Ebola, MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), malaria, antibiotic-resistant infections: Is our interaction with the environment somehow responsible for their increased incidence?

The joint National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases (EEID) program is providing answers.

The EEID program supports efforts to understand the ecological and biological mechanisms behind human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases.

Now NSF, NIH and USDA–in collaboration with the U.K.’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)–have awarded more than $12 million in new EEID grants.

“Recent outbreaks such as the Ebola and MERS viruses, as well as growing threats such as Lyme disease, demonstrate the need for fundamental understanding of pathogen movement and evolution,” says Sam Scheiner, NSF program director for EEID.