By Rebecca Brierley
Release Date: February 21, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo Center for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences (CIGBS) has become a member of the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition, the first industry-led global scientific and public health partnership dedicated to the early detection of, and rapid response to, future pandemic threats.
As part of the coalition, Gene Morse, PharmD, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Pharmacy Practice in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, will be the principal investigator and provide expertise and guide research for expanding testing capacity and education initiatives at the coalition sites.
The Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition was created to help identify, track, analyze and test emerging threats around the world, including COVID-19 variants. As director of CIGBS and co-director of the State University of New York Global Health Institute, Morse will work in collaboration with a network of over 20 scientific, academic and public health organizations across five different continents to build an infrastructure network of “front line” surveillance of emerging and existing viral threats, including:
“This is a great opportunity to bring together other CIGBS efforts including those with the Global Virus Network (GVN) and share the years of experience that our UB team has in providing mentorship to emerging scientists from a variety of countries with the coalition,” says Morse.
Morse is also principal investigator of multiple National Institute of Health (NIH) Fogarty International Center-funded programs including the UB-University of Zimbabwe HIV Research Training Program and the UB-University of The West Indies Global Infectious Diseases Research Training Program. He also is the primary mentor for two NIH Fogarty Emerging Global Leader Award recipients in South Africa and Nigeria. CIGBS is a designated Global Virus Network Center for Excellence with affiliate centers in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Zimbabwe. “We plan to contribute our integrated biomedical sciences model to the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition and create new synergy with GVN centers and capacity building programs like the initiatives of the FIC,” Morse says.
“Global collaboration is needed more than ever to help us prepare for and help prevent future viral outbreaks,” says Gavin Cloherty, PhD, director of the coalition and Head of Infectious Disease Research at Abbott. “Bringing UB into the Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition will help train a new generation of young scientists and grow strong capabilities at new testing surveillance sites in low- and middle-income countries to stay one step ahead of the next viral threat.”
“The anticipated role for UB in the coalition is outstanding recognition of the high-quality programs and multidisciplinary approach that CIGBS has fostered in its global research initiatives,” says Gary Pollack, PhD, dean of the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Additional UB faculty who have contributed to the growing expertise of CIGBS in the area of emerging pathogens include Andrew Talal, Timothy Murphy, Stanley Schwartz, John Tomaszewski, Oscar Gomez, Mark Hicar and Amy Jacobs, all from the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Brian Tsuji, Qing Ma, Raymond Cha, and Robin DiFrancesco, all from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Troy Wood and Paras Prasad, from the College of Arts and Sciences.