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Methusalem Grant Holder Pierre Van Damme

Infectious disease prevention, control and management in a One Health policy context

Infectious diseases (ID) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pose a continuous and serious threat to humans and animals (One Health). Five research units from the UAntwerpen, with strong international records and collaboration, will continue to jointly capitalize on their ID expertise. EVECO studies distribution, evolution and ecology of pathogens (plague, arenaviruses, …) and wildlife hosts, offering insights for emerging ID management. LMM has established large consortia (COMBACTE, PREPARE) leading to pan-European infrastructures for ID and antimicrobial consumption research. Next to developing rapid diagnostics, LMM investigates AMR mechanisms and pathogen dynamics in vitro, in humans/livestock, and in animal models to study host-immune response (biomarker discovery) and bacterial pathogenicity. LEH performs cutting-edge research on cell-based immunotherapies, in collaboration with the UZA Centre for Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine. LEH investigates host-immune responses in vaccine trials using multi-parametric flow cytometry and systems biology to discover novel immune correlates of protection in next-generation vaccines. CEV studies the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases and performs state-of-the-art vaccine trials with large national/international networks, including maternal immunization trials and quarantine studies with genetically-modified polioviruses. Given the global need for EID vaccines (Lassa, Ebola, …) , CEV engages in several innovative (non)-human challenge-phase 1-2 studies. CHERMID undertakes methodological and applied research on the intersection between health economics, biomedicine and mathematics. CHERMID is internationally renowned for developing models of dynamic ID processes within and between hosts and integrating these with cutting edge economic models. By integrating these complementary expertises, this COE will address current and future challenges in ID management.

Prof. dr. Pierre Van Damme (Fac. Medicine and Health Sciences, research group Centre for the Evaluation of Vaccination) works as a PI on this project together with co-PIs prof. dr Philippe Beutels (Fac. Medicine and Health Sciences, research group Centre for Health Economics Research and Modelling of Infectious Diseases), prof. dr. Herwig Leirs (Dept. Biology, research group Evolutionary Ecology), prof. dr. Surbhi Malhotra-Kumar (Fac. Medicine and Health Sciences, research group Laboratory of Medical Microbiology) and prof. dr. Viggo Van Tendeloo (Fac. Medicine and Health Sciences, research group Laboratory for Experimental Hematology).