Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research


Research is being developed at the University of Hawai‘i in response to an urgent regional need, as well as the interest of the State of Hawai‘i, to achieve the long-term goal of re-establishing research pre-eminence in infectious diseases. Hawai‘i’s geographic location as a prominent international port and its strategic location as a natural sentinel post provide a unique setting from which to monitor the emergence and spread of newly recognized infectious diseases and to investigate outbreaks of well-known microbial infections in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Pacific Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Research, a pillar program in the new Asia-Pacific Institute of Tropical Medicine and Infectious Diseases, will draw on the complementary strengths and multidisciplinary expertise within JABSOM and the Cancer Research Center of Hawai‘i. It will also have strong linkages with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health. In addition, by virtue of University of Hawaii’s long history of training students and public health officers from resource-poor developing countries in Asia and the Pacific, the new center will galvanize University of Hawaii’s position as a regional reference center for the diagnosis and control of emerging and re-emerging microbial threats relevant to the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region.

The research focus of the new center will be on the molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis of infectious diseases of local and regional importance which disproportionately affect under-served ethnic minorities and disadvantaged or marginalized communities in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region. Because the prevention and control of infectious diseases demand expertise from more than a single discipline, the new center will be anchored by the tenets of multi- and trans-disciplinary research, comprising elements of epidemiology and public health, community and family medicine, biobehavioral health, bioinformatics and biostatistics, and microbiology and immunology.