The Center for Public Health Preparedness and Research has a strong focus on public health systems research and was awarded one of nine Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERRC) grants from CDC in 2008. The Emory PERRC focuses on the comparative analysis of public health systems to produce practical and sustainable outcomes that serve to improve our nation's public health systems in the event of a disaster. With funding through 2015, the Emory PERRC has analyzed state and local health departments' systems of preparedness and identified factors that affect a community's ability to successfully respond to a crisis with public health consequences.

A predominant theme across the Center's research is infectious diseases. Research topics have included emerging and zoonotic diseases, multi drug resistant tuberculosis, pandemic influenza, anthrax, small pox, Q-fever, Leptospirosis, and West Nile Virus. The Center has also worked to strengthen public health surveillance for infectious diseases and has demonstrated underutilization of diagnostic test for pathogen identification.