The Retrovirus Research Program at The Ohio State University was organized in the early 1970s with funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Special Cancer Virus Research Program, which was part of society's "war against cancer." In 1989 Ohio State top administrators officially recognized and designated the Retrovirus Research Program as a university academic Center of Excellence.
The center's mission is to facilitate interdisciplinary research among faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral scientists in their investigations of problems relating to the prevention and treatment of retrovirus diseases of animals and man.
As part of this mission, the Retrovirus Research Program and the Center for Retrovirus Research have initiated more than 60 extramural projects pertaining to the pathobiology of retrovirus-associated diseases over the past 30 years. On behalf of center members, the university has been awarded extramural research support from the NIH, Department of Defense (DOD), and private foundations and companies. The pioneering research that led to the development of the feline retrovirus vaccine at The Ohio State University was sponsored by extramural research dollars. An additional $14 million of unencumbered royalties have come to the university from the sales of the vaccine (LeukocellR) licensed to Zoetis (formally Pfizer Animal Health).
The Center for Retrovirus Research membership includes 20 principal investigators at The Ohio State University, Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Wright State University. The research interests of center members are diverse and form a highly interdisciplinary network of collaboration for research initiatives. Research disciplines include virology, pathology, immunology, cell biology, molecular biology, endocrinology, neurology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and infectious diseases. This multi-disciplinary composition enables researchers to design and develop comprehensive research studies on retrovirus diseases and related topics that would not be possible by individual laboratories.
The Center's operation is governed by a charter approved by the University Board of Regents. The Center has a director elected by the membership and approved by the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. The director's responsibilities are to guide the overall operations of the center, provide leadership and promote excellence in the research and educational endeavors. A scientific board composed of center members advises the center director.