Hampton biology department awarded $900,000 to research infectious disease

Joanne Chan, associate professor in biological sciences, leads a research project studying infectious disease.

Hampton University researchers received a $900,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Tuesday to develop treatment options against select pathogens and protection measures.

The initiative is lead by Associate Professor in biology Joanne Chan. Along with developing treatment options, the team also plans to research effective detection methods.

"I hypothesized that a number of pathogens target the cells lining our blood vessels, as an important site of attack," Chan said. "Therefore, I proposed that by improving blood vessel integrity and vascular resilience, an infected host may be able to survive a pathogen attack when a vascular integrity drug is used in combination with antibiotics or immunotherapies."

Chan used a vascular model from zebrafish in the first phase of her research. She and her lab were able to produce reports that demonstrate that pathogens of certain types have unique effects on vascular lining, which can be fixed with inhibitors.

"As a side benefit, the chemicals identified in my screen may also have specific functions in regulation of vascular function," Chan said. "These chemical drugs may also have additional usefulness in the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, all affecting the normal function of the blood vessels."

Organizations in this story

National Institutes of Health 9000 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20892

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