SFI sponsored Caitlin Pepperell, University of Wisconsin, along with Ron Haak & Sharon Perry of SFI, to travel to Russia to meet with colleagues to discuss the proposed research collaboration to study the human and bacterial genetics of TB in Kalmykia. The overall objective of the program is to determine whether susceptibility to TB in Kalmykia is associated with host and/or bacterial traits.
The primary objective of the trip was to review all the activities that must be completed prior to the preparation and submission, this autumn, of a NIH research grant proposal. The first meetings were held in Moscow at the Central TB Research Institute (CTRI). The CTRI team, headed by Professor Olga Demikhova, is committed to the project and is already conducting preliminary activities. The US team then traveled to Elista, Kalmykia, for similar meetings. Again, the Elista team, headed by Dr German Avaldykov, is eager to participate. For the past 18 months, the Elista TB laboratory has been generating preliminary data that will be incorporated into the grant proposal. They are also in the process of establishing an Investigational Review Board (IRB), a necessary and important component of being able to conduct research. SFI is providing supplies for the GeneXpert during this phase of the program.