The intersection of TB and HIV infection is increasing the global burden of both diseases. HIV infection greatly increases the risk of TB converting from latent to active infection, and TB infection increases morbidity and mortality in the HIV+ population. In 2006, the HU CFAR sponsored a national meeting on TBHIV coinfection, which led to the creation of a working group of HU CFAR members focused onTB-HlV research, and identification of a major unmet need: a BSL-3 biocontainment facility that would allow for cell sorting and imaging. When new facilities for the Ragon Institute were being constructed, the HU CFAR Membership successfully petitioned the Phillip T and Susan M Ragon Foundation to include a state of the art BSL-3 laboratory to meet these needs. These recently completed facilities include 2240 square feet of BSL- 3 level space, flow cytometry and cell sorting, animal handling, imaging and additional space to accommodate temporary equipment. With HU CFAR support this facility is now home of a newly created HU CFAR BSL-3 Core. Dr. Daniel Kavanagh serves as the PI, working closely with Dr Sarah Fortune, an internationally recognized expert in studies of TB who serves as Director of the newly-created Ragon TB Program, with close interactions with the HU CFAR TB-HIV Scientific Working Group. Drs. Fortune and Kavanagh jointly supervise a team of fellows, staff scientists, and a facility manager who bring extensive experience in safe and productive of BSL-3-level research. The combined talents of this team, as well as state-of-the-art BSL-3 facilities, are, available to the HU CFAR community. HU CFAR users are offered training and certification to conduct experiments within the facility;alternatively Core staff are available to carry out standard tissue culture and microbiology procedures on behalf of researchers who do not wish to work inside the facility. The proposed HU CFAR Biosafety Level 3 Core is guided by the following specific aims: 1. Provide training and consultation for members of HU CFAR community members who are planning TB related projects 2. Provide access to BSL-3 microbiology, tissue culture, live cell microscopy, live FACS, animal facilities, and special projects.
Considered independently, the HIV and TB epidemics represent two of the greatest global health challenges of our time. As such, the HU CFAR leadership has placed HIV-TB research as a top priority area for research. The proposed BSL-3 Core will address several areas of significance including insights into pathogenesis, international engagements, biocontainment needs, and fostering of research synergies.
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