Overview of Tuberculosis Research Unit 

An NIAID contract that established the Tuberculosis Research Unit (TBRU) was awarded to Case Western Reserve University in September 1994. This first contract continued through 1999, led by Jerrold Ellner, MD as Director with Kathleen Eisenach, PhD of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as Co-Director.  This first contract created a multidisciplinary, international team, to translate basic research findings into useful tools to improve the treatment and control of tuberculosis. During the first five years, partners included researchers in the US, India, Uganda, and Brazil.  The NIAID contract was re-competed for two additional cycles (2000-2015) under the direction of W. Henry Boom, MD, continuing the interdisciplinary research teams with new, additional scientific leaders and expanding the Data and Administrative Coordinating Center and Specimen Repository based at CWRU in Cleveland. Partners expanded to the Philippines and South Africa for clinical studies. The last cycle (2007-2015) evolved to address changing TB research needs and specifically built on human TB immunology, human genetics, and vaccine evaluation with U.S., European, Ugandan, and South African partners.

During TBRU’s NIAID contract cycles, the scientific leaders at CWRU with their well-established Coordinating Center secured additional research awards for TB and related areas of international research and training. These new opportunities were possible due to CWRU’s long-standing Collaboration with Makerere University in Uganda, namely the Uganda-CWRU Research Collaboration.

The Evolving TBRU at CWRU 

The TBRU at CWRU continues to lead worldwide efforts conducting vital clinical studies for TB and addressing critical gaps in TB translational research. Our U.S. and international partners expand as our work in TB changes to meet global challenges. Our Coordinating Center continues to evolve beyond our TB research, supporting CWRU researchers from all disciplines as well as supporting operations of the Uganda-CWRU Research Collaboration. The TBRU at CWRU continues to tackle the challenges of our international research agenda.