Professor awarded over $180,000 in grants to study parasites that cause neglected tropical diseases

October 05, 2023

Headshot of Nils Pilotte, assistant professor of biology

Nils Pilotte, assistant professor of biology at Quinnipiac, was recently awarded two grants totaling over $180,000 to study parasites that cause neglected tropical diseases.

Pilotte was awarded a $142,595 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to compare testing platforms for mosquito-transmitted diseases that are field-friendly. He said the money will be used to hire an assistant as well as for supplies and possible travel to Africa.

In addition to the Gates Foundation grant, Pilotte is a co-investigator in a group that recently received a $347,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Pilotte and Quinnipiac will receive a portion of the grant, $38,121, to continue studying parasitic worms that affect the gut in India via soil samples.

“We’re looking at how organisms that affect animals play into the human infection rates and also how animals serve as reservoirs for the human infection rates,” he said. “It is a One Health approach in which the idea is that human health, animal health and planetary health are all one, and you need to consider all when you are trying to mitigate disease.”

The latter grant is the result of a collaboration among multiple institutions in India, including Christian Medical College, Vellore and Martin Luther Christian University, and in the United States, consisting of Quinnipiac, Smith College, University of California and University of Washington.

Pilotte is working with biology student David Russell '23, MS '24, on the soil study.

“Grant money is very important,” Pilotte said. “I work in the neglected tropical disease field, and so, we are always very excited about funding. Anything we can do to sort of help combat these diseases is important. I am thrilled to be working with collaborators in locations where these diseases are endemic.”

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