The Institute for Basic Science (IBS) recently visited the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and announced its collaboration with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in the U.S., with the aims of increasing virus research capacity and ability to respond to infectious disease outbreaks.
IBS President NOH Do Young, IBS Korea Virus Research Institute (KVRI) Managing Director CHOI Young Ki and others, visited the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the 27 research institutes and centers at NIH, on August 18th. NIAID conducts basic and applied research on infectious, immunologic and allergic diseases and has an annual budget of approximately US$6 billion.
They convened meetings with NIAID Director Anthony S. FAUCI, Principal Deputy Director Hugh AUCHINCLOSS, Acting Director Richard KOUP of the Vaccine Research Center, and other representatives from NIAID’s scientific divisions. Meeting participants discussed the latest research status of their respective institutes and possible research cooperation opportunities between the two institutions.
Other participants in these meetings included President LEE Yong Hoon from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and researchers from the Korea Brain Research Institute (KBRI), who also shared their opinions on international research cooperation. These initial meetings could potentially lead to additional communication and information exchanges between the IBS and NIH in the field of life sciences in the future.
In addition to introducing the newly established KVRI, President NOH Do Young said, “I hope there will be a broad cooperation between KVRI and NIAID.” In addition, President Noh said, “In particular, much synergy is to be expected through joint research with the NIAID Vaccine Research Center. We look forward to starting cooperation soon, such as by hosting a joint symposium.” He asked Dr. Fauci for his advice for KVRI.
Dr. Fauci suggested that IBS and KVRI explore opportunities for potential collaboration with the different NIAID divisions and other NIH institutes and centers. He briefly summarized the history of the Vaccine Research Center, which was established in 1996 as part of an intiaitive by President William “Bill” Clinton to develop an AIDS vaccine. The Vaccine Research Center has since expanded its scope to discover and develop novel vaccines and biologics targeting other infectious diseases of global health importance.
Dr. Fauci noted a very successful example of the system set up at NIAID of having a diverse interdisciplinary research environment with scientists from different research fields constantly interacting with each other, even if their interests are somewhat different.
He also stressed the importance of consistent support for biomedical research from the government regardless of the political situation.
After meeting with the representatives from the NIH, IBS has embarked on another cooperative venture with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for cooperative research. On August 23rd, the IBS KVRI signed an MOU agreement with the hospital for joint research on viral infectious diseases.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital is a world-renowned institute that leads research on treating pediatric diseases. The infectious disease unit in the hospital operates the ‘Influenza Collaboration Center’ as a part of the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Influenza Response and Surveillance System (GISRS). The Center conducts research on the ecology of zoonotic viruses such as influenza that threaten humanity. It also serves as a hub for basic and clinical research for influenza in the U.S., and it is one of the NIAID-supported Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR).
This agreement was promoted to strengthen the cooperative system between the two organizations, thereby expanding joint research in the field of infectious diseases and viruses. The IBS KVRI plans to utilize various research resources and infrastructure owned by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, such as the genome information of new and variant viruses around the world, and conduct cooperative research including exchange of research personnel.