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GEN News Highlights : Apr 2, 2007

University of Rochester Scores $26M NIH Grant for Influenza Research

A total of $138 million in new flu research funding will be given to six centers.

A research team at the University of Rochester Medical Center was awarded $26 million to establish a research center with the goal of making future influenza pandemics less deadly.

"Our goal is to transform our understanding of influenza through intensive and synergistic exploration of the virus, the human host, and the immune system,” comments John J. Treanor M.D., professor of medicine and of microbiology and immunology at the medical center and principal investigator for the new center. “We hope that this will lead to more effective control of the viruses through a single vaccine that can be effective against many strains.”

The seven-year grant from the NIAID will create the New York Influenza Center of Excellence (NYICE), a collaboration between the University of Rochester, Cornell University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and community partners. NYICE will be one of six centers nationally that together receive approximately $138 million in flu research funding.

Each of the six new centers will focus on basic research, surveillance studies, or both. Teams will breakdown the molecular and environmental factors that influence the transmission and evolution of the flu viruses and further study the immune system’s reaction to them. Others will seek to identify strains with pandemic potential, create new vaccine candidates, or bolster pandemic preparedness.

Along with the University of Rochester, recipients of the grants are Emory University, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, University of California at Los Angeles, and University of Minnesota at Minneapolis.