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Scientific & technological potential reinforcement - WP2



  • Reinforcing the scientific & technological potential of Guadeloupe in the field of emerging and vector-borne diseases through the acquisition and upgrading of equipment and facilitating the access to European partners’ equipment and platforms
  • Reinforcing the scientific & technological potential of Guadeloupe in the field of emerging and vector-borne diseases through the recruitment of researchers
  • Ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project through paving the way for the creation of a Caribbean centre of excellence on emerging and vector-borne diseases

Description of work and partners

Task 1. Upgrading of scientific equipment

1/ Acquisition of scientific equipment and facilities

In order to improve the research potential and technical platform on emerging diseases in Guadeloupe specific equipment is required and have been reinforced recently by the project.

  • Biosafety laboratory with level 3 of containment (BSL3) will be soon achieved (March 2015). This is outstanding building capacities thanks to complementary funding (CIRAD + ERDF funds). It consists of 20 m² of laboratory, 14 and 8 m² of animal and insect facilities, respectively that will be used by the project to manipulate class 3 pathogens (influenza, West Nile or other zoonotic agents) for studies on host-pathogen interactions, vector competence, pathogen transmission and pathogenesis in small animal models.
  • Next generation sequencing platform has been acquired in the context of research topics carried out by CIRAD on comparative genomics and understanding of diversity and evolution of vector borne pathogens, and discovery of new pathogens. This new technology based on random library construction and high throughput parallel sequencing without a priori, is now operational. Full genomes of two Ehrlichia ruminantium strains (1.5 Mb), one African swine fever virus (170 Kb) and one Newcastle disease virus have been sequenced so far
  • Proteomics platform has been recently set up and is now ready for the systematic separation, identification, and quantitation of thousands of proteins from a single sample. The platform consists of two-dimensional high resolution gel electrophoresis (2DE) combined with an equipment to separate and label the proteins with fluorescent dyes (DIGE) and an image analyzer to accurately localize the different protein spots. At the end of the line, a spot picker allows automated spot excisions from 2D gels for subsequent sequencing by Mass Spectrometry (in collaboration with ITQB european partner).

All these new equipment and facilities supported by the project will strengthen the CIRAD position as a Center of Excellence in research on Emerging and vector borne diseases in the Caribbean. It will also serve the scientific development in Guadeloupe through sharing and pooling with other research organizations (Pasteur institute, University, INSERM…) of Guadeloupe and partners from the Caribbean region.

2/ Access to advanced equipment and technological platforms of European partners

One of the scientific objectives of the project consists in a better understanding of the mechanisms of virulence and attenuation of vector-borne pathogens through integrative approaches using “omics” approaches. These studies need access to sensitive and expensive equipment like a liquid chromatography (nano-LC), and Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF). Our ITQB European partner will provide the expertise and access to these technologies through collaborative missions of CIRAD staff to Portugal. Similarly, the level 3 containment platform and expertise available at CReSA was used by CIRAD staff for the development of the high containment facilities in Guadeloupe. CReSA European partner will also provide training in bioinformatics and AVIA-GIS will provide its platform of remote sensing analysis.

Task 2: Recruitment of scientists

1/ Recruitment of experienced scientists

Six researchers have been recruited for 24 months:

- A microbiologist specialized in proteomic to reinforce the competences on pathogen and tick proteomics

- A microbiologist for deciphering the virulence determinants of Ehrlichia ruminantium

- A bioinformatician in order to upscale CIRAD capacities in comparative genomics and phylogeny

- An epidemiologist and risk mapping specialist

- A medical entomologist for the investigation of the West Nile virus vectors

- An animal health economist to develop a method of cost/benedit surveillance for regional animal health networks

2/ Recruitment ensuring the return of Guadeloupean PhDs and Post Docs

  • 1 post doc for 2 years in entomology in order to reinforce this specific competence in Guadeloupe. The recruited researcher will provide to Guadeloupe researcher tools and competence for studying mosquitoes populations, ecology, population dynamics and vector competence.
  • 1 post doc for 2 years in the development of innovative vaccines

Task 3: Preparation of the conditions for establishing a Caribbean centre of excellence on emerging and vector-borne diseases

1/  Workshop with CaribVET

A workshop with CaribVET (during the SC of CaribVET) will be organised by the EPIGENESIS project management team focusing on:

  • Presentation of the outputs of the project with respect to the reinforcement of Guadeloupe scientific & technological potential;
  • Discussion on the co-programming of future research priorities according to the new research resources available (equipment, access to equipment and platforms of European partners, human resources);
  • Definition of the terms of reference for the feasibility study of the Caribbean centre of excellence.

2/ Feasibility study for a Caribbean Centre on emerging and vector-borne diseases

A feasibility study will be carried out for defining the conditions of establishment of a Caribbean Centre of Excellence on emerging and vector-borne diseases. It will also include an assessment of needs and opportunities in both research and diagnostic on emerging vector-borne diseases in the Caribbean by the Veterinary Public Health (VPH), the Laboratory quality assurance and diagnostic and the Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases (T&TBD) working groups of CaribVET.

3/ Workshop with decision-makers (presentation of the feasibility study)

A final workshop will be held for presenting the results of the feasibility study to decision-makers:

  • Regional policy-makers: Regional Council and Préfecture of Guadeloupe (SGAR: Secrétariat général aux Affaires régionales)
  • Sanitary and veterinarian authorities
  • President of local university
  • Representatives of the international organisations FAO, WHO and OIE will be invited to the workshop.

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