MUSC Center for Global Health awards 3 pilot research grants to college faculty members

November 01, 2023

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Center for Global Health is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of its global health faculty pilot grant awards. Three MUSC faculty members were awarded grants totaling nearly $55,000, funding that will help to catalyze their research projects to advance scientific discovery in low- and middle-income countries.

The principal investigators for each of the projects funded are Yosra Mohamed Ahmed Alkabab, M.D., Mae Millicent Winfrey Peterseim, M.D., and Lauren Powell, D.O., all of the College of Medicine; their research projects will be conducted in Bangladesh, Belize and Ethiopia, respectively. 

“For the past decade, the Center for Global Health has supported dozens of pilot grants for MUSC faculty seeking to jump-start their research abroad, and we are thrilled to be able to support the work of Drs. Alkabab, Peterseim and Powell and their co-investigators,” said Michael Sweat, Ph.D., the center’s faculty director. “These research awards not only lead to tangible improvements to the lives of residents in these countries, but they also assist MUSC faculty in being competitive in gaining additional research grants from outside sources. Our return on investment for this program has been outstanding and is helping MUSC faculty tap into a critical pool of research funding from sources such as the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department’s Fulbright Program.”

Faculty members may submit applications for up to $20,000. The three projects funded through the 2023 MUSC Center for Global Health Faculty Pilot Research Grants program include:

Project title: The Impact of Dynamic Glycemia Changes on TB Treatment Outcomes in Bangladesh

  • Principal investigator: Yosra Mohamed Ahmed Alkabab, M.D.
  • Project award: $20,000
  • Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Project objective: Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading killer worldwide from a single infectious disease. Concurrently, diabetes mellitus (DM) is an increasingly understood co-morbidity that can both accelerate TB disease and complicate TB treatment. People with DM are three times more likely to develop active TB than people without DM. This project goal is to measure the longitudinal glycaemia dynamics in response to TB treatment while determining the impact of transient, intermediate range (prediabetes), and DM range hyperglycemia in the context of differing DM treatment regimens and DM-associated host factors that may independently affect TB treatment outcomes.

Project title: Efficacy and Cost-effectiveness of Automated Vision Screening and Refraction in Young Children in Belize

  • Principal investigator: Mae Millicent Winfrey Peterseim, M.D.
  • Co-investigator: Eliza Barnwell, M.D., College of Medicine
  • Project award: $14,900
  • Location: Belize
  • Project objective: Our long-term goal is to develop an efficient, accurate, and cost-effective method for providing visual care to children in developing countries. In order to accomplish this, we propose a pilot study where we will quantify the effectiveness and cost of using new automated devices to measure visual deficits and amblyopia risk factors in a cohort of children in Belize.

Project title: Retrospective study to inform implementation of a shortened TB treatment regimen in Ethiopian children (RISE-Children)

  • Principal investigator: Lauren Powell, D.O.
  • Co-investigators: Susan Dorman, M.D., College of Medicine, and Mekonnen Teferi, D.V.M., Armauer Hansen Research Institute
  • Project award: $20,000
  • Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Project objective: The World Health Organization (WHO) recently changed treatment guidelines for children with non-severe TB based on the landmark SHINE trial. This trial showed that four months of the standard treatment regimen was non-inferior to six months for non-severe TB in children less than 16 years. Despite the new guidelines, the four-month regimen has not been implemented in much of sub-Saharan Africa. The reasons for lack of roll out are unclear but may include barriers related to knowledge and perceptions as well as diagnostics required to classify children’s disease as non-severe. This team’s overarching goal is to successfully implement the new WHO-recommended four-month treatment regimen for children in Ethiopia.

The center requires that proposals be aimed at activities in low-and middle-income countries; however, consideration will also be given for domestic global health projects in the U.S. territories (such as Puerto Rico), as well as projects that address disadvantaged populations in the U.S., such as Native Americans, refugees, immigrants, and migrant workers.

Since 2013, MUSC has funded more than 30 projects for faculty members seeking to jump-start their research, which has generated more than $18 million in subsequent external funding for the work to continue. Through this grant program, the Center for Global Health helps the faculties from all six colleges to build and expand global partnerships with leading universities, government agencies and community and nongovernmental organizations.

For a complete list of previous awardees, please click here.