Co-PI: Pengbo Liu, PhD

Assistant Professor, RSPH, Hubert Department of Global Health

Co-PI: Katia Koelle, PhD

Associate Professor, Emory University, Biology

Characterizing Within-host and Between-host Norovirus Evolution Using Human Challenge Study Samples

Noroviruses are the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis in children <5 years of age admitted to hospitals worldwide, and the number one cause of foodborne disease in the United States. Noroviruses have as their genetic material RNA rather than DNA, and, as other RNA viruses, have high mutation rates that allow them to rapidly evolve. The evolution of noroviruses at the level of the human population over the time span of decades has been widely studied using phylogenetic analysis. However, little is known about the evolution of noroviruses within individual infections and over the course of single transmission events. Professor Since 1994, Christine Moe in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health has completed 9 human norovirus challenge studies since 1994. Here, we propose to use already-obtained stool samples from a subset of these human challenge studies to shed light on the evolutionary dynamics of noroviruses within acutely-infected and otherwise healthy human subjects and over the course of a single transmission event. We will specifically focus on the human challenge studies with Norwalk virus, because this virus is a prototype of one important group of noroviruses. The overall objective of this study is to use deep sequencing and genetic analyses to characterize patterns of genetic diversity within and across infected subjects. This study would yield preliminary data that would pave the way to the submission of a larger NIH R01 grant proposal. This pilot research may also yield important findings for norovirus vaccine design and development.

Co-I: Anne Piantadosi, MD

Assistant Professor, SOM, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Co-I: Jesse Waggoner, MD

Assistant Professor, SOM, Infectious Diseases

Co-I: Matthew Collins, MD

Assistant Professor, SOM, Infectious Diseases

Halle Institute for Global Research/URC Award

Vertically integrated emerging arboviral surveillance in western Colombia

 Substantial global disease is caused by well-known viruses such as dengue virus and re-emerging viruses such as Zika virus, both of which are transmitted by mosquito vectors. Furthermore, new arboviruses (arthropod-borne viruses) are being discovered on a routine basis. There are significant needs for 1) better diagnostic tests for known viruses, 2) improved surveillance for new viruses, and 3) fast, flexible methods to study both known and new viruses in order to guide public health interventions. Our team’s goal is to develop a robust research program studying known and new viruses throughout the world. Here, we propose pilot studies that blend our expertise in infectious disease, virology, and the immune response. We will work within an existing partnership in an arbovirus-endemic region of Colombia where our colleagues are conducting a study of patients with acute febrile illness. First, we will identify and discover viruses using cutting-edge molecular techniques (multiplex PCR and unbiased metagenomic sequencing) as well as classical serology. Next, we will investigate the relationship between pre-existing immune response and disease severity. Together, this research will provide proof-of- concept data regarding the importance of a multidisciplinary surveillance approach, which will support future funding applications. This work will also strengthen our collaboration and field capacity in Colombia and generate a clinical specimen bank for ongoing research. Ultimately, our group will establish and deploy methods to detect and discover emerging viruses, characterize them through rigorous scientific studies, and support efforts towards their control and prevention.

Co-PI: Jeffrey Staton, PhD

Professor, ECAS, Political Science

Co-PI: Dehanza Rogers, MFA

Assistant Professor, ECAS, Film and Media STudies

Effects of Court Watching on Immigration Court Watchers

Immigration court watching programs bring non-expert volunteers to observe immigration court pro- ceedings. One goal of these programs is to influence the opinions court watchers have about immigration courts by exposing them to procedures that are often perceived to be unfair. Existing scholarship on the way that information about courts influences public opinion suggests that these programs could have many different effects, including no effect at all. We develop experimental studies designed to estimate the effects of court watching on perceptions of procedural fairness, perceptions of the legitimacy of immigration courts, and acceptance of extreme outcomes. We combine a field experimental study of actual court watching with a survey experimental study that leverages a virtual court watching experience. The field experiment is highly externally valid but confronts several design challenges, which the survey experiment addresses. To ensure that the virtual court watching experience is as close as possible to the real experience, we dramatize immigration court proceedings through a series of short films based on actual immigration court events. This grant will support the film work required for the virtual court watch experiment, pilot work in support of both experiments, and the fielding of the survey experiment. The studies supported are part of a novel interdisciplinary collaboration between Film and Media Stud- ies, Political Science, and the School of Law, which is designed to advance collaborative research in the context of law and politics and teaching goals at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.