According to an official press release yesterday, the University of Maryland Schools of Dentistry and Medicine have just been awarded a $10.7 million grant over the next half-decade to examine sexually-transmitted diseases. The grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health will enable a research team to focus on the causes, prevention and even the treatment of various sexually-transmitted diseases.
In the long run, university researchers hope to come up with techniques to lower the occurrence of sexually-transmitted diseases and infections across the globe. Their two top targets are chlamydia and gonorrhea. Online sources indicate there are 2.8 million cases of chlamydia and 820,000 cases of gonorrhea annually.
A professor and chair of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis at the school of dentistry, Patrik Bavoil, told the press that those involved in the study think it will uncover new, important information concerning the workings of sexually-transmitted diseases and infections as they arise in both human beings and the single-cell organisms that generate gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
Jacques Ravel, professor of microbiology and immunology and associate director for genomics at the Institute for Genome Sciences in Maryland’s medical school, stated: “This grant is particularly significant because it is the first time that a comprehensive systems biology, or ‘multi-omics,’ approach will be utilized to conduct STD research with the ultimate goal of developing knowledge to prognose, diagnose, prevent and treat sexually transmitted infection and disease.”
While the university research team will also work on several projects with other scientists from several universities including Johns Hopkins, for now they are focusing on sexually transmitted diseases.
Ravel, who is also the co-principal researcher on the study concluded: “By looking at how human genetics and the microbiome affect and influence infections in humans, we can gain a much better understanding of how to protect against these types of infection, which is critical for improving public health.”
University Scores 10.7M For Sex Study