The National Institutes of Health-funded New York Influenza Center of Excellence (NYICE), led by David Topham, Ph.D., received $5.4 million in new awards from the NIH to conduct a variety of projects related to the immune response to flu infection and vaccination. NYICE is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional center that emphasizes basic and clinical research on human influenza.
The funding covers 13 new projects that will be conducted by investigators at URMC, as well as scientists from institutions that are members of NYICE, such as the University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Duke and the University of Minnesota. Research will be conducted in the U.S. and abroad, including studies in Melbourne, Australia and Stockholm, Sweden.
Development of a universal flu vaccine is the focus of several of the new projects. The comparison of different types of vaccines (egg-based vaccine; cell culture vaccine; vaccine made in insect cells) is another important study, as the widely-used egg-based vaccine wasn't particularly effective in the 2017-2018 flu season. Investigators will also work to better understand how the viruses we're exposed to as children influence immunity later on in life.
In addition to Topham, URMC researchers Andrea J. Sant, Ph.D.,Jennifer Nayak, M.D.,Angela Branche, M.D.,Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Ph.D. and James J. Kobie, Ph.D. will spearhead several of the new projects.