Public Release: 

CDC designates new Kentucky biodefense center

Louisville school to be on front lines in protecting the public

University of Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A new biodefense center in Kentucky has been designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of seven specialty sites in the nation for public health preparedness.

The Center for the Deterrence of Biowarfare and Bioterrorism at the University of Louisville is "unique in its resources and capabilities to research and prepare for a terror-related biological disaster."

Faculty at the center have a wide range of expertise, from identifying and developing vaccines to training emergency workers how to respond properly to an attack, Hauer added.

Computerized mannequins that simulate infection by a biological agent are one technique used at the center, which so far has trained more than 1,000 doctors, nurses, emergency workers and others in how to rapidly deal with a bioterrorism attack.

The center also will conduct epidemiological and communications research geared toward ensuring a quick response to potential terror-induced epidemics.

Co-directing the center are Ron Atlas, a biologist considered a leading expert on anthrax, and Richard Clover, dean of the university's School of Public Health and Health Information Sciences.

Atlas, Clover and three other faculty members affiliated with the center, Paul McKinney, William Smock and James Snyder, all have advised the federal government on bioterrorism issues over the past year.

The center is receiving $1.5 million in funding through a federal appropriation to the CDC secured earlier this year with assistance from U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), university officials said.

"The designation means that the university will be on the front lines in protecting our communities," McConnell said.

Other CDC-designed Centers for Health Preparedness are located at Dartmouth Medical School, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins/Georgetown Universities, University of Georgia, Texas A&M University and the University of Findley, Ohio.

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