Building on the critical mass of expertise and infrastructure assembled during our first funding period, this proposal seeks five more years of support through NCRR's COBRE program to enable us to further strengthen and consolidate a self-sustaining and flourishing Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology (CETI). Once again, both junior and senior faculty scholars from the Biology and Computer Science Departments at the University of New Mexico and the Los Alamos National Labs will undertake research projects that seek to reveal basic design principles of immune systems, that model the interactions between pathogens and immune systems, and that explore the evolution of immune responses across animal phyla. Consequently, we will better understand how invertebrate vectors transmit infectious diseases, how pathogens defend themselves from immune attack and how the comparative study of immune systems can lead to exciting new conceptual frameworks and paradigms. We will also improve our mentoring program to develop independently-funded junior investigators, provide our members logistical support in grant preparation and management and at every opportunity strive to improve their long-term career prospects. We will hire additional CETI-related tenure track faculty and continue to partner with other NCRR-programs and the UNM administration to support and improve CETI's core facilities in molecular biology, controlled environments and mass spectrometry/proteomics. We will also expand and improve the physical home of CETI by moving into new facilities that CETI has leveraged through productive partnerships with the UNM administration, and we will initiate a new seed grant program to increase the breadth and impact of CETI. We will develop multi-investigator proposals to mark CETI's graduation from NCRR funding and continue to seek new ways to promote integration and collaborations among our members and with the New Mexico research community. Lastly, CETI will increasingly serve as a catalyst to develop new training and biomedical research opportunities in our state and will use our critical mass to undertake initiatives and favor research enabling us to achieve world class recognition and prominence.
Research conducted by investigators at the Center for Evolutionary and Theoretical Immunology will increase our understanding of the transmission of human parasitic diseases and may lead to the development of new therapeutics. In addition, models of viral diseases will be developed that will improve our ability to predict the spread of epidemics as well as evaluate effectiveness of different treatment regimes.
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