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Scientists from Seven Countries come to USU for Vaccine Training

Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011

Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet

Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet, directors of BARDA/USU program. (Photo by Gary Neuenswander)

vaccine training in the lab

Visiting scientists from China instructed by Kamal Rashid receive training in the laboratory at USU. (Photo by Gary Neuenswander)

Utah State University’s Center for Integrated BioSystems welcomes 16 scientists from around the world to a course in vaccine manufacturing.

The program is part of the World Health Organization’s initiative to train developing countries in influenza vaccine manufacturing techniques in an effort to fight a global flu pandemic.

“It is exciting that USU is the first institution nationwide to host this training this year,” said Noelle Cockett, dean of USU’s College of Agriculture. “I am very pleased that we have the opportunity to share our expertise and experience with scientists from across the world.”

Funding for the program comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Two USU faculty members, Kamal Rashid and Bart Tarbet, combine their expertise in bioprocess/biotechnology education and vaccine development to train visiting scientists on techniques in vaccine production, purification and scale-up strategies.

“Efforts to train and support people capable of manufacturing flu vaccines are concentrated in industrialized countries,” said Kamal Rashid, project director. “This program allows us to bring scientists from developing countries in need of this training to USU, and it helps us support the effort to fight the global spread of influenza.”

Participants were nominated by their home institutions and hail from seven countries, including  Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Serbia, Romania, Russia and Egypt. They are the first to participate in this new training program.

The scientists will be in Logan for three weeks, beginning Feb. 21, to participate in a combination of science-supported instruction and hands-on laboratory training in practice sessions before returning to their home countries.

“In spite of scientific breakthroughs in medical research, respiratory disease caused by influenza virus affects millions of people worldwide,” said Bart Tarbet, co-project director. “Vaccination could prevent much of the illness, and many unnecessary deaths, if it were only more readily available. This training course will help visiting scientists increase their ability to produce the vaccines necessary to combat future influenza epidemics and pandemics.”

Both the Center for Integrated BioSystems and the Institute for Antiviral Research are involved in the program because of their extensive experience in biotechnology education and antiviral therapy. In addition, the center has broad collaborations with scientists in academic, industrial and government laboratories both nationally and internationally.

Related links:

Contact: Kamal A. Rashid, (435) 797-2739,

Contact: E. Bart Tarbet, (435) 797-3954,

Writer: Jeannine Huenemann, (435) 797-8274,

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