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Grants bolster HIV-focused research capacity

Aug. 20, 2015, 10:07 AM

The Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) has received two new grants from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build HIV-focused research capacity with key partners in Zambia, Mozambique and Brazil.

One of the grants supports the UNZA-Vanderbilt Training Partnership for HIV-Nutrition-Metabolic Research (UVP) Program. It continues a long-standing training collaboration between the University of Zambia School of Medicine (UNZA)/University Teaching Hospital and VIGH.

Douglas Heimburger, M.D.

Douglas Heimburger, M.D., professor of Medicine and associate VIGH director for education and training, is co-principal investigator of the five-year, $1.5 million UVP grant to train doctoral-level research leaders in Zambia in nutritional and metabolic complications of long-term HIV infection.

“The UVP grant represents an evolution in this process,” Heimburger said. It will focus on Ph.D. degrees granted by the University of Zambia, with two six-month periods at Vanderbilt for research mentorship and skills building.

“Like a number of low- and middle-income country institutions, the University of Zambia is poised to move into a new era of scientific independence,” he said. “We hope that UVP will assist materially toward this goal.”

The second grant supports the UEM Partnership for Research in Implementation Science in Mozambique (PRISM) Program. The five-year, $1.5 million grant will strengthen the longstanding partnership between VIGH and the University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Mozambique and will establish a new partnership with Federal University of São Paulo in Brazil.

Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D.

It is co-directed by VIGH director Sten Vermund, M.D., Ph.D., the Amos Christie Professor and assistant vice chancellor for Global Health, and Troy Moon, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases and VIGH.

Moon, who directs several other HIV-related grants in Mozambique, said the goal of the program is to enable both current and future faculty to teach and conduct HIV-focused implementation science research.

“The PRISM grant seeks to train the next generation of Mozambican researchers and further raise the bar in terms of the quality of research produced in country,” he said.

Troy Moon, M.D., MPH

The two grants — TW009744 and TW009745 — and other VIGH partnerships supported by NIH and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are helping to secure the resources and opportunities researchers and clinicians need to respond effectively to HIV/AIDS in their countries, Vermund said.

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