Dawn Wooley, Ph.D., an associate professor in anatomy and physiology, is part of the Midwest Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research.
"Our goal is to develop the diagnostic tools, therapeutics and vaccines that can be used to combat lethal agents or viruses and other infectious diseases identified by the Centers for Disease Control. We are particularly interested in agents that can be spread through the air," explained Wooley, who holds a doctorate from Harvard Medical School in virology, which is the study of viruses and viral diseases.
She became interested in this project after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and subsequent anthrax scare. "My principal research work involves AIDS, but the threat involving bioterrorism is so great that I could not resist getting involved. This is so important to the United States and the world because some of these agents can kill people within a few days. Just think back to what the anthrax scare did to the postal service and you can realize how frightening a situation this can be."
The Midwest Center is a group of eight universities, including Wright State, which received funding from the National Institutes of Health. The University of Minnesota is the principal investigator and The Ohio State University is the co-principal investigator. The WSU research scientist is working with colleagues at both universities in her phase of the two-year project.
Wooley, who received initial funding for this project from Wright State, said the other participating institutions are the University of Cincinnati; University of Michigan; Indiana University; University of Illinois, Chicago; and Northwestern University.