Tufts University wins $25-million NIH contract

NORTH GRAFTON, MA, Oct. 2, 2003 -Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine has received a $25-million, seven-year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health (NIH) to enhance America's ability to prevent, treat and control diseases caused by infectious agents and toxins that could affect the nation's food and water supply.

"This award recognizes the important role that veterinarians play in addressing public health threats," said Lawrence S. Bacow, Tufts University president. "Nearly 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths every year in the U.S. are due to food-borne pathogens alone--so our ability to quickly diagnose and treat food- and water-borne pathogens are of paramount importance. This research will play a critical role in protecting our country from bioterrorist threats."

Tufts will establish a Microbiology Research Unit in the new nationwide Food and Waterborne Disease Integrated Research Network. A major focus of this unit will be a Center of Botulinum Therapies Research and Development, the first of its kind in the United States. Tufts University will work with the University of Massachusetts researchers on this portion of the contract, which will focus on developing ways to diagnose and treat botulism poisoning, one of the most dangerous bioterrorism threats facing the United States and the world today.

The other four units funded in FY'03 are at academic research centers in Michigan, Maryland, New York and Washington State. The research focus of the four units include microbiology, zoonoses and immunology. All of the units will evaluate vaccines, therapeutics, rapid diagnostic methods, body defenses, and microbiology and ecology of diseases transmitted between humans and animals.

The Tufts-led team of researchers will identify and characterize the human pathogens that can cause disease in food or water suspected of either accidental or deliberate contam

Contact: Craig LeMoult
Tufts University

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