Types of Research at the Center

Nurse with patient

A nurse reviews a protocol with participants Sophina and Josue Calderon, who are taking part in a study tracking how the flu spreads in Rochester (Photo by Donna Neu)

While the specific projects to be undertaken at the Respiratory Pathogens Research Center have not been finalized, they could include projects such as:

  • Studies in people of an experimental vaccine designed to protect the elderly against pneumonia;
  • An unprecedented look at the interactions between the germs that normally live in our bodies and help to keep us healthy, and harmful germs like the flu;
  • How and why some children fight off an RSV infection effectively while others become very sick;
  • How the body first recognizes respiratory viruses and then rouses the immune system to kill them – key knowledge for the creation of new vaccines;
  • How flu vaccines might be modified so they can be safer and more effective for people who have had organ transplants;
  • How viruses harm the breathing of infants born prematurely, with researchers working with collaborators with the University’s Prematurity and Respiratory Outcomes Program (PROP);
  • What happens in the body when viruses and bacteria both cause infection at the same time. A common example occurs when a patient catches a cold and is told that an antibiotic won’t be helpful. The patient becomes sicker and sicker and then, weeks later, finds out that a bacterial infection has also occurred, and that indeed, antibiotics would now improve his or her health.
  • Additional clinical trials of drugs or vaccines for respiratory diseases in children or adults, with studies ranging in size from a few dozen participants to hundreds at sites around the world, depending on the need.