The overall objective of this COBRE application Is to achieve mentored research excellence in the field of respiratory infectious diseases by establishing the multi-institutional research center, Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases. The Oklahoma State University (OSU) Center for Veterinary Health Sciences (CVHS) will take the lead for this program with a participation of four colleges from OSU, two colleges from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. OSU CVHS is one of the smallest veterinary colleges in the US. However, CVHS leaders have continuously made commitments to improve research infrastructure and to develop research programs. The central scientific theme for the current COBRE application is infectious diseases of the respiratory system with a focus on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza virus, and bacterial infections. The four interdisciplinary projecs cover disease pathogenesis, therapeutics, molecular mechanisms, and bioengineering.
Aim I will develop a mentoring program to guide promising junior investigators (PJIs) in becoming independent NIH-funded investigators and thus create a critical mass of multi-disciplinary investigators in respiratory infectious diseases.
This aim will be accomplished by 1) mentoring four promising PJIs, 2) recruiting six new tenure-track faculty members dedicated to the Center, and 3) administering a Pilot Project Grant program to attract additional PJIs and other investigators into the thematic area of research.
Aim 2 will build up research infrastructure to support research efforts of PJIs and the Center investigators by establishing scientific research cores (Animal Model, Immunopathology, and Molecular Biology).
Aim 3 will foster inter-institutional collaborations in Oklahoma by establishing and promoting scientific interactions through the Oklahoma Center for Respiratory and Infectious Diseases. The completion of the goals of the present COBRE will have a major impact on research programs on respiratory infectious diseases in the State of Oklahoma.
Respiratory infection is listed on the top one global burden of disease. Recent outbreaks of avian influenza and Swine flu caveat future pandemic threats. Influenza virus infection causes 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths each year in the US while Respiratory Syncytial Virus is responsible for hospitalization of >80,000 children each year. Accomplishing the goals of the research projects will result in the development of drugs to treat respiratory infection Therefore the current proposal addresses a public health priority.
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