The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at Oregon Health & Science University has assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists to respond to serious viral disease threats, including AIDS, chronic viral infection-associated diseases, newly emerging viral diseases and infectious diseases of the elderly. Our programs are intended to span the continuum between basic and clinical science, in which discoveries are rapidly advanced from the level of molecular and cellular biology through animal models and ultimately into clinical testing. The development of this unique program in immunology and virology provides an important training opportunity for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at OHSU. This is why an important part of our mission is the training of young scientists in newer academic disciplines emerging at the VGTI.
VGTI was established in March 2001 with the opening of a new 60,000 sq. ft. facility on OHSU’s West Campus. The founding of the VGTI was based on the realization that progress in virology, molecular biology, immunology, animal models, pathology and clinical infectious diseases requires a high level of expertise and experience that is rarely found in a single investigator.
The VGTI was formed to bridge scientific gaps at OHSU and take advantage of the existing faculty expertise and unique resources at the university resulting in synergistic interactions that would create a world class program in vaccines and new therapeutic approaches to disease. The formation of the VGTI as an independent entity was envisioned to be a scientific and fiscal marriage between the Oregon National Primate Research Center and the OHSU School of Medicine. One of the unique resources at OHSU is the nonhuman primate model that is an essential element of any clinically-relevant investigations in the targeted areas of human disease. To this end, the VGTI was formed in close association with the ONPRC with VGTI faculty providing the scientific leadership and staff for the ONPRC’s Division of Pathobiology and Immunology. This association is mutually beneficial providing new scientific programs for the ONPRC, as well as, strengthening ties between the ONPRC and basic science and clinical programs at the OHSU Portland campus.
In alignment with the OHSU’s multifaceted public mission, VGTI strives for excellence by assembling a multidisciplinary team dedicated to developing research and teaching programs, maintaining expertise in and scientifically utilize NHP models of immunity and infection to respond to the increasingly serious infectious disease threats facing the people of Oregon, and beyond, including AIDS, chronic viral infection-associated diseases, newly emerging viral diseases, and infectious diseases of the elderly.
Providing a collaborative environment for independent scientists within the disciplines of virology, immunology, animal models, pathology and clinical infectious disease who will establish their own vigorous research program, and devote a portion of their research effort to comprehensive collaborative programs aimed at bringing diverse expertise to major clinical problems in the infectious disease field.
The VGTI is a free 60,000 sq. ft. standing facility: 4 biosafety level 3 (BSL3) and 2 animal biosafety level 3 (ABSL3) laboratories, several core services, including the gene microarray shared resource, a clinical vaccine testing core, a state of the art flow cytometry core, monoclonal core, virology core, imaging core with a laser capture microscope, mass spectrometry core and animal core. The ONPRC animal core provides access to over 4500 rhesus macaques, the largest accumulation of specific pathogen free animals in the primate centers, a large colony of aged monkeys, and ABSL3 containment for over 250 monkeys in additional to housing other small animal species.