University of Wisconsin Inks Research Deal at Medellin’s Ruta N Center
Ruta N – the Medellin-based, high-tech development center founded by telecom/internet giant UNE, the city of Medellin and electric power giant EPM – announced August 10 that it signed a US$2 million contract with the University of Wisconsin for installation of a new center for the investigation of infectious and tropical diseases.
The deal is expected to lead to a new collaboration between U-Wisconsin and other Colombian health institutes such as the Colombian Institute of Tropical Medicine (ICMT), the Program for the Study and Control of Tropical Diseases (PECET) and the Corporation for Biological Investigations (CIB), according to Ruta N.
Ruta N is contributing COP500 million (US$167,000) to help jump-start the first year of the project, according to the center. U-Wisconsin’s new research center will occupy part of the Ruta N tower formerly occupied by Hewlett Packard, which recently cut-back its world-wide business center operations including its Medellin office space.
The new research center initially will focus upon investigations into mosquito-borne pathogens including dengue and chikungunya, as well as the influenza virus. Other areas of investigation into tropical diseases also are planned, according to Ruta N.
In a recent study, the Ruta N-affiliated CT+i research group identified the opportunity to expand research facilities for tropical disease studies in Medellin, according to the center.
Over the next three years, the new research center aims to develop new diagnostic methods for pathogens including dengue, chikungunya and influenza, as well as undertake new lab and field investigations on infectious tropical diseases, according to Ruta N.
If the initial investigations prove fruitful, then U-Wisconsin would offer to channel additional financial resources to the project, tapping international sources, according to Ruta N.