The UTMB Institute for Human Infections and Immunity (IHII) and Center for Addiction Research (CAR) developed the NeuroID initiative in 2014 to bridge UTMB strengths in infectious diseases with those of neurosciences, immunology and pharmacology. Funded through the McLaughlin Endowment, the Center for Addiction Research and a generous gift from the John S. Dunn Foundation, the initiative has provided seed funding for pilot research designed to attract major external grants from the NIH, Department of Defense and other agencies. As the Neuro-ID initiative grew, departments and centers throughout UTMB have joined the Neuro-ID and recruited new faculty and investigators. As of 2019, 26 pilot grants have been funded to 21 UTMB faculty investigators, totaling $680,000 and has established many new interdisciplinary collaborations among scientists across the institution and beyond. Examples include a new internal collaboration that led to an NIH-NINDS-funded study of mechanisms of inflammation and coagulation-driven gliosis in murine cerebral malaria, which includes flow cytometry as well as in vivo imaging of the brain. In addition, virologists have been able to delve deeper into cerebral and aural inflammation due to new collaborations.
Our mission, through collaborative efforts with Institute for Human Infections and Immunity, Center for Addiction Research and several UTMB institutional centers and departments, is to advance excellence in research and education to support clinical sciences in neurological infections and their prevention. We support the mission of the IHII by coordinating activities, collaborations and research involving infectious agents actively studied at UTMB and understand the neuropathology of neurotropic viruses to develop new diagnostic tools and modes of treatment and to improve awareness and provide information on emerging or reemerging infections.