Texas Biomed joins Baylor College of Medicine and UT Health-Houston to boost HIV research in Texas, create a regional hub for research from pre-clinical to public health
SAN ANTONIO (June 1, 2021) – A group of Texas scientific institutes are joining forces to grow and optimize HIV and AIDS research, thanks to a $5 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The five-year grant is helping to launch the new Texas Developmental Center for AIDS Research (Texas D-CFAR), which will foster research and health services in Texas and beyond, as well as mentor the next generation of HIV researchers.
Texas D-CFAR brings together three leading organizations working on HIV/AIDS in Texas: Baylor College of Medicine (Baylor) in Houston, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health-Houston), and Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) in San Antonio.
“The new center helps us combine our unique strengths, identify and address research gaps and synergize our efforts to address the ongoing HIV epidemic,” said Texas Biomed Professor and Director of the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC) Deepak Kaushal, Ph.D. “The expertise in HIV/AIDS research and clinical practice among the three institutions is invaluable, and the unique resources of the SNPRC positions the Center to make great progress in the fight against AIDS.”
Kaushal will be one of three co-directors of the center, with Thomas Giordano, M.D., M.P.H., a Baylor Professor and Section Chief of Infectious Diseases at the helm. Specifically, Texas D-CFAR will serve as the state’s central hub for collaborations among scientists, clinicians, public health officials and the community for HIV/AIDS research. Activities will encompass basic and translational research as well as clinical trials and health services. Essential for success will be working closely with the local communities most affected by HIV in Houston and San Antonio through a community advisory board.
The ultimate aim is to reduce infections, find new ways to treat the disease, and improve health outcomes. More than 91,000 Texans are living with HIV as of 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent data.
“If you look at HIV in the U.S., it has shifted over the decades from the Northeast and West Coast to the South and Southeast, and Texas is responsible for a large portion of the HIV epidemic,” Giordano said. “…There are fewer people becoming newly infected by HIV in many places in the U.S., but the decline in Texas has been slower. We are fortunate to get this grant to try to accelerate the efforts in Texas.”
The center, one of 17 CFARs, will also place a strong emphasis on training the next generation of HIV researchers, through research grants, equipment, lab space, training and mentoring.
About Texas Biomed
Texas Biomed is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to eradicating infection and advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, hemorrhagic fever, tuberculosis and parasitic diseases responsible for malaria and schistosomiasis disease. The Institute has programs in host-pathogen interaction, disease intervention and prevention, and population health to understand the links between infectious diseases and other diseases such as aging, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. For more information on Texas Biomed, go to www.TxBiomed.org.