Dear Members of the Rutgers Community:

Given our expertise and the health needs at the state and national levels, we are excited to announce the establishment of the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness (CCRP2) to address SARS CoV-2, the causative pathogen of COVID-19, and other emerging pathogen threats. The goal for this center is to serve as an institutional hub for COVID-19 research activities and information dissemination. We are very excited that Dr. David Alland, director of the Public Health Research Institute and chief of infectious diseases at New Jersey Medical School has agreed to serve as director of the newly formed CCRP2 starting immediately. Dr. Alland is internationally recognized for his pioneering work on the epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment and molecular evolution of M. tuberculosis. Some of you may have noted the press release from March 21, 2020, announcing the recently approved point-of-care diagnostic for SARS CoV-2 that Dr. Alland and his colleagues Drs. Padmapriya Banada and Sukalyani Banik developed.

Institutional resources from RBHS, Rutgers University Office of Research & Economic Development and Rutgers University—New Brunswick will be made available to CCRP2 to support internal pilot grants to allow preparation for collaborative COVID-19-related external funding mechanisms. A request for applications will be released later this week. Dr. Alland will be working closely with a Scientific Advisory Board that will provide input and guidance as needed.

Rutgers University has moved rapidly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic threat, taking advantage of important strengths that collectively are unique to Rutgers University. These strengths include: (i) Rutgers Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (I3D), a global leader in infectious disease research; (ii) superb NJMS/i3D biosafety level 3 (BSL3) laboratories that are specially equipped to study dangerous pathogens,  (iii) breadth of world-class health- related schools that include medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health, dentistry and health professions, in addition to several renowned centers and institutes, (iv) world-class engineering, computational sciences, social sciences, business, law, artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and (v) the Rutgers Institute for Translational Medicine & Science that facilitates clinical and translational research via several research cores.

CCRP2 will be a Center within I3D. It will also interact with the recently established COVID-19 Research Working Group that was formed and led by Dr. Sagar Khare at Rutgers Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine (IQB) in close partnership with Dr. Stephen Burley, IQB’s founding director. Please join us in thanking Dr. Alland for agreeing to serve in this important new role. We have no doubt that CCRP2 will be a nationally renowned center not only related to COVID-19 research, but also other serious infection-related research and preparedness.

Be well and stay safe,

Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH
Chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Rutgers University

Christopher J. Molloy, Ph.D.
Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

David Kimball, Ph. D.
Senior Vice President
Office of Research and Economic Development