Research Support

An integral part of special pathogens preparedness includes the ability to rapidly develop and test therapeutics, vaccines, and prevention measures when an outbreak occurs. SPECTRE, in collaboration with other groups at UTMB, provides the infrastructure to ensure the rapid onboarding of clinical research protocols for medical countermeasures against special pathogens. In addition, SPECTRE facilitates the provision of clinical biospecimens and data from patients infected with or vaccinated against various special pathogens to our basic sciences investigators. We are developing the BCU space as a research resource to learn more about engineering and biosafety aspects in this specialized space, testing technology for biosafety, and to conduct clinical research requiring biocontainment capabilities.

When COVID-19 hit, the SPECTRE team was invaluable in establishing UTMB’s infectious disease biospecimen and clinical data repository. With the support of the Sealy Foundation and in collaboration with Dr. Scott Weaver in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and Dr. Mike Kinsky, Director of the Clinical Research Core, the UTMB Biorepository for Severe Emerging Infections (BSEI) was formed in early 2020. This repository utilizes protocols for acquisition of de-identified discarded tissue as well as a prospective collection protocol for more extensive bio-sampling from consented subjects with presumed or confirmed infections with a pathogen of concern. BSEI holds biospecimens and clinical data from over 100 COVID-19 positive subjects as well as 1000’s of confirmed COVID-19 nasal swabs. These protocols can be expanded to any pathogen of public health concern.

In addition to clinical and biological research, SPECTRE personnel support facilities and operational research from both internal and external stakeholders. This includes PPE reuse, acceptability of surveillance testing, PPE donning and doffing procedures, and testing of commercial equipment such as PPE and decontamination devices.

SPECTRE personnel are here to provide subject matter expertise when it comes to emerging special pathogens, including everything from biosafety practices to the clinical spectrum of disease to performing research in a containment facility.

Corri Levine, PhD, MS, MPH
Program Manager for Networking and Research Preparedness, SPECTRE
Director of the Biorepository for Severe Emerging Infections

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