UNMC's new center to research biodefense, Ebola

Posted at 12:02 PM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 18:26:06-04

The University of Nebraska Board Regents voted Thursday to coordinate all of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's infectious diseases and biodefense research by establishing the Global Center for Health Security. 

The center will further the clinical care, training, clinical research and scientific research in infectious diseases. 

“The Global Center for Health Security brings together our existing programs into an integrated leadership structure to improve coordination of programs,” Dr. Jennifer Larsen, vice chancellor for research at UNMC, said in a relase. “We’ll continue to attract and build on our expertise in combating bioterrorism, both prevention and treatment, and mitigating the consequences of bioterrorism through education and policy development.”

UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, played a key role in the Ebola crisis of 2014, more than a decade after establishing the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Since then, UNMC has been tasked with leading the country in the development and delivery of educational programs, such as the National Ebola Treatment and Education Center and the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness. 
The new center will augment opportunities through the National Strategic Research Institute, whose mission is to counter weapons of mass destruction and emerging infectious diseases. In addition to the NSRI, the center will include faculty, staff and student resources from the UNMC Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Public Health; UNMC’s primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine; the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering; and the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Ken Bayles, Associate Vice Chancellor of Basic Research said it's best to collaborate under one umbrella, "The center will help by educating health care facilities around the world really to deal and prepare for highly infectious diseases as we learn from our experiences here at UMNC and Nebraska Medicine when dealing with the Ebola patients is that they’re an incredibly complex process."
No state dollars were put into this project. It's funded by federal grants and other sources.