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Justin Remais

University of California, Berkeley, CA

Sponsor: Robert C. Spear

"Development of an Animal Replacement Assay for the Detection of Schistosoma japonicum."

The parasitic disease schistosomiasis infects 200 million people in the developing world, including more than 800,000 in China. The parasite’s infective stage, called a cercaria, inhabits irrigation canals and drainage ditches, which is where people become infected. Detecting and isolating cercarial contaminated waters has been shown to be vital for protecting human health. The current practice in China uses sentinel mice, a slow and expensive method that exhibits poor spatial and temporal resolution and costs the lives of approximately 10,000 mice per year in China alone. In response to these limitations, we aim to develop a molecular detection technique designed to improve the resolution of cercarial risk measurements at less expense and without the use of sentinel animals.