The UGA Faculty of Infectious Diseases is comprised of many Franklin College faculty members and departments, researchers who have garnered significant resources in the fight against a variety of global health challenges:
"The board of regents investment in infectious disease research provided a unique opportunity to recruit strategically to bridge existing strengths in veterinary medicine, ecology, tropical and emerging diseases, and vaccine development as well as the rapidly expanding the new College of Public Health at UGA," said Duncan Krause, director of UGA's Faculty of Infectious Diseases and a professor of microbiology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "The resulting synergy has been exceptional."
Their studies promise to continue to enhance the research enterprise at UGA and foster new partnerships, both within the UGA Faculty of Infectious Diseases, which brings together researchers across UGA colleges and schools, and with researchers globally.
"A particular strength of the faculty members recruited through the board of regents initiative is their ability to identify promising collaborative opportunities that enable new research capabilities and often spawn new research directions," Krause said.
Don Harn and Biao He study very different infectious agents, but both expand UGA capabilities in vaccine development. A major research focus of the Harn lab is schistosomiasis, a disease caused by worm-like organisms found in water. This work builds upon UGA's global leadership efforts to control this disease, including the Gates Foundation SCORE program here under the direction of Dan Colley. Harn's research also explores how schistosomiasis can limit the effectiveness of vaccines against HIV and other viral diseases.
He has identified a virus with potential as a delivery vector for vaccines and gene therapy. This discovery has spawned multiple new collaborations with researchers at UGA and beyond.
Having met an Infectious Diseases researcher from another Franklin department earlier today, I can vouch for this program's broad reach across our campus. The nature of fighting emerging and established global diseases dictates an interdisciplinary mix of specialties plus an ability to synthesize voluminous amounts of data even as they expand on it. Data management and sharing is an emerging challeneg itself for scientists and researchers in the digital age, one will revisit soon.