Established in 2003, the Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research, a translational science center of excellence supported by funding from the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) component of the Institutional Development Award (IDeA) program, seeks to develop and deploy rapid diagnostics, improved therapeutics and affordable vaccines for new, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that disproportionately affect underserved communities in the Asia-Pacific region. The COBRE Center also seeks to increase the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by training and mentoring native Hawaiians and other underrepresented Pacific Islanders. Thus, the Center's mission is thoroughly consistent with that of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which is to support basic research that lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and to increase the diversity of the research workforce by supporting the training of the next generation of scientists (www.nigms.nih.gov/About/Pages/default.aspx). The principal objective of the Phase III COBRE for emerging infectious diseases is to enhance the conditions that accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, heighten research productivity and increase competitiveness for extramural funding. The objective will be achieved by (1) enhancing the growth and sustainability of the COBRE cores in biocontainment, bioinformatics, and molecular and cellular immunology, which are grounded in the triad of customized and collaborative service, research and development, and education and training; and (2) developing and implementing a COBRE Small Grants Program, without borders, that fosters collaborations and partnerships, promotes data and resource sharing, and provides additional opportunities for mentoring and specialized training across IDeA-funded centers in research aimed at improving human health. COBRE funding during Phases I and II has transformed the landscape for mentoring and training future generations of investigators and has provided state-of-the-art core resources for multi-disciplinary collaborative research on epidemic infectious diseases. At the institutional level, COBRE funding has spurred significant commitments to recruit and retain a new cadre of productive faculty, and such efforts will continue into Phase III. High-level upper-administrative institutional commitments will ensure the sustainability of the Center and its cores beyond the Phase III COBRE period.
To reduce human suffering from epidemic infectious diseases that disproportionately affect underserved communities in the Asia-Pacific region, the Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research will seek to develop rapid diagnostic tests, improved treatments and affordable vaccines. The Center will also seek to increase the diversity of the biomedical research workforce by training and mentoring native Hawaiians and other underrepresented Pacific Islanders. These goals are consistent with the mission of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, of the National Institutes of Health.
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