TUCSON, Ariz.--Seven years ago, Charles Sterling came to the University of Arizona determined to find a new line of research. At the time Sterling, who was an expert in malaria from Wayne State University in Detroit, had grown tired of what he called the "nasty" world of big-time malaria research funding, a world rife with political infighting and fierce competition among scientists. So, at Arizona, he turned his attention to an obscure, little-studied relative of the malaria parasite, a protozoan called Cryptosporidium, and settled in. But not for long.

As chance would have it, Sterling had stumbled into another research whirlwind when he discovered that Cryptosporidia were a much larger health hazard than anyone had imagined. In fact, thanks in part to a new diagnostic test that Sterling developed, the protozoan is being discovered in AIDS patients and in water supplies around the world.

TUCSON, Ariz.--When tap water turns out...

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