Centre for Global Infectious Disease (CGID)
Microbial pathogens are major threats to global human health and food security. For example, Neglected Tropical Diseases (19 diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa and helminths) affect a staggering 2.7 billion people. This problem is exacerbated by the rise of drug resistance and a lack of investment in antimicrobial discovery, issues recently highlighted by the World Health Organisation in a report predicting the dawn of a post-antibiotic era. Drawing on expertise at Durham and partner organisations across the biological, chemical and physical sciences we seek to synergize research foci to develop collaborative efforts for the identification and inhibition of novel antimicrobial targets, ultimately leading towards the development of novel therapies and preventative strategies.
Strategic importance and added value
The strategic goals of the Departments of Chemistry and Biosciences, and the University as a whole, include focus on multidisciplinary research such as the interface between the biological, chemical and physical sciences. In addition, they stress the need to develop research towards ‘real world’ impact. By bridging the Departments of Chemistry and Bioscience, CGID will bring together specific, multidisciplinary expertise to tackle challenges in global infectious disease. Examples of global impact delivered by members of CGID include the REF2014 4* Impact case study on the manufacture of anti-fungal agent Voriconazole (F2 Chemicals/Pfizer, $600m annual sales) for treatment of fungal infections; and the current pilot study/patent for a reduced cost preparation of the anti-fungal Flucytosine (Sanofi/MEPI) (see - https://www.dur.ac.uk/news/newsitem/?itemno=30675). As well as developing impact, CGID will realise large-scale external grant income. For example, members of the Centre have worked together to secure significant multi-million pound funding via the RCUK GCRF Capacity and Capability Building scheme (see - https://www.dur.ac.uk/news/newsitem/?itemno=31985 ). A key strategic goal of CGID will also be to provide a focal point and established network to help attract Early Career Research (ECR) Fellows to Durham and to provide mentorship to those already in post.