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PBRC Graduate Student Randi Rollins Was Awarded The GSO Merit Based Award For Research (PhD) For 2019-2020

Randi Rollins was awarded the UH Graduate Student Organization (GSO) Merit Based Award for Research (PhD) for 2019-2020. Her dissertation focuses on the natural and zoonotic transmission of rat lungworm (Angiostrongylus cantonensis), a parasitic roundworm and cause of a debilitating and occasionally deadly neglected tropical disease, angiostrongyliasis. Despite discovery of the disease in 1961, relatively little is known about the parasite’s biology and ecology. Randi employs ecological concepts in conjunction with
epidemiological approaches to understand the relationship of the parasite with its environment and host organisms (snails, slugs and rats), to elucidate infection pathways, and provide insight into treatment options. During the past four years working in the Cowie and Medeiros labs, both in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center, Randi has had opportunities to collaborate with the Hawaii State Department of Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine, local physicians, and local farmers (contaminated produce is a possible pathway for transmission) to understand and prevent this enigmatic disease. Her research contributes to reducing infection in communities across the Pacific Islands and around the globe where this deadly brain parasite is present, and serves as a model for other zoonotic diseases.

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