ATLANTA – Emory University will receive $27 million over the next seven years to set up one of six Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance that are being funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health.

The centers are part of the federal government’s preparations for a possible pandemic involving influenza.

“The threat of an influenza pandemic is a major source of concern for the public health community,” said NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, an M.D. “The new NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance will help expand the federal government’s existing international and domestic influenza surveillance efforts, further our understanding of influenza viruses, and generate the information and tools necessary to better prepare and respond to a pandemic situation.”

The Emory center will conduct studies to “determine how influenza viruses adapt to new hosts and are transmitted between different hosts, and analyze human immune responses to influenza vaccination and infection,” the NIAID said. Principal investigator is Richard Compans.

Centers also will be established at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, UCLA, University of Minnesota, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, and the University of Rochester.