University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases ~ 2014 Annual Report

Ralph Budd, M.D., Director

he Vermont Center for Immunology and Infectious Diseases (VCIID) is a multidisciplinary team of scientists and clinicians elucidating microbial pathogenesis and the immune response to infections. Our goal is to devise new strategies for the detection, prevention, and treatment of infectious and inflammatory diseases. Our research is also highly relevant to other diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, and atherosclerosis.

The VCIID comprises 25 faculty in eight departments in four UVM colleges who interact on a daily basis through weekly joint research-inprogress meetings. Recent breakthroughs include:

  • identification of new drugs against Crystosporidium parvum, a major cause of infectious diarrhea
  • identification of the lysosomal enzyme Gusb and proteoglycans as major determinants of susceptibility to Lyme arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • development of a new Dengue virus vaccine with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Johns Hopkins University
  • identification of genes involved with inflammation in lupus

Clinical investigations of infectious diseases are conducted through the College of Medicine’s Division of Infectious Diseases, and for autoimmune and rheumatic diseases through the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology. An important development in 2014 was the opening of the new Vermont Department of Health Building at the UVM Colchester Research Facility, which includes a joint research laboratory with UVM investigators to study complicated infectious organisms.

The center’s vibrant research training program for undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows is supported by funds from an NIH COBRE (Center of Biomedical Research Excellence) Grant and an NIH Training Grant.

An active seminar series brings to campus outstanding investigators in immunology and microbiology. The center also supports core facilities in next-generation sequencing, microarray, bioinformatics, proteomics, cell imaging, and flow cytometry.

The VCIID is affiliated with the UVM Vaccine Testing Center (VTC), a research team committed to decreasing the global burden of infectious diseases. The VTC performs clinical trials of candidate vaccines and monitors the human immune response, and also conducts international field trials of vaccines and therapeutics for infectious diseases. Current vaccine research at the VTC focuses on Dengue, West Nile Virus, Rotavirus, Polio, and Cholera.

Last modified January 28 2015 03:27 PM