The rise in the numbers of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children is creating outbreaks of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases across the country. Headline-making surges of measles cases and parents exposing their children to chickenpox on purpose are creating unwarranted health threats. In addition, the World Health Organization still lists three infectious diseases among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
San Antonio has developed a coordinated, scientific response to these issues through the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio, which aims to promote funding for vaccine development, develop collaborative research projects and advocate the benefits of vaccines through outreach. Professor Joanne Turner, Ph.D., the Vice President for Research at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, has been named the new Executive Director of the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio and aims to expand upon the organization’s mission.
“Science is a team effort,” said Ken Trevett, Founding Director of the Center. “This Center is built on the extraordinary power of people working together. Dr. Turner received the enthusiastic endorsement of representatives from each of the participating institutions.”
Texas Biomed partners with the University of Texas at San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute and UT Health San Antonio to promote collaboration among the four research institutions in infectious disease research and vaccine development in order to facilitate new discoveries and eliminate duplication of resources.
“As an institution committed to combating infectious diseases, the development of new vaccines is crucial to Texas Biomed’s mission,” Dr. Turner commented. “I appreciate and endorse this collaborative consortium model these institutions have worked hard to maintain since the Center’s founding in 2012.”
The Vaccine Development Center’s mission is three-fold:
- Fund pilot projects
- Host an annual conference on infection, immunity and vaccines
- Promote the use of vaccines to enhance public health in San Antonio and the region
“Joanne is an accomplished scientist in TB research and brings a vast and broad knowledge in vaccine discovery that will greatly aid the center in meeting its goals,” said Dr. Bernard Arulanandam (UTSA), one of the scientific co-directors of the center. “She’s an excellent choice and we look forward to working with her.”