Center for Predictive Medicine
Birmingham scientist chosen to direct lab
A biochemist who has studied highly pathogenic viruses for 18 years is the new scientific director for the University of Louisville’s Center for Predictive Medicine.
Colleen Jonsson of the Southern Research Institute, a not-for-profit research consortium in Birmingham, Ala., will assume the UofL post on Sept. 1, Manuel Martinez-Maldonado, the university’s executive vice president for research, said.
“Her highly varied background in studying emerging pathogens and her exceptional leadership skills made her our top choice for this key position,” he said.
Jonsson started at the institute in 2003 as a senior research scientist, later creating and leading its program to develop new drugs for emerging infectious diseases.
She has held faculty positions at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and New Mexico State University and her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
She holds a doctorate in biochemistry from Purdue University and bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and biology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
The $34.6-million Center for Predictive Medicine, a Level 3 biosafety lab, is scheduled to open next year on UofL’s Shelby Campus. The 37,000-square-foot facility is one of 13 such labs being built through a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases plan to better protect Americans from biological threats.
Researchers at UofL’s lab will work to develop ways to detect, prevent and treat emerging infectious diseases and prepare for natural or man-induced epidemics.
As the lab’s scientific director, Jonsson will oversee research projects taking place at the facility and will continue her own studies there, Martinez-Maldonado said.
The lab, now about 85 percent complete, is being built by Messer, a Cincinnati-based contractor specializing in complex commercial construction. Messer also is building UofL’s Biomedical Research Building III at Hancock Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard.
After lab construction is finished, an independent testing and certification company, International Commissioning Engineers, will test all of building’s systems. The step is aimed at ensuring that everything works as it should before any research takes place in the lab.
For more information, call 502-852-1113.