EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – As the Ebola virus draws the world’s attention to the danger of disease spread, a Michigan State University researcher is working to provide better tools to measure the human health risk from microbes and to train researchers in their use.

Biosystems engineering professor Jade Mitchell is doing the work with help from a $1 million National Institutes of Health grant.

“One of the goals of the program is to link quantitative scientists such as engineers to biologists and social scientists,” university spokeswoman Holly Whetstone said in a statement.

The process is called quantitative microbial risk assessment, and Michigan State says it involves steps to figuring out the human health risk from exposure to various microorganisms.

“It’s important that we engage more with biologists and social scientists because their work is so important to risk assessment and the application of systems thinking to public health problems,” said Mitchell. “Especially when it comes to defining and implementing management practices, which rely on how people respond to them.”

The program is called One Health and will include two-week courses beginning in summer 2015, the university said.

“One of the things I like best about this program is that it brings new research into the educational environment,” Mitchell said.

 

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