Our existing U19 group is a consortium of principal investigators who have brought their expertise in bacteriology, cell signaling, pulmonology, adaptive immunology, inflammation, cardiovascular biology, protease inhibitor development and genetics, to bear on virtually all aspects of the human anthrax problem, resulting in enormous progress in the first four years of funding. The proposed Education Component will fulfill the U19 education mission through four avenues, specifically, through sponsorship of the biennial Oklahoma Anthrax Symposium, a guest speaker program, a safety training program, and a technology transfer program. These four programs both continue and extend our currently successful education program. First, the biennial Oklahoma Anthrax Symposium will bring together leading Anthrax investigators, expert immunologists who specialize in the study of inflammation and host-pathogen interaction, and our U19 team, during Years 1, 3 and 5. This symposium, which will permit sharing of cutting edge findings and identification of outstanding questions in the anthrax field, will build upon the first outstanding Oklahoma Anthrax Symposium held in May of 2008. Second, a more flexible guest speaker program, operative primarily during Years 2 and 4, will be used to facilitate collaborations and to recruit outstanding personnel. During the first four years of funding, this program resulted in the recruitment of an outstanding post-doctoral fellow, who is now a junior faculty member and co-Pi of Project 4. Third, we will continue our safety training program that serves to both educate non-1119 scientific personnel on the OMRF and OUHSC campuses and to annually train laboratory personnel in the safe preparation, handling and decontamination of B. anthracis strains, spores and toxins. Fourth, the technology transfer program will facilitate the transfer of assays, methods, reagents and technologies to both local and non-local U19 and non-U19 laboratories through travel funds, teaching reagents, and sample transfer. This program is expected to facilitate the overall success of our U19 program, rapid progress in addressing the human anthrax problem, and dissemination/exchange of information on human immunology within the context of NIAID Priority Pathogens.
Inhalation Bacillus anthracis infection remains a significant bioterrorist health threat. Proper safety training is required for the safe and effective handling of this pathogen by researchers. Rapid dissemination of information among scientists studying this pathogen will ensure the most rapid success leading to new treatments, prevention and amelioration of this deadly disease.
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