It is well known in health circles that influenza can be much more dangerous to the elderly. Two
Michigan State University
(MSU) researchers just received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health
to address that issue.Dr. Elizabeth Gardner
, an MSU Food Science and Human Nutrion
professor and lead researcher of the project, says this project has potential to change what we know about the flu.
know vaccinations are important, but we also know they are not as
effective as we want them to be,” she says, referring to the fact that
90 percent of the elderly population in the U.S. are affected by the
flu, even with vaccines. “We are moving on to the next phase.”
next phase looks at what cells are responsible for causing infection
and enhancing those in the absence of any vaccine. In turn, Gardner
says this will make vaccines more effective.
Gardner’s lab is partnered with Sung Jin Kim’s
lab, an assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics
at MSU. All together, five or six people will be working on the project, including graduate students.
“This (grant) is really good for our lab,” says Gardner. “We are pretty excited.”
Gardner will also look at nutritional intervention, or how healthy nutrition can enhance cell response to influenza.
Source: Elizabeth Gardner
Writer: Andy Balaskovitz