Providence, R.I. — December 3, 2010 – Next month the University of Rhode Island’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics will begin a workshop and training course aimed at targeting neglected tropical diseases. The workshop will focus on training NTD researchers interested in using new vaccine design tools developed by Principal Investigator and URI Professor Annie De Groot and Co-Investigator Bill Martin of Epivax Inc.

The World Health Organization defines neglected tropical diseases as “primarily infectious diseases that thrive in impoverished settings, especially in the heat and humidity of tropical climates.” On the list of NTD are dengue fever, Buruli Disease, Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis.

The workshop is being funded through a $511,121 award from the National Institutes of Health. The award is a supplement to last year’s $13 million grant for the Translational Immunology Research and Accelerated Vaccine Development (TRIAD) program which established I’Cubed at URI’s Providence Biotechnology Center and included URI among the Cooperative Centers for Human Immunology and Translational Research (CCHI).

The training session will take place over three weeks starting January 4 and running through January 21 at the URI Providence Biotechnology Center. I’Cubed has selected 13 fellows from the United States and abroad for the training. Selections were based on the applicant’s current involvement in research on neglected tropical diseases, prior doctoral or equivalent training in immunology or a related area in the vaccine development field and substantial commitment from the applicant’s home institution to their future research career.

Immunoinformatics tools will be available to the fellows after they complete the training, so they can continue their work in the host laboratory. The tools are made available to I’Cubed by Epivax, Inc. on a non-commercial basis.