UTHSC’S Byrne Awarded NIH Grant to Develop Vaccines

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Gerald Byrne, PhD, professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine, has been awarded a nearly $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant.

Gerald Byrne, PhD, professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine, has been awarded a nearly $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grant.

The five-year grant is a renewal of a research project to study the damaging effects of chlamydial infection on the genital tract and eye tissue. The ultimate goal is to develop vaccines that will prevent these infections and the long-term damage they cause, especially in women.

Dr. Byrne is currently principal investigator on three additional NIH-sponsored research grants that focus on Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia pneumoniae, and is project director on a NIH contract to study respiratory pathogen vaccine development.

Serving on the UTHSC faculty since 2002, Dr. Byrne is also chairman of the Department of Molecular Sciences, director of the Centers for Disease Control-approved BSL-3 (biosafety level-3) laboratory and the principal investigator on the $18 million NIH-sponsored Regional Biocontainment Laboratory construction grant. Concurrently, he is director of the Microbial Pathogenesis Center of Excellence in Memphis.

Internationally recognized in his field, Dr. Byrne is active as a permanent member of several NIH review panels, has published more than 130 research papers, and has presented more than 120 seminars and invited symposia.

Prior to coming to UTHSC, he was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1982 to 2002. He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago and was a post-doctoral fellow at Cornell University Medical College.

As the flagship statewide academic health system, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is focused on a four-pronged mission of education, research, patient care and community service, all in support of a single goal: to improve the health of Tennesseans. Offering a broad range of post-graduate training opportunities, the main campus, with its seven colleges, is in Memphis. The UT Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville and the UT College of Medicine in Chattanooga also serve as major educational sites. For more information, visit www.uthsc.edu.