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Walker photoWelcome to the Western Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (WRCE) web site. I am honored to lead the WRCE, which is notable both for its past and current record of research achievements. I am excited about our ongoing projects, which serve the national imperative for the development of improved countermeasures against potential bioterror threats and naturally occurring infectious diseases.

The WRCE was established in 2003, when the University of Texas Medical Branch was selected by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIH/NIAID) as the lead institution for Region VI, which includes Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The academic institutions in the WRCE possess a remarkable depth and breadth of scientific expertise related to critical, high level biocontainment facilities. Indeed, the greatest assets in the WRCE are the consortium of scientists who cooperate and collaborate from traditionally competing institutions, and range from junior faculty members embarking on their research careers to world renowned experts with well established laboratories. These investigators are engaged in basic and applied research that is leading to the development of advanced diagnostic methods for many Category A, B, and C agents, as well as vaccines for bacteria (Burkholderia spp.; Brucella melitensis; Francisella tularensis; Coxiella burnetii; and Rickettsia prowazekii) and viruses (Venezuelan, western, and eastern equine encephalitis viruses; chikungunya virus; Ebola virus; Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus; severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus; and Japanese encephalitis virus). The WRCE emergency preparedness activity interfaces with regional state departments of health to support an effective emergency response in the event of an outbreak.

Thank you for your interest in the WRCE, and we hope you gain an appreciation for the programs and people that are a part of this exciting endeavor.

David H. Walker, M.D.
Principal Investigator, WRCE
The Carmage and Martha Walls Distinguished Chair in Tropical Diseases
Professor and Chairman, Department of Pathology
Executive Director, Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases