Purdue biologists receive nearly $18 million to study infectious diseases

of laboratory and employ robotic analysis equipment that can produce about 100 proteins simultaneously. The grant is a significant investment in structural virology at Purdue."

The second grant, $3.2 million also spread over four and a half years, could complement the first grant in the long run, as it is designed to support the development of antiviral compounds that might be made possible by the researchers' work. The project is part of a larger $350 million NIH initiative that will establish eight Regional Centers of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RCE). According to Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the RCEs are a key element in the department's strategic plan for biodefense research.

"We have moved with unprecedented speed and determination to prepare for a bioterror attack or any other public health crisis since the terrorist attacks of 2001," Thompson said. "These new grants add to this effort and will not only better prepare us for a bioterrorism attack, but will also enhance our ability to deal with any public health crisis, such as SARS and West Nile virus."

The antivirals project will constitute Purdue's contribution to the recently established Midwestern RCE, located at the University of Chicago.

While the funds will benefit the national defense effort, they also could help the university give additional support to the structural biology group, of which Kuhn is a part. The field has long been considered a significant part of 21st century science, and the funds could facilitate the creation of a new facility on campus for its development.

"These grants reaffirm the world-class significance of this signature area of Purdue research and the university's effort to raise funds to build a new $30 million dollar facility for it in our Discovery Park," said Purdue Provost Sally Frost Mason. "We expect that a portion of the new funding als

Contact: Chad Boutin
Purdue University

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