Groundbreaking marks milestone for Center for Vector-Borne and Infectious Diseases

people in construction vests holding shovels
Members of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology break ground for the new Center for Vector-Borne and Infectious Diseases June 18, 2019. (Kellen Bakovich/CVMBS photo)

The CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology celebrated a new era in infectious disease research, with a groundbreaking for the Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases on June 18.

Colorado State University established the Arthropod-borne and Infectious Disease Laboratory (AIDL) as a visionary approach to counter these emerging threats. Since its creation in 1984, the laboratory has been an internationally recognized resource advancing science, practice, and training on topics related to vector-borne infectious disease.

One of the many unique aspects of the laboratory, located in the Judson Harper Research Complex on CSU’s Foothills Campus, includes housing one of the only captive breeding colonies of bats for use in infectious disease research, and biosecurity level 2 and 3 insectaries. In recognition of this critical work, CSU has committed $22 million to construct the Center for Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases (CVID) on the Foothills Campus. Construction will begin this fall and the building is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.

“The new building will house BSL-2 laboratory space, six state-of-the-art tissue culture suites, and space for research activities,” said Edit Szalai, program manager for the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology. It will also have offices for faculty and staff as well as student office space, a large conference room and shared collaboration space. Ten research laboratories with approximately 80 people will occupy the new space.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. Gregg Dean, head of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, thanked CSU leaders “who clearly saw the global need for this sort of research and understood the importance of building on our reputation as an institution by providing a world-class facility that really matches our world-class scientists.”

In his keynote speech, professor emeritus Barry Beaty, Ph.D., retraced the lab’s history from its early days on main campus, to the move out west to the Foothills Campus, and now, a new building. “This is a unique facility in helping to address critical state national and international research needs and infectious diseases. The vectors, the viruses, the zoonotic pathogens are certainly not going away, and facilities like this are going to be invaluable in our ongoing battle against these agents,” said Beaty, who is now retired. “It took a lot to get me off the trout stream, but this is an auspicious day.”

CVMBS photos by Kellen Bakovich and Kristen Browning-Blas