First awards for FIC global health research initiative program for new foreign investigators

December 04, 2002

Bethesda, Maryland -- The Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and nine NIH partners announce 16 new grants to support the re-entry of young NIH-trained foreign investigators from the developing world to their home countries. The combined financial commitment from FIC and its NIH partners is approximately $1 million for the first year of these five-year awards. Total support will be approximately $5 million over five years. These awards were made in September 2002.

The Global Health Research Initiative Program for New Foreign Investigators (GRIP) is part of a broader effort by FIC to enhance scientific research capacity and research infrastructure in developing countries, while supporting research on critical global health issues, including AIDS, women's health, environmental pollution, cancer, and the growing burden of neurological and mental illness. The GRIP provides support on a competitive basis to assist well-trained young investigators from the developing world to contribute to health care advances of benefit to their home countries and the global community.

"Establishing equal partnerships between U.S. scientists and collaborators abroad is the foundation upon which global health advances are made," said FIC Director Gerald T. Keusch, M.D., on behalf of the NIH partners. "The GRIP is an important part of this process. It ensures that developing countries do not lose the benefits of talented scientists, while at the same time allows U.S. scientists to continue collaborating with well-trained young investigators abroad," he added.

The GRIP provides partial salaries to the junior researcher returning home, equivalent to similar professionals in the home country, and provides support for research projects. Developing country scientists supported by this grant are expected to continue to pursue independent and productive careers, including expert training, consultation and/or research on scientific issues, and teaching within their home institutions.

"This grant allows young investigators to have a level of control over their early careers in ways previously unavailable to them, said FIC Deputy Director Sharon Hrynkow, Ph.D. "With the new program, FIC expects to see increases in numbers of young scientists returning to their countries and, importantly, continuing of the international collaborations begun in the United States."

FIC's NIH partners are the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Eye Institute (NEI), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research (OBSSR), the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH).

The recipients of the first International Collaborative Genetics Research Training Program awards are:

  • Dr. Kawango Agot of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, for a project involving widow inheritance and HIV infection in Kenya. Dr. Agot was a trainee under the FIC AIDS International Training and Research Program at the University of Washington;

  • Dr. Maria Araujo, Federal University of Bahia, Brazil, to examine the association between asthma and helminthic infections. Dr. Araujo was a trainee under the FIC International Training and Research Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at Cornell University;

  • Dr. Laura Diaz-Cueto, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social in Mexico, to study the function of acrogranin in ovarian cancer. Dr. Diaz-Cueto was a trainee under the FIC International Training and Research Program in Population and Health at the Center for Research and Reproduction in Women's Health at the University of Pennsylvania;

  • Dr. Plamen Dimitrov, National Center of Hygiene, Medical Ecology and Nutrition, Bulgaria, to work on a project examining the environmental and clinical epidemiology of Balkan Endemic Nephropathy in Bulgaria. Dr. Dimitrov trained at Michigan State University under the FIC International Training and Research Program in Environmental and Occupational Health;

  • Dr. Shufa Du, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China, to study childhood obesity in China. Dr. Du was a Fogarty fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the International Training and Research Program in Population and Health;

  • Dr. Pedro Ferrand, University of Chile, to work on a project studying variation in cytokine and MMP genes and risk of pre-term premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM), a major cause of pre-term birth and perinatal mobidity and mortality. Dr. Ferrand was a Fogarty fellow under the International Maternal and Child Health Research and Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania;

  • Dr. Esteban Fridman, Institute of Neurological Research, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to evaluate the efficacy of two novel brain stimulation techniques, supported by neural basis, to enhance motor recovery after stroke. Dr. Fridman was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke, NIH;

  • Dr. Dong-Yan Jin, University of Hong Kong, for a project to study ovarian cancer in Hong Kong and other parts of China, with an emphasis on how defects in cell division lead to the initiation of cancer development. Dr. Jin was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH;

  • Dr. Chitra Kannabiran, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India, to work on a project involving the identification of genes causing the disease retinitis pigmentosa, a major cause of blindness worldwide. Dr. Kannabiran was a visiting fellow at the National Eye Institute, NIH;

  • Dr. Edith Kordon, Academia Nacional de Medicina, Buenos Aires, Argentina, to study tumor progression and apoptosis in the mouse mammary gland. Dr. Kordon was a visiting fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH;

  • Dr. Thanyawee Puthanakit, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, to research the effect of the HIV epidemic on children in Thailand. Dr. Puthanakit was a trainee under FIC's AIDS International Training and Research Program at Johns Hopkins University;

  • Dr. Gayatri Ramakrishna, Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, India, to work on a project involving the role of K-ras signaling in lung epithelial cells. Dr. Ramakrishna was a visiting fellow at the National Cancer Institute, NIH;

  • Dr. Leopoldo Ribeiro-Filho, University of San Paulo, Brazil. To study biomarkers for detection of bladder cancer.

  • Dr. Rossana Sapiro, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay, to work on a project dealing with the characerization of flagellar proteins involved in sperm motility. Dr. Sapiro was a trainee under FIC's International Training and Research Program in Population and Health at the University of Pennsylvania;

  • Dr. Ranjan Sen, Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, India, to work on a project involving gene transmission (mRNA transcription) in E-coli. Dr. Sen was a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH;

  • Dr. Alice Thienprasert, Silpakorn University, Nakhon Patham, Thailand, to work on a project involving omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in children in Thailand. Dr. Thienprasert was a visiting fellow at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIH;
    -end-
    FIC is the international component of the NIH. It promotes and supports scientific discovery internationally and mobilizes resources to reduce disparities in global health. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Press releases, fact sheets, and other FIC-related materials are available at http://www.nih.gov/fic.

    NIH/Fogarty International Center

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