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U researchers awarded Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grant

The project will explore the roles of the gut and nervous system in controlling the spread of viral infection.

James “Jamie” Gagnon and co-investigators Nels Elde and Kristen Kwan are recipients of a Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) grant which funds research in the role of inflammation in disease. “Viral infection often starts at a barrier tissue, such as the lungs, gut or skin, before quickly spreading through the body,” says Gagnon, whose interdisciplinary team is one of 29 funded by CZI, with awards totaling $14 million. “This project will investigate how local infection, in this case via the gut, propagates to the nervous system and results in different cellular behaviors or responses organism-wide. The team will use single-cell sequencing, whole-organism live imaging, and advanced cellular recording systems to understand the progression of inflammation after viral infections across time and space.” CZI will support these small teams to carry out two-year pilot projects focused on tissue-level inflammatory processes in diverse tissues and disease states. Several researchers are studying coronaviruses like SARS and MERS. Pilot awards are intended to help new collaborations form, establish technologies and experimental methods and frame key questions for further investigation. A full list of grantees can be found here.