Wayne State Warriors Lead the Fight Against Infectious Diseases

Thanks to a $4.3 million grant to Wayne State from Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, the Detroit school will join other major research institution in Michigan: University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Michigan Tech to investigate infectious diseases and learn how to combat them.

This is especially significant in that metro-Detroit is a densely populated urban area and likely to be on the front-lines for any future disease outbreak.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and need for genomic sequencing, surveillance and epidemiology capacity both globally and right here in Michigan,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “The MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories has rapidly expanded its efforts to identify COVID-19 variants since the start of the pandemic to support public health actions. MI-SAPPHIRE will allow our state to expand sequencing and analysis capacity and the number of pathogens that undergo routine sequencing, and ensure we are sampling diverse geographic areas across the state.”

One of the core components of the Wayne State lab is to focus on intervention to help the underserved populations and to reduce the public health disparities that currently exist.

Wayne State is uniquely suited to this mission due to its dedication to research and service in the city of Detroit and the metro-region.

The grant will provide WSU’s Center for Emerging and Infectious Diseases with important resources to sequence and study some of the 25,000 genomic sequences for bacteria and viral infections that the state currently collects.

Another compelling aspect of this grant is that it will provide the tools for detailed and sophisticated collaboration between the other universities.

It is hoped that this collaborative research grant will be able to provide fast, effective, and targeted responses to future infectious disease outbreaks.

For more information, please see Phil Van Hulle’s article on the Wayne State website.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are the 4 universities receiving this research grant?
  2. What is the purpose of the grant?
  3. Why is Wayne State “uniquely suited” to this mission according to the article?
  4. What is an expected outcome of this collaborative research grant?
  5. In your opinion, is this a good use of money? Why or why not?

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