Infectious Disease and International Health

Cancer risk reduction and diet: A cohort study of women 
PI:  Zheng, Wei      Funding Agency: NCI      Grant No.:  R37 CA070867 
Description: Using data and biological samples collected from the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS), we are evaluating several important etiologic hypotheses for cancer that are difficult to investigate in other existing cohort studies. We are studying dietary factors that could potentially reduce the risk of cancer. We also conduct nested case-control studies to evaluate biomarkers that could potentially be used for cancer risk prediction and assessment.

Consortium Study of Modifiable Causes of Death in Asians
PI:  Zheng, WeiPotter, John    Funding Agency: NCI      Grant No.:  R03 CA153116 
 Description: In Asian countries, in the wake of lifestyle changes (reduced physical activity, increased prevalence of obesity and cigarette smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption), the burden of chronic diseases has increased substantially in recent decades. Each of these modifiable factors has been linked to premature death; however, the overall impact of these factors on total and cause-specific mortality is unclear. This study will also evaluate the association of central obesity with total and cause-specific mortality. This study is being conducted as part of the Asia Cohort Consortium, in which data from more than 1 million individuals recruited in approximately 20 cohort studies have been harmonized and analyzed to quantify the association of BMI and tobacco smoking with total and cause-specific mortality (Zheng W, et al, NEJM, 2011; 364(8):719-29; Zheng W, et al, PLoS Medicine, 2014; 11(4):e1001631). Study results will inform the design of effective programs tackling the emerging epidemic of chronic diseases and reduce premature death in Asian countries.

Etiological Studies of Gastric Carcinogenesis
PI: Wilson, Keith T.   Funding Agency: NCI   Grant No.: 5P01CA028842
Gastric adenocarcinoma is a leading global cause of cancer mortality, with marked geographic variation in incidence rates.  A critical need exists to develop biomarkers for the identification of individuals at highest risk for disease progression from chronic gastritis and precancerous lesions.  Using research infrastructures in Colombia and Central America, we aim to (1) determine the rate of histologic progression of high risk subjects in the long-term Colombian chemoprevention cohort, who were treated for Helicobacter pylori infection in 1991; (2) determine if H. pylori– human genetic ancestry interactions are a generalizable determinant of cancer risk in high and low risk populations in Central America, as is the case in Colombia; (3) determine if DNA promoter methylation levels of specific genes are associated with the risk of progression in the Colombian cohort. We will also explore the influence of human and bacterial genetic ancestry on methylation in the Central America patient group.

Evaluation of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine-13 on non-invasive Streptococcal pneumonia disease in children and adults using national and Tennessee State data
PI: Griffin, Marie  Funding Agency: CDC  Grant No.: 11-KIPA-1110211

Fogarty International Clinical Research Scholars Support Center @ Vanderbilt-AAMC (FICRSF)
PI: Vermund, Sten        Funding Agency: FIC        Grant No.:  R24 TW007988 
Description: The goal of the program is to help train and inspire both US and foreign graduate students in research techniques and topic areas applicable to resource-limited and/or tropical countries.

Helicobacter pylori blood biomarker for gastric cancer risk in East Asia  
PI: Epplein, Meira  Funding Agency: NCI  Grant No.: R01 CA174853 
Description: Infection with Helicobacter pylori is the leading risk factor for gastric cancer, the second-most deadly and fourth-most common cancer in the world, yet only a fraction of those infected will develop the disease. Utilizing novel H. pylori multiplex serology in a nested case-control study in China, we have recently found a novel biomarker panel that could identify individuals with a 10-20% absolute risk of gastric cancer, and are now seeking to determine if we can replicate and validate this finding in other prospective cohorts in East Asia most likely to be infected with similar bacterial strains. As H. pylori eradication therapy can effectively reduce gastric cancer incidence and mortality, a validated risk prediction model in high-incidence populations will create the opportunity to substantially decrease the burden of gastric cancer through targeted prevention strategies among H. pylori-infected individuals at highest risk, while reducing unnecessary antibiotic use among those at low risk.


Helicobacter pylori, gastrin, and colorectal cancer 
PI: Epplein, Meira         Funding Agency: VICTR        Grant No.: VR4676
Description: It has been suggested that Helicobacter pylori, a known risk factor for gastric cancer, may also increase risk of colorectal cancer, and two recent meta-analyses of published studies of the association of H. pylori with colorectal cancer incidence have found a 40% to 50% increase in odds for those infected with the bacteria. The present study seeks to further our understanding of the H. pylori–colon cancer association by measuring serum gastrin levels and assessing their individual association with H. pylori strain-specific infection and with colorectal cancer risk, and the possibility of gastrin as part of the pathway from H. pylori infection to development of colon cancer, among an under-studied population with a high prevalence of H. pylori, the Southern Community Cohort Study.

Helicobacter Pylori Protein-Specific Antibodies and Colorectal Cancer Risk
PI: Epplein, Meira        Funding Agency: NCI          Grant No.: R01 CA190428 
Colorectal cancer is the third most common and deadly cancer in the US, and there is evidence that colorectal cancer incidence is increasing among both men and women younger than 50 years of age, who are also more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage disease. Additionally, there is a significant racial disparity, in that African American men and women experience a higher incidence of colorectal cancer compared to white men and women, and an even higher rate of death from colorectal cancer compared to the white population. The current project seeks to evaluate the novel association between Helicobacter pylori protein-specific infection and colorectal cancer risk, building the groundwork for significantly strengthening colorectal cancer prevention and screening strategies with a new risk biomarker, as well as the possibility of identifying an exposure that is proven to be modifiable through the use of eradication therapy, and may be modifiable by a regimen of regular aspirin use.

The role of influenza virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae coinfection
in severe-acute respiratory infections in young children
PI: Grijalva, Carlos G.  Funding Agency: Thrasher Research Fund      
Grant No.: 9151
This prospective cohort study will determine the incidence of respiratory infections among young Andean children, and the role of viral infections in nasopharyngeal acquisition of  Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Observational study of effectiveness of quadrivalent live attenuated influenza
vaccine in preventing outpatient visits for influenza in children age 2 to 17 years
PI: Griffin, Marie      Funding Agency:  MedImmune    
Grant No.: CD-VA-MED13250-1116

Opioid Analgesics and the Risk of Serious Infections in Seniors
PI: Grijalva, Carlos G.       Funding Agency: NIA       Grant No.:  R03 AG042981 
Description:  This study will use a self-controlled case series design to explore whether use of opioids increase the risk of serious infections.


Opioid Selection and the Risk of Serious Infections in Older Adults
PI: Grijalva, Carlos G.  Funding Agency: NIA   Grant No.: R01 AG043471 
Description:  This retrospective cohort study will determine whether selected opioids increase the risk of serious infections among older adults and whether concurrent use of medications that interfere with opioid metabolism modify the risk of these infections.

University of Guyana-Vanderbilt-UCSF MPH Program for Guyana 
PI: Heimburger, Douglas       Funding Agency: GH      Grant No.: U2G GH000689 
Description: Vanderbilt and UCSF are partnering with the University of Guyana to develop and implement a Master of Public Health (MPH) program designed by Guyanese health professionals and educators to meet public health needs identified by the Guyanese stakeholders.

Shanghai Women's Health Study (SWHS) 
PI: Zheng, Wei       Funding Agency:  NCI           Grant No.:  UM1 CA182910 
Description: This population-based prospective cohort study was initiated in 1996. From 1996 to 2000, approximately 75,000 Chinese women living in Shanghai were recruited into the study. In addition to survey data, most study participants donated blood (75%) and urine (87%) samples at baseline. Approximately 50% of study participants who did not donate a blood sample provided a sample of exfoliated buccal cells. This cohort of women is being followed for incidence of site-specific cancers and cause-specific mortality through a combination of in-person surveys and record linkages with population-based registries. Four in-person follow-up surveys have been completed, each with a response rate greater than 90%. The resources from this study have supported multiple studies, including approximately 40 international research consortia, to address etiologic hypotheses for cancers and other chronic diseases. The SWHS, with its large sample size, wealth of resources, and unique exposure patterns and disease spectrum, provides exceptional opportunities to address many significant hypotheses that cannot be adequately investigated in other existing cohorts.

Vanderbilt-Emory-Cornell-Duke Consortium for Global Health Fellows (VECDor) 
PI: Vermund, StenHeimburger, Douglas      Funding Agency:  FIC     Grant No.: R25 TW009337 
Description: This project aims to nurture a new generation of global health researchers through a collaborative training program with overseas research institutions from low and middle-income countries with which our universities have worked for decades.


Vanderbilt University-CIDRZ AIDS International Training Research Program (AITRP) 
PI: Vermund, Sten       Funding Agency:  FIC     Grant No.: D43 TW001035 
Description: The Vanderbilt-CIDRZ AITRP training partnership with international collaborators from 5 countries (Zambia, China, India, Pakistan, Mozambique) is designed to train foreign scientists and key research support staff to conduct independent research and training in their home countries, as well as perform at an internationally credible level in collaborations with both local and foreign scientists.

Vanderbilt University-CIDRZ AITRP Capacity Building in Zambia 
PI: Vermund, Sten     Funding Agency:  FIC     Grant No.: D43 TW001035 
Description: The purpose of this CDC supported supplement is to build institutional and individual research capacity and sustainability in HIV-related biomedical and behavioral research in Zambia. The activities supported by this supplement aim to develop and train Zambian clinical investigators to be leaders in independent research. We have developmental south-south training activity on behalf of Nigeria, as well.

Vanderbilt-Zambia Network for Innovation in Global Health Technologies (VZNIGHT) 
PI: Heimburger, Douglas     Funding Agency: FIC      Grant No.:  D43 TW009348 
Description: This project aims to nurture 12 American and Zambian postdoctoral research trainees (4 cohorts of 3) in an integrated training environment to develop and deploy new low-resource diagnostic technologies to enable Zambia to move toward its goal of eradicating malaria.  Trainees and mentors include basic scientists, engineering scientists, and global health and clinical scientists working together.

Vanderbilt HIV Epidemiology & Outcomes Working Group (HIV Epi/Outcomes)
North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD)
Caribbean, Central and South American Network for HIV Epidemiology (CCASAnet) 
PI: Moore, Richard D, M.D., M.H.S. [NA-ACCORD]; McGowan Catherine C, M.D. [CCASAnet] 
Funding Agency:  NIAID  
Grant No.:   U01 AI0699180 [NA-ACCORD]; U01-AI069923 ]CCASAnet]
Description:   These studies are concerned with the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in North, Central, and South America.  Through established clinical and interval cohort collaborations, these projects seek to elucidate the natural and treated histories and pathogenesis of HIV, along with the quality of HIV care, utilizing large, demographically and geographically diverse populations of HIV-infected individuals.