UAB researchers receive U54 grant, join rare diseases consortium

A prestigious U54 grant from the NIH will help pediatric infectious disease investigators study rare viral infections.

University of Alabama at BirminghamKimberlin1David Kimberlin, M.D., co-director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases investigators within the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases have received a $5 million, five-year U54 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to establish the Congenital and Perinatal Infections Consortium, part of the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network.

Led by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, UAB is one of 21 consortia in the RDCRN. The UAB site will oversee 27 additional research sites under its CPIC. The purpose of the RDCRN consortia is to advance clinical research and investigate new treatments for patients with rare diseases.

“Our Consortium will bring value to the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network by providing both a time-tested research model and advanced pharmacometric expertise to better understand congenital and perinatal rare diseases,” said David Kimberlin, M.D., co-director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and director of the CPIC. “As with all successful research programs, discovering answers to critical questions will help us identify additional important questions that will further advance our field and the treatment of rare infectious diseases. We’re excited that UAB and our research will be represented within the RDCRN.”

UAB’s CPIC will focus on studying the natural history and treatment of rare viral infections that present before and after birth, including congenital cytomegalovirus disease, neonatal herpes simplex virus infection, and neonatal viral sepsis caused by enteroviruses and the related human parechoviruses. The CPIC’s goal is to advance understanding of these diseases, improve clinical trial readiness, test therapies, advance patient care and ultimately reduce disease burden.

In addition to advancing the care that children with rare neonatal viral infections will receive, the CPIC will help provide experiential mentored research opportunities for the next generation of rare diseases researchers.