Rockville, MD – April 6, 2016 - In today’s world of severe droughts and dramatic changes in climate, the shortage of clean water has become a major challenge. To support the improvement of community water sources, the USDA Water for Agriculture Challenge program has awarded a $10M four year grant to the University of Maryland, College Park, School of Public Health and its collaborating partners, one of which is CosmosID, to launch a new Center named CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food and Health. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, said “the grants we are announcing today are the latest of many steps USDA has taken to help communities who are struggling with water quality”.
The multidisciplinary team, led by Dr. Amy R. Sapkota at the University of Maryland, College Park, School of Public Health, will dedicate its efforts to developing innovative, safe, and sustainable ways to irrigate food crops in variable climates. “We are running out of water in our key food production regions,” Dr. Sapkota, an environmental microbiologist, said. “We need to act now to figure out how to shift water usage patterns and successfully reuse water to sustainably and safely grow our food.”
The University of Maryland, College Park, School of Public Health selected CosmosID to join their team based on the capability of CosmosID to provide a rapid, accurate, and actionable platform for metagenomic microbial identification and characterization. CosmosID Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Rita Colwell, is a world leader in water-related research and a distinguished microbiologist. Dr. Colwell was awarded the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize by the King of Sweden for outstanding water-related achievements. “The University of Maryland has a long history of excellent work in water research,” said Dr. Colwell. “CosmosID has partnered with the Orange County, CA, Water District and organizations in Europe and the Middle East to develop methods for water reuse. Therefore, it’s exciting to be part of this effort developed by the University of Maryland because water reuse is a major challenge globally. This award by the USDA to the University of Maryland, College Park, School of Public Health is recognition of the strength of the formidable team clearly highly qualified to meet this challenge headed by Dr. Sapkota, an outstanding scientist.”
Jon Ryan, 703-995-9879
CosmosID is a genomic big data company focused on rapid identification of microorganisms for infectious disease diagnostics, public health surveillance, food safety monitoring, pharmaceutical discovery, and microbiome analysis for health and wellness. Using patented methods and curated databases of more than 65,000 microbial genomes, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity markers, CosmosID provides ultra fast identification of pathogens and commensal flora to sub-species or strain level, comprehensive profiles of microbial community resistance and virulence, and highly sensitive relative abundance predictions for all microorganisms in a sample.