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Ahead of the next pandemic: a UCF researcher appointed to a national think tank

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UCF College of Medicine microbiologist Salvador Almagro-Moreno is one of 50 researchers nationally selected to identify the emerging threat of pathogens moving from animals to humans.

In the era of COVID-19 and climate change, the potential for new strains of deadly microorganisms affecting humans is a critical global health issue. In response, the Corporation for Science Advancement (Scialog) recently selected fellows to create a think tank that will advance research on emerging microbial threats and work on the development of future vaccines.

Scialog Fellows include early career chemists, biologists, physicists, computer scientists, veterinary scientists, epidemiologists and public health experts as well as scientists from federal agencies who will tackle significant scientific challenges. global.

Almagro-Moreno was chosen because of its expertise in emerging marine pathogens, which are often overlooked when it comes to addressing global health threats.

“In my lab, our research approach encompasses a blend of genomics, ecology and molecular biology to explain the drivers of pathogen emergence,” he says.

The College of Medicine assistant professor and National Science Foundation CAREER Prize winner studies bacterial genetics and marine environments where new pathogens are most likely to develop, particularly on the Florida coast. This includes monitoring outbreaks of Vibrio vulnificus, more commonly known as the flesh-eating bacteria.

Almagro-Moreno also followed the progression and eventual decline of cholera in South America and his findings were published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology and recognized by the World Health Organization. The three-year fellowship will be facilitated by senior scientists from renowned universities, including the University of California Davis and Ohio State University, and will end with research funding from the Corporation for Science Advancement for top projects. innovative. The first of the scientific meetings will be held in Tucson, Arizona on September 30.

“It is truly a great honor to be chosen to be part of this select group of scientists, especially given the timeliness and relevance of this topic,” said Almagro-Moreno. “I believe that by bringing together early-career scientists from disparate backgrounds, we can serve as a catalyst for the development of new approaches to understanding the emergence of pathogens.”

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