Rutgers creates COVID-19 center to fight pandemic

Rutgers created a new center to coordinate the university’s myriad research and public health and outreach efforts to combat COVID-19.


“Given our expertise and the health needs at the state and national levels, we are excited to announce the establishment of the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness to address SARS CoV-2, the causative pathogen of COVID-19, and other emerging pathogen threats,” said Brian Strom, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and executive vice president for Health Affairs, in a prepared statement.


The center’s goal is to serve as an institutional hub for Rutgers’ COVID-19 research activities and information dissemination.


David Alland, director of Rutgers’ Public Health Research Institute and chief of infectious diseases at New Jersey Medical School, will serve as the director of the new center, which will be within the Rutgers Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (i3D), according to the statement. He will work closely with a scientific advisory board that will provide input and guidance.

His lab played a crucial role in evaluating a new test for SARS CoV-2, according to the statement.


“I’m very excited about this opportunity and look forward to working in every way possible with the Rutgers research community as well as external stake holders and partners,” Alland said.


Institutional resources from RBHS, Rutgers’ Office Research & Economic Development and Rutgers-New Brunswick, will be made available to the new center in an effort to secure external funding for additional research.


Over the last several months, Rutgers has rapidly responded to the COVID-19 pandemic using strengths that collectively are unique to the university, according to the statement. These strengths include the i3D, a global leader in infectious disease research; NJMS/i3D biosafety level 3 laboratories that are equipped to study dangerous pathogens; world-class, heath-related schools that include medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry and health professions, in addition to several renowned centers and institutes; world-class engineering, computational sciences, social sciences, business, law, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities; and the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science, which facilitates clinical and translational research via several research cores.


“We have no doubt that our new center will be nationally renowned not only as related to COVID-19 research but also other serious infection-related research and preparedness,” said Bishr Omary, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and Research at RBHS, in the statement.