2011 Workshop Speakers

Maria Bottazzi, George Washington University

Maria Bottazzi

Dr. Bottazzi is an Associate Professor and Vice-Chair for Administration with a major interest in advancing translational research (T1 to T3) and vaccine development for neglected tropical diseases and the role of vaccines as control tools in international public health programs and initiatives.

She is Co-Director of the GWU Center for Neglected Infections of Poverty, which includes the Institute of Translational Research and Development, both housed in MITM. In addition, Dr. Bottazzi is the Director for Product Development of the Sabin Vaccine Development (a Product Development Public-Private Partnership of the Sabin Vaccine Institute).

Dr. Bottazzi was recently appointed as Associate Co-Investigator at GWU for the new Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National Medical Center.

She is an Associate Editor for Public Library of Science (PLoS) Neglected Tropical Disease Journal and is the author or co-author of multiple scientific and technical papers in molecular, cellular biology, immunoparasitology, and vaccine development and is the recipient of multiple extramural awards including.

Jake Kurtis, Brown University

Jake Kurtis

Dr. Jonathan Kurtis directs the Lifespan Center for International Health Research. He received his BA in geology/biology from Brown University, his Ph.D. in molecular parasitolgy from Brown University and his M.D. from Brown University. He completed post-doctoral training in malaria immuno-epidemiology from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Kisumu, Kenya. Dr. Kurtis completed his residency training in clinical pathology and his fellowship training in transfusion medicine and coagulation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Steve Williams, Smith College

Steve Williams

Steven A. Williams earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. His laboratory focuses on research designed to elucidate the molecular biology of the parasites that cause elephantiasis and African river blindness. All of our research relates in one way or another to the goal of eliminating these diseases which afflict over 200 million people worldwide.

The following areas of research are actively ongoing in his laboratory: Projects that use the modern tools of genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics to elucidate the biology of these parasites. Projects that use genomic information to identify and study vaccine candidates, drug targets and diagnostic molecules. The Global Program for the Elimination of Lymphatic Filariasis will depend on the development of new drugs and vaccines in order to succeed in eliminating these parasites from the human population. Projects to develop extremely sensitive DNA-based assays for screening human and mosquito populations for the presence of these parasites. Such sensitive techniques will be critical to monitoring the success of the global elimination programs. Field-based projects to apply our DNA-based monitoring assays wherever they are needed. Thus far, we have used our test in French Polynesia, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and elsewhere.

Alan Rothman, UMass Medical School

Alan Rothman

Alan L. Rothman, M.D., is Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). He became involved in research on immunity and pathogenesis of viral diseases in humans during his fellowship in Infectious Diseases and has continued this research in collaboration with colleagues at UMMS and internationally in Thailand, Europe, and Latin America. Current studies involve both clinical and basic research studies on pathogenesis and immunity of emerging and re-emerging viral infections. A major focus of his research has been defining the virological and immunological events in acute dengue virus infection and their relationship to the development of the viral hemorrhagic fever syndrome.

Michael Cappello, Yale University

Michael Cappello

Michael Cappello M.D. is Professor of Pediatrics, Microbial Pathogenesis, and Public Health at the Yale School of Medicine. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biomedical Ethics and received his MD from Georgetown University. Since joining the Yale faculty in 1996, Dr. Cappello has developed a laboratory and field based research program focused on parasitic diseases, including helminth infections and more recently, malaria. In 2006, he was named a Global Health Ambassador by the Paul G. Rogers Society of Research!America, the nation’s largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Dr. Cappello received the 2007 Bailey K Ashford medal, awarded by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene “for distinguished work in tropical medicine.”
In addition to his research, Dr. Cappello also provides clinical care as an Infectious Diseases specialist at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital and serves as Co-Director of the Yale International Adoption Clinic. In 2002, he founded the Yale Program in International Child Health, which coordinates and develops global initiatives in Pediatric research, clinical care and medical education. In 2007, Yale President Richard Levin appointed Dr. Cappello Director of the Yale World Fellows Program, a novel initiative that provides academic enrichment and professional development to emerging international leaders across multiple disciplines, with a goal of building a network of individuals dedicated to effecting positive global change.

Diane McMahon-Pratt, Yale University

Diane McMahon

Diane McMahon-Pratt, Ph.D., is a professor at Yale University, School of Public Health. Her research is focused on the spectrum of diseases known as leishmaniasis, namely elucidating the immune mechanisms of host defense as well as those contributing to pathogenesis and immune evasion by the parasite. The contributions to the field of leishmaniasis have been to develop tools and to further understanding of the disease processes that enables the development of methods for intervention (vaccines, therapeutics).

She currently is collaborating with Dr. Saravia at CIDEIM (Colombia) in NIH and Fogarty training and research programs. As part of this effort, the human and mouse responses to L. (Viannia) panamensis are being examined in parallel to understand disease susceptibility and to assess the utility of this new mouse chronic disease model for the development of immunotherapeutics or a vaccine. Her laboratory collaborates with Drs. J. Blackwell (University of Western Australia; Cambridge University, M. Esteban (Spain), and M. Wilson (University of Iowa) in the development of a vaccine for leishmaniasis.  Specific interests have been in antigen discovery and the development/tailoring of delivery systems and adjuvants. Diane received a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry from the University of Southern California, M.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Ph.D. degree (Biomedical Sciences) from Harvard University.

Dan Hoft, Saint Louis University

Daniel Hoft

Dr. Hoft was trained in Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa, where he received an NIH Physician Science Training Award (PSTA) cosponsored by Dr. Louis Kirchhoff, a clinical faculty in Infectious Disease, and Dr. John Donelson, a Howard Hughes molecular parasitologist in the Department of Biochemistry.

Dr. Hoft completed a Ph.D. in microbiology/immunology during the years he was funded by the PSTA. Dr. Hoft’s current NIH funded work focuses on investigations of the basic mechanisms of mucosal and systemic immunity protective against mucosally transmitted, chronic intracellular pathogens. Most of his research involves 2 model pathogens, the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Molecular biological and immunological techniques are being used to develop and test new vaccines in animal models and human vaccine trials. His work demonstrated for the first time that antigen-specific IFN?g responses are important for resistance to T. cruzi. His lab has cloned multiple T. cruzi antigens capable of stimulating IFN?g production by T cells, and multiple modern molecular approaches are being used to develop protective T. cruzi vaccines. His work also demonstrated that T. cruzi is unique among intracellular pathogens in its ability to invade gastric mucosa.

In addition, Dr. Hoft has conducted 6 human vaccine trials with BCG, the only TB vaccine currently available. These clinical trials were designed to investigate whether mucosal vaccinations or booster vaccinations with BCG or other new vaccines could enhance the levels of protective immunity induced by TB vaccination. These trials provide human samples being used to identify the specific subsets of mucosal and systemic immune responses important for protective immunity, and the specific mycobacterial antigens that induce protective responses.

This work has provided the first evidence that human gd T cells might have an important role in vaccine immunity and need to be considered as possible new targets for vaccination. This work has also identified specific mycobacterial antigens that can induce T cells inhibitory for intracellular mycobacterial growth. He is collaborating with other investigators, the NIH, industrial partners and the Sequella Global TB Foundation to begin phase I testing of promising new TB vaccine candidates.

Ann Wouters, Pfizer

Ann Wouters

Ann G.J. Wouters, MSc., is Assistant Director Clinical Scientist of Pfizer, Inc. Ann is working on the clinical development of various prophylactic vaccine programs of Pfizer. She is involved in the preparation and execution of phase 1 to phase 3 studies. In her current role as clinical scientist her main responsibilities include protocol writing, safety monitoring, medical writing and clinical oversight of vaccine studies.

Ann prepared safety reports for one of Pfizer’s main bacterial programs in development. In her previous role as lead clinical project manager, she was responsible for the operational planning and execution of vaccine programs. In this role she has prepared multiple phase 1 studies for novel viral and bacterial vaccines. Prior to joining Wyeth/Pfizer in 2003, Ann has held various positions in clinical research with Boehringer Ingelheim, Millennix and Baxter research. Ann has a Master of Science from the University of Leuven, Belgium.


Vladimir Brusic, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard University

Vladimir Brusic

David Wyler, Tufts University (Retired)

David Wyler


David J. Wyler, M.D.,  received education and training at Brown (B.A., human biology, 1966); Harvard (M.D., 1970) ; UCSF (’70-’72); NIH (’72-75, parasitology); MGH (’75-76, clinical infectious diseases) after which he was appointed Senior Investigator at NIH (LPD/LCI, NIAID,NIH); Assistant Professor of Medicine (infectious diseases) at Johns Hopkins; and consultant (infectious diseases) at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center. He joined the faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine in 1979 where he was appointed Professor in 1985. His research on immunoregulation and host defense in malaria included studies carried out in The Gambia and Thailand. His work on schistosomiasis evidence for a molecular link between the granulomatous inflammation in the liver and hepatic fibrosis. Preliminary clinical studies were conducted with collaborators in Brazil.  The bench research culminated in the discovery and genetic cloning of a novel fibrogenic lymphokine, fibrosin. In addition to its production by CD4 lymphocytes, it is produced by fibroblasts (in response to certain other cytokines as well as to fibrosin itself), suggesting the potential for its role in an autocrine amplification loop.

Finally, stimulated by clinical experiences at NIH and in Panama, Dr. Wyler pursued research on macrophage activation in leishmaniasis. This lead to the discovery of a novel lymphokine-independent cell contact-mediated mechanism of activation that differed physiologically from activation by lymphokines (such as interferon and TNF). It was ultimately demonstrated that membrane-bound TNF on CD4 lymphocytes delivered the activation signal in a antigen- and genetically- restricted manner.

In the late 1990?s, Dr. Wyler shifted his career interests to clinical medicine, teaching, and administration. He currently is a hospital consultant in infection control.

Clarisa Palatnik de Sousa, Rio de Janeiro University

Clarisa Palatnik de Sousa

Dr Clarisa B. Palatnik de Sousa is currently Senior Professor of Microbiology and Chief of the Laboratory of Biology and Biochemistry of Leishmania at the Institute for Microbiology “Prof. Paulo de Góes” of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She is also level 1C Researcher of the Brazilian National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPQ), Top Reviewer of Vaccine (Elsevier, 2007 and 2008) and the only Latino American member of the Standing Executive Board of the International Society for Vaccines, since January 2009 and of the WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinaruy Association) One Heath Comitee, since July 2010.

In acknowledgement of her work in vaccinology and public health in Brazil, she received the motion of congratulation of the Rio de Janeiro City council chamber. Dr Palatnik de Sousa experience in vaccine development include the development of the first licensed second-generation vaccine against visceral leishmaniasis of the World. The vaccine called Leishmune®, was also the first to be licensed for prophylaxis against canine visceral leishmaniasis. Dr. Palatnik de Sousa leadered the identification and selection of the antigen, the development of the adjuvant, the scaling-up of the industrial formulations, the Phase I-III trials, the tests required by the regulatory agencies and described the impact of the use of the vaccine on the decrease of the human and canine disease in Brazilian endemic areas. She is presently investigating the potential use of the vaccine in immunotherapy and immunochemotherapy of the disease.

Her expertise also includes the test and development of function-structure studies on saponin adjuvants, mainly of QS21 (Quillaja saponaria) and CP05 (Calliandra Pulcherrima). Dr Palatnik de Sousa´s group described that the main antigen of the Leishmune® vaccine is a Nucleoside Hydrolase of Leishmania donovani, obtained the gene and developed a DNA and a recombinant vaccine using this protein for immunoprophylaxis and immunotherapy. At the present, the main epitopes of the NH36 are being characterized aiming to the development of a synthetic vaccine against leishmaniaisis. Dr Palatnik de Sousa contributed with the analysis of the new legislation for registration of vaccines against leishmaniasis by the Ministry of Health in Brazil and is actively engaged in teaching of Vaccinology and Vaccine development at the University for under graduated and Post-Graduate students, aiming to the increase of the number of scientist engaged in Vaccine development and of the number of vaccines used in Public Health. At present Dr Palatnik de Sousa initiated the development of new vaccine formulations against Dengue and Avian flu in the murine models.Dr Palatnik de Sousa scientific contributions include 50 scientifically peer-reviewed publications, one issued and one submitted Brazilian patent and 3 international submitted patent applications and the advise of 7 MSc and 7 PhD Thesis, 5 Post Doctoral, 15 graduate and 40 undergraduate fellowship students. Dr Palatnik de Sousa formal education includes her Bachelor of Science (Biology) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Jerusalem. Israel, her Master of Science and Ph.D. (Microbiology). from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She was also a Research Student of the Biophysics and Biological Membranes Department of The Weizman Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel

Marcelo Sztein, University of Maryland

Marcelo Sztein

Marcelo Sztein, M.D., is Associate Director for Immunologic Research, Leader of the Immunology Group and Chief of the Cellular Immunology Section and Flow Cytometry Core Laboratory at the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD), University of Maryland. Since 1996 he is a tenured Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics with secondary appointments as Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, UMB School of Medicine.

Dr. Sztein has over 30 years of experience in the study of molecules involved in the regulation of cellular, humoral, innate and mucosal immunity, with particular emphasis on understanding of the mechanisms underlying the generation of immune responses to infectious agents in humans and animal models. 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. Basic and translational models of infectious diseases are used to achieve these objectives.

He has made important contributions to the fields of the host immune responses to infectious diseases and vaccine development, including seminal findings that contributed to our current understanding of immunity to S. Typhi (e.g., Th1 dominance, classical and non-classical class-I-restricted responses, memory T and B cells). To date, Dr. Sztein has authored or co-authored 148 publications in peer-reviewed journals and written 33 reviews and book chapters in the fields of immunology, vaccines and infectious diseases. He continues to be involved in studying several models of infectious diseases to investigate the immune responses of volunteers and animals to a variety of microorganisms, chiefly in the areas of vaccine development and host-parasite interactions.

Current projects encompass studies to investigate systemic and mucosal innate and adaptive immune responses in volunteers participating in vaccine trials being conducted at the CVD and other sites, including underdeveloped countries. These trials involve the clinical testing of genetically engineered attenuated vaccine strains developed at the 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 bio-defense. Exciting new studies include exploration of the mechanisms operative in the generation of mucosal immunity in the gut microenvironment in humans and its relationship to the microbiota.

Moreover, Dr. Sztein has participated for many years in international collaborative studies and is deeply committed to the training of investigators in underdeveloped nations. In this context, he has directed the establishment of a state-of-the-art immunology laboratory (that includes flow cytometry capabilities) at the University of Mali, Bamako and an immunology lab at the Bandiagara field site in Mali, West Africa, to study the immune responses of volunteers in malaria endemic areas.


Annie De Groot, Epivax, I’Cubed

Annie De Groot

Dr. De Groot was educated at Smith College (B.A., 1978), Pritzker School of Medicine / University of Chicago (M.D., 1983), Internal Medicine (New England Medical Center, 1986) and acquired additional training in immunoinformatics and vaccinology with Russell Howard and Jay Berzofsky (NIH, Laboratory for Parasitic Diseases and National Cancer Institute, 1986-89), followed by clinical training in infectious disease at NEMC (1989-92).

She is board certified in Internal Medicine (1986) and Infectious Disease (1992).

Dr. De Groot joined Brown University Medical School, and opened the TB/HIV Research Laboratory in 1992. She licensed EpiMatrix vaccine design technology from her laboratory at Brown and established EpiVax, Inc with Bill Martin, (1998) where she is the CEO. Dr. De Groot has an exceptional track record in research and academics: She has been awarded over $26M in NIH and foundation research funding and recently published her 100th academic paper. Invited to direct the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (I’Cubed) at the University of Rhode Island in October, 2008; she received a $13M U19 award from the NIH to begin work on a range of vaccines at the I’Cubed in July 2009. She is also founder and scientific director, GAIA Vaccine Foundation (NGO doing HIV prevention in Bamako, Mali) and co-founder and interim medical director, Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic (Providence RI).

She is the recipient of a NFID-Eli Lilly Award, two RI Foundation awards and a Commercial Innovation Award (Slater Biomedical Foundation), was given “Genius Award” in Science and Technology by Esquire Magazine (2003) and honored by the RI Tech Collective (2006) for work on the GAIA HIV vaccine. She was awarded “RI Woman Physician of the Year” in 2006, received the Alvan Fisher Award for Medical Advocacy from AIDS project Rhode Island in December 2007 and the “Woman of Achievement Award, 2008” from the YWCA for her work relating to access to care in Providence and West Africa and an award for “Career Achievement” from the Providence Business News in May 2009.

Denice Spero, I’Cubed

Denice Spero

Denice Spero, Ph.D. has an extensive background in pharmaceutical Research and Development at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Most recently, as Vice President of drug discovery support, she was responsible for establishing and leading the discovery organization’s science in drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK), pharmaceutics, and general pharmacology for the therapeutic areas Immunology and Inflammation and Cardiovascular Diseases. In this capacity she and her team established over 30 assays to evaluate drug candidates for optimal safety and DMPK characteristics. She also led a team of scientists which successfully placed three drugs into clinical development for Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Dr. Spero was highly active in the Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at Boehringer Ingelheim and was a women’s leadership mentor and diversity spokesperson to R&D. She co-founded Developing World Cures, Inc. (DWC) and functioned as its President and member of the board through 2009. DWC was established to discover and develop new therapeutics for the treatment of neglected diseases with a focus on diarrheal diseases and dengue virus. Dr. Spero is now the co-Director of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics and holds a Research Professor position at the University of Rhode Island. The Institute for Immunology and Informatics (I’Cubed) was founded with a 13M dollar U-19 grant to accelerate vaccine discovery in the areas of infectious diseases and biodefense using state of the art bioinformatics tools.

She holds over 60 publications and patents and has given numerous invited lectures in the fields of synthetic chemistry, medicinal chemistry and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Dr. Spero was noted by the Rhode Island Business Quarterly as one of “Four Women to Watch” as a woman advancing the state’s knowledge economy. She was recently awarded with Dr. De Groot a Providence-based grant to bring together scientists and entrepreneurs to teach them the principles of biotechnology company start-up.

Dr. Spero holds a B.A. in chemistry and biology, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Wheaton College, an M.S. in organic chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Brown University. She did post-doctoral research at Harvard University in the laboratory of Professor Y. Kishi.

Lenny Moise, University of Rhode Island, I’Cubed

Lenny Moise

Dr. Moise completed his Sc.B. in Biochemistry at Brown University in 1993, and went on to pursue graduate studies in the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Biochemistry (MCB) Program at Brown University, where he worked under Dr. Edward Hawrot in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biotechnology (MPPB). His doctoral thesis topic was NMR solution structure of the principal bungarotoxin binding site on the alpha7 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in complex with bungarotoxin. After he received his Ph.D. from Brown University in May 2002, he was an NIH COBRE Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Hawrot’s lab, studying the functional effects of bungarotoxin binding site transplantation into other proteins.

In July 2005, Lenny joined the TB/HIV research laboratory at Brown University as an Instructor in Medicine, studying vaccine design and T cell immunology. In June 2006 Lenny joined the EpiVax team as Director of Vaccine Research. He has been working on development of vaccines against tularemia, smallpox, and H. pylori, and has been leading the effort in deimmunization of botulinum neurotoxin.

Joe Derosiers, I’Cubed

Joe Desrosiers

Joseph Desrosiers is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island’s Biotechnology Program.  He is currently the Lab Manager for the Institute for Immunology and Informatics CMI Core Laboratory. His background is in T-Cell Immunology, with knowledge in immunosorbent assays, flow cytometry and cryopreservation.




Shahla Yekta, University of Rhode Island, I’Cubed

Shahla Yekta

Shahla Yekta completed her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2005 at the University of Toronto.  During this time she was part of a malaria research team synthesising potential targets based on known anti-malarial drugs and on known target-enzyme pocket environments.  She then obtained the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt fellowship to do post-doctoral research at the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany.  Shahla was an invited expert panel member at the Embassy of Canada in Germany, offering concrete suggestions to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada on how to improve German-Canadian scientific collaborations.  She was also a nominated delegate at the World Health Organization Transparency for Change meeting in 2007.

During the final year of her Ph.D., as she was determining her career path, she started to become more and more interested in the pharmaceutical policies that affect access to medicines for poor people.  In 2008, she moved to Vancouver, Canada and received a Master of Public Health at the University of British Columbia.  She has also worked at the Charité Medical University in Berlin, Germany in the International Health Sciences Division working on the policy side of issues related to access to medicines.  Shahla has several publications in well-respected journals, including JACS and Chemical Reviews (with over 250 citations since 2003) and has presented at several national and international conferences, including a series of invited lectures on access to medicines at several universities across Germany.

Eric Gustafson, I’Cubed

Eric GustafsonEric Gustafson received his B.S. Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry from Brown University, where he studied the regulation of germ cell specification during embryonic development. Eric studied several transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulatory aspects in germ cell specification utilizing a variety of cellular, molecular and biochemical techniques.

Eric is expanding and applying his research experience to human health and disease, particularly in immunotherapeutics and vaccine development at I’Cubed.

Janet Buhlmann, Epivax

Janet Buhlmann

Dr. Buhlmann received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in 1989. After working for two years at Beth Israel Hospital researching the mechanisms of immunologic escape used by nematode parasites, she started her graduate work in the laboratory of Dr. Randolph J. Noelle. The subject of her doctoral thesis was the role of CD40:CD40 Ligand interactions during the induction of tolerance to allogeneic antigens. After receiving her Ph.D. in 1997 from Dartmouth College, she did a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Arlene Sharpe at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. There she investigated the function of B7:CD28 costimulatory molecule family members in thymic development and dendritic cell function. Dr. Buhlmann then became an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Hospital where she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Bing Lim. During this fellowship, Dr. Buhlmann studied the mechanisms underlying the development of a lupus-like autoimmunity in a mouse with a spontaneous mutation in the RasGRP1 gene.

In July 2009, Janet joined the EpiVax team as the Director of Molecular Immunology where she oversees projects involving the development of novel treatments for autoimmunity, transplantation and the inhibition of anti-drug responses through the administration of novel natural regulatory T cell epitopes called Tregitopes.

Leslie Cousens, Epivax

Leslie Cousens

Leslie P. Cousens, PhD is Director of Protein Therapeutics at EpiVax, Inc. She earned her graduate degree in Biology and Medicine at Brown University studying cytokine regulation of T cell-mediated immune responses to viral infections, and has continued to pursue her interest in immunology. As a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Cousens initially studied basic mechanisms of cytokine regulation of T cell responses at the cellular and molecular levels. Subsequently, as a Research Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University, in Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory at Roger Williams Hospital, she applied her immunology background to the preclinical design, development, and clinical evaluation of novel T cell- based cancer therapies. Dr. Cousens has now joined the EpiVax team where she leads research and development of Tregitope technology towards the goal of promoting tolerance to self that would alleviate the burden of repeated and long-term medical interventions associated with chronic autoimmune diseases and transplant maintenance.

Loren Fast, Brown University, I’Cubed

Loren Fast

Dr. Fast completed his Ph.D. in Genetics from the Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. David P. Fan. The subject of his thesis research was the characterization of antigens capable of stimulating murine cytolytic T lymphocytes. Dr. Fast’s postdoctoral fellowship was conducted in the Division of Basic Immunology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, WA under the direction of Drs. Walter Newman and John Hansen. The focus of this research was phenotypic and functional characterization of human cytolytic lymphocytes. Since then, Dr. Fast has been a part of the Division of Hematology and now Hematology/Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University. The research focus has been on studying the regulation of immune responses that occurs in response to the transfer of allogeneic white blood cells that occurs in the setting of transplantation, transfusion and pregnancy with a particular emphasis on studying the role of cytolytic lymphocytes.

Matt Ardito, Epivax

Matt Ardito

Matthew Ardito, a recent graduate of Rhode Island College, joined Dr. De Groot’s team at EpiVax in 2008 as a Bioinformatics Programmer/Oracle Design Specialist. His background is primarily in Mathematics and Computer Science.  As a Bioinformatics Programmer, Matthew’s primary responsibility is to write software to validate, store and analyze protein and peptide sequences. He also assists the Chief Information Officer in managing and monitoring the Oracle Collaboration Suite, maintaining an active role in upgrading EpiVax’s core asset EpiMatrix, designing interactive websites (which incorporates the EpiMatrix system) and writing PreDeFT reports for the EpiVax clients, as well as writing and publishing articles on numerous in silico methods and projects.

Frances Terry, Epivax

Frances Terry

Frances Terry, B.A., is Bioinformatics Program Manager at EpiVax, where she oversees informatics-based analysis of commercial therapeutics and development of genome-derived vaccines. Prior to joinging the EpiVax team, Ms. Terry amassed expertise in many laboratory techniques including flow cytometry, molecular and immunological assays, tissue culture and animal handling. She has contributed to research projects at Brown University and Roger Williams Medical Center, most recently developing standard operating procedures and serving as primary quality control operator for a cGMP drug manufacturing facility. Ms. Terry holds a degree in Biological Sciences from Smith College, where she investigated gene flow and diversity in coastal protozoans and became interested in host-pathogen coevolution.



  • April 15, 2016

    ISV & Vaccine Renaissance Conference – CALL FOR ABSTRACTS!

    The 2016 ISV Annual Congress in collaboration with Vaccine Renaissance X and DNA Vaccine will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, United States on Oct. 2-4, 2016.    Registration abstract is opening soon! The planning committee encourages you to submit an abstract for consideration! Abstract Submission Deadline: June 24th Abstract Decision Deadline: July 15th   http://www.isvcongress.org/
  • March 11, 2016

    10th Annual Vaccine Renaissance Save the Date Postcard

    CLICK HERE to see the save the date postcard for 2016 ISV Conference
  • February 19, 2016

    iCubed Team Members Making Moves

    This past week at iCubed, Dr. Barbara Lohman Payne received a new title of Associate Research Professor. Barbara joined iCubed and URI as a Research Assistant Professor in 2013, with the Laboratory of Viral Immunity and Pathogenesis. Dr. Lohman-Payne’s area of research is viral immunopathology, with special interest in the impact of HIV exposure in ...