Pitzer College to Ratify Vaccine Development Collaboration in Botswana

Claremont, Calif. (March 27, 2012) — Pitzer College President Laura Skandera Trombley, Dean of Faculty Alan Jones and Senior Associate Dean of Faculty Thomas Poon will travel to Gaborone, Botswana to sign a memorandum of understanding to ratify a partnership between Pitzer College Vaccine Development Institute, the Botswana Vaccine Institute and the University of Botswana to create cost-effective vaccines for some of the world’s most devastating viruses. The signing ceremony is scheduled for April 2 at 9 a.m. at the University of Botswana.

During the ceremony, President Skandera Trombley will give one of the keynote addresses, along with Botswana Vaccine Institute General Manager Onkabetse George Matlho and a representative from the University of Botswana. Botswana’s Minister of Agriculture Christiaan De Graaff will be the guest of honor.

“The opportunity Pitzer students have for hands-on research and international collaboration within the Vaccine Development Institute is unique and of high value,” said President Skandera Trombley. “In keeping with our mission of social responsibility, this institute has the potential to provide essential vaccines that will positively transform peoples’ lives.”

Pitzer College’s Vaccine Development Institute, home to the Ferré/Marquet Research Center, partners with the University of Botswana to develop vaccines to combat rabies, lumpy skin disease, which can decimate herds of cattle, and rotavirus infections, which kill more than half a million children a year worldwide. Larry Grill, academic director of the research center, works with students from Pitzer College, the University of Botswana and the Keck Graduate Institute to study and develop vaccines that would help save lives in southern Africa and beyond.

During their trip to Gaborone, President Trombley and Dean Jones will also meet with members of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss the activities and goals of Pitzer’s Vaccine Development Institute.

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