2014 Conference Speaker Biographies
Brian A. Fallon, MD, MPH (Conference Co-Director)
Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center
Columbia University Medical Center
Director, Center for the Study of Neuroinflammatory Disorders & Biobehavioral Medicine, New York State Psychiatric Institute
New York, NY
Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center
Ten Year Follow-up after IV treatment for Lyme Encephalopathy – what happened?
Brian A. Fallon, MD, MPH. Dr. Fallon is director of the Lyme & Tick-borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center where he leads a team focused on biomarkers, diagnostics and treatment of chronic Lyme symptoms. His team’s recent work has included the testing of novel diagnostic assays in a large community study, with the net result of the identification of a more sensitive Lyme Western blot. His team’s work on Lyme encephalopathy led to the discovery of hundreds of unique proteins present in the CSF of Lyme patients but not in the CSF of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome or healthy controls. His team’s current focus is on clarifying the immunologic profile and neural circuitry of patients with persistent symptoms. His team is also investigating the CNS metabolic effects of intravenous ceftriaxone using MR Spectroscopy to probe glutamatergic transmission. Dr. Dwork in his Center is examining the neuropathologic findings in post-mortem studies of patients with chronic Lyme symptoms. Dr. Moeller in his Center is examining the interaction between peripheral immunologic markers, central immune markers, and brain neurocircuitry among patients with chronic symptoms with the goal of identifying of biomarkers to help guide treatment recommendations.
Dr. Fallon serves on the editorial and review board of three journals, has lectured and published widely, and most recently has led an international team for the American Psychiatric Association’s revision of DSM-5 to clarify the prevalence of illness anxiety in the general population.
Richard T. Marconi, PhD (Conference Co-Director)
Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
School of Medicine
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
New Advances in the Pursuit of a Combinatorial Human Vaccine for Lyme Disease & Anaplasmosis
Dr. Marconi is a Professor in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Montana where he studied the functional role of ribosomal RNA and its interactions with antibiotics and transfer RNA. He conducted his post-doctoral training at The Roche Institute of Molecular Biology and the Rocky Mountain Laboratories (NIAID, NIH). At Roche, Dr. Marconi’s research efforts were focused on the study of the molecular regulation of methionine biosynthesis in Escherichia coli. Dr. Marconi then accepted an Intramural Research Training Award with the NIH to study the pathogenesis of Lyme disease and other spirochetal infections at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. Dr. Marconi now has ~25 years of experience in the study of pathogenic spirochetes. His current research interests are diverse and include the study of molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis of Lyme disease, tick borne relapsing fever and periodontal disease. A considerable focus of the Marconi lab has been translational with an emphasis on the development of novel therapeutic strategies, diagnostic assays and vaccines for these important human infections. Dr. Marconi has demonstrated experience in product development and has developed and patented a novel and innovative vaccine for canine Lyme disease. Research is now under way in his laboratory to develop a multi-valent vaccine for use in humans that protects against multiple tick borne pathogens. Dr. Marconi is well recognized for his vaccine related research and has lectured worldwide. He has published over 85 papers, reviews and book chapters.
Immune Suppression During Infection of Mice with Borrelia burgdorferi
Nicole Baumgarth is a DVM, PhD and Professor of Immunology at the Center for Comparative Medicine, University of California, Davis. She is also the Chair of the Graduate Group in Immunology there. Dr. Baumgarth’s research encompasses studies on the regulation of immune responses to infections and B cell biology. Much of her recent work has focused on the regulation of B cell responses and B cell subset responses using mouse models to two very different pathogens and immune responses: Acute influenza virus infection, an infection that fully resolves and induces highly protective and long-lived B cell-mediated immunity, and B cell responses to Borrelia burgdorferi, a bacterial spirochete and the causative agent of Lyme disease. Infections with B. burgdorferi induce strong B cell responses, however, those responses to not result in clearance of the infection. By contrasting a successful with a not-successful B cell response her group hopes to uncover important immune regulatory mechanisms that shape the quality of the B cell response.
Metabolomics of Lyme Disease: A Novel Diagnostic Approach
Bacterial Genetics and Physiology
There are two primary foci of our laboratory group: The provision of reagents and collaborations with other researchers through the Tubculosis Research Materials and Vaccine Testing Contract (NO1-AI-75320) The study of mycobacterial physiology and genetics.
The recent completion of the genome sequences of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium aviumprovides a unique opportunity to study the proteomes of these organisms using high throughput methodologies, such as 2-D PAGE and LC-MS-MS. We are currently using such approaches to address several aspects of the M. tuberculosis proteome: (1) study the glycoproteins of M. tuberculosis and define the implications of post-translational modifications on immunogenicity and bacterial physiology; (2) elucidate the molecular mechanism of growth regulation and glycolipid biosynthesis in Mycobacterium spp.; and (3) define and characterize 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.
Kenneth Bramwell, PhD
Department of Pathology
University of Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Gene Variant Exacerbates Inflammatory Arthritis in Mice
Dr. Kenneth K.C. Bramwell is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Janis Weis in the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah. He earned his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine in 2009. Using a mouse model of Lyme arthritis, his work has focused on the identification of host genetic risk factors that are responsible for the wide spectrum of disease severity reported among Lyme patients. Through this approach, he has recently identified the lysosomal enzyme beta-Glucuronidase (Gusb) as a key regulator of Lyme and rheumatoid arthritis severity. Over the past several year he has received numerous travel awards and invitations to present his work at conferences focused on genetics, infectious disease, technical advances, membrane trafficking, and immunology. Dr. Bramwell is a recipient of the Arthritis Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Ahmet C. Burakgazi, MD Neurologic
Department of Internal Medicine
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute
Roanoke, VA 24016
Neurologic Lyme & Case of Polyradiculopathy Mimicking ALS
Dr. Ahmet Burakgazi has begun his medical practice as neurologist and assistant professor at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. He is also the director of Muscular Dystrophy Association/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis at Carilion Clinic. He received his medical degree from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey; he completed his neurology residency & clinical neurophysiology fellowship (focusing on EMG/NCS and neuromuscular diseases) at George Washington University, where he also served as a chief resident. His clinical interests include electrodiagnostic medicine, neuromuscular diseases, and botulinum toxin injections for neurological disorders. He has authored many articles in respected journals.
Jason A. Carlyon, PhD
Microbiology and Immunology
Virginia Commonwealth University
Promising progress in developing protective and therapeutic approaches against Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection?
Intracellular pathogens are fascinating organisms for study and present wonderful opportunities to examine the complexities of the pathogen-host interface. Residing within mammalian host cells affords intracellular pathogens with distinct survival advantages. They are sequestered from antibody- andcomplement-mediated attack while being privy to a nutrient-rich environment. My laboratory studies adhesion, invasion, and intracellular survival strategies of the obligate intracellular bacterium Anaplasma phagocytophilum, the causative agent of human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA; formerly human granulocytic ehrlichiosis). HGA is an emerging and potentially fatal infectious disease that is gaining increased recognition in the United States, Europe, and Asia and is the second most common tick-transmitted disease in the U. S. A. phagocytophilum is unique in that it persists within its mammalian host by colonizing neutrophils. Neutrophils are key effectors in innate immunity that eradicate microbial invaders by ingesting and subjecting them to powerful oxidative and proteolytic killing mechanisms. A. phagocytophilum invasion of the primary effector cell of microbial killing presents a striking paradox and raises questions as to why it chooses such aformidable host cell and how it evades and subverts neutrophil killing pathways. We are seeking to answer these questions through multiple research projects.
Charles Chiu, MD, PhD
Department of Laboratory Medicine
Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program
Division: Infectious Diseases
University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
San Francisco, CA
TickChip detection microarray, STARI, and transcriptome profiling of Lyme disease
Charles Chiu, M.D./Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Medicine / Infectious Diseases at UCSF, Director of the UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center (VDDC), and Associate Director of the UCSF Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. He completed his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in Biophysics and completed internal medicine residency, infectious disease fellowship, and postdoctoral training at UCSF. Dr. Chiu is an expert in development and implementation of advanced genomic technologies – microarrays and next-generation sequencing (NGS) – for pathogen discovery and clinical assay validation in the microbiology laboratory, with over 50 patents and peer-reviewed publications on these topics. His current research interests include (1) pathogen discovery in hepatitis, encephalitis, and infectious disease outbreaks, (2) development of novel pathogen and host transcriptome-based diagnostics for Lyme disease and Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI), and (3) implementation of NGS-based assays and cloud-based bioinformatics analysis pipelines for infectious disease diagnosis. His work in Lyme disease and “Lyme-like” illnesses includes the development of a TickChip microarray array for diagnosis of tickborne pathogens in clinical samples, transcriptome profiling of acute and chronic Lyme disease for identification of diagnostic markers, and the use of unbiased NGS to search for the etiologic agent of Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI). He has spoken at numerous national and international conferences on these topics, and is on an FDA task force on bloodborne pathogen screening for ensuring transfusion safety. His research is currently supported by an NIH R01 grant and a 7-year UCSF-Abbott Pathogen Discovery Award.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Associated with Lyme Carditis
Joe Forrester MD MSc is a medical epidemiologist in the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and a categorical general surgery resident at Stanford University. After growing up in Colorado, Dr. Forrester attended the University of Virginia where he received his MD. During his medical training, he also received his MSc in Infectious Disease from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is currently at the vector-borne bacterial diseases branch of CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer for his two years of dedicated surgery residency research.
Dr. Forrester was the lead investigator for the recent CDC investigation into three sudden cardiac deaths that were associated with Lyme carditis, and continues to investigate the epidemiology of Lyme carditis and risk factors for cardiac arrest. As an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer, Dr. Forrester is also responsible for investigating outbreaks of plague and tularemia. He volunteers as a copy editor for Accidents in North American Mountaineering and as an ad-hoc reviewer for several medical journals; in 2012 he was received the Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Excellence in Peer Review award.
In his free time, Dr. Forrester is a rock-climber, mountaineer and expedition kayaker. In 2009, he completed a 3,600 mile solo-kayak descent of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers to raise more than $20,000 for Parkinson’s disease research.
Resurgence of Persisting Non-Cultivable Borrelia burgdorferi Following Antibiotic Treatment in Mice
Dr. Hodzic has a wide range of knowledge to foster creativity of new ideas, a broader professional vision, leadership, and an insight into the areas of microbiology and molecular biology. His research focused on investigating the interaction of Borrelia burgdoferi with tick vectors and mammalian hosts, using animal models. His special interest has been on the kinetics of infection, immune responses, and clearance patterns after treatment, and persistence. Dr. Hodzic has been involved in a groundbreaking research that has shown evidence of B. burgdorferi persistence after antibiotic therapy.
Xenodiagnosis of Lyme Disease in Humans
Dr. Linden Hu is Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and Vice Chairman for Faculty Development in the Dept. of Medicine at Tufts Medical Center. He received his A.B. in Human Biology and M.D. from Brown University. He did his residency in Internal Medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Tufts Medical Center.
Dr. Hu is involved in both clinical and laboratory based research into Lyme disease. His focus is on the mechanisms by which the spirochete adapts to its various natural hosts and evades the host immune responses. His laboratory is also developing reservoir-targeted vaccines to reduce transmission of tick borne diseases in the wild.
Dr. Hu has been a member or Chairman of numerous peer review committees for the NIH and the National Research Fund for Tick-borne Diseases. He has received a Daland Fellowship from the American Philosophical Society and the Maxwell Finland Award from the Massachusetts Infectious Disease Society and is a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America. In 2010, he was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Dr. Hu teaches at Tufts Medical School and at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Studies where he is training faculty in the Programs in Microbiology and in Immunology.
John Keilp, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology
Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons, NY
Research Scientist IV
Head of Neuropsychology Laboratory
Division of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology
New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY
Licensed Psychologist, New York State
Understanding suicidal behavior risk in Lyme Disease: Perspectives from studies of suicidal behavior in depression
John G. Keilp, Ph.D. is a Neuropsychologist, a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Keilp’s work has focused on neuropsychological features of depression and its relationship to suicidal behavior, as well as on the neuropsychological consequences of Lyme disease. He is Head of the Neuropsychology Laboratory in the Department of Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, a member of the scientific advisory board of the Columbia Lyme Disease Research Center, and a consultant neuropsychologist to the Lyme Evaluation Service at Columbia.
Marina Makous, MD
Board Certified Family Physician
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow
Columbia Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center
New York, NY
Case Presentation of a Suicidal Patient: Lyme or Depression?
Dr. Makous is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at Columbia University. She evaluates and offers treatment recommendations for patients with suspected neuropsychiatric sequelae of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
Currently,she is conducting a study to assess the validity of a short neurocognitive test in identifying specific cognitive deficits in patients with suspected Lyme disease. In addition, she is a collaborator in several other ongoing studies at the Lyme Disease Research Center.
Thomas N Mather, PhD
Professor of Public Health Entomology
Director URI Center for Vector-Borne Disease
University of Rhode Island
More than Lyme: Progress towards a Tick-borne disease protective vaccine
Dr. Mather (a.k.a. the TickGuy) came to URI in 1992 from the Harvard School of Public Health, and now serves as director of URI’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease and its TickEncounter Resource Center. His research focus is on tick ecology, area-wide tick control strategies, tick-bite protection, and tick-borne disease prevention. His research and outreach programs are diverse, including anti-tick vaccine discovery projects, evaluations of targeted tick control strategies, tick-borne disease risk prediction, as well as development of tick-bite protection decision support tools and social networking strategies for tick-borne disease prevention. His work has received local, national, and even international recognition and has attracted more than $13 million from a wide variety of sources, including the National Centers for Disease Control, the US Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Agency for International Development, and the National Institutes of Health.
Susanne Nimmrich, Dr. med (pending)
Resident/ Assistant physician, research associate
Asklepios Childrens Hospital Sankt Augustin
Department of Paediatrics and Neonatology
53757 Sankt Augustin
Intraarticular Corticosteroids in Refractory Childhood Lyme Arthritis
Susanne Nimmrich is a physician from Germany specializing in paediatrics. Following her studies at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald and Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel she is working as a resident and research associate in the Asklepios Childrens Hospital Sankt Augustin since february 2012. A significant specialization of the department of paediatrics is rheumatology and different types of arthritis. The department takes part in the BiKer register as a large register of the paediatric rheumatology. Research subjects especially include rheumatic diseases, different types of arthritis, autoinflammatory diseases and especially new treatment options with biologics.
Additionally Susanne is working as a doctoral candidate at the Department of Neurology of the University of Kiel.
Steven E. Schutzer, MD
Professor of Medicine
New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University,
Atypical EM & PCR in Lyme Disease
Steven Schutzer, MD is a physician-scientist who trained and was on the faculty at Cornell University Medical College, New York Hospital, and Rockefeller University, before joining New Jersey Medical School. His research has focused on the interface of the immune system and microbes. Particular areas of research interest are Lyme and Tick diseases, neuroimmunology, and immunology. Dr. Schutzer is board certified in Internal Medicine, Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Clinical Laboratory Immunology and is Professor of Medicine at UMDNJ, Rutgers.
Dr. Schutzer’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and other organizations.
The Impact of Lyme Disease on the Brain: Implications for Diagnosis, Treatment and Recovery
Sheila M. Statlender, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in practice in Newton, Massachusetts for more than 25 years. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Massachusetts Psychological Association, the National Register of Health Providers in Psychology, and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society. Dr. Statlender specializes in the impact of chronic illness, including academic, vocational and personal adjustment issues, and provides individual and family counseling to many patients diagnosed with tick borne disease. Dr. Statlender has presented at a number of professional conferences and workshops, participated in the Boston Bar Association Task Force on Professional Challenges and Family Needs, and was a governor-appointed member of the Commission to Conduct an Investigation and Study of the Incidence and Impacts of Lyme Disease in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Travis Taylor, PhD
Virologist, Flavivirus Innate Immunity
College of Medicine and Life Sciences
University of Toledo
Powassan & Tick-Borne Encephalitis
Currently Dr. Taylor’s research focuses on the arthropod-transmitted members of the Flaviviridae family. Flaviviruses are globally significant human pathogens including dengue virus (DENV), West Nile virus (WNV) and the TBEV serocomplex of viruses. Select members of the TBEV serocomplex includes the highly pathogenic TBEV-Sofjin and Powassan virus (POWV) and require biosafety level (BSL)-4 and 3 facilities respectively…
Dr. Taylor received his Ph.D. degree at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas under the mentorship of Dr. Wade Bresnahan. He then completed his postdoctoral training at the NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories where he studied the biosafety level (BSL)-4 tick-borne flaviviruses in the laboratories of Drs. Marshall Bloom and Sonja Best. Dr. Taylor joined the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in August of 2012.
Sam R. Telford III, ScD
Professor, Infections Diseases and Global Health Medicine
Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Weinberger graduated from Clark University with a BA in biology. He earned his MD in 1983 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He then completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at the St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center, followed by a residency in anesthesiology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and a fellowship in pain medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Weinberger is the division chief of pain medicine. He is director of the Pain Management Center and program director for the pain medicine fellowship. An associate professor of anesthesiology at CUMC, he has been with the department since 2001. He practices all aspects of pain medicine and has a special interest in the spine, cancer pain, palliative medicine, and chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
IVIG & Its Use in Autoimmune Neurologic Diseases
Organizing Committee/ Session Facilitator
Elizabeth L. Maloney, MD, is board-certified in family medicine and president of Partnership for Healing and Health, a company providing accredited CME programs on Lyme disease for physicians and other health professionals as well as Lyme disease education and training programs for private organizations and government agencies. She has published on Lyme disease in peer-reviewed journals and frequently lectures on Lyme disease at hospitals and medical conferences.
In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Maloney has held several physician leadership roles. She served as Chief of Staff at District Memorial Hospital and on the Board of Directors of Allina Medical Clinics, a multi-specialty healthcare system. Dr. Maloney is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society.
Conference Planner / Organizing Committee
Patricia V. Smith, a Monmouth University graduate, is completing her 17 th year as President of the volunteer-run national non-profit Lyme Disease Association. A member of Columbia University’s Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center Advisory Committee, member of the Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) PESP Partnership to promote avoidance of tick exposure, and Advisor to Lyme Research Alliance, CT, she is also former Chair of the (NJ) Governor’s Lyme Disease Advisory Council, former President/12-year member of the Wall NJ Board of Education and was FDA’s 2011 Lyme prevention conference session co-chair with CDC. In 2011 she presented a Lyme session to the New Jersey Education Association’s Annual Meeting. Ms. Smith, a 30 year Lyme advocate, has raised funds for researchers nationally─research acknowledged in 33 scientific journals.
Besides speaking, publishing, TV/radio appearances and organizing 13 CME accredited Lyme scientific conferences for doctors, she’s testified for and secured passage of state and federal bills for Lyme research and physician’s right to treat. Working with author Amy Tan, she created LDA’s LymeAid 4 Kids, a fund for children with no health coverage for Lyme.
Chosen Jackson NJ’s Chamber of Commerce 2008 Woman of the Year, she has also received a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from RI Congressman James Langevin, and had a flag flown over the US Capitol by request of NJ Congressman Christopher Smith in honor of her work on Lyme. In 2012, she was an invited to testify before the Foreign Affairs Committee, Africa, Global Health & Human Rights Health Subcommittee in Washington, DC. In 2013, she was invited to testify before the US House of representatives Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee on HR 610 (Smith-NJ), a bill to establish a federal Lyme & Tick-Borne Dsieases Advisory Committee.