This COBRE application will form a unique research center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (EZID). Four primary research projects bridge areas of excellence in the Infectious Diseases programs at Kansas State University (KSU) within the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Veterinary Medicine. The projects examine virulence factors and host-pathogen interactions of various pathogens, utilizing both basic and translational approaches in in vitro systems and in animal models. The overarching goal of the EZID center is to advance our understanding of emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases in the State of Kansas. Our goals are also clearly aligned with NIH's strategic plan ?Turning Discovery into Health?. Two research core facilities will support the research projects and programs, an Animal Model/Pathology Core and a Molecular and Cellular Biology Core, offering unique research infrastructure resources within KSU and the State of Kansas. The success and growth of EZID will be enabled through various programs: (1) a faculty mentoring program that will provide outstanding mentoring by nationally/internationally recognized mentors. The mentoring team will implement individualized development plans, and support all aspects of research programs and grant application processes to secure R01-level funding by the project leaders; (2) new faculty recruitment at KSU to ensure the growth and sustainability of EZID, as well as productive use of core facilities; (3) a pilot and seed grant program that will promote center growth by funding projects at universities within the State of Kansas; and (4) a regional scientific network (RSN) that will provide inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaborations, increased usage of core facilities, and access to additional core facilities and training opportunities. Initial partners of the RSN include several COBREs within the State of Kansas and Nebraska, as well as the K-INBRE center at the University of Kansas Medical School. The RSN will grow and expand both to other universities in the region and to national COBRE centers working in the same mission space, thereby providing opportunities for the rapid growth of research programs. These EZID programs will be the basis by which research productivity is enabled and supported, helping to advance the overall success and reputation of the COBRE core projects, pilot projects, post-doctoral and graduate student trainees, and associated EZID faculty. The EZID center will host annual research symposia that will include participants from EZID projects and RSN members to showcase and share research with investigators from inside and outside of the network, promoting the national and international reputation of EZID.
Emerging infectious diseases are diseases that have newly appeared or whose incidence has increased in the past years or could increase in the near future; many emerging diseases are also zoonotic. This COBRE application will form a thematic center focused on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (EZID) and will study virulence factors and host-pathogen interactions in both in vitro systems and in animal models, using basic and translational research approaches, with support from two multi-user core facilities. The overarching goal is to develop a unique, nationally and internationally recognized Research Center on Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at Kansas State University.