By Robert Gracy, PhD, CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute
Now in its eighth decade of existence, the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, has a mission “to improve the health of our global community through innovative biomedical research.” Texas Biomed has a breadth and depth of scientific inquiry coupled with an unparalleled collection of research resources, which in combination provides its researchers unique capabilities. Texas Biomed also views partnering with Research!America – a strong advocate for growing our country’s investment in biomedical funding – as retaining an effective ally in maintaining and eventually strengthening the backbone of our country’s preeminent position in the biomedical research field.
In the Department of Genetics, researchers are examining the genes related to complex diseases such as cardiovascular illness, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, macular degeneration, behavioral and psychiatric disorders, arthritis and osteoporosis – hoping to ultimately provide the foundation of knowledge that can lead to better treatment of these devastating illnesses and to personalize care according to the genetic profile of each patient.
The Virology and Immunology Department has two broad tracks of inquiry – one involving major infectious disorders, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C – and the other examining potential treatments and defenses against infectious agents that could be used as bioterrorist weapons (e.g., anthrax, plague, Ebola, botulism, Marburg and Lassa viruses, etc.). The vitality and breadth of both research tracks are intimately related to the maintenance of state-of-the-art bio-containment facilities. The biosafety level 4 maximum containment facility is one of just five operating now in the United States and the only one run by a private entity.
The Southwest National Primate Research Center is focused on a mission of development and use of animal models for human disease to support both Texas Biomed researchers and those throughout the United States. Through the years, extraordinary advances in medicine have resulted from this important resource, including evaluation of treatments for Hepatitis B and C. More recently, scientists have developed a new model for cancer, and they are developing regenerative medicine based therapies for neurological, ocular, cardiovascular and muscular diseases.
Since its founding in 1941, Texas Biomed has retained its philanthropic vision. Most recently, the support of many individuals, foundations and corporations, was highlighted in the dedication of the new Earl Slick Research Center, a $27 million laboratory and support complex. This facility is part of a multi-year campaign to grow, through strategic recruitment of 10 new scientists, critical research capacity. Though privately funded – this initiative is intended to position Texas Biomed more favorably in the highly competitive arena of NIH and other major grant opportunities.
For more information about Texas Biomed, please visit our website.