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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
October 18, 2004
Volume 40, Number 3

HSC to study infectious diseases
Researchers receive $5 million to work with genetics firm

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, UNM Health Sciences Center Infectious Disease and Inflammation Center Director C. Rick Lyons, M.D., and UNM President Louis Caldera announced that UNM will partner with deCODE Genetics, Inc., to study the genetics of infectious diseases and vaccine response.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded deCODE a five-year, $23.9 million grant to conduct the study. The National Center for Genome Research will also partner in the study.

Identifying the genes that protect – or fail to protect – the body from infectious diseases promises to provide a foundation for better treatment and prevention. HSC researchers will receive $5 million of the contract amount to work with deCODE, a genetics firm based in Iceland, and the Santa Fe-based NCGR.

C. Rick Lyons, M.D., Ph.D., an expert in the study of common pathogens and microbial virulence, will lead the research at UNM. “This is the first large-scale attempt anywhere to use genomics and proteinomics to determine why individuals respond to infectious diseases the way they do,” Lyons said.

“In New Mexico, as in other states, the interface between research universities and industry is one of the most important ways to advance economic development,” Caldera said.