The RITM-Tohoku Collaborating Research Center on Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases was launched in April 2008 with the following objectives: 1) to strengthen the capacity of RITM’s National Reference Laboratories in the identification of causative agents of infectious /tropical diseases in the Philippines; 2) to conduct epidemiological analysis of major infectious diseases in the Philippines; and 3) to develop sustainable control programs for infectious diseases in the Philippines.

The initial projects included studies on etiology of childhood pneumonia, burden of influenza, pathogenesis of nosocomial bacteria, molecular epidemiology of rabies, and laboratory investigation of novel respiratory viruses, molecular characterization of influenza, measles, non-polio enteroviruses, Japanese encephalitis and other CNS viruses, norovirus, and other enteric viruses from environmental samples.

The principal investigators at the start of the collaboration included:
RITM Investigators
Dr. Remigio M. Olveda
Dr. Socorro P. Lupisan
Dr. Veronica L. Tallo
Ms. Lydia T. Sombrero
Dr. Edelwisa S. Mercado
Dr. Beatriz P. Quiambao
Ms. Hazel O. Galang
Dr. Fedelino F. Malbas

Tohoku University Investigators
Dr. Hitoshi Oshitani
Dr. Akira Suzuki
Dr. Raita Tamaki
Dr. Mariko Saito-Obata
Dr. Taro Kamigaki
Dr. Mitsuo Kaku
Dr. Toshio Hattori