In 1998, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) initiated a grants program on the Evolution of Infectious Diseases. As of mid-2002, NIGMS has funded 27 research grants in this field; other NIH institutes have funded an additional 8 grants. The program encourages development of a predictive science by applying the perspectives, theories, and methods from many scientific disciplines to important issues of disease emergence, transmission, prevention, and the consequences of treatment. Each research grant explicitly involves interdisciplinary collaborations.
On August 28-29, 2002, NIGMS and the Ellison Medical Foundation invited all grantees, as well as their collaborators and students, to discuss their current work and the next big questions facing the field. Over the two-day meeting, 109 participants heard presentations and discussions on the following topics:
Several themes emerged from the meeting.
Participants agreed that the meeting was very useful in stimulating new lines of research and new collaborations. For the future, it will be important to focus on improving the mathematical analyses of infectious disease systems and on integrating data across many disciplines.
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