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D. A Research Center for Biodefense & Infectious Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. The University of California , Santa Barbara will be home to one of ten research centers in the country funded by the National Institutes of Health, dedicated to countering threats from bioterrorism agents and infectious disease. Microbiologist Peggy Cotter, who will serve as a project director for the center, says the goal is to get a basic understanding of how certain bacteria cause disease.

Cotter: Our aspect is really basic science understanding of the potential pathogens so that we can potentially develop vaccines or therapeutics that will prevent us from getting sick if we get exposed or at least come up with rapid treatments if it really materializes.

Narrator: Bioterrorism agents to be studied include anthrax and botulism, but Cotter says they'll also study naturally-occurring infectious diseases, such as West Nile virus and hantavirus.

Cotter: It's not strictly focused on biodefense, but also on these emerging infectious diseases that are sort of developing and moving around the world, which they can do much more easily now with world travel.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.