The Center for Global Health and Diseases, (formerly the Division of Geographic Medicine), at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has pursued research toward tropical and parasitic diseases for more than 40 years. The mission of the center is to integrate basic laboratory research on host immunity, genetics, and ecology with the distribution of infection and disease of major tropical illnesses. The center’s scientists have contributed substantially toward research of important tropical diseases, such as schistosomiasis, malaria, lymphatic filariasis, and leishmaniasis, and also in the training of many foreign investigators—some who now play leading roles in research and health in their countries.
The center is unique in its breadth of research, which ranges from animal models to human-based research in endemic countries. Principal Investigators in the center have had ongoing collaborations with scientists and institutions in developing countries, especially Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, Egypt, and Brazil, that have spanned several decades.
Current endemic field sites are:
- Papua New Guinea: Malaria, Lymphatic Filariasis, Vector ecology
- Solomon Islands: malaria
- Kenya: Malaria, Schistosomiasis, Lymphatic Filariasis, Rift Valley Fever
- Ethiopia: Malaria, Lymphatic Filariasis
- Ghana: Onchocerciasis, Lymphatic Filariasis
- Cote d’Ivoire: Lymphatic Filariasis
- Madagascar: malaria
- Nigeria: Genetics, Bioethics
- Peru: Malaria
- Brazil: Dengue, Schistosomiasis
The center maintains continued external funding from the National Institutes of Health and indirectly from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for human and basic research studies that address the pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of diseases such as Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax malaria, parasitic worm infections (schistosomiasis, lymphatic filariasis [“elephantiasis”], onchocerciasis [“river blindness”], hookworm) and viral pathogens (dengue, Rift Valley Fever) that impact population and individual health in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
The administrative unit of the Center for Global Health and Diseases has had significant experience managing large, international, multi-center research programs supported by institutions such as the National Institutes of Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Health Organization. In the past, two International Centers for Tropical Disease Research, supported by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were based at the center and were representative of experience in managing integrated programs in tropical disease research.