Designed to bring mobile expertise and laboratory facilities to locations around the world, Atlantis consists of six modules that house scientific laboratories, facilities and research support tools. The mission of Atlantis is to add and build specific environmental and human health research capacity in remote island and coastal communities.
Atlantis was first tested as a fully autonomous field station in Bermuda during Fall 2003 when it received funding from the XL Foundation to partner with BIOS, the Department of Health and the Department of Conservation Services to conduct a broad range of studies. These included an analysis of Bermuda tank water after Hurricane Fabian and Bermuda’s first fetal cord blood study with the Maternity Unit at KEMH.
Building on this success, Atlantis has returned to Bermuda to continue its research, monitoring, and educational activities. One of its first research programs will be an assessment of Salmonella, the most common pathogen associated with acute gastroenteritis (GE) in Bermuda. Most GE cases around the world are caused by Salmonella enteridis, but Bermuda is the only location in the Caribbean and North America where Salmonella mississippi is the dominant strain.
Shervon De Leon, a pre-doctoral student at the University of Guelph will be working with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Bermuda Government to identify the sources, environmental factors, and human health behaviors associated with the presence of this intestinal pathogen. Over the next eights months, De Leon will gather a variety of samples from Bermuda’s water, soil, and wildlife to get a more complete understanding of how Salmonella mississippi is transmitted and what contributes to its presence on the island.
Dr Philippe Rouja, Principal Scientist with Bermuda’s Department of Conservation Services, explains that, “Bermuda is the second most isolated inhabited island in the world and is the perfect place to conduct environmental science. BIOS started as an early field station for teaching and testing theories in the world of an emerging marine and environmental science and has become a leader in these fields.
Today’s global concern with human-caused environmental change has reframed many of these scientific questions and Bermuda can play an important role in researching these problems.”
Acting Head of Administration at the Department of Health, David Kendell said, “The DoH welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with our community partners on these research projects. The Salmonella study will be building upon the work recently concluded as part of Bermuda’s Burden of Illness study http://tinyurl.com/bz8s3bs.
These new studies promise to yield information that will allow Bermuda to target resources and make improvements in the health of the population. Healthy people in healthy communities are vital for a healthy economy.”