$800,000 USDA Grant to Create Integrative Data Platform for Major Swine Diseases

Sep 18, 2023

A team of University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine researchers led by Kimberly VanderWaal was recently awarded a 4-year, $800,000 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The study aims to create an “integrative data science” platform to predict the ability of PRRSV-2 variants to provoke an immune response and spread across farms. The platform will use interconnected machine learning tools from structural biology, computational immunology, and genomic epidemiology.

The circulation of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus-type 2 (PRRSV-2) is a primary constraint to swine health and production. PRRSV-2 is a rapidly evolving RNA virus impacting roughly 30–50% of breeding farms. With an economic burden of over $600 million in the U.S. alone, PRRSV-2 is the most important endemic disease to the U.S. swine industry. 

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