Narrator: This is Science Today. One of only ten National Institutes of Health-funded centers in the nation dedicated to research aimed at countering bioterrorism and infectious disease will be established at the University of California , Santa Barbara . Microbiologist Peggy Cotter is project director of the Pacific-Southwest Regional Center for Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease Research.
Cotter: There are funds available to study the organism that causes plaque and anthrax and also viral diseases. The hantaviruses, dengue and some of the other viruses.
Narrator: Many are emerging infectious diseases or have the potential to become that on their own – without the threat of bioterrorism, such as West Nile Virus.
Cotter: That's a classic example of an emerging infectious disease. Something that hasn't really been prevalent in this country, but we need to be prepared for and West Nile Virus didn't come here by bioterrorists. It came on its own through natural progression, the movement of organisms and other things around.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.