The Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, in Newark, announced Thursday it will merge three research centers to create the new Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases to seek treatment and prevention for diseases like AIDS and autism that have been linked to dysfunction of the immune systems.
Rutgers' medical school was created July 1, when it took over the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Rutgers said research will focus on the breakthrough field that examines the link between infectious and inflammatory diseases. Dysfunction of the immune system has been implicated in diseases such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza, diabetes and obesity, while harmful inflammation is thought to contribute to cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders.
"We are establishing this institute, which brings together more than 250 scientists to pursue a greater understanding of how the immune system and inflammatory responses contribute to a wide range of diseases," said Christopher Molloy, interim chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. "We anticipate that their successes will produce dramatic progress against some of these diseases and keep the institute growing at a significant pace."
William C. Gause, senior associate dean for research at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, said the center's focus "provides a unique opportunity to build an innovative and significant program of biomedical research excellence for Newark and New Jersey. It provides the opportunity to develop innovative perspectives and insights for the development of new treatments and diagnostics that can be rapidly translated to the clinic."
In addition to Gause, other lead members of the research team include David Perlin, executive director of the Public Health Research Institute; David Alland, director of the Center for Emerging Pathogens; and Sally Hodder, director of HIV/AIDS programs and the New Jersey Medical School Adult Clinical Research Unit and vice chair of research.
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