The University of Washington School of Medicine has established the Keck Center for Functional, Structural, and Chemical Genomics of Microbial Pathogens.
The Keck Center will use technology to mount an assault on some of the dangerous and deadly infections on earth.
"These diseases are among the most heart-rending in the world - whether it's a child with cystic fibrosis in the United States dying from protracted infection with Pseudomonas, or a child in Africa dying of malaria," says Dr. Chris Wilson, professor and chair of immunology, one of the co-directors of the center.
"Infectious agents remain the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing nations."
"They are a major cause of morbidity and mortality for certain risk groups in developed nations like the United States. And infectious agents are readily spread between nations."
The center was established through a $2 million gift from the W. M. Keck Foundation of Los Angeles.
The gift will help unite 20 UW faculty into a coordinated research effort to exploit the full medical potential of existing and forthcoming microbial genome sequences.
"Human history teaches us that microbes have major advantages in an arms race with humans - numbers, generation time, and genetic adaptability," Wilson says.
"The battle can be won, but only by systematically applying the newest technology and consistently adopting interdisciplinary approaches."
The University of Washington already has considerable strength in the functional, structural, and chemical genomics of microbial pathogens, Wilson says.
The center's goals include attracting investigators with complementary interests, acquiring resources needed to conduct this research, and encouraging strong collaborations and interactions within the group that will foster development of new technologies.