now here.  Taking 2 years to calculate, we are incredibly pleased, humbled and grateful for our first received impact factor of 1.19 … 1.19 has any other number looked so good?

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate than with a toast!  This accomplishment could not have been reached without the efforts of everyone.  So I ask you to raise a glass with me, your choice, Champagne, Coca Cola, milk, water…I’ll take a little Prosecco:

“Congratulations JIDC, Editors, Authors, Reviewers and Supporters, I cannot think of a community I would rather be part of or would be more proud to be in.  Since the birth of JIDC in 2007, together we have grown at an incredible rate.  The accomplishments as well as the growing pains have led to the development of an internationally recognized journal, which can only be described as a People’s Journal.  JIDC is truly a journal for every scientist, medic, health-care worker and also for every science enthusiast.  Every step JIDC takes forward is a testament to the how the passions of the individual collectively can move mountains, as indeed science is our passion.  The common thread running through the JIDC community is passion for the development of science and health care.  This passion is irrespective of country, institution, and research focus.  I understand you and you understand me as we seek answers to our Research Questions.  So with an impact factor of 1.19, we raise our glasses …  Cheers to you and your accomplishment! May there be many more to come!  Cheers to JIDC!”

Alyson

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Welcome JIDC Brazil Regional Office!

JIDC opens Brazil Regional Office!

It is with great joy that we announce the opening of the JIDC Regional Office in Brazil!

When I was in Sardinia doing a part of my PhD project (My JIDC Post), I had the opportunity to participate in a JIDC meeting that took place in Stintino. It was fascinating, because I could see firsthand how a scientific journal operates and also how much work is behind these publications.
When I returned to Brazil, I thought several times about proposing to Professor Salvatore Rubino the establishment of a JIDC regional office in Porto Alegre. Publishing is very important for our country as well as other countries that are aiming to establish themselves. Also, when I looked through the JIDC archives, I noticed that there were few publications focusing on research conducted in Latin America by Latin American scientists.

In July 2011, I had the opportunity to return to Sardinia (this time for a wonderful vacation) and reconnected with old friends Marco Scano and Giustina Casu as well as meet new friends in Sassari. When I learned that they were going to Argentina for a holiday, I suggested they to come visit me in Porto Alegre to take advantage of a conference at the University where I am taking PhD (UFRGS) to speak a little of JIDC. We spent five wonderful days during which Marco talked to the students and teachers in my graduate program about the submission of papers and also the published JIDC items online. On this visit, we started talking a little more seriously about the creation of a JIDC regional office in Porto Alegre.

And here we are! Announcing the arrival of the Regional Office! Wonderful, is not it? The JIDC Brazil Regional office is strategically settled in the Food Microbiology and Food Control Laboratory, located in the Food Science and Technology Institute of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (ICTA/UFRGS). This Institute was the first specialized food institute of Brazil, founded in 1958.

ICTA/UFRGS offers diverse undergraduate courses in areas such as food engineering, nutrition, pharmacy, chemical engineering, chemistry, and biomedicine in addition to several graduate courses related to food science and food technology working toward Masters and PhD degrees s in Food Science and Technology. The faculty has strongly collaborated with the post-graduation programme in agricultural and environmental microbiology.
The Food Microbiology and Food Control Laboratory of ICTA/UFRGS has several research projects, mostly linked to the investigation of food pathogens and food safety. The projects focus on solving food industry, food services and governmental problems related to food production. The head of this Laboratory is Professor Dr. Eduardo Cesar Tondo, who has been working with Food Microbiology and Food Quality for almost two decades, and is a research collaborator of Prof. Dr. Salvatore Rubino of Università Degli Studi di Sassari.
The main objective of the Brazil Regional office is to promote JIDC awarenessamong scientists, medical doctors, students and the general community of Brazil and neighboring countries, as well as to help all the colleagues of JIDC in scientific activities related to Brazil and Latin America.
We happily acknowledge the visit by Marco and Giustina, cultured and wonderful people, who showed great curiosity to know our country and customs. We are grateful to Marco Scano for his informative seminars which solidified the decision to implement the regional office in Porto Alegre. We especially thank Dr. Salvatore Rubino and the rest of the JIDC team for their confidence in our ability to join them in their endeavours.

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Filed under Brazil, Countries, JIDC News