Buffalo’s downtown medical corridor and the University at Buffalo are once again on the world map for their research potential – this time in the fight against HIV and other viral diseases.
Dr. Gene Morse’s HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory at the University at Buffalo now has a few more words to describe itself: as a Center of Excellence in the Global Virus Network. The GVN is focused on research and drug development in the fight against viral diseases.
Dr. Robert Gallo, GVN’s founder, spoke to UB students and faculty at the downtown medical campus on Friday morning about the history and future of HIV research, which he expects UB to be a valuable part of. Morse’s lab at the medical campus will join the GVN’s 40 Centers of Excellence and six affiliates around the globe.
“[UB] fits in perfectly because of the amount of global health it has, and because of the quality of handling significant amounts of data, and because of their own research programs on different viruses – maybe in particular HIV at this point, and HCV, and maybe some viruses that involve the central nervous system,” said Gallo.
The center is set up in a way that capitalizes on the work being done at both UB and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. With so many unique research programs at each institution, Morse said the center will have a multi-disciplinary focus.
“So it really will attract undergrads, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, health professionals. Really a variety of individuals who we’re really anticipating the next generation that needs to be not only researching these aspects of HIV and other viral diseases, but also be able to step into the new roles as the next generation and then train the next generation after that,” said Morse.
The center will work to share its expertise with the GVN, and help UB’s global partners in Southern Africa, Zimbabwe, and the Caribbean. Gallo said he intends to help Morse’s team with some immediate plans for research.
“The Global Virus Network will try to help facilitate a major collaboration on Hepatitis C virus handling in Jamaica by [Dr. Morse] and his colleagues.”
Gallo said Gilead Sciences, a researched-based biopharmaceutical company, wants to see certain countries become Hepatitis C free. He hopes to help foster the relationship between Gilead, UB, and the University of the West Indies to make it happen.