Partners

The REDI-NET program partners are academic institutions, governmental agencies, field stations, and NGOs that serve integral roles in program implementation and success. Together, these partners are creating data-driven, actionable entomological intelligence outcomes through a system of systems that will address the taxonomic impediments and tackle tomorrow’s vector-borne disease threats using next-generation sequencing.

To learn more about a partner, select their name below.


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Belize Vector & Ecology Center (BVEC) is a field station led by University of Notre Dame Eck Institute for Global Health and Department of Biological Sciences faculty, John P. Grieco and Nicole L. Achee that focuses on partnership with Belize Ministry of Health officials, domestic and international students, and researchers from around the world, to ensure knowledge transfer and capacity building within local, regional and international public health arenas. BVEC, as a REDI-NET Silver Lab, will provide rigorous testing of optimized standardized operating procedures (SOP), specimen collection, and initial eDNA (environmental DNA) and next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing.


Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC), hosting a REDI-NET Gold Lab, conducts health and medical research, development, testing, evaluation, and surveillance to enhance deployment readiness of DoD personnel worldwide. NMRC will use various molecular biological techniques and next generation sequencing to molecularly barcode various vectors and the pathogens therein to identify novel pathogens or confirm the existence of known pathogens in different geographical areas. Additionally, NMRC will also be responsible for the creation and beta-testing of optimized SOPs and coordinating with various field sites for sample collection, data upload, analysis, and interpretation. Through a sub-award to the University of Notre Dame, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF) manages activities being conducted by NMRC/NECE in Maryland/Florida.

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NMRC has long-standing established research collaborations with the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE). NECE is the Navy and Marine Corps center of expertise for operational entomology, which provides force health protection through operational disease vector surveillance, control and training to enhance Navy and Marine Corps mission readiness. As a REDI-NET Silver Lab, NECE will provide rigorous testing of optimized SOPs, specimen collection and initial eDNA and NGS pipeline testing and evaluation.


The Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit (WRBU), hosting a REDI-NET Gold Lab, is a unique partnership between the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and the Smithsonian Institution - National Museum of Natural History (SI), which is a world-renowned center of taxonomic excellence, undertaking cutting-edge research to provide actionable entomological intelligence tools and products that best assess global vector-borne disease risk. WRBU will provide verified DNA tick sequences for expected taxa in USA, Kenya and Belize to strengthen the stand-alone MinION reference libraries, collaborate on the development of optimized SOPs, perform reach-back testing, and is responsible for guiding the activities at the Silver Lab in Kenya.

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SI maintains a strong collaboration with the Mpala Research Centre, located in over 48,000 acres at the core of the Ewaso ecosystem, a large, geographically diverse region of central Kenya, defined by the Ewaso Ng’iro River and its tributaries. Mpala works to advance the understanding and conservation of natural human-occupied ecosystems through basic research, education, outreach, and by creating new scientific knowledge and developing science-based solutions to guide conservation actions for the benefit of nature and human welfare. Hosting a REDI-NET Silver Lab, Mpala will provide rigorous testing of optimized SOPs, specimen collection and initial eDNA and NGS testing. Additionally, Mpala will leverage opportunistic environmental samples from domestic animals or wildlife and advise on selection and ecological characterization of collection sites.


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George Mason University (GMU) will provide expertise in vector-borne disease surveillance, control, and pathogen discovery. Under a sub-award to WRBU, GMU will field test the REDI-NET collection SOPs for water, sediment, leech and ticks in Phase I to ensure optimized protocols for field collection and storage. 


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Vectech brings their computer vision system which currently offers high accuracy identification of wild-caught mosquito species to the REDI-NET program. This system will be modified to identify ticks using dorsal and ventral images with validation through molecular identification with DNA barcoding.


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The Center for Research Computing (CRC) housed at the University of Notre Dame provides the data management infrastructure for the REDI-NET program. Activities for the CRC include the development of data collection forms, collaboration with in-country data entry personnel, establishment of data collection and cleaning methods, and management of computational infrastructure.