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Viral Bonus

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A group of Boise State researchers is hoping West Nile is just the start of their viral exposure.

The team recently received $940,000 of federal funding to find a vaccine against the West Nile virus, which caused the deaths of 23 people in Idaho in 2006.

Chemistry professor Ken Cornell will work with biology professors Juliet Tinker, Denise Wingett and Gongxin Yu on the project. Exact details have yet to be finalized, but the team will coordinate efforts with the Department of Defense.

If the DOD likes the results, it could mean more funding for work on other viral vaccines.

"We could literally save lives in this community, and there's nothing more fulfilling for a scientist," Cornell said in a written statement. "But this funding also allows Boise State to build its research infrastructure, which allows us to do more great work and raise the profile of the university."

The plan of action involves using recent advancements in biotechnology with the relatively new field of nanotechnology to develop an effective vaccine.