NYU Langone Health announced the launch of a Vaccine Center that combines basic research, clinical studies, and public health outreach to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and other immunological disorders. The multidisciplinary center, led by Mark J. Mulligan, MD, is the first of its kind in New York City – which history and current events have shown can be an international entry point for infectious diseases into the U.S. Working alongside communities, the Vaccine Center aims to reduce vaccine hesitancy and educate the population about the benefits and safety of vaccines.
“Vaccine research is of great importance to humankind,” says Dr. Mulligan, the Thomas S. Murphy Sr. Professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology. “We still lack widely effective vaccines for many long-standing diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. In addition, new threats like Zika and Ebola continue to emerge. The mission of our center is to discover new approaches to protect and restore human health.”
The center uses state-of-the-art technology to tackle complex problems in vaccine research. A team of epidemiologists, immunologists, and microbiologists will lead collaborative research projects designed to identify, improve, and increase uptake of safe and effective vaccines for infectious illnesses including measles and influenza. These researchers will also lead studies to develop new diagnostic and predictive markers to help providers detect diseases early and predict the effectiveness of inoculation. Additional studies will focus on making novel vaccines for nonviral and nonmicrobial illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune diseases, opioid use disorder, cancers, and other chronic conditions.
In the 19th century, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue was the site of the Carnegie Laboratory, the first laboratory for bacteriology in the U.S., shortly after the first discovery of bacteria as agents of disease. More recently, former NYU Langone faculty made major contributions toward the development of both the effective human malaria vaccines. Physicians in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology were among the first to identify the initial signs of the global AIDS epidemic. This prestigious tradition continues with current research concentrations on tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, and HIV.
For more than three decades, Dr. Mulligan has been an international leader in infectious disease research programs. He oversees research and clinical operations in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, as well as the Vaccine Center at NYU Langone Health. Before coming to NYU Langone, Dr. Mulligan held several positions at Emory University, including associate division director for clinical and translational research in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and executive director of the Hope Clinic, the clinical arm of the Emory Vaccine Center. In those roles he focused both on vaccine clinical trials, and on immune system studies that yielded vaccine candidates.
“Dr. Mulligan has a proven record of success when it comes to leadership in vaccine research,” says Steven Abramson, MD, executive vice president and vice dean for education, faculty, and academic affairs. “This new Vaccine Center integrates that leadership with our already outstanding faculty, keeping NYU Langone on the cutting-edge and fighting against devastating infectious diseases.”
The Vaccine Center has locations across several NYU Langone Health facilities, including an inpatient research unit at NYU Langone Hospital – Brooklyn, a research clinic at Schwartz Health Center, and laboratory space in the Science Building at NYU Langone Health.