The goal of the Developmental Research Plan is to identify and support pilot projects that complement the strategic mission of the PNWRCE. The PNWRCE will advance strategies to combat NIAID Category A-C agents via the development of two themes: "Identification of age-related defects in the immune system to facilitate the development of vaccines and supplemental therapies" and "The use of systems biology and systems genetics approaches to define pathogen-host interactions and mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity." Applications will be encouraged from scientists within the RCE and from eligible regional scientists wishing to move into biodefense/EID research. Thus, we will leverage the pilot project mechanism to expand the scope and excellence of biodefense/EID research in the PNW region and develop a cutting edge research portfolio to sustain and enrich Center's activities.
Three Specific Aims are proposed to achieve these goals: (1) To solicit, identify and support developmental research projects ("pilot" projects) that expand the scope and range of investigators within the Pacific Northwest (PNW) region and take advantage of novel ideas and emerging technologies relevant to PNWRCE themes. (2) To support the growth of successful pilot projects into independent research grants that will lead to development of products (vaccines, therapeutics or diagnostics) against NIAID A-C pathogens or key advances in biodefense/EID research. (3) To create, through the pilot project mechanism, a platform of emergent talents and technologies that could enhance or replace existing research projects, thereby creating flexibility for the Center to prioritize and advance in the most promising research directions. We will use electronic communication systems in association with established translational research initiatives in Oregon (OCTRI) and Washington (CTSA) to solicit applications from a broad talent base of eligible scientists. In accordance with NIAID policies, we will select, fund and manage successful applications via an interactive committee of Center scientists, administrators and external advisors. Our mission is to maintain the Center's excellence through supporting projects with high potential for product development and maturation into independent research programs.
The public remains at risk from agents of bioterrorism or emerging infectious disease. Regional centers of excellence (RCEs) enable effective local counter-measures. A successful RCE requires a flexible, broadspectrum portfolio to rapidly address evolving biological threats. The Developmental Research Plan will sustain the PNWRCE portfolio through support of innovative research against emergent threats.
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