Infectious Disease and Immunology
Infectious Disease and Immunology
In Taiwan, there are many diseases caused by viruses and pathogenic bacteria, such as SARS, Dengue fever, bird flu, enteroviruses, hepatitis viruses, HIV/AIDS, Acinetobacter baummanii and Klebsiella pneumoniae. In addition, the parasites brought in by travelers and foreign laborers are a major source of important infectious diseases in Taiwan. National Yang Ming University and Veterans General Hospital have been involved in a range of research achievements in fields related to these organisms. Specifically, in the area of viral hepatitis, we have already carried out wide ranging research. In addition, our recent efforts in SARS research at Yang Ming have resulted in major steps forward. At Yang Ming, there are a number of laboratories devoted to the investigation of Dengue virus and these have studied virus infection and the purification of viral receptors. At present, we are also actively engaged in clinical and fundamental research on Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baummanii, which are extremely serious hospital bacterial infections. Klebsiella pneumoniae is especially important because it causes very serious symptoms such as liver abscess and even blindness in Asian populations and therefore is receiving wide attention across the international medical community. Genome typing of Acinetobacter baummanii has already commenced in collaboration between Institute of Tropical Medicine and Mackay Memorial Hospital and the genome sequencing of this pathogenic bacterium will be our next task. One important area is the prevention and control of malaria caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite and the development of a vaccine to prevent this disease. Due to worldwide interest in the study of disease carrying mosquitoes, some of our laboratories are active in research on the regulation and control of the immune system of disease-carrying mosquitoes. Based on this, we are also conducting research on the application of transgenic technology to the blocking of the Plasmodium falciparum in the mosquito’s body using the immune system of the disease-carrying mosquito.
The Institute of Microbiology & Immunology of Yang Ming is one of the leading research centers studying immunology in Taiwan. Under the lead of our former president, Dr. Shou-Hwa Han, we have established the Immunology Research Center. Collaborating with immunology professors at Yang Ming and the clinical immunologists at the Veterans General Hospital, the center engages in the research on allergicity and tumor immunology. In addition, in a joint effort between Yang Ming and Veterans General Hospital, we have established the “Immunotherapy Research Center” at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital to engage in the research of septicaemia and organ transplantation. We have signed cooperation agreements with Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Mackay Memorial Hospital and National Health Research Institute to carry out joint research on vaccine development. Based on collaboration between our Immunology Research Center and the Genome Center of the Academia Sinica, we have established a long-term cooperation relationship with Scripps Institute, USA.
The AIDS Prevention and Research Center was established six years ago and currently, it is executing two national-scale projects and cooperating with the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research (University of New South Wales) of Australia to conduct the research on clinical epidemiology for the HIV Observational Database. Furthermore, we are also collaborating with the Division of Infectious Disease, Stanford University Medical Center, USA to study HIV drug resistance as well as cooperating with NIH, USA to investigate the interaction between the surface protein of the SARS coronavirus and DC-SIGN on the cell membrane.