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Molecular Virology and Microbiology

Houston, Texas

BCM has 25 departments and more than 90 research and patient-care centers.
Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology
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Research Centers

Center for AIDS Research

The Center for AIDS Research supports and facilitates multidisciplinary AIDS-related research activities at Baylor College of Medicine and its affiliated institutions. We accomplish this by providing scientific leadership and institutional infrastructure (core facilities) in an environment that stimulates scientific collaboration.

An important component of our mission is to provide leadership in identifying AIDS-related research opportunities, to encourage new research endeavors that take advantage of institutional strengths, and to do long-range strategic planning. The Baylor CFAR has particular strengths in pediatric AIDS, basic molecular virology, and AIDS-related training programs, along with a history of interdisciplinary collaborations.

Baylor hosts the only CFAR in the United States between the Mississippi River and the West Coast. The center is led by Janet S. Butel, Ph.D. (director) and William T. Shearer, M.D., Ph.D. (co-director), professor of Pediatrics. The Baylor CFAR supports three basic science cores (Immunology, Virology, AIDS-Related Malignancy) and three clinical science cores (Clinical Research, Design and Analysis, International Research). The CFAR receives funding from the National Institutes of Health. Visit the CFAR web site for more information.

Influenza Research Center

The Influenza Research Center was established at Baylor in 1974 and operations continue to this day. A major activity has involved vaccine evaluations. Notable vaccine contributions include functioning as the major site for initial studies of the live cold-adapted influenza vaccine, performing the first field evaluations, and directing the focus to children. Additionally, the evaluations of the first high-growth vaccines using genetic engineering were conducted here. Current vaccine development efforts include

  • Developing an improved inactivated influenza virus vaccine for the elderly
  • Evaluating a nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella vaccine for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Improving the use of pneumococcal vaccines for elderly persons

Gulf Coast Digestive Disease Center

The DDC is a federally funded center (NIH DK58338) designed to serve basic and clinical scientists at institutions within the Texas Medical Center (Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center).

The DDC director is Mary K. Estes, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine. David Y. Graham, M.D., professor of Medicine and Molecular Virology and chief of Baylor Gastroenterology, is the DDC co-director. Associate Directors are: Lenard Lichtenberger, Ph.D., professor of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, and Don Powell, M.D., professor and chair of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch/Galveston.

Current DDC membership numbers 110 with over $12 million annually in digestive diseases-related research funding. The center has particular strengths in the areas of gastrointestinal development, infection, and injury. Outreach and educational programs include a weekly seminar series, the GI Research Forum, and an annual summer Gulf Coast GI Research Forum. Pilot/Feasibility and Enrichment Programs to support innovative ideas and new investigators in Digestive Disease research and foster collaboration are a key part of the center.

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