UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

New campus-wide alliance for global health launches May 14

– From projects to prevent mothers from dying during childbirth to the development of low-cost treatments and diagnostics for drug-resistant tuberculosis, the University of California, Berkeley, is bringing together global health research from across the campus in an ambitious interdisciplinary initiative to be officially launched on Wednesday, May 14.

The UC Berkeley Alliance for Global Health connects more than 80 faculty members from 12 different departments and schools to address the health challenges of the world's underserved populations. The alliance is comprised of two tightly linked centers: the Center for Global Public Health, directed by Eva Harris, associate professor of infectious diseases, and the Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases, directed by Thomas Alber, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

"What is exciting about this alliance is the opportunity to focus UC Berkeley's top-rated research programs on addressing the challenges in global health," said Alber, who is also a researcher at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "With our new initiative, UC Berkeley is integrating biology and chemistry with public health, economics and law to create a 'discovery-to-delivery' pipeline. Our contacts with scientists in the developing world will help us train students in new ways."

Harris, who co-founded the Sustainable Sciences Institute, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization dedicated to developing research capacity in areas with pressing health problems, noted that UC Berkeley faculty already have an impressive, decades-long track record in successful global health research and in establishing relationships with governments in developing nations.

"Just at the School of Public Health, we have 30 faculty members with projects in 25 countries for the last 10 to 30 years, many of which are cohort studies where we have followed large groups of people over a period of time," said Harris. "The new alliance will harness the commitment on this campus to global health and intensify it - through international research collaboration, scientist exchanges and partnerships across the world."

UC Berkeley Executive Vice Chancellor George Breslauer will give opening remarks at the May 14 event celebrating the launch of the alliance. Peter Kim, president of Merck Research Laboratory, and Dr. Donald Francis, chairman of Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases and former director of the World Health Organization's Smallpox Eradication Program, will give keynote speeches.

A panel discussion by global health experts will follow the keynote talks. For details of the public event, visit the Berkeley Alliance for Global Health Web site.