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SPARC Helps with Monitoring Public Health in Puerto Rico

One of the first projects supported by SPARC focused on improving early detection and treatment of potentially fatal bacterial diseases (leptospirosis and melioidosis) in Puerto Rico (PR) in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Jointly led by SPARC (Amy Kircher and Melissa Mueller) and the School of Public Health (Claudia Muñoz-Zanzi), the 3-year, $2.3 million CDC funded project led to active surveillance methods being established at four local hospitals. This effort included recruiting patients, enhancing laboratory capacity, and training clinicians. They created a protocol for disease surveillance in the wake of the hurricanes. In addition, they determined which areas are most susceptible to these diseases and the main risk factors that contribute to their spread. This will help guide prevention efforts going forward–ideally not only in Puerto Rico but in similar environments globally.

Learn more about how the team succeeded in their goals amidst natural disasters, Covid-19, and government upheaval.

SPARC's Stephen Streng Helps Provide Insights During JBS Ransomware Attack

When JBS, the global meat processor, suffered a ransomware attack in June, many news outlets turned to SPARC's Stephen Streng for help understanding the implications. His 2019 white paper was the first to warn about critical cybersecurity risks in food production. Streng is currently participating in the Department of Homeland Security Analytic Exchange Program. It forms teams of private sector and government intelligence analysts to work on vital security topics. With this experience, he and SPARC will be able to better support the University in protecting important research data from compromise and theft.

Read more about the attack and Stephen's advice: The Counter, Cupid's Health and Food Safety Tech.

University COVID Action Network (U-CAN)

The University COVID-19 Action Network (U-CAN) is a coalition of willing faculty, staff and students that is mobilizing to support COVID-19 response, recovery and resilience.

Learn more about the University COVID-19 Action Network.

SPARC ignites in the great north

Part of the SPARC team headed to the great north last month to connect with researchers and staff on the University of Minnesota – Duluth campus. As part of the Duluth launch, the team hosted two brainstorming sessions and met individually with researchers during the visit, including a tour of the Large Lakes Observatory.

Learn more about the SPARC launch visit to the Duluth campus.

What is SPARC?

And how can it help you and the U? In a recorded presentation, Dr. Katey Pelican, SPARC Co-Director, describes what is SPARC and how it was created as a new research and innovation at the University of Minnesota.

Learn more about the launch of SPARC innovation hub.