Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Adriano de Bernardi Schneider, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics, has been selected to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) this fall in Boston, Massachusetts.

Karen Cheng, a medical student at Boston University School of Medicine, and Kara Luo, an undergraduate student at MIT, will join Schneider at CGI U. They are working to create a larvicide automatic dispenser to battle the Zika virus. Also involved in this project are Gregorio Linchangco, a Ph.D. student in the University’s Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics; automation engineer Marcelo DeCastro; a mechanical engineer from Cornell, Paul Chang; and a physician from Boston, Ihsan Kaadan.

According to Schneider, the dispenser project is an outgrowth of an idea developed at a Zika hackathon in Boston in early 2016. The project has received multiple awards, including “Most Implementable Solution” by the GE Foundation.

The larvicide dispenser will help combat Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in South America to reduce the spread of the Zika and other viruses, as well as Yellow and Dengue fevers. The dispenser, a portable plastic device, would be deployed under water to release a steady concentration of larvicide to control the breeding habitat of the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The 2017 annual CGI U meeting will be Oct. 13-15 at Northeastern University. Participants will attend plenary and working sessions and other special events that will enable them to network with their peers, build skills and identify potential partners for their projects.

Schneider anticipates completing his Ph.D. in December 2017. During his time at the University, he has published three peer-reviewed papers and attended the Zika Summit at Institute Pasteur in Paris with Daniel Janies, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics in the College of Computing and Informatics. He also attended the first International Zika Conference earlier this year and recently presented his research on the transmission networks of Zika and Chikungunya viruses at the Gordon Conferences on Infectious Tropical Diseases. At the Gordon Conferences, Schneider served as a discussion leader for the session “Challenges for Young Tropical Diseases Scientists/Diverse Studies on Diverse Infectious Diseases.”