Emory Report

October 25, 1999

 Volume 52, No. 9

Emory, state leaders officially dedicate new Vaccine Research Building on Oct. 14

With the Oct. 14 dedication of its new Vaccine Research Building, Emory underscored its commitment to world leadership in the fight to eliminate or control the deadly infectious diseases that continue to plague millions of individuals around the globe. The Emory Vaccine Research Center assembles a group of the nation's most respected immunologists and virologists in one of the largest centers ever created to forge new vaccine strategies.

"I can think of no other facility in the health sciences that we could be dedicating today that potentially will have a more dramatic impact on as many people throughout the world as this vaccine facility," President Bill Chace said at the ceremony. "With new advances in science and medicine, and particularly in molecular medicine and genetics, it is truly within our grasp to develop new vaccine technologies that can prevent or help cure many of the modern-day scourges that remain."

The new 75,000-square-foot, four-story Vaccine Research Building adjoins the main building of Yerkes Research Center. With three above-ground levels and one below ground, the building houses investigators in 23 state-of-the-art laboratories as well as contemporary offices and meeting facilities. Long recognized as one of the leading centers for biomedical and biobehavioral research with non-human primates, Yerkes in recent years has expanded to include a broad range of scientific research from molecular and cellular studies to investigations of cultural and social behavior.

"The idea of the Vaccine Center is to create new technologies that will make our most challenging problems, such as AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, influenza and respiratory viruses, things of the past," said Rafi Ahmed, the center's director of the Center and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Vaccine Research.

In addition to the investigators within its new building, the Vaccine Research Center functions as an interdisciplinary "center without walls," providing a focus for research in immunology and vaccines for investigators throughout Health Sciences and for collaborative scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Carter Center and nearby academic institutions.

"Not only does this building house a group of the world's pre-eminent microbiologists and virologists, it also creates a unique opportunity for collaboration that will allow these investigators to make discoveries that would not be possible in individual, isolated laboratories," said Michael Johns, executive vice president for health affairs. "These scientists have come to Emory from leading institutions throughout the country knowing that, along with their fellow investigators, they can make a significant worldwide impact on disease."

Johns gave special thanks to GRA President Bill Todd for building both public and private support for the center. The GRA attempts to join together state government, private business and educational institutions in the fields of information technology, environmental research and biomedical research.

"The state of Georgia is extremely proud to be able to support such a distinguished institution and this outstanding facility through the Georgia Research Alliance," said Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, in attendance at the dedication. "This building and this research center are excellent examples of what we as Georgians are capable of accomplishing when we work together toward a common goal."

-Holly Korschun

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