New facility positions Western University on the cutting-edge of HIV/AIDS research

New facility positions Western University on the cutting-edge of HIV/AIDS research

Commemorating World AIDS Day, Western University unveiled plans for a new 4,200 square foot, state-of-the-art facility, which will firmly place its researchers on the cutting-edge of medicine, science and technology in the study of HIV and other complex human pathogens.

The Imaging Pathogens for Knowledge Translation (ImPaKT) Facility at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry will be the only one of its kind in Canada and will combine sophisticated imaging technology with a world-class biocontainment facility. ImPaKT will allow real-time non-invasive assessments of interactions between the pathogen and its host and will facilitate the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for the treatment of infectious diseases.

“World AIDS Day provides the perfect backdrop for this announcement,” said Dr. Michael J. Strong, Dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “This facility will allow us to build on our already strong foundation in HIV/AIDS research, so that we can bring our work in areas such as vaccine development and personalized medicine to the next level.”

Slated for completion in the fall of 2015, ImPaKT will also provide a unique training ground for the next generation of scientists in Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology, Public Health and Clinical Infectious Diseases, and will be a major player in the recruitment of world-class scientists to London.

“One of the major drawing points for my coming to Western was that Schulich Medicine & Dentistry will have the most advanced facilities in the country to carry out the next generation in pathogen-related research,” said Eric Arts, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s new chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

“This provides support for many HIV-related pathogens, but also hospital-acquired infections like MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This facility will not only engage in basic research but it will also be a focal point for patient treatment monitoring, new vaccine developments and new drug discovery,” said Arts.

Considered one of the most important researchers studying HIV/AIDS in the world today, Arts was recruited to Western this year from top-ranked U.S. institution Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).

Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology is globally recognized thanks in large part to the groundbreaking discoveries of Chil-Yong Kang, a Western researcher currently clinically testing a preventative AIDS vaccine.

MEDIA CONTACT: Crystal Mackay, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.777.1573,