WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University researchers have been awarded a three-year, $4.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The funding will support what Purdue calls the “modernization” of data on disease-spreading parasites. 

The Terrestrial Parasite Tracker project will streamline more than 1.3 million arthropod specimens including West Nile and Lyme Disease-spreading ticks and mosquitoes. 

The grant also will support public education programs, summer youth programs, teaching modules for undergraduate classes and other educational items.

“Typically people envision that we have all this knowledge in books or a spreadsheet at these facilities, but we’re not even at that point. We’re talking about handwritten cards on a shelf,” said Stephen Cameron, professor and head of Purdue’s Department of Entomology, home of the Purdue Entomological Research Collection in a news release. “We are now organizing data that would otherwise be unattainable to the broader scientific community.”