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Research & Development



The Research & Development (R&D) Department conducts tailored, collaborative studies to research, develop, and implement novel technologies which rapidly improve Force Health Protection and global public health through the reduction of vector-borne disease transmission. It provides expertise in direct support of NECE’s operational activities and other DoD, USG, and academic agencies through cutting-edge genomic analysis and advanced bioinformatics.

Active Projects

  • The Insecticide Resistance Response System (IRRS): Identification of molecular markers for countering evolving insecticide resistance challenges in ticks and mosquitoes. IRRS’s goal is to protect Servicemembers from arthropod pests, specifically ticks and mosquitoes, and the diseases they transmit. As arthropod habitats spread due to global warming, insecticide use increases. Insecticide resistance is concomitant with this increased use. Being able to detect insecticide resistance is key to informing decisions about which pesticides will yield the best protection for Servicemembers. IRRS’s approach is to use Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to detect genetic mutations that confer some level of resistance in ticks and mosquitoes. Using sequencing data about these mutations, fieldable RT-PCR assays are being developed.
  • VecTech “ByteSight” IDX Platform: Provide mosquito and tick samples to improve machine learning of the platform for future models and assist in the development of SOPs.
  • Remote Emerging Disease Intelligence NETwork (REDI-NET): Led by the University of Notre Dame, R&D collaborates on the Remote Emerging Disease Intelligence-NETwork (REDI-NET). It is a long-term, phased initiative to develop a collaborative network among domestic and international partnering institutions to address surveillance needs to effectively DETECT, PREDICT and CONTAIN potentially emergent zoonosis of human relevance and improve the accuracy and timeliness of the ‘data-to decision’ pipeline. We aim to leverage, coordinate and integrate pre-existing and novel, real-time domestic and international xenosurveillance efforts to optimize pathogen discovery and provide a one-stop shop for health decision-makers.
  • Xenosurveillance of tick-borne pathogens using a systems network approach and real-time field deployable detection techniques
  • Detection of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in ticks, domestic farm animals, and development of associated risk maps. To achieve this R&D, performs both long- and short-read NGS using Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) and Illumina equipment, respectively. Long-read sequencing is performed with a high-throughput GridION sequencer which utilizes the same reagents as the fielded, smaller MinION sequencers. Short-read sequencing is accomplished using the industry standard MiSeq.




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