Spotlight on research

Spotlight on research

The problem with teens and medication

Dr. Vikas Dharnidharka/Photo by Jesse S. Jones

Skipping doses of medicine or taking it at the wrong times can worsen a patient’s condition and lead to costly complications — even organ rejection in patients who have undergone a kidney transplant. A consortium of researchers in the U.S. and Canada, including at UF, has received a $2.5 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to test techniques that may increase medication adherence in teenagers. “Newer medicines and technologies have improved the lives of people with illness. But such improvements have much less of an effect if patients don’t take their medicines on time or use the technologies appropriately,” said Vikas Dharnidharka, M.D., one of the study’s investigators. Researchers will study whether a menu of techniques, including a high-tech pillbox, will improve how well patients stick to their medication regimens. — April Frawley Birdwell


A step toward a life-saving vaccine

Michael Dark (right) and Tony Barbet (left)/Photo by Maria Belen Farias

Researchers at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine say proteins common to multiple strains of anaplasma marginale, a tick-borne pathogen that costs the U.S. cattle industry millions of dollars annually and is even more devastating in developing countries, could hold the key to developing an effective vaccine against the disease. In the July issue of Vaccine, UF veterinary scientists report sequencing the genes of multiple strains of the bacteria from across North America to identify common substances that could be candidates for vaccine development. Anaplasma bacteria infect red blood cells and are estimated to cost the cattle industry $300 million a year, according to industry estimates. Thirty percent of the animals that contract bovine anaplasmosis die. The research team included Michael J. Dark (right), D.V.M., Ph.D., Anthony F. Barbet (left), Ph.D., and Basima Al-Khedery, Ph.D.