MTU One of Four State Universities to Receive $18.5M in Federal Funding to Expand Infectious Disease Research

Michigan Tech will obtain $four.3 million to help the state of Michigan grow sequencing
for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

The Michigan Section of Well being and Human Providers (MDHHS) declared nowadays that four Michigan universities will obtain $eighteen.5 million in federal money above
the upcoming two years to collect and assess genomic knowledge to deal with rising infectious
sickness threats and improve the state’s ability to respond to those people threats.

Michigan Technological University, Michigan Point out University, the University of Michigan
and Wayne Point out University will use the funding to increase sequencing capability in
the state — commencing with SARS-CoV-2 and then expanding to other infectious sickness
threats with potential for wide community spread.

Funding for the Michigan Sequencing Educational Partnership for Public Well being Innovation
and Response (MI-SAPPHIRE) is via a Centers for Disorder Manage and Avoidance
(CDC) Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity grant MDHHS gained. MI-SAPPHIRE pursuits
will incorporate sequence era and investigation, this kind of as sample collection and sequencing
knowledge processing, storage and sharing and knowledge interpretation and analytics.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relevance and have to have for genomic sequencing, surveillance and epidemiology capability the two globally and appropriate here in Michigan,”
reported Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories has swiftly
expanded its efforts to establish COVID-19 variants due to the fact the commence of the pandemic
to assistance general public wellness steps. MI-SAPPHIRE will permit our state to grow sequencing
and investigation capability and the number of pathogens that endure routine sequencing,
and ensure we are sampling assorted geographic spots throughout the state.”

“Michigan Tech carries on to be a leader in the Upper Peninsula for furnishing community
means all through the COVID-19 pandemic,” reported Caryn Heldt, the James and Lorna Mack Endowed Chair of Cellular and Molecular Engineering at
Tech and the director of the University’s Well being Research Institute. “For 20 months, the University delivered community and campus screening for the virus.
Now, with the assistance from the state and federal govt, we will acquire the infrastructure
to give sequencing capability for the state wellness agencies.

“While we will commence with SARS-CoV-2 sequencing, the capability we are developing will
then be employed to sequence other pathogens, ranging from drug-resistant gonorrhea to
zoonotic diseases, like avian influenza,” Heldt reported. “Collectively, Michigan Tech
has expertise in genomic sequencing, zoonotic diseases and the computational infrastructure
needed to retailer, catalog and appraise huge genomic datasets. Merge this expertise
with the relationships we have with neighborhood companies and the Western Upper Peninsula
Well being Section, and we are psyched to help the state scale their capability and carry on
to assistance our community in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic and in addressing upcoming
wellness threats.”

Michigan Tech’s investigate team incorporates Heldt, her co-principal investigators Dukka KC and Hairong Wei, and senior scientists Kristin Brzeski, Man Hembroff, Kelly Kamm, Stephen Techtmann and Kui Zhang.

Michigan Technological University is a general public investigate college started in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to extra than 7,000 college students from fifty five nations around the world all around the globe. Persistently ranked among the finest universities in the place for return on investment decision, the University provides extra than one hundred twenty five undergraduate and graduate diploma packages in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, organization and economics, wellness professions, humanities, arithmetic, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Remarkable in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, featuring year-spherical alternatives for out of doors journey.

Maria J. Danford

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