Kansas City-based research organization MRIGlobal and the University of Missouri announced Monday that they have received a $50,000 research grant, awarded by the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, to identify the mechanism that transmits the Zika virus from mother to fetus.
The study, funded by the Paul Patton Trust, allows continuation of work begun earlier this year.
Carl Gelhaus, principal scientist at MRIGlobal, said there’s a desperate need to understand the transmission that causes such serious birth defects.
Researchers will use mice to study how Zika spreads and causes microcephaly. Gelhaus said the MRIGlobal team will focus on the birth defect research, and the MU team will delve into the genetics angle in the brain.
Wayne Carter, CEO of the life sciences institute, said the grant fits with aims of the institute and the Patton Trust — to focus on genetic diseases that affect children, lead to life-changing treatments and pursue research programs with the greatest scientific relevance and potential impact.
Read more: Kansas City Star