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Infectious Disease Research Symposium Brings Together Education, Government and Private Sector to Promote Partnerships
Participants at the Bioscience Larimer County panel discussion on Sept. 16 got a glimpse of the future of infectious disease research in Fort Collins, and learned about the opportunities available for entrepreneurship and partnership. Sponsored by the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA), a non-profit corporation providing services and support for Colorado’s growing biosciences industry, the event highlighted initiatives associated with the $100 million of new facilities being built at the Foothills Research Campus.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, 17 million people die each year from infectious diseases, about half of those children. Infectious diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), account for one-third of all deaths globally, more than heart disease, famine and war combined. Emerging infectious diseases, such as sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and West Nile virus, graphically illustrate the need for expanded research in emerging as well as established infectious diseases.
"Post 9/11, we are seeing a push into product development for prevention and treatment of infectious diseases,” said Dr. Barry Beatty, a member of the panel and a Colorado State University Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. “There is a much greater sense of urgency especially with regards to biodefenses concerning emerging diseases. That we move beyond discovery and into development is absolutely critical in these diseases.”
Dr. Beatty detailed Colorado State’s research capacity for participants and, along with Dr. Lyle Peterson, Director of the CDC Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases, answered questions on how private enterprises can develop partnerships with the University and the CDC to conduct research and enhance the pathway from laboratory to global application.
For companies involved with biomedical research, laboratory facilities often are a limiting factor. Colorado State offers the Regional Biocontainment Research Laboratories that have a unique capacity for BSL-3 research. Companies don’t have to develop that capacity, because it’s all right here.
"Companies can’t do this on their own,” Dr. Beatty said. “We can provide the facilities and the expertise. We have a tremendous resource; most people don’t know it’s here but we are working to change that.”
The BioScience Larimer County panel discussion was part of the CBSA seminar series created for individuals and companies to have the opportunity to network and learn about key trends and development in biosciences.