Three Researchers win Center for Pandemic Preparedness and Response Investigator Seed Awards

The Center for Pandemic Preparedness and Response (CPPR) awarded three recipients the Investigator Seed Award to pursue a new research project that focuses on pandemic preparedness and response and promoting health equity.

Each project addresses one or more of CPPR’s Pillars of Impact – readiness, response, resilience and research – and is set in a location outside of the United States.

  • Predict threats and maximize readiness to control emerging epidemics and outbreaks;
  • Enable rapid and effective responses to emerging global health threats;
  • Create tools and strategies to strengthen public health system resilience;
  • Leverage research expertise to ensure that our actions are evidence informed and equity focused.

Learn more about the awardees and their projects:

Anneka Hooft, MD, MPH

By identifying informal healthcare provider sites and developing a pathogen detection network and mNGS pipeline, Hooft will provide Malawians with better access to diagnostic and surveillance systems to target and prevent disease outbreaks. Through this type of work, her team will address the inequities in diagnostics, treatment, and healthcare technologies throughout the world.

Hooft says, “Our team’s goal is to support the STEM research and training in Malawi and develop partnerships between traditional healers and biomedical providers.”

See more of Anneka Hooft’s work.

Co-Investigators: Teresa Kortz, MD, MS, Gama Bandawe, PhD, and Kimberly Baltzell, PhD, MS

Alison El Ayadi, ScD MPH

El Ayadi and Lansana Barry, MSc, a sociologist at the African Center of Excellence for the Prevention and Control of Transmissible Diseases at the University of Conakry, Guinea, are leading research to understand the challenges and coping mechanisms for achieving routine childhood vaccine uptake during the COVID-19 pandemic in Guinea. Through key community and health-systems engagement, the research will identify locally adapted strategies and targets to inform mitigation of future epidemics or other system shocks from reducing childhood vaccination and contribution to childhood morbidity. Ultimately, these findings will inform West African regional pandemic preparedness strategies.

See more of Alison El Ayadi’s work.

Co-Primary Investigator: Lansana Barry, MSc

Charles Langelier, MD, PhD

Langelier’s proposal partners with William Worodria, MD, and Patrick Kakeeto, MD – physician-scientists in Kampala, Uganda – and Laurence Huang, MD, a professor of pulmonary medicine at UCSF, to leverage the unbiased diagnostic tool of metagenomic sequencing for pneumonia in people living with HIV who suffer disproportionately from lower respiratory tract infections. The goal is to gain a better understanding of currently circulating pathogens that lead to these infections in the people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa in order to guide both the choice of antibiotic and future monitoring efforts.

Langelier says, “Pneumonia is the number one cause of infectious disease-related death worldwide, and disproportionately affects people living in resource-limited settings, as well as those living with HIV. This project seeks to improve pneumonia surveillance and understand regional trends in respiratory pathogen prevalence, in a setting where the cause of infection remains unknown in most cases. It aims to do so using metagenomic sequencing, an advanced molecular diagnostic, which we believe should be made available everywhere, not just in the highest-resource settings.”

See more of Charles Langelier’s work.

Co-Investigators: Natasha Spottiswoode, MD, DPhil, William Worodria, MD, and Laurence Huang, MD