University of Texas Medical Branch
- Institute for Human Infections and Immunity
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Microbiome-Antibiotic Resistance Initiative

The Institute for Human Infections & Immunity, in conjunction with the Office of the Vice President for Research, is initiating studies in two emerging areas concerning global health. These research initiatives include the role of microbiota in human diseases, both infectious and non-infectious, and on developing new treatment modalities to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Efforts are underway to establish a germ free facility at UTMB, and a strategic planning committee consisting of faculty members from the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology, Pathology, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics has been formed to guide the process. Germ-free isolators have been purchased, and training of a small group of staff in the germ-free facility will soon begin. Plans for the operation of this new facility are under development with the Director of the Animal Resource Center.

Pilot funding through the IHII will be available (IHII pilot applications due July, 2016) to launch new research initiatives in the above-mentioned areas to generate preliminary data for obtaining extramural grant funding.

Dr. Chopra
Dr. Ashok Chopra

Dr. Ashok Chopra, Professor and Inaugural holder of the John S. Dunn Distinguished Chair in Global Health, will serve as the Director of the “Microbiome-Antibiotic Resistance Initiative.”  The goal is to establish a core group of faculty interested in these areas to work collaboratively to generate preliminary data to develop highly competitive grants in response to NIH and DoD RFAs and other mechanisms.  

Strategic Planning Committee
A.K. Chopra, Chair (Microbiology & Immunology)
Yingzi Cong (Microbiology & Immunology)
Rick Pyles (Pediatrics)
Sara Dann (Internal Medicine)
Alfredo Torres (Microbiology & Immunology)
Michael Loeffelholz (Pathology)
Easwaran Variyam (Internal Medicine)