New center highlights UNMC's work in infectious diseases, biodefense research

June 01, 2017

Image with caption: Jennifer Larsen, M.D.

Jennifer Larsen, M.D.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center has established itself as a leader in infectious diseases and biodefense research. Today, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted to coordinate that expertise under one umbrella and establish the Global Center for Health Security at UNMC.

The center will build upon the vast work already being done at the medical center and further enhance NU’s health security and biodefense capabilities in clinical care, education, training, clinical research and basic science research in infectious diseases.

"The Global Center for Health Security brings together our existing programs into an integrated leadership structure to improve coordination of programs," said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research at UNMC. "We’ll continue to attract and build on our expertise in combatting bioterrorism, both prevention and treatment, and mitigating the consequences of bioterrorism through education and policy development."

"UNMC has a strong role in preparing the United States for the inevitability of disease outbreaks, and this center will enable us to pull together already successful initiatives in a more cohesive and collaborative way," said Dele Davies, M.D., vice chancellor for academic affairs. "The center will position us to compete for future funding opportunities and external collaborations that help grow the university and our initiatives dealing with highly infectious diseases."

No funds are being requested to create the center, which will operate in existing space on the medical center campus, as well as in the Dr. Edwin Davis & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning, which is under construction.

UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, played a key role in the Ebola crisis of 2014 - more than a decade after establishing the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. Since then, UNMC has been tasked with leading the country in the development and delivery of educational programs, such as the National Ebola Treatment and Education Center and the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness. 

The new center will augment opportunities through the National Strategic Research Institute, whose mission is to counter weapons of mass destruction and emerging infectious diseases. In addition to the NSRI, the center will include faculty, staff and student resources from the UNMC Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Public Health; UNMC’s primary clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine; the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Engineering; and the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Arts and Sciences. 

We are Nebraska Medicine and UNMC. Our mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.

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