A scientist holding a model of a virus

20 Years of Collaborative Virology Research

Author
VP Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Institute for Molecular Virology (IMV). That’s 20 years of improving health both locally and globally through scientific discovery of viral disease, conveying the impact of viruses and their diseases on society through public outreach, and maintaining Minnesota’s international reputation of excellence in virology research.

Since its inception, the IMV has harnessed collective expertise across our health sciences by breaking down barriers that exist in traditional academic siloes. This bold vision led the IMV to foster new scientific interactions among our faculty and students whose research interests ranged from virus epidemiology to structural virology, and all topics in between. These regular collegial interactions laid the foundation for creating the IMV’s internationally recognized training environment. This resulted in our first dedicated NIH T32 training program in virology, which has trained students who have gone on to assume independent research and other research-leadership positions. The IMV has further fostered new scientific interactions through longstanding relationships with both the Mayo Clinic and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided direct evidence for how viruses can not only create a global health crisis, but also economic and societal havoc. This experience inspired us all to learn some virus biology and acquire an appreciation for the importance of viruses and their impact on health and wellbeing. Outreach efforts by the IMV on building vaccine confidence helped to guide care delivery.

The pandemic inspired key IMV investigators to lead the charge in winning a $76 million dollar NIH grant for the Midwest Antiviral Drug Discovery Center, which is focused on developing antiviral therapeutics for pandemic-level viruses. On many levels, the IMV provides an important added value to the health sciences and, more broadly, advances the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of viral diseases to help prepare and shepherd us through future pandemics.

Driving Innovation & Discovery

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Advancing Interprofessional Education & Training

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Partnering with Communities

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U-Wide Events and Opportunities

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Dive into Culinary Nutrition with this CE Course
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University of Minnesota at the Minnesota State Fair

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