The Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research was recently awarded $36.4 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to continue the fight against some of the world's most devastating infectious diseases.
The RMRCE was established in 2005 when a group of universities, led by Colorado State University, received an initial $40 million, four-year grant to begin and/or enhance collaborative research projects on infectious diseases. The RMRCE is comprised of research universities and federal laboratories in the Rocky Mountain region.
"This continuation of funding is a testament to the quality of our faculty and the groundbreaking research that is taking place here at Colorado State University through the Rocky Mountain Regional Center of Excellence," said Dr. Tony Frank, President of Colorado State University. "Finding new treatments to combat some of the world's most devastating diseases is paramount, and we are extremely proud that CSU faculty members are on the front lines of this effort."
The RMRCE's infectious disease research focus is partnered with an emphasis on product development, working to reduce the typical 10-to-20 years it takes for a scientific breakthrough to become a developed product available to the public. The RMRCE also is an emergency response network that ensures that its experts are available to local, state and federal governments in the event of an infectious disease or bioterrorism crisis. In addition, RMRCE scientists train regional and national scientists, physicians, veterinarians, and public health personnel in emerging infectious diseases and biosecurity.
The RMRCE is integrated into the university's Regional Biocontainment Laboratory on the Foothills Campus. The laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility where researchers study diseases such the plague, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Rift Valley fever, equine encephalitis virus, hantaviruses, drug resistant tuberculosis and tularemia, and other zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases are those that are transmissible between humans and animals; virtually all of the world's most troubling infectious diseases are zoonotic diseases.
The RMRCE and the Rocky Mountain Regional Biocontainment Laboratory complement related infectious disease research at the CDC facility and the USDA laboratory on the Foothills Campus, along with research at the University's existing BioEnvironmental Research Building and its Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory.
"This most recent award demonstrates the success of the RMRCE," said Bill Farland, Vice President for Research at Colorado State. "The collective knowledge and creativity of the researchers from across the west who comprise the RMRCE is a great resource to the scientific and biosecurity community in the United States and around the world."
The RMRCE is overseen by Drs. John Belisle, Herbert Schweizer and Julia Inamine, professors in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. RMRCE member institutions include Colorado State University, the Centers for Disease Control - Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, University of Colorado - Denver, Montana State University, University of Montana, University of Northern Colorado, University of Utah, Utah State University, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratory, and the University of Wyoming. Companies participating in the RMRCE include BIOO in Austin.