Archived News

Planting a Global Affairs Seed Grant Yields Big Return


April 1, 2016

Dr. Joe Gaydos getting to know some of the wildlife in Nepal.

Dr. Joe Gaydos getting to know some of the wildlife in Nepal.

Mighty things grow from small seeds, as a team from the school’s One Health Institute discovered recently in Nepal. Drs. Jonna Mazet and Joseph Gaydos had the satisfaction of seeing a project they implemented with the help of a UC Davis Global Affairs seed grant serve as a catalyst for additional funding from the World Wildlife Fund to aid Nepal’s Department of National Parks in improving that country’s wildlife health and conservation.

Along with Dr. David Bunn of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center (WHC), Mazet and Gaydos used the 2013 seed grant to develop a long-term sustainable international collaborative research and education program that improves wildlife health in Nepal. The program was designed in response to a need to improve Nepal’s capacity to handle local wildlife health issues—including addressing diseases that go between wildlife and domestic animals and humans, as well as capturing and transporting wildlife for conservation. 

Gaydos said the project also helped get ministers and politicians to help enact policy changes, like creating veterinary positions in national parks and conducting training and an introduction to wildlife health in the Nepali veterinary curriculum.

“With a relatively small amount of time and money, UC Davis was able to export wildlife health capacity to another country,” Gaydos said. “These efforts will not only benefit wildlife conservation, but human health and the well-being of domestic animals.”

As an extension of the seed grant program, the Central Zoo of Nepal also received the valuable gift of reference textbooks, thanks to the efforts of the WHC, two students from the class of 2016, and generous donors.

The UC Davis Global Affairs Office established the Seed Grants for International Activities in 2001 to give life to bold ideas in international programs. So far they have awarded over $1.7 million to 180 diverse programs across the UC Davis campus. In turn, they have generated over $40 million in external funding. The program has launched innovative educational and research programs in every college and school across the university. It has also helped faculty forge important external relationships with leading universities around the world, government agencies, industry, and other community and non-governmental organizations. 

Three more projects from the School of Veterinary Medicine were selected to receive Global Affairs Seed Grants in 2016. The faculty members, project titles and abstracts are:

Janet Foley, Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology

Title: International collaborative research and training partnerships to resolve the emerging global threat of tick-borne disease

Abstract: We propose to extend an existing international partnership between UC Davis with the Fondazione Edmund Mach in Italy to address knowledge gaps about Lyme disease, the most common vector-borne disease in North America and Europe. We will implement blood meal analysis of ticks to compare ecologies between California and northern Italy, share training and research between institutions, initiate fieldwork course modules, and begin a global tick-borne disease working group. Benefits include a novel international curriculum, which may be integrated into study abroad. Doing this work will strengthen the relationship with our partner and potentially expand to new partnerships globally.

Rodrigo Gallardo, Assistant Professor, Population Health and Reproduction

Title: Youth Programs to Improve Food Security in Rural Nicaragua, Using Poultry as a Model

Abstract: One Health Nicaragua is an interdisciplinary team seeking to address food insecurity in Sabana Grande, Nicaragua by improving poultry health and management to increase meat and egg production. Nicaraguan and U.S. veterinary medicine students will be trained by education experts in new strategies to host poultry workshops to primary school children. Youth leaders in the community will be provided with materials for follow up training and information retrieval. Online communication with local youth will enable data collection and assessment. A demonstration flock will provide opportunities for first-hand experience with poultry. We believe that classroom interventions and animal interaction will induce changes at the family level, sustainably improving overall food security in Sabana Grande.

James Cullor, Professor, Population Health and Reproduction, and Michael Wilkes, Professor at the School of Medicine

Title: Kinigi Farms: A One Health Demonstration Project

Abstract: This seed grant will create a field course composed of UCD and University of Rwanda students and faculty to focus on establishing what we are calling “Kinigi Farms”, a cooperative community (similar to a kibbutz) intended to promote human health, animal health and financial wellbeing for Kinigi Farm’s Rwandan members. Our first project will focus on childhood nutrition and safe dairy production to decrease childhood diarrhea. We will also develop a hybrid “One Health /global health” course (in-person for those at UCD and virtually for those at the UR) to be delivered prior to the Rwandan field course.