Published March 6, 2017
The Global Virus Network recently announced the induction of the University at Buffalo as one of its newest Centers of Excellence, making it one of the world’s premier virology research centers. Gene Morse, SUNY Distinguished Professor and professor of pharmacy practice, is leading these efforts on behalf of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the university.
The Global Virus Network (GVN), co-founded by Robert Gallo, is an international coalition of leading virologists from more than 20 countries who work together to understand why viruses cause illness and to develop drugs and vaccines that may prevent illness and death.
“Following the immediate HIV and AIDS outbreak in the early 1980s, it became clearer than ever that there was a real need for global collaboration in biomedical research,” says Gallo, MD, GVN scientific director and the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine and director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“This need for meaningful global collaboration covering every class of human viruses continued until the formation of the GVN in 2011. The GVN serves to safeguard mankind by, among other things, overcoming gaps in research during the earliest phases of viral epidemics and ensuring the next generation of medical virologists are trained to meet these challenges.”
In addition to HIV, the Global Virus Network dedicates research toward all classes of human viruses, ranging from the Zika virus to HTLV-1, a virus linked to several diseases, including leukemia.
“As a member of the Global Virus Network, UB will develop new research collaborations with virology research centers around the world,” says Gene Morse, PharmD, director of the UB GVN Center for Excellence and SUNY Distinguished Professor in the UB School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “These opportunities will expand beyond HIV, Zika, Ebola and other emerging viral infections to include human and viral genomics, biosensors and data analytics, and novel nanomedicine development for drug delivery.”
The HIV and HCV Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory, led by Morse, is already recognized internationally for its work in antiviral pharmacology and therapeutics and has been conducting antiviral research since the beginning of the HIV epidemic. More recently, it has also focused its efforts on Hepatitis C virus (HCV), in collaboration with Andrew Talal, professor and director of the UB Liver Disease Center.
Induction into the GVN will allow for further expansion of the Center’s existing programs in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa, as well as the developing programs in the the Carribean region, and will help facilitate a major collaboration on HCV surveillance and treatment in Jamaica by Morse.