University of Maryland School of Medicine launches Institute for Global Health

New resources, researchers brought into Maryland to tackle global health issues.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine plans to form an Institute for Global Health to build on vaccine development and other domestic and international public health efforts long underway.

The institute, announced recently, will include prominent Maryland scientists and researchers in vaccine development and malaria research and bring on new ones. It will encompass the school's Center for Vaccine Development and the Center for Malaria Research, which was pulled out from the vaccine center to become its own entity.

Dr. Christopher Plowe will serve as director of the new institute. He's a professor of medicine, epidemiology, public health, microbiology and immunology at the school and was formerly leader of the vaccine center's malaria group.

Plowe said the new institute will help bring attention to the work done at the university, attracting funds from traditional government and foundation sources, as well as from new philanthropic areas. The commitment to a new institute is also expected to attract accomplished researchers and "the best" students, he said.

"We plan to do a lot more than developing and testing vaccines," Plowe said. "We will establish a framework to reach out across the School of Medicine to the cancer center, for example, which is moving toward a global health program, and to Shock Trauma, which has a long history of doing relief work."

Dr. Kathleen Neuzil will take over the vaccine center. She comes from PATH, an international nonprofit global health organization based in Seattle. Dr. Myron Levine, a professor at the medical school who founded and directed the vaccine center, will become the School of Medicine's associate dean for global health, vaccinology and infectious diseases.

Among the center's most recent work is development of a vaccine for Ebola, and Plowe will continue efforts to eliminate malaria in Myanmar.

"This will be a landmark initiative for the School of Medicine," said Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of the medical school, the university's vice president for medical affairs and the John Z. and Akiko Bowers distinguished professor, in a statement. "This institute will enable us to have a powerful and lasting impact on global health."

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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