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Welcome to the Translational Global Infectious Diseases Research Center (TGIR). The TGIR is a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE), which support thematic, multidisciplinary centers to augment and strengthen institutional biomedical research capacity. These centers are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The TGIR is housed within the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and is closely aligned with the talented team of researchers and clinicians at UVM’s Vaccine Testing Center. 

The TGIR will leverage UVM's substantial existing strengths in global infectious diseases research, complex systems and computational modeling. Bringing investigators from these disparate disciplines together will result in synergies that foster novel, collaborative research.  A team of experienced directors and scientific advisers lead the effort, supported by two new facilities, the “Mathematical and Computational Predictive Modeling” and “Human and Population Research” cores. The TGIR will develop four junior faculty under the mentorship of scientific advisers from three UVM colleges and five departments. 

The TGIR COBRE: bridging the culture gaps between biological and computational biomedical research. 

Projects 

The TGIR currently supports the following junior faculty and their projects:

Dr. Benjamin Lee:Development of B cell responses and serological immunity following oral rotavirus vaccination in infants” 

Dr. Laurent Hébert-Dufresne: Network epidemiology and the quantification of behavioral interventions

Dr. Ross Colgate:Novel approaches to address excess burden of diarrheal disease in infants using metagenomics & machine learning to understand Campylobacter persistence & enteric co-infection

Dr. Jessica Crothers:Mucosal immunity to polio virus is modified by the gut microbiota, dependent upon cytotoxic cellular responses and can be enhanced via intradermal administration of a mucosally-adjuvanted inactivated polio vaccine (dmLT-IPV)"

TGIR in the News

  • Kids Rarely Transmit COVID-19, Say Pediatric Infectious Disease Experts Lee and Raszka
    July 13, 2020 by Jeff Wakefield
    A commentary published in the journal Pediatrics by Benjamin Lee, M.D. and William V. Raszka, Jr., M.D., concludes that children infrequently transmit COVID-19 to each other or to adults and that many schools, provided they follow appropriate social distancing guidelines and take into account rates of transmission in their community, can and should reopen in the fall.
  • An & Colleagues Use Computer Modeling to Help Researchers Battle COVID-19
    June 29, 2020 by Jennifer Nachbur
    In late March, Professor of Surgery Gary An, M.D., and Assistant Professor of Surgery R. Chase Cockrell, Ph.D., joined an international coalition of virologists, pharmacologists, and mathematicians to help build a computer model of SARS-CoV-2 tissue that simulates the changing behavior of the virus once it enters the body.

Cores

The TGIR will design, develop and implement three Cores: an Administrative/Academic Core; a Mathematical and Computational Predictive (MCP) Modeling Core; and a Human and Population Research (HPR) Core. The Administrative Core will include the three COBRE directors/Co-PIs, the scientific advisors/senior mentors, the core directors, the internal and external advisory boards, and administrative staff.The MCP Core, led Jason Bates, PhD, will “bridge the culture gap” between biomedical and quantitative data scientists in the analysis and use of big data sets in global infectious diseases, including the spectrum of data from biologic systems to population-based disease transmission and surveillance data. The HPR Core, led by Kristen Pierce, MD, will facilitate and accelerate high-quality clinical and translational human research by the COBRE faculty and will capitalize on the infrastructure of the UVM Vaccine Testing Center.

Team 

The TGIR will develop four junior faculty under the mentorship of scientific advisors from three UVM colleges and five departments. Institutional support will enable recruitment of three new junior faculty while internal and external advisory committees provide formal, unbiased oversight. Two physician-scientists with complementary strengths in global infectious diseases and an outstanding computational biologist with expertise in disease modeling will lead the TGIR. Learn more about the team.

 

Spotlight

THINKMD, a public benefit corporation founded by UVM LCOM Professor of Pediatrics and TGIR mentor Barry Finette, M.D., Ph.D., has recently released a free COVID-19 Personal Triage, Educational and Surveillance Tool. The tool, designed as a progressive web-based application, guides users through a COVID-19 self-risk assessment based on the latest published peer-reviewed World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clinical data on presenting signs, symptoms and risk factors. THINKMD is working to distribute this tool globally with international health agencies and organizations, as well as directly to the public, and has established a special partnership with Mondia Media and their mobile network partners in Africa, South Asia, the Middle East, and beyond. Functional on any desktop, tablet, or mobile smartphone, the tool will be available in the near future to work offline in resource-poor areas.