Host and Microbial Genetic Determinants of febrile illness in West Africa

Principal Investigator:

Lay Description:

Febrile illnesses are among the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in tropical developing countries.  While clinical diagnostics are not currently available for many of the microbes causing fevers of unknown origin (FUO), genomic tools can enable researchers to test for a wide array of known microbes on-site. In this project we are bringing together a team of researchers from Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra-Leone and the USA (Harvard University, the Broad Institute and Tulane University) who have worked together for a long time to study and understand the pathogens that cause fevers in many rural places of Africa.  In order to achieve this great goal, we will use new sequencing technologies and microbial metagenomics not only to discover new microbes, but also to develop and deploy new tools for field diagnosis of new and known microorganisms.  In addition this project will enable us expand our understanding of how these microbes cause fever in patients. By implementing field deployable tools for genetic markers of microbial infection, we will create a foundation for African scientists to pursue tractable and important research projects in their countries. Our research team has a long-term track record in bringing genomic tools to research on devastating infectious diseases, and in training and capacity building in Africa.  We have designed our project in order to have the largest impact in terms of sustainability and scalability.