Training Site: Thailand
Consortium Universities: University of Hawai’i, University of Washington, and University of Minnesota
Partner Institutions: University of Hawaii-Southeast Asia Research Collaboration with Hawaii (SEARCH), Armed Forces Research Institute of the Medical Sciences, Mahidol University, Chulalongorn University, Thammasat University, and Khon Kaen University
Collaborating Research Grants: 31
Training Grants: 5
Research Themes: infectious disease, child neurodevelopment, neurologic disorders, pulmonary disease, oral health, cardiovascular disease, and veterinary medicine
International Institutional Partner Director:Jintanat Ananworanich, M.D., Ph.D Chief of the SEARCH Collaboration in Thailand
Program Contact:Vivek Nerurkar, Ph.D. University of Hawaii
Khon Kaen University (KKU): was established in 1964 and has more than 2,110 staff in 17 faculties, four academic support centers, two academic services centers, a hospital, and many research institutes, centers of excellence and specialist centers. The Faculty of Dentistry at KKU is the only national Dental School located in Northeastern Thailand and has provided leadership in dental education, research and patient care in the region. The KKU Dental Hospital offers comprehensive and first-rate oral health care to more than 80,000 patients a year including adults, children and disadvantaged patients.
Thammasat University (TU): was established in 1934 and is the second oldest university in Thailand. Thammasat offers 245 degree programs, including 99 Master’s programs and 34 Ph.D. programs – 24 of which are in the health sciences. There are 1,752 faculty members, 6,516 students currently enrolled in Master’s programs and 327 students currently enrolled in Ph.D. programs.
The UW School of Dentistry has a long-standing history of collaboration with several dental schools in Thailand, but most prominently with Khon Kaen and Thammasat Universities. Over the past 10 years, approximately 150 Thai dental faculty have participated in Fogarty-sponsored workshops, approximately 25 have been supported to attend the Summer Institute, and five long-term trainees have completed or are currently engaged in Ph.D. training. The first long-term trainee, Dr. Wipawee Nittayananta, received a Ph.D. in Oral Biology and an M.S.D. degree in Oral Medicine from the UW, and was awarded an R21 grant upon her return to the Faculties of Dentistry and Medicine at Prince of Songkla University in Thailand, where she was recently named Professor. The second long-term trainee, Dr. Pakkaporn Pattrapornan, has completed her Ph.D. dissertation in public health at Thammasat University. The other three long-term trainees are currently engaged in dissertation research at Thammasat and Khon Kaen. What had previously been a predominantly one-way collaboration on research projects initiated by Thai faculty has recently been reciprocated with the initiation of a case/control study of orofacial clefts in Thailand led by Dr. Christy McKinney, a former postdoctoral trainee on the UW T32 training grant “Comprehensive Training in Interdisciplinary Oral Health Research,” and a current KL2 trainee on the UW’s CTSA award.
Chulalongkorn University: is Thailand’s first institution of higher learning, officially founded in March 1917. Located in Bangkok, Chulalongkorn University is composed of 41 faculties, departments, colleges, academic, research, and service institutes, and academic offices; there are 22,455 undergraduate students, 10,746 Master’s degree students and 2,394 PhD degree students. UMN research studies in Thailand include a study on the effects of anti-retroviral therapy on pulmonary function (Kunisaki, PI; NHLBI; multiple sites, including Chulalongkorn) and a study on the epidemiology of influenza (Osterholm, PI; NIAID; Chulalongkorn). UMN’s education work in Thailand include USAID-funded training grants to improve response to pandemic threats in zoonotic diseases, to build capacity in disease surveillance and detection, and to pilot a pioneering veterinary public health residency program based on the very successful VPH residency at UMN. UMN researchers also conduct NIH-funded studies of pulmonary and cardiovascular complications of HIV with Khon Kaen University and Chulalongkorn University.
University of Hawaii-Southeast Asia Research Collaboration with Hawaii (SEARCH): is a collaborative HIV clinical and translational research and training facility located in Bangkok established in 2003 as a partnership between the UH Hawaii Center for AIDS (HICFA), the Thai Red Cross AIDS Research Centre and the Department of Retrovirology, U.S. Department of Defense Armed Forces Research Institute of the Medical Sciences (US AFRIMS, www.afrims.org). SEARCH serves as an HIV/AIDS training center for physicians and other ancillary personnel in SE Asia and has substantial expertise in HIV clinical research. AFRIMS is a leading tropical infectious disease laboratory in SE Asia with programs in Enteric Diseases, an Entomology department dedicated to the study of malaria and other vector-borne diseases, and programs in viral diseases including dengue fever, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. The Retrovirology department of AFRIMS specializes in vaccine studies for HIV and was the center responsible for the NIH-sponsored phase III HIV vaccine trial evaluating the “prime-boost” strategy using ALVAC-HIV (vCP1521) and AIDSVAX B/E in 16,000 young Thai HIV seronegative adults. These partners provide a solid foundation for HIV clinical/translational research. SEARCH is directed by Dr. Jintanat Ananworanich, a U.S. trained pediatric immunologist and an accomplished HIV clinical investigator with substantial expertise in leading adult and pediatric HIV clinical trials. She holds an appointment as Associate Professor of Medicine at the JABSOM, UH (see letter of support).