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One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain sustainable optimal health for the ecosystem*. It is a cultural and behavioral concept with socioeconomic elements and impact.

*a biological community of living organisms (humans, animals, plants, and microbes) and their physical environment interacting as a system

One Health Grand Challenges

Genetic and Environmental Regulation of Metabolic Health

The awarded proposal in the Chronic Diseases and Conditions theme of the One Health Grand Challenge was a team of 25 faculty in 14 schools/colleges/centers/institutes. The goal of this One Health proposal was enhancement of health and well-being by alleviation of the adverse physical, societal and economic effects of stressful, chronic diseases and conditions in humans and animals, especially metabolic dysregulation and obesity. Texas A&M University will lead the systematic approach to the discovery of the mechanisms linking stressful environmental factors, epigenetics, metabolic syndrome, and obesity to the burden of chronic, inflammatory diseases and conditions.

Contact Dr. Tom Welsh for more information. Download proposal here, or watch the video.

Chagas Disease

This proposal was submitted by six faculty from six colleges/schools at Texas A&M. In the theme of global health and security Chagas disease is a devastating cardiac disease of humans and dogs caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and is spread by kissing bug vectors that are prevalent across Central and South America. In South America, the disease has been reported in cattle and pigs, potentially creating an economic threat to communities in Texas. This transdisciplinary team is working together with public health officials to assess the distribution and determinants of disease across the landscape and to generate innovative solutions to the problems of Chagas disease in
the Americas.  Visit the project's website at http://kissingbug.tamu.edu/.

Contact Dr. Sarah Hamer for more information. Download the proposal here, or watch the video.

Next Generation Biologics

Rapidly rising healthcare costs are placing a significant burden on our economy, placing healthcare out of reach of many people, and further straining the ability of the healthcare system to provide this service to underserved communities, both nationally and globally. The vision of the project is to create a world where human, animal, and plant diseases can be readily detected, disease mechanisms can be accurately and quickly deciphered, emerging threats can be predicted, and new therapeutics and vaccines can be rapidly developed, all at low cost, thus ultimately providing accessible and affordable healthcare to the globe. The core enabling technological innovation is in developing in vitro microsystems that closely mimic the physiology of whole organisms, and in developing lab‐on‐a chip systems that are high throughput, accurate, flexible, and low cost. The proposal’s initial focus application areas for Microphysiological Systems that represents the One Health concept will be 1) neurodegenerative disease (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s); 2) the immune system; and 3) environment and the microbiome. The developed systems and their applications will be more broadly expanded and adapted to solving other health problems of high societal importance. Nineteen faculty from five schools/colleges are included in this endeavor.

Contact Dr. Arum Han for more information.  Download the proposal here, or watch the video.

Electron Beam as a Platform Technology

In many parts of the world, society is confronted with urban sprawl, spread of infectious diseases, rampant foodborne disease outbreaks, sick livestock and companion animals, chronic water shortages, and often one disaster away from crippling food shortages. These global challenges require globally applicable solutions that are technologically feasible and economically sustainable. High energy electron beams (eBeam) generated using commercial electricity can dramatically improve the quality of life for Americans and the rest of the world. This proposal plans to use a one‐of‐a‐kind eBeam instrumentation and product processing capabilities at the TAMU National Center for Electron Beam Research as a core facility. This One Health project team (compasses 25 faculty members from 15 schools/colleges/centers/institutes) is synergizing the University system’s transdisciplinary research expertise to make transformative impacts on:

Contact Dr. Suresh D. Pillai for more information.  Download the proposal here, watch the video or visit their webpage.

Pet Ownership and Human MRSA Patients

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes infections in both people and companion animals such as dogs and cats.  Studies have shown that pets can harbor MRSA when living with a human carrier, and there are case reports that document failure of MRSA decolonization until initiation of treatment of the family pet.  However, there have been no longitudinal studies to determine whether decolonization of pets during human MRSA patient decolonization impacts the duration of positive cultures from the human patient.  The complexity of the MRSA problem calls for an integrated One Health approach that considers both the human MRSA patient and their companion animals.

The objective of this study is to determine whether interventions such as bathing or application of topical treatments and treatment of underlying skin disease in pet dogs and cats belonging to human MRSA patients impact the duration of positive cultures as a surrogate measure of the efficacy of decolonization protocols in human patients.  The hypothesis is that interventions in pets such as bathing or applying topical products will improve efficacy of decolonization protocols in pet-owning human MRSA patients.  Support for the study was provided through a grant from the Skippy Frank Fund.

For this pilot study, eight patients from individual households will be enrolled with approximately 36 pets.  Additional funding will be needed in order to achieve a goal of having 288 households, and relationships need to be built with multiple medical centers for the recruitment of additional households.  The results of the study will provide crucial knowledge for physicians who treat and decolonize pet-owning human MRSA patients and will provide guidance for veterinarians treating pets associated with MRSA patients.  Better understanding of MRSA carriage in pet dogs and cats will decrease MRSA infections in these patients and reduce inappropriate euthanasia of healthy pets carrying MRSA.

Look for updates for the beginning of patient enrollment and for further information regarding this exciting research, please contact Dr. Seth Sullivan (infectious disease physician) or Dr. Sara Lawhon (veterinarian and clinical microbiologist) at MRSA@cvm.tamu.edu.

Seth J. Sullivan, MD, MPH, Infectious Disease Specialist, Scott and White Health Care, College Station, TX 77845.

Sara D. Lawhon, DVM, PhD, DACVM, Assistant Professor/Director, Clinical Microbiology, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4467.