Honors & News
December 27, 2011
Computer-generated model of how the human immune system responds to the influenza virus.
The University of Rochester Medical Center has been awarded $4.7 million from the Federal government, with several options for additional funding, to establish a center to study the germs that cause lung disease.
The agreement with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, took effect earlier this month. The agreement, renewable on a year-by-year basis, could last potentially for seven years. If the agreement lasts the full seven years, contract funding may be at least $35 million, and support could reach as much as $50 million, if NIAID exercises all its options.
Creation of the new center was led by microbiologist David Topham, Ph.D., an influenza researcher who also directs the Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation.
August 15, 2011
While most people think of dogs, raccoons or skunks as potential rabies carriers, bats are a major source of the disease in the United States, experts say. And on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that a Mexican teenager had become the first person on U.S. soil to die from rabies after getting bit by a vampire bat.
Experts say that as soon as exposure to a rabid animal is suspected, it's important to consult a doctor and receive a post-exposure prophylaxis vaccine. The vaccine will prevent them from getting rabies, which is almost always fatal.
Because the rabies virus takes weeks to incubate, there is time for the vaccine to prevent disease even when given after exposure to the virus,said Dr. David Topham, associate professor of microbiology and immunology at University of Rochester Medical Center.
The man's death could have been easily prevented if he'd sought treatment in time.
March 9, 2011
David Topham, Ph.D. stands next to an IBM supercomputer. One supercomputer is equivalent to 4,000 desktop computers with one processor. Photo Courtesy of Democrat and Chronicle staff photographer, Jen Rynda.
Since 2005, UR has experienced a 31 percent increase in research funds, culminating in the $461 million received for the fiscal year that ended last June, while the number of UR employees rose by almost 20 percent to just under 20,000. But the spillover of research to startups has been less pronounced. UR is now licensing the know-how from its research to 31 local companies that, as of about a year ago, employed 346 workers.
Both UR and RIT are trying to increase their economic presence locally. UR is teaming up with IBM to establish a $100 million high-powered computer center that will provide unique research capabilities in health-related sciences, while RIT is establishing itself as a leader in promoting cost savings in green technology and industrial sustainability.
In his office at UR's School of Medicine and Dentistry, David Topham, Ph.D. who is vice provost and executive director of Health Sciences Center for Computational Innovation, can pull up on his computer screen an image of two proteins interacting with a virus.
You need the supercomputer to handle the amounts of data required for this sort of simulation,said Topham, explaining how this high-powered computer is helping researchers trying to design a vaccine against a range of viruses.
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