Alvaro Toledo, assistant professor in the Department of Entomology, is the recipient of a Global Health Seed Grant awarded by the Rutgers Global Health Institute. The project, “Ectoparasites and Diseases of Poverty in Low-Income Urban Communities,” is funded by Rutgers Global, the institute’s partner in awarding seed grants, for implementation during the 2022–2023 academic year.
Toledo is among five Rutgers faculty members awarded $50,000 in Global Health Seed Grants to support new projects addressing health inequities in New Jersey and worldwide. These faculty innovators are conducting research and developing education, training, and capacity-building initiatives in collaborative, interdisciplinary ways.
In collaboration with partners in the Department of Entomology, Toledo will be leading research in low-income communities are disproportionately affected by neglected infectious diseases of poverty, such as leptospirosis, trench fever, and rickettsialpox. These diseases are responsible for a hidden health burden in poor communities, but surveillance programs to address their impact are lacking.
To advance knowledge in this area, the project team will collect mice and arthropods from apartment buildings in four New Jersey cities (Jersey City, New Brunswick, Paterson, and Trenton) to screen for zoonotic and arthropod-borne human pathogens. Methodologies that combine urban pest control, insect taxonomy, and molecular techniques will be used to determine the role of arthropods in serving as sentinels to facilitate epidemiologic surveillance and inform disease prevention strategies.
Read more on the funded projects at Rutgers Global Health Institute.