Time Magazine's 2014 Person of the Year is not one but many -- the Ebola Fighters. Among those spotlighted is Thomas Geisbert, professor of microbiology and immunology, who is currently testing potential vaccines and treatments at the Galveston National Laboratory.

“We’re extremely proud of Dr. Geisbert and his work as well as the cutting edge research that so many of our scientists are conducting,” said UTMB president Dr. David L. Callender. “We’re extremely pleased that the hard work of our scientists is being recognized. Congratulations to Dr. Geisbert.”

Geisbert, who has been studying the Ebola virus for three decades, told the magazine that “When I do this work, I take it personally.” He notes that patients survived who had received one of the experimental drugs he’s worked on (TKM-Ebola). He added that “there are so many confounding variables, so how can you say any one thing made the difference? But it’s a great feeling knowing I was involved in the development of something that hopefully saved somebody. And if it saved one person, it matters." To read the entire press release, click here.


What if Ebola patients came here? 

In an editorial written by Galveston County Daily News Editor, Heber Taylor, discusses what likely would happen if a patient with a deadly virus were brought to UTMB: 

"As researchers at the Galveston National Laboratory like to say, it's not going to be news when Ebola arrives on the island. That was news 10 years ago, when the lab opened on the campus of the medical branch. The Ebola virus and many other deadly pathogens have been under study here as a matter of routine. There have been no infections."

"To get certified for this kind of research, the national lab had to have provisions for a worst-case scenario. What if researchers were infected? Provisions have been in place for years for providing care for occupational cases."

To read the entire article, please click here.  

The BBC's Alastair Leithead visited the National Biocontainment Training Centre in Galveston, Texas to try on a bio-hazard suit


UTMB Ebola experts


Thomas Ksiazek, former head of the CDC Special Pathogens Unit and current director of high containment laboratory operations for the Galveston National Laboratory, has just returned from Sierra Leone after six weeks there as the top official for the CDC. Ksiazek was the head of the Special Pathogens unit at the CDC, leading outbreak response around the world since the mid-1970s.

Please click here to see Ksiazek's presentation detailing his experience in Sierra Leone. 


James LeDuc is director of the Galveston National Lab and the director for Global Health in the Institute for Human Infections. LeDuc came to Galveston in late 2006 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he was director of the division of viral and rickettsial diseases, coordinating research activities, prevention initiatives and outbreak investigations for pathogens of global importance, including viral hemorrhagic fevers and newly emerging diseases. He also served as CDC associate director for global health and medical officer in charge of arboviruses and viral hemorrhagic fevers at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Thomas Geisbert has been researching the Ebola virus for more than 25 years, including several years with Fort Detrick's U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease, working with the world's most vicious viruses. He recently received a $26 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to work on vaccines for the Ebola and Marburg viruses. He has developed an Ebola treatment that has been proven effective in animal studies.


Dr. A . Scott Lea is the Infectious Diseases Clinic Director at UTMB and is in charge of institutional protocols for treating patients with dangerous infectious diseases such as Ebola. He is available to speak to the media about how well the U.S. is prepared to handle Ebola; hospital and medical treatment protocols for treating patients with Ebola; disease symptoms, incubation, progression and transmission.


World Class Research Centers

This expertise and research is made possible by the Galveston National Laboratory, the only fully operational Biosafety Level Four laboratory on an academic campus in the U.S.

The work is enhanced by the capabilities of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, one of the most comprehensive vaccine development centers in the world, whose researchers are investigating new ways to treat infectious diseases of every type, from new strains of influenza to emerging diseases from every corner of the globe.

UTMB is also home to the National Biocontainment Training Center, which is dedicated to preparing the worldwide community of infectious disease scientists to work safely in high-containment research laboratories. This unique training opportunity is unmatched nationally or internationally and fills a critical role in the development and training of a cadre of skilled scientists, engineers and staff dedicated to combating the infectious diseases affecting global health. 


News and Resources

Gov. Perry names UTMB's Ksiazek and LeDuc to state infectious disease task force; tours lab

Gov. Rick Perry in October toured the Galveston National Laboratory at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. On the tour, the governor received an overview of the work the lab is conducting to better understand and respond to pandemic disease. The facility is one of two National Biocontainment Laboratories in the United States and studies infectious diseases such as Ebola. more

The governor's visit came after the creation of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response, which will assess and enhance the state's existing capabilities to prepare for and respond to pandemic disease, such as the Ebola virus. The governor named UTMB's Thomas Ksiazek and James LeDuc as members of a team of internationally renowned experts in epidemiology and infectious disease.  more


Selected News Highlights:

View more news and coverage of UTMB experts discussing the current Ebola outbreak


Videos: Ebola and Related Topics