Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the Division of Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School to develop and populate a public database. It will archive sequences of putative drug resistance genes in M. tuberculosis (M.Tb), to assist future diagnostic development, global TB surveillance, and potentially the development of new TB treatments. The project will collect the DNA for 2300 well-characterized strains of drug-resistant (including multi-drug resistant (MDR), and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) M.Tb.), successfully sequence approximately 2000 of those, reconcile any discrepancies between the sequence data and the drug susceptibility test data, and publish a web-based, user-friendly database for public use. The project has six objectives:
The Division of Global Health Equity is working with five partners: Partners Healthcare Sequencing Center in Boston, Massachusetts; the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Biocomputational Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Massachusetts; the Massachusetts State Laboratory Institute (MSLI) in Boston, Massachusetts; and Abt Associates.
Abt Associates is providing project management through a system incorporating proactive monitoring and adherence to the budget, schedule, and quality of all tasks. We are overseeing the coordination project activities, working with domestic and international collaborators to identify and gather the strains; Dr. Alex Sloutsky at MSLI laboratories to process the DNA for sequencing; Dr. Oleg Iartchouk at Partners Sequencing to conduct the sequencing and output the raw sequence data; Dr. Razvan Sultana at DFCI to align and ‘read’ the sequence data and identify genetic mutations; Dr. Megan Murray and associates at the Division of Global Health Equity and to reconcile discrepancies; and with Dr. James Galagan at the Broad Institute to develop and publish the final public database.
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.