Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Animal Species (An Interagency Partnership)


In 2010, NIH and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) established an interagency partnership to promote the use of agriculturally important domestic animal species in basic and translational research relevant to both biomedicine and agriculture. The “Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit” program, supported through NICHD’s Fertility and Infertility Branch, encourages comparative medicine studies that use farm animal models that mimic human developmental, physiological, and etiological processes to better understand disease origins and improve efficiency of assisted reproduction technology.

As part of the program, NICHD, NIFA, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in July 2010: PAR-10-276: Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Animal Species (R01). Subsequently, NICHD and NIFA reissued the FOA in April 2013 and in July 2016 (PAR-13-204 and PAR-16-366). During the period from 2010 to 2013, NICHD and NIFA supported 33 and 28 awards, respectively.

Topic Areas

The research activities supported jointly by NIH and USDA must be consistent with the broader missions of both agencies and must advance scientific knowledge to improve human health, animal health, and farm animal production. Topic areas of interest to both agencies include the following:

Reproduction, Stem Cell Biology, and Regenerative Medicine

  • Expand fundamental knowledge of processes that underlie human and animal reproduction by advancing our understanding of gametogenesis through the identification of molecular, physiological, and developmental mechanisms that regulate oogenesis and spermatogenesis
  • Improve the efficiency of assisted reproductive technologies in humans or cloning in farm animals
  • Elucidate the molecular processes regulating reprogramming in early embryos, embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, and other lineage-specific stem cells and in cloning to enhance tools and improve methods for cloning or the generation of transgenic animals
  • Modify genetic traits of large animals using gene-editing technologies for selective breeding and generation of transgenic animals that mimic human diseases or provide living, functional tissues to repair or replace tissue or organ functionality lost because of age, disease, damage or congenital defects
  • Characterize the core microbiome (including the metabolome of the microbiome) of the reproductive tract and study its effect on physiology and pathophysiology of reproduction


  • Establish the contribution of specific cell types, such as the adipocyte, and central or peripheral factors in the metabolism of lipids and their role in modulating fat accretion in tissues and/or during specific developmental stages
  • Identify genetic and/or exogenous factors, such as diet or hormones, and determine their role in predisposition to or the onset of obesity
  • Characterize the role of gastrointestinal microbiome (including the metabolome of the microbiome) on host metabolism in the context of adipose deposition and obesity

Developmental Origins of Adult Disease

  • Investigate the role of the placenta in health and disease of the mother and her fetus during pregnancy, postnatally in the offspring, and during adulthood
  • Define in utero developmental programming events altered by maternal exposure to environment stressors (e.g., nutrition, drugs, temperature, pathogens, and toxicants) or maternal health status (e.g., obesity) that may be the origin of adult disease or may impair growth, fertility, meat quality, disease resistance, and other traits that are particularly important for agriculture
  • Characterize the gestational and perinatal microbiomes (including the metabolomes of their microbiome) and study their relationship to growth, development, antimicrobial resistance, and the origin of adult diseases

Infectious Diseases

  • Elucidate the genes and physiological mechanisms that regulate resistance and/or susceptibility to infectious pathogens of humans or animals, which will allow for the selection and generation of pathogen-resistant animals
  • Develop interventions that decrease or prevent the transmission of pathogens from animal reservoirs to humans
  • Identify environmental factors that contribute to the emergence of infectious pathogens to decrease or eradicate their occurrence
  • Define the organ- or tissue-specific microbiome (including the metabolome of the microbiome) and its relationship to inflammation, immune response, infectious disease development, and antimicrobial resistance
  • Develop genome editing strategies for treatment of infectious diseases

Sites and Projects

Funded by NICHD/NIH:

  • Raffi Aroian, University of Massachusetts
    A Dual-Purpose Vaccine Targeting Blood-Feeding Nematode Parasites of Sheep and Humans
  • Anthony Blikslager, North Carolina State University
    Postnatal Development of Enteric Glial Cell-Epithelial Cell Interactions in Repair of Ischemic-Injured Intestine
  • John Bromfield, University of Florida
    Uterine Infection and Infertility: How Microbial Infection of the Reproductive Tract Causes Ovarian Dysfunction
  • Ryan Cabot, Purdue University, Indiana
    Developmental Requirements of SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeling
  • John Davis, University of Nebraska
    Metabolic Regulators of Corpus Luteum Function
  • Teresa Davis, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas
    Leucine and HMB Supplementation in Early Life to Promote Muscle Growth at the Expense of Adipose Deposition
  • John Driver, University of Florida
    Harnessing Natural Killer T Cells to Counteract Swine Influenza
  • Peter Hansen, University of Florida
    Sexual Dimorphism in Developmental Programming Caused by CSF2
  • David Hendrixson, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    Impact of Microbiota-Generated Metabolites on Campylobacter Jejuni Colonization
  • Jonathan Kurtis, Brown University, Rhode Island
    One Health Vaccine Development for Bovine and Human Schistosomiasis
  • Mathew Lucy, University of Missouri
    Uterine Microbiome: Functional Significance in Establishing the Uterine Program Postpartum
  • Jodi McGill, Iowa State University
    Development of Mucosal Polyanhydride-Based Nanoparticle Vaccine for Use Against RSV Infection in the Neonate
  • Mark McGuire, University of Idaho
    Mammary and Milk Microbiomes and Metabolomes - Understanding Early Variation and Impacts on Risk for Mammary Inflammation and Mastitis
  • David Miller, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Accumulation, Storage, and Release of Sperm in the Oviduct
  • Adam Moeser, Michigan State University
    Neuro-Immune Mechanisms in Early Life Stress-Induced Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Linda Saif, The Ohio State University
    The Impact of Vitamin A on the Gut-Mammary Gland-Secretory IgA Axis During Enteric Viral Infections
  • Michael Satterfield, Texas A&M Agrilife Research
    Understanding Placental Adaptation to Maternal Malnutrition
  • Vaughn Smider, Applied Biomedical Science Institute, California
    Defining Clinically Relevant Viral Epitopes with Cow Antibodies
  • Chad Stahl, University of Maryland
    A Porcine Model for Investigating the Role of an Insulin Signaling Regulator in Development and Disease
  • Peter Sutovsky, University of Missouri
    Linking Fertility-Associated Gene Polymorphisms to Aberrant Sperm Phenotypes
  • Kenneth White, Utah State University
    Identifying Epigenetic, Chromatin, and Transcriptomic Landscapes to Improve SCNT Development in an Animal Model

Funded by NIFA/USDA:

  • Thomas Spencer, University of Missouri
    Exosomes/Microvesicles: Novel Mediators of Uterine Receptivity and Conceptus-Maternal Interactions
  • Raffi Aroian, University of Massachusetts Medical School
    Engineered Probiotics for Farm Animal and Human Nematodes
  • James Ireland, Michigan State University
    Impact of Antral Follicle Count and FSH Dosage on ART in Cattle
  • Laurel Gershwin, University of California, Davis
    Combined Immunomodulation and Antiviral Therapy for Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  • Helene Andrews-Polymenis, Texas A&M University
    Definitions of Targets to Inhibit Salmonella Colonization of the Intestine Defining the Molecular Mechanisms of Competitive Exclusion to Reduce Salmonella Burden in Poultry
  • Sandra Rodriguez Zas, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    Lasting Effects of Maternal Immune Activation on the Offspring’s Hypothalamus and Response to Stressors
  • Rocio Rivera, University of Missouri
    Use of a Bovine Overgrowth Syndrome to Characterize the Molecular Etiology of BWS
  • Thomas Spencer, University of Missouri
    Physiological and Genetic Insights into Pregnancy Loss
  • Gerrit Bouma, Colorado State University
    Regulation of Trophoblast Function by Histone Lysine Demethylase and Nuclear Hormone Receptors
  • Keith Jarosinski, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    The Role of Alphaherpesvirus gC in Host-to-Host Transmission
  • Udeni Balasuriya, Louisiana State University
    A Novel Mechanism of Viral Immune Evasion: Hijacking and Exploitation of the CXCL16/CXCR6 Chemokine Axis by EAV During Persistent Infection in the Stallion Reproductive Tract

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