12 research outputs found

    The Cross-Species Mycobacterial Growth Inhibition Assay (MGIA) Project, 2010-2014.

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    The development of a functional biomarker assay in the tuberculosis (TB) field would be widely recognized as a major advance in efforts to develop and to test novel TB vaccine candidates efficiently. We present preliminary studies using mycobacterial growth inhibition assays (MGIAs) to detect Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine responses across species, and we extend this work to determine whether a standardized MGIA can be applied in characterizing new TB vaccines. The comparative MGIA studies reviewed here aimed to evaluate robustness, reproducibility, and ability to reflect in vivo responses. In doing so, they have laid the foundation for the development of a MGIA that can be standardized and potentially qualified. A major challenge ahead lies in better understanding the relationships between in vivo protection, in vitro growth inhibition, and the immune mechanisms involved. The final outcome would be a MGIA that could be used with confidence in TB vaccine trials. We summarize data arising from this project, present a strategy to meet the goals of developing a functional assay for TB vaccine testing, and describe some of the challenges encountered in performing and transferring such assays

    Dictator Games: A Meta Study

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    Cooperative solutions : how the Fair Trade and organic coffee markets support forested ecosystems on Nicaraguan coffee farms

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    Widespread deforestation throughout Latin America has accentuated the importance of forested coffee farms as bastions of biodiversity that in many respects mimic tropical forests. However, a trend towards producing coffee within highly productive, chemically intensive monocultures has increasingly left these important ecosystems within the hands of small-scale farmers and indigenous communities, who are typically unable to capture much of the value of their coffee because of power asymmetry within their trading relationships. Notable exceptions are farmers who belong to cooperatives, which enable farmers to enhance their power and access the high-value Fair Trade and organic markets. In exchange for high prices, these markets require that farmers meet a variety of certification criteria that, among other things, affect how small coffee farms are managed. This thesis examines the means and processes through which the production of coffee for the organic and Fair Trade markets affects forested ecosystems on small-scale farms in Pancasan and El Coyolar, Nicaragua. In particular, it emphasizes the role of cooperatives as the institution through which standards are met, information is exchanged, decisions are made, access to global markets is facilitated, and a 'new' product with more resilient social and environmental benefits is achieved. While these markets do indeed require farmers to meet certification standards, it is the cooperatives and their allies that develop the capacity necessary for farmers to do so. Moreover, cooperative membership enables farmers to access resources that are embedded within networks they would not otherwise be able to access, and which are significant to both their livelihoods and the forested ecosystems they manage.Science, Faculty ofResources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES), Institute forGraduat