EnHS Graduate Receives $4.6 Million Grant from Defense Threat Reduction Agency

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																			June 29, 2015
Andrew Huff

Andrew Huff, a graduate of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, is the investigator on a $4.6 million grant awarded to EcoHealth Alliance from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Huff is a senior research scientist at EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization that focuses on conservation and global health issues.

The grant was awarded to continue the development of the Global Rapid Identification Tool System (GRITS), a software program that is designed to monitor early-warning signals from a possible emerging infectious disease outbreak. The software is being developed in partnership with ProMED and the International Society for Infectious Disease.

Climate change, land use change, and urbanization are all potential factors that contribute to the risk of diseases like Ebola, MERS, and other zoonotic pathogens. Environmental change to the global landscape increases the risk of disease emergence.

GRITS analyzes textual data sources by identifying, extracting, and visualizing critical public health information and suggesting possible associated infectious diseases. The multitude of news, social media, and existing biosurveillance systems makes it is increasingly difficult to digest all of the available information to monitor possible disease threats. GRITS enables infectious disease analysts to examine dynamic visualizations of historical disease emergence events and monitor new patterns that could point to new infectious disease outbreaks.

“GRITS is an open source technology that is going to change how ‘One Health’ disease surveillance is conducted into the foreseeable future,” says Huff.

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