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 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). In April 2013, NICHD and NIFA reissued the FOA (PAR-13-204). Since then, NICHD and NIFA have supported 14 and 15 awards, respectively.

Based on the success of the program thus far, NICHD and NIFA reissued the FOA in July 2016 for a period of another 3 years: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-16-366.html.

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., disease, 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:

  • Teresa Davis, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas
    Leucine Supplementation to Promote Lean Growth in Early Life
  • Susan Suarez, Cornell University, New York
    Physical and Chemical Cues that Guide Sperm Migration in the Female Reproductive Tract
  • George Smith, Michigan State University
    Embryotropic Actions of Follistatin: Mechanisms and Translational Relevance
  • Pablo Ross, University of California, Davis
    Epigenetic Control of Preimplantation Development
  • Rodney Johnson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Developmental Origins of Decreased Resilience
  • R. Michael Roberts, University of Missouri-Columbia
    Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Swine: Application to Genetic Modification
  • Thomas Spencer, Washington State University
    Systems Biology Approach to Understanding Endometrial Receptivity and Pregnancy Loss
  • Randall Prather, University of Missouri-Columbia
    Modification of SCNT Donor Cell Metabolism to Mimic Blastomere Metabolism
  • Stephen Ford, University of Wyoming
    Cortisol Regulation of Perinatal Adipose Tissue and Sheep Neonatal Leptin Peak
  • Adam Moeser, North Carolina State University
    Neuro-immune Mechanisms in Early Life Stress-Induced Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Wesley Van Voorhis, University of Washington
    Dual Use Therapeutics for Cryptosporidiosis, Toxoplasmosis, and Neosporosis
  • Michael Satterfield, Texas A&M AgriLife Research
    Understanding Placental Adaptations to Maternal Malnutrition
  • Ryan Cabot, Purdue University
    Developmental Requirements of SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeling Complexes in Porcine Embryos
  • Thomas Ficht, Texas A&M AgriLife Research
    Improved Live Attenuated Brucella Vaccines to Reduce Human Diseases

Funded by NIFA/USDA:

  • Frank Bartol, Auburn University, Alabama
    Maternal Lactocrine Programming of Female Reproductive Tract Development
  • Qijing Zhang, Iowa State University
    Abortifacient Campylobacter jejuni as a Zoonotic Pathogen
  • Chang Won Lee, The Ohio State University
    Universal Flu Vaccine by a Norovirus P Particle Platform
  • Peter Hansen, University of Florida
    Developmental Programming During Preimplantation Development
  • Cynthia Baldwin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
    Activation of Gamma Delta T Cells in Response to Important Bacterial Pathogens
  • Michael Konkel, Washington State University
    Prevention of Campylobacter Jejuni Disease in Humans by Reducing Pathogens Load in Poultry
  • Craig Altier, Cornell University
    Regulation of Salmonella Virulence by Intestinal Fatty Acids
  • Yoshihiro Izumiya, University of California
    Oncogenic Pathways of Marek’s Disease Virus
  • Teresa Davis, Baylor College of Medicine
    Leucine Supplementation to Promote Lean Growth in Early Life
  • Wesley Van Voorhis, University of Washington
    Dual use Therapeutics for Cryptosporidiosis, Toxoplasmosis, and Neosporosis
  • Andrea Baumler, University of California
    Development of Colonization Resistance in Infants
  • Bhanu Prakash Telugu, University of Maryland
    Generation of Zoonotic Influenza Resistant Recombinant Pigs via Site-Directed Technology
  • Charles Rice, Rockefeller University
    Characterization of Recently Discovered Liver-Tropic Viruses in Horses
  • Raffi Aroian, University of Massachusetts
    Engineered Probiotics for Farm Animal and Human Nematodes
  • Thomas Spencer, University of Missouri
    Exosomes/microvesicles: Novel Mediators of Uterine Receptivity and Conceptus-Maternal Interactions

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