Western University unveiled plans Monday for a 378 square metre (4,200 square foot) state-of-the art facility to research AIDS and HIV.

It brings together cutting edge technology and scientists to investigate new methods of diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Michael Strong, Schulich School of Medicine dean, says it will put Western in the lead of research into HIV and other infectious disease.

“This is the single largest investment of this nature that we’ve made in a very long period so this puts us at the forefront of Canadian and international research,” he says.

“This means that Canada and London become a centre for the study of HIV – something that we’ve not had before. Having this kind of facility means people will be coming here to do their research.”

Protective suits will be worn at the facility, which will be also be researching other infectious disease.

Dr. Eric Arts, the chair of the department of microbiology and immunology at Western, and his team will take a multi-faceted approach to research.

“From making the viruses that we want to test, to using small animal models to advance imaging, so that we can look and track these viruses through the body using MR or MRI or PET scanning,” Arts said.

The research will also shed light on other diseases.

“Things like West Nile virus and tuberculosis and the interaction of tuberculosis with HIV, which is a real problem in the developing world,” says Arts.