Dr. Shahid Karim, associate professor of biological sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi, has received a three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study the disease-transmitting agents present in ticks and other blood-feeding anthropod vectors.
Karim points out that the $439,500 grant will fund research that could one day produce a better awareness of how the vector antioxidant factors can be manipulated to prevent vector-borne diseases. Understanding the interactions between vector and rickettsial agents might help in developing strategies to combat anthropod-borne infections.
Rickettsiosis is a prime example of a vector-borne disease with considerable importance to public health. Typhus and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are both diseases with Rickettsiosis characteristics.
“Our research will fill a gap of knowledge on the relevance of antioxidant saliva factors for tick prolonged feeding and tick-borne infections agents’ transmission,” said Karim. “Our findings will have a broader impact toward discovery of anti-tick vaccine candidates to control ticks and tick-borne infectious diseases of public health significance.”