Valentina Di Francesco
The Systems Biology Working Group (SBWG) is designed to help the individual centers with guidance on meeting the scientific goals of the SBP. The SBWG is an independent group and provides feedback to the individual centers and not to NIAID.
Dr. Belisle received his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Colorado State University. His research interests focus on providing reagents and maintaining collaborations with other researchers through the Tuberculosis Research Materials and Vaccine Testing Contract and study of mycobacterial physiology and genetics. His work addresses several aspects of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteome: 1) study the glycoproteins of M. tuberculosis and defining the implications of post-translational modifications on immunogenicity and bacterial physiology; 2) elucidation of the molecular mechanism of growth regulation and glycolipid biosynthesis in Mycobacterium spp.; and 3) defining and characterizing proteins of M. tuberculosis that are primary targets of the host immune response and involved in pathogenesis. The overall goal of this work is to provide a better understanding of the physiology of Mycobacterium spp., and to apply this knowledge to the development of improved diagnostics, vaccines and anti-mycobacterial drugs.
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Dr. Bergman received his undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Michigan, and did a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in David Bartel's lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He completed postdoctoral training in microbiology and microbial genomics at the University of Michigan Medical School and TIGR, and was a faculty member in Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan from 2003-2007. From 2007-2009, he was an Assistant Professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech, where he also had an appointment as a Senior Research Scientist in the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory at the Georgia Tech Research Institute. His lab included both experimental and computational biologists, and their work focused on functional genomics of bacterial pathogens, including B. anthracis, F. tularensis, S. aureus, S. pyogenes, and A. baumannii. In the Fall of 2009, Dr. Bergman is moving to the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center and will be directing projects focused on the use of next-generation sequencing in biodefense applications.
Thomas Braciale received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After internship and residency at Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, he carried out his post doctoral work in the Department of Microbiology at the John Curtin School for Medical Research at the Australian National University. He returned to St. Louis to take up a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine and Assistant Pathologist at the Barnes Hospital. After obtaining the position of Associate Professor and Professor of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine, he left St. Louis in 1991 to take up his current position as Director of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville. He has served on numerous governmental and non-governmental panels including Chair of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) CSR Advisory Committee, member of the NIH peer review oversight group (PROG), and most recently as Co-Chair of the NIAID, NIH Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of Influenza Research.
Dr. Dorrestein received his B.S. from Northern Arizona University and his Ph.D. from Cornell. His laboratory is highly interdisciplinary and uses chemical biological, organic chemical, biochemical, genomic, proteomic, bioanalytical, and other modern biomedical approaches to interrogate the classification of therapeutically relevant proteins that are related to the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites or involved in the formation of post-translational modifications. Dr. Dorrestein’s lab uses an FT-ICR mass spectrometer equipped with a nanospray robot to accomplish his research. Current representative projects that are ongoing in the Dorrestein laboratory are: 1) The characterization of the virulence factor genes from group B streptococci. 2) Orphan polyketide and non-ribosomal peptide synthetase gene clusters.
Dr. Farzan received an A.B. from Harvard College and his Ph.D. in Immunology from Harvard Medical School (HMS). His post-doctoral work on the HIV-1 entry processes was performed at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and HMS. In 2002, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at HMS and Brigham and Women's Hospital. In 2005, his laboratory moved to New England Primate Research Center and he joined the HMS Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. In 2007, he was promoted to Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Farzan is a Permanent Member of the AIDS Cellular and Molecular Biology NIH Study Section, a section editor of viral pathogenesis at PLoS Pathogens, and a member of the steering committee of the Infectious Disease Initiative at the Broad Institute. His research interests include the entry processes of a range of enveloped viruses and host factors that restrict these processes.
Dr. Jacobs, by initiating work with mycobacteriophages, has developed novel genetic approaches to make mutations and transfer genes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. With these tools, he has identified drug targets and novel virulence factors of M. tuberculosis, many of which are enzymes or products of complex lipid metabolism. These complex lipids are unique among bacterial pathogens and likely to contribute significantly to the pathogenic property of mycobacteria. His lab uses this knowledge to develop novel chemotherapies, vaccines, and diagnostic tests to treat tuberculosis.
Dr. Kepler's research interests center on the development and application of computational methods in immunology and systems biology, with particular emphasis on vaccine development. He received a Ph.D. in physics at Brandeis University and did postdoctoral work in Neuroscience and Immunology. He is currently a Professor of Biostatistics & Bioinformatics and of Immunology at the Duke Medical Center.
Dr. Laubenbacher has been a Research Professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Virginia Tech since 2001. He is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Prior to these appointments, Dr. Laubenbacher was an Assistant and Associate Professor and Professor of Mathematics at New Mexico State University. He has also served as Visiting Faculty for Los Alamos National Laboratories since 1999; was a member of the Mathematical Science Research Institute at Berkeley in 1998; and was a Visiting Associate Professor at Cornell University in 1990 and 1993. Dr. Laubenbacher directs the Applied Discrete Mathematics Group at VBI. This group is interested in the development and application of bioinformatics tools using discrete mathematics, dynamical systems theory, and symbolic computation. Methods from combinatorics and combinatorial topology, as well as computational polynomial algebra, are of particular interest.
Dr. Lauffenburger is Ford Professor of Bioengineering and Head of the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT. Professor Lauffenburger also holds appointments in the Department of Biology and the Department of Chemical Engineering; is a member of the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center, Center for Biomedical Engineering, Center for Cancer Research, and Center for Environmental Health Sciences; and is Director of the Computational & Systems Biology Initiative. Dr. Lauffenburger’s B.S. and Ph.D. degrees are in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois and the University of Minnesota, in 1975 and 1979 respectively. His major research interests are in cell engineering: the fusion of engineering with molecular cell biology. A central focus of his research program is in receptor-mediated cell communication and intracellular signal transduction, with emphasis on development of predictive computational models derived from quantitative experimental studies, for cell cue/signal/response relationships important in pathophysiology with application to drug discovery and development. Lauffenburger has coauthored a monograph entitled Receptors: Models for Binding, Trafficking & Signaling, published by Oxford University Press in 1993 and reprinted in 1996. More than 80 doctoral students and postdoctoral associates have completed their training under his supervision or co-supervision. Prof. Lauffenburger has served as a consultant or scientific advisory board member for Astra-Zeneca, Beyond Genomics, CellPro, Eli Lilly, Entelos, Genstruct, Insert Therapeutics, Johnson & Johnson, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Precision Therapeutics, SyStemix, the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, and the Whitaker Foundation.
Dr. Miller’s laboratory uses Yersinia pestis and Yersinia enterocolitica as model systems to study bacterial pathogenesis. The long-term goals of their work is to understand the bacteria-host interaction at the molecular level to learn how this interaction affects the pathogenesis of infections and to understand how these pathogens co-ordinate the expression of virulence determinants during an infection. To do this they use genetic, molecular and immunological approaches, in conjunction with the mouse model of infection. They have applied several genetic approaches to identify new virulence genes of Y. enterocolitica and are currently characterizing these genes, their products, and their role in disease. Dr. Miller is also studying the invasion gene inv, with a focus on understanding the mechanism of regulation of expression the co-ordination of its expression with other virulence genes. An inv regulatory gene, rovA, has been identified that regulates expression of inv in the laboratory and during an infection. Recently her laboratory extended the analysis of RovA to Y. pestis, the causative agent of bubonic and pneumonic plague, and found that RovA is also required for full virulence of Y. pestis.
Dr. Monack received her Bachelor’s in Science in Genentics from the University of California at Davis. She attended graduate school in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University and obtained her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Stanley Falkow in the field of bacterial pathogenesis in 2002. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University where she teaches and has a laboratory in which graduate students and postdoctoral students conduct research in the field of bacterial pathogenesis. The primary focus of her research is to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms of intracellular bacterial pathogenesis. They use two model systems, Salmonella typhimurium and Francisella tularensis, to study the complex host-pathogen interactions. They take both genetic and biochemical approaches to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in host recognition pathways leading to inflammation and pathogen evasion mechanisms. Salmonella typhi causes the systemic disease typhoid fever and F. tularensis causes the systemic disease tularemia (“rabbit fever”). Utilizing mouse models of systemic salmonellosis and tularemia, they would like to understand how Salmonella persists within certain hosts for years in the face of a robust immune response and how F. tularensis, a stealth invader, can cause a rapid, lethal infection.
Dr. Payne is a University Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin. Prior to joining the faculty at UT Austin, she received her Ph.D. from the UT Southwestern Medical Center and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Payne’s research group is interested in the molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, primarily in the enteric pathogens Shigella flexneri and Vibrio cholerae. Her work has focused on acquisition of the essential element iron by bacterial pathogens and on bacterial adaptation to the host environment. She is an editor of Infection and Immunity and serves on the editorial board of Molecular Microbiology. Dr. Payne has served on numerous panels, including the NIAID National Advisory Allergy and Infectious Diseases Council, and she chairs the Graduate Education Committee of the American Society for Microbiology.
Dr. Perlman received his Ph.D. degree from MIT. After completing postdoctoral fellowships in Boston and Edinburgh, Scotland, he obtained his M.D. degree from the University of Miami. After an internship, residency, and a pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital, he took a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Iowa. He obtained the position of Associate Professor and Professor of Pediatrics, before taking his present position as Professor of Microbiology at the same institution. He has served on several governmental and non-governmental study sections and editorial boards. His research interests are in viral pathogenesis, with an emphasis on murine and human coronavirus infections.
Dr. Sztein leads a multidisciplinary group of basic and translational researchers working to uncover the mechanisms underlying protective innate, cellular, and antibody immune responses to a variety of microorganisms. The broad goal of these studies is to uncover the immune mechanisms of protection against infectious agents with the long-term goal of accelerating the development of effective vaccines and manipulating host-pathogen interactions for disease prevention. Current projects encompass studies to investigate systemic and mucosal innate and adaptive immune responses in volunteers participating in vaccine trials being conducted at the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) and other sites, including underdeveloped countries. These trials involve the clinical testing of genetically engineered attenuated vaccine strains developed at CVD and other institutions, such as attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi and Shigella spp (alone or as carriers of foreign genes). Immunological studies in other infectious diseases, including malaria, hepatitis B, influenza, and tularemia, are also being performed in immunized or naturally exposed subjects and in animal models. These investigations involve microorganisms relevant to biodefense and are a part of a prestigious NIAID-funded Cooperative Center for Translational Research in Human Immunology and Biodefense recently awarded to Dr. Sztein.
Dr. Townsend is the administrative and scientific director of the Washington University (WU) Proteomics Center. The Center is a consortium of Core laboratories for the Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, the Siteman Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders, and the Digestive Disease Research Center. He is the Co-Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Resource at WU. He received his MD at Tulane University and his PhD at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). He was a post-doctoral fellow with Catherine Fenselau at JHU and then a junior faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco in the NCRR MS Resource. He has over 25 years of experience in applying mass spectrometry to the analysis of proteins and post-translational modifications. His current research interests are developing strategies for analyzing modified proteins using ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ proteomics and biomarker development using clinical proteomics.
Last Updated November 29, 2012