Pilot Grants for Yale Faculty

The Climate Change and Health Initiative seeks proposals for innovative pilot research projects focused on climate change and health. We encourage applications from co-Principal Investigators (similar to the NIH multiple Principle Investigator mechanism) across disciplines, especially collaborations between Yale School of Public Health faculty and faculty from other parts of the University. Priority for funding will be based on the scientific merit of the research plan; the likelihood that the project will lead to a larger, externally-funded study; the likelihood that the project will be completed within one year; and the extent to which the project is interdisciplinary. Applicants may request up to $25,000. Funds are available for one award. One page Letters of Intent are due by Monday, February 13, 2017. Please see the RFP for further information.

Ongoing Project

Consequences of climate change for risk of enteric infections: investigating links between hydrology and water-borne disease

Principal Investigators:

Virginia Pitzer
Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases Yale School of Public Health
virginia.pitzer@yale.edu

Daniel Weinberger
Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases Yale School of Public Health
daniel.weinberger@yale.edu

William Boos
Associate Professor
Department of Geology and Geophysics Yale University 
william.boos@yale.edu

ABSTRACT
To predict the impact of climate change on future infectious disease incidence, it is essential to robustly quantify the climate-disease relationship. Appropriately attributing changes in disease incidence to climate change often requires building a mechanistic understanding from relatively short time-series of climatic variables and disease incidence—a process that relies on harnessing spatial variation and/or biological knowledge. We will focus on quantifying associations between water-borne enteric diseases and hydrologically-relevant climatic variables. Using a meta-regression approach, we will reevaluate studies that have examined the effect of climate on enteric diseases across a wide range of geographic locations. We will seek to identify the sources of heterogeneity and relevant climatic variables that lead to more consistent findings than have been previously reported. We will then focus on one particular climate-disease system—precipitation and typhoid fever in Kathmandu, Nepal—and employ both statistical and mathematical models to quantify the relationship between various hydrological metrics, bacterial contamination of water supplies, and the incidence of typhoid fever cases while controlling for epidemiological and immune-driven feedbacks over a 14-year time period. These analyses will provide the foundation and methodological developments necessary to inform future studies that link predictive models of enteric disease incidence to climate change projections.