March 23, 2023

UAMS to make use of $7.9 million grant to broaden infectious illness analysis, pandemic response

The College of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) will use a $7.9 million Nationwide Institutes of Well being (NIH) grant to broaden its infectious illness analysis capability and set up a Pandemic Response and Public Well being Laboratory by renovating present analysis area.

The renovation will create about 9,900 sq. ft. of extra analysis area on the primary ground of Biomedical Analysis Middle Constructing One. The renovation is anticipated to start in mid-2024 and be accomplished in 2025.

It should embody new Biosafety Stage-3 area, which is supplied to deal with extremely infectious pathogens transmitted by air. It should higher put together UAMS for future pandemic responses, create new alternatives for collaboration and assist UAMS recruit new infectious illness researchers, in keeping with UAMS officers.

The Pandemic Response and Public Well being Laboratory shall be out there for a speedy response to the subsequent outbreak. It should even be instantly out there to course of human samples for COVID-19 research and inhabitants well being research within the state and the mid-South.

“If a researcher in Northwest Arkansas has human serum samples from their populations there, they might ship them to us for secure processing, or they might come course of them right here,” stated Daniel Voth, Ph.D., professor and chair of the School of Medication Division of Microbiology and Immunology, who’s main the mission.

UAMS has analysis applications that research tuberculosis, plague, COVID-19 and Q fever in a small Biosafety Stage-3 facility. The renovations will broaden these applications and allow new pathogen research that may profit Arkansas and the worldwide group.

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“Whereas we’ve been capable of conduct some nice collaborative analysis on COVID-19, we’re additionally restricted as a result of we’re so pinched for area,” Voth stated. “We get a lot of collaboration requests from different analysis establishments that we will’t accommodate as a result of we don’t have sufficient Biosafety Stage-3 facility area.”

Voth additionally stated the grant award highlights that infectious illness analysis is a precedence for the NIH and UAMS.

The mission’s workforce leaders additionally embody:

  • Christine Simecka, DVM, facility supervisor;
  • Mohamed Elasri, Ph.D., affiliate vice chancellor for Analysis and Innovation;
  • Kate Loyd, biosafety officer and Biosafety Stage-3 facility supervisor;
  • Jonathan Davies, mission supervisor;
  • Al Graham, director of UAMS Planning, Design and Building.