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OHSU to Start NIAID Center

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Oregon Health and Science University will use funding from the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to form a regional research center that will conduct a variety of studies on infectious diseases, including genomics research.

OHSU will use part of $40.7 million in NIAID funding to start the collaborative Pacific Northwest Regional Center for Excellence (RCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, which includes a new center at OHSU. The funding will be employed in collaborations with the University of Washington, which has already established an RCE in Seattle.

PNWRCE researchers will study a wide range of diseases classified as NIAID categories A, B, and C, including diseases and viruses such as ebola, dengue fever, SARS, avian and 1918 influenza, yellow fever, and West Nile.

The focus of the research will be on two areas, including genomics and genetics analysis studies of disease-host interactions and defects in the immune system caused by aging.

"Our program at the University of Washington in genomic technologies will dovetail nicely with the research proposed in the PNWRCE," said UW's Michael Katze, a professor of microbiology and the center's co-director.

The PNWRCE will work with public health departments in other Northwestern states to conduct training and research. These researchers also will collaborate with newly-funded science initiatives in the state such as the Oregon Translational Research and Drug Development Institute.

The Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease centers program at NIAID began in 2003 and currently operates ten centers around the country.

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