Cartoon: Bridging the gap between advances in biology and their application to major human diseases

Demystifying Medicine 2019

Tuesdays: January 8 through May 7
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Building 50 / Conference Room 1227
(unless otherwise noted)

Main Page
Course Materials
Speaker Profiles
Topic Introductions
Final Examination - Deadline: Tuesday, May 28 at 6:00pm ET

Speaker Profiles

January 8 - Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases: A Perpetual Challenge & The Next Influenza Pandemic
~ Anthony S. Fauci, MD (NIAID) - Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. is a physician-scientist who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He oversees an extensive research program on infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, influenza, tuberculosis, Ebola and Zika, as well as diseases of the immune system. Dr. Fauci also serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and Department of Health and Human Services on global infectious disease issues. He was one of the principal architects of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a program that has saved millions of lives throughout the developing world. Dr. Fauci also is the long-time chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation where he has made numerous important discoveries related to HIV/AIDS and is one of the most-cited scientists in the field. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the US National Academy of Medicine and has received numerous prestigious awards for his scientific and global health accomplishments, including the National Medal of Science, the Robert Koch Medal, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been awarded 45 honorary doctoral degrees and is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than 1,300 scientific publications, including several major textbooks.

~ Jeffery Taubenberger MD, PhD (NIAID) - Jeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D., is Chief of the Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section, and Deputy Chief of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Prior to coming to NIAID in 2006, he served as Chair of the Department of Molecular Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in Washington, DC, a position he held since 1994. He received a B.S. in Biology from George Mason University in 1982, his M.D. in 1986 and Ph.D. in 1987 from the Medical College of Virginia. He did his residency in pathology at the National Cancer Institute. He holds dual board certifications in Anatomic Pathology and in Molecular Genetic Pathology. Dr. Taubenberger's research interests include influenza virus biology, pathophysiology, clinical influenza research, and development of a universal influenza vaccine. Among his key contributions to the field was the sequence, reconstruction, and characterization of the virus responsible for the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed approximately 50 million people worldwide. He is a recipient of numerous awards and a frequent speaker at national and international meetings He has published over 250 papers and book chapters. His research has generated national and international publicity since 1997.

January 15 - Sepsis and the NIH Critical Care Center
~ Anthony Suffredini, MD (CC) - Deputy Chief, Senior Investigator Critical Care Medicine Department, Clinical Center - Dr. Suffredini graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He came to the Clinical Center in 1984 to pursue further training and research in critical care and became a senior investigator in 1989. His research has investigated different aspects of human inflammation as they relate to critical illness (i.e sepsis, septic shock, pulmonary inflammation). His presentation will describe a case that exemplifies the type of patient seen at the NIH Clinical Center who develops sepsis and septic shock. He will then discuss the diagnosis and therapy of these syndromes. Dr. Munford will complement this presentation with an overview of pathogenic mechanisms that underlie these disorders.

~ Robert Munford, MD (NIAID) - Senior Clinician, Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology, NIAID. Dr. Munford came to NIH in 2009 after a long career at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas, where his laboratory studied bacterial lipopolysaccharides (endotoxins) and discovered the animal enzyme that detoxifies them, acyloxyacyl hydrolase (AOAH). At NIH he has found that AOAH can inactivate not only endotoxins but also bacterial lipoproteins and the oxidized phospholipids that are produced by animals. He has also been studying how macrophages adapt to living in acidic fluid in order to survive. Today he will begin the session by giving a general overview of the pathogenesis of sepsis, the body's often lethal yet poorly understood response to infection.

January 22 - Tuberculosis: The Great White Plague Keeps Coming Back
~ Clifton Barry, PhD (NIAID) - Dr. Clifton E. Barry III received his Ph.D. in organic and bio-organic chemistry in 1989 from Cornell University, studying the biosynthesis of complex natural products. Following postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Barry joined the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' (NIAID's) Rocky Mountain Laboratories. In 1998, he was tenured as chief of the Tuberculosis Research Section, Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases, NIAID. The TRS is a multidisciplinary group of research scientists comprised of biologists, chemists and clinical researchers who share a common interest in TB. TRS projects focus on understanding the scientific issues that facilitate the development of drugs that will make a genuine difference in the outcome for TB patients globally. TRS scientists are highly interactive worldwide in this endeavor and as a result of our outstanding collaborations TRS is the most widely cited TB research group in the world. In addition to current TRS laboratories in Bethesda TRS works closely with the International Tuberculosis Research Center located in Masan, South Korea; with Chinese colleagues at the Henan Provincial Chest Hospital in Zhengzhou, China; and with colleagues at Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

~ Ray Chen, MD, (NIAID) - Ray Chen is a staff clinician in the Tuberculosis Research Section (TRS) of the Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Chen graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, then trained in Internal Medicine at the Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and in Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). While at UAB, he also received a Masters of Science in Public Health with a concentration in epidemiology. He is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Chen has worked for NIH since 2003 and was based in Beijing, China from 2004-2012, where he administered the larger NIAID research projects in China, primarily in HIV, influenza, and tuberculosis. He worked with U.S. and Chinese investigators to develop clinical research infrastructure at research sites, conduct clinical trials to international standards, and analyze data and publish research results. Currently, Dr. Chen is the staff clinician in the Tuberculosis Research Section, Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Division of Intramural Research at the NIAID. He leads the TRS clinical research team in conducting a number of clinical trials in South Korea, China, and South Africa on developing new treatment and diagnostic methods for drug-sensitive and drug-resistant tuberculosis. He has co-authored over 30 articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

January 29 - Fungus Infections: Neglected, Dangerous and Increasing
~ Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins University)
~ Michail Lionakis MD, ScD (NIAID) - biosketch

February 5 - Exploring Deep Sea Eco Systems and Human Disease
~ Stefan Sievert, PhD (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution) - Curriculum vitae - Stefan Sievert is an Associate Scientist in the Biology Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He is a microbial oceanographer who studies the composition, diversity, and function of microbial communities, with the objective of understanding the relationship between microorganisms and their role in the ocean's biogeochemical cycles. Dr. Sievert is particularly interested in the microbiology and biogeochemistry of hydrothermal systems in the shallow and deep sea, chemolithoautotrophic processes, and microorganisms involved in the sulfur cycle. Dr. Sievert received his B.S. in Biology at the University of Mainz (Germany), and then moved to the University of Bremen (Germany) to pursue his graduate work in Biological Oceanography. He obtained is PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology and the University of Bremen (Germany). He then came to WHOI as a postdoctoral scholar, and he joined the scientific staff in 2002. Dr. Sievert has been on a number of research cruises to deep-sea hot springs, including several cruises on R/V Atlantis as chief scientist, which involved diving in the deep-sea research submersible Alvin. He will take you on a journey to give you a glimpse into a strange world at the bottom of the ocean and explain how this possibly relates to bacteria living in your stomach and causing diseases.

~ John Dekker, MD, PhD (NIAID)

February 12 - Hepatocellular Cancer: Progress in a Devastating Disease
~ Marc Ghany, MD (NIDDK)
~ Anuradha Budhu, PhD (NCI) - Dr. Anuradha Budhu is a Senior Staff Scientist at the National Cancer Institute where she helps to lead a basic/translational research program, emphasizing the discovery of diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers of liver cancer. These functional genomics investigations utilize bioinformatics and molecular biology, in concert with national/international epidemiological cohorts and clinical studies. Dr. Budhu is also the Program Manager for the NCI's Liver Cancer Program, a multidisciplinary network of researchers and clinicians dedicated to improving early detection, diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer.

February 19 - Mount Everest and K2: Too Little and Too Much Oxygen
~ Louis Reichardt, PhD (Simons Foundation)
~ Toren Finkel MD, PhD (University of Pittsburgh) - Biosketch

February 26 - Cellular Immunotherapy of Cancer
~ Steven Rosenberg, MD, PhD (NCI) - Biosketch
~ Nirali Shah, MD, MHSc (NCI)

March 5 - The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
~ Steven Pinker, PhD (Harvard University)

March 12 - Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Radiology
~ Ronald Summers MD, PhD (CC) - Ronald M. Summers received the B.A. degree in physics and the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in Medicine/Anatomy & Cell Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed a medical internship at the Presbyterian-University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, PA, a radiology residency at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and an MRI fellowship at Duke University, Durham, NC. In 1994, he joined the Radiology and Imaging Sciences Department at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD where he is now a tenured Senior Investigator and Staff Radiologist. In 2013, he was named a Fellow of the Society of Abdominal Radiologists. He directs the Imaging Biomarkers and Computer-Aided Diagnosis (CAD) Laboratory and is former and founding Chief of the NIH Clinical Image Processing Service. In 2000, he received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, presented by Dr. Neal Lane, President Clinton's science advisor. In 2012, he received the NIH Director's Award, presented by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins. In 2017, he received the NIH Clinical Center Director's Award. His research interests include deep learning, virtual colonoscopy, CAD and development of large radiologic image databases. His clinical areas of specialty are thoracic and abdominal radiology and body cross-sectional imaging. He is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Medical Imaging, Radiology:Artificial Intelligence and Academic Radiology and a past member of the editorial board of Radiology. He is a program committee member of the Computer-aided Diagnosis section of the annual SPIE Medical Imaging conference and was co-chair of the entire conference in 2018 and 2019. He was Program Co-Chair of the 2018 IEEE ISBI symposium. He has co-authored over 400 journal, review and conference proceedings articles and is a coinventor on 14 patents.

~ Baris Turkbey MD (NCI) - Dr. Turkbey earned his medical degree from Hacettepe University School of Medicine, Ankara, Turkey. He completed his Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology residency in the same institution. In 2007, he joined Molecular Imaging Program led by Dr. Peter L. Choyke. His research focuses on imaging of prostate cancer (multiparametric MRI, PET CT), prostate biopsy techniques, focal therapy for prostate cancer, image processing (segmentation, decision support systems) and lymphatic system imaging. Dr. Turkbey has been performing multi-parametric prostate MRI for 12 years and has imaged more than 6000 patients. Dr. Turkbey has published more than 350 articles in the last 12 years. Dr. Turkbey is a steering committee member of PIRADS and he serves as the co-chair of Society of Abdominal Radiology Prostate Disease Focus Panel.

March 19 - Inheritable Cancer
~ Marston Linehan, MD (NCI)
~ Sharon Savage, MD (NCI) - Sharon A. Savage, M.D., is the Chief of the Clinical Genetics Branch and Clinical Director of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She received her MD from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, completed residency in Pediatrics at Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, and fellowship in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology in the combined NCI-Johns Hopkins program. Dr. Savage joined the Clinical Genetics Branch in 2006 as a tenure-track investigator and was awarded tenure in 2012. She has been leading the Clinical Genetics Branch as Branch Chief since 2013.

Dr. Savage leads clinical, genetic, and epidemiologic studies of individuals and families at high risk of cancer. Her comprehensive approach combines genomics with clinical genetics and molecular biology to improve understanding of cancer etiology and the lives of patients with complex cancer-prone disorders. She conducted the first genome-wide association study of osteosarcoma, the most common malignancy primary bone tumor and a sentinel cancer of Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

Dr. Savage leads the NCI's clinical and genetic study of Li-Fraumeni syndrome (LFS), a highly penetrant cancer susceptibility syndrome often caused by germline mutations in TP53, that is evaluating pediatric and adult cancer-screening regimens and studying the underlying molecular biology of LFS. She is a co-founder of the Li-Fraumeni syndrome exploration (LiFE) research consortium

Her research program in telomere molecular epidemiology incorporates population-based studies of telomere length and disease with genetic studies of telomere biology. Dyskeratosis congenita (DC), cancer-prone inherited bone marrow failure syndrome, is caused by germline mutations in telomere biology genes. To date, Dr. Savage has discovered four genetic causes of DC. This work has formed the basis for numerous basic science studies of the function of telomere biology genes. Her clinical studies of DC have led to improvements in the diagnosis of DC and seek to advance understanding of the clinical complications of DC and the related telomere biology disorders.

March 26 - Losing and Regaining Hearing:† From Humans to Zebrafish
~ Shawn Burgess, PhD (NHGRI) - Dr. Burgess received his Ph.D. in genetics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he studied the genetics of mitochondrial fusion and fission in yeast. He trained with Nancy Hopkins, Ph.D., at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was part of a large effort to develop insertional mutagenesis in zebrafish, coupled with a genetic screen to identify genes essential for early development of a vertebrate. Since 2001, he has been at the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he is a senior investigator and heads the Developmental Genomics Section. Much of Dr. Burgess' work in the last decade has been focused on developing efficient gene knockout technologies in zebrafish, coupled with efficient phenotyping of the gene disruptions.

~ Andrew Griffith MD, PhD (NIDCD) - Biosketch - Dr. Griffith is the scientific director and acting deputy director of the NIDCD. Dr. Griffith received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Davis. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. He completed an otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residency at the University of Michigan, where he also received fellowship training in the laboratory of Dr. Miriam Meisler in the Department of Human Genetics. He joined the Intramural Research Program of NIDCD as a senior staff fellow, and received additional training with Dr. Thomas Friedman in the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics. He has been a member of the senior medical staff of the NIH Clinical Center since 1998, an independent investigator since 2000, scientific director of the NIDCD Division of Intramural Research since 2009, and the NIH deputy director for intramural clinical research since 2016. His research interest is genetic disorders affecting hearing and balance. His laboratory currently focuses on two projects: (1) hearing loss associated with enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct, and (2) autosomal dominant nonsyndromic hearing loss DFNA34 and the role of innate immunity in disorders of hearing and balance.

April 2 - Perception and Mis-perception in the Nervous System
~ Nadia Biassou, MD, PhD (CC) - Biosketch
~ Marine Vernet, PhD (NIMH) - Marine Vernet received her Ph.D. in 2009 in Cognitive Neuroscience from the university Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, France. After conducting post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School (Boston MA) and the Brain and Spine Institute (Paris, France), she joined in 2016 the Laboratory of Brain and Cognition directed by Dr. Leslie Ungerleider at the National Institute of Mental Health (Bethesda, MD). Her work uses a combination of neuroscience techniques including psychophysics, brain stimulation, functional magnetic resonance imaging and electro- and magnetoencephalopgrahy to explore the role of cortical networks in visuomotor control and in conscious visual perception. More information can be found here:

April 9 - Global Challenges in Infection: HIV Persists & Fungus Infections: Neglected, Dangerous, and Increasing
~ John Coffin, PhD (NCI/Tufts University)
~ Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD (Johns Hopkins University)

April 16 - Premature and Unusual Causes of Coronary Heart Diseasen
~ Douglas Rosing, MD (NHLBI) - Douglas R. Rosing, M.D. has been a senior research physician and head of the Cardiac Consultation Service at the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health where he also is involved in clinical research since 2002.

Originally from Buffalo, New York, Dr. Rosing earned his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and MD at SUNY at Buffalo. He completed his internship at Buffalo General Hospital and residency in Cardiology at the National Heart & Lung Institute in Bethesda and was senior assistant resident at the Peter Brent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Rosing has held faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, and at George Washington University Medical School. He has held hospital appointments at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, George Washington University Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital, and the Cardiology Branch of the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute (head of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory).

Prior to returning to the NIH, Dr. Rosing was in private practice with Cardiac Consultants Chartered (presently Johns Hopkins Community Physicians - Heart Care) in Bethesda and Rockville, Maryland for 17 years. He was chairperson of the Cardiology Section at Suburban Hospital and served as an associate trustee and then from 1997-2002 as a trustee on the Suburban Hospital System Board and was chair of the Hospitalist Task Force for the Board. He was a founding member of the Suburban Hospital Foundation having served as a trustee from 1996-2002. Dr. Rosing is board certified in cardiovascular disease and internal medicine.

Dr. Rosing has written or co-authored more than 100 articles for the medical community.

~ Manfred Boehm, MD (NHLBI) - Manfred Boehm, M.D. is a Senior Investigator and Branch Chief at the Translation Vascular Medicine Branch, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA.

Dr. Boehm received his M.D. from the University of Heidelberg, Germany and completed his medical training at the Franz-Vollhard-Klinik, Charitť, Humboldt Universtitšt and Freie Universitšt Berlin, Germany.

The Boehm Lab's research interests are to identify and better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying human vascular diseases and to develop new therapeutic approaches. The aims of the Vascular Translational Program align with the principles of Precision Medicine, investigating how individual variations in genes, environment, and lifestyle contribute to vascular disease. This program was designed to link high-throughput sequencing data with molecular disease mechanisms to facilitate the development of targeted therapies for patients with vascular disorders. The Boehm Lab has successfully identified and/or is currently working on the mechanism underlying rare monogenetic diseases with vascular implications, including Arterial Calcification due to Deficiency of CD73 (ACDC), Systemic inflammation and early-onset recurrent stroke in children due to Deficiency of Adenosine Deaminase 2 (DADA2), STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI), and Hyper IgE syndrome (AD-HIES), a primary immunodeficiency caused by loss-of-function mutations in Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3), cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL) and Degos disease. Research findings from these human rare monogenetic diseases with vascular implications have lead to novel treatment strategies for affected patients.

April 23 - Autoimmunity: Basic and Clinical Advances and Challenges
~ Ronald Germain, MD, PhD (NIAID) - Biosketch - Ronald N. Germain received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1976, the Ph.D. for research with B. Benacerraf, recipient of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine. Since that time, he has investigated basic immunobiology, first on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and, since 1982, as the Chief, Lymphocyte Biology Section, initially in the Laboratory of Immunology and now as Chief of the Laboratory of Immune System Biology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Over the years, he and his colleagues have made key contributions to our understanding of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) class II molecule structure-function relationships, the cell biology of antigen processing, and the molecular basis of T cell recognition. More recently, his laboratory has been focused on the relationship between immune tissue organization and control of adaptive immunity studied by utilizing novel dynamic and static in situ microscopic methods that his laboratory helped pioneer. Dr. Germain has published over 400 scholarly research papers and reviews. Among numerous honors, he was elected as an Associate (foreign) member of EMBO (2008), an AAAS Fellow (2012), elected to the National Academy of Medicine, USA (2013), received the Meritorious Career Award from the American Association of Immunologists (2015), was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, USA (2016), and received the William E. Paul Award for Excellence in Immunology and Cell Biology (2017). He has presented numerous named lectureships at major academic institutions in the US and abroad and has been designated an NIH Distinguished Investigator. He serves as an associate or advisory editor of the J Exp Med, eLife, Immunity, Current Biology, Mol Systems Biol, Int Immunol, BMC Biology, and Nature Scientific Reports and has previously served as Deputy Editor of J Immunol and Editor, Immunity. He helped co-found the NIH Immunology Interest Group and Systems Biology Interest Group and served as Associate Director for the trans-NIH Center for Human Immunology (CHI). He has trained more than 70 postdoctoral fellows, several of whom hold senior academic and administrative positions at leading universities and medical schools around the world.

~ James Katz, MD (NIAMS)

April 30 - Dementias in the Genomic Era
~ Bryan Traynor, M.D., Ph.D. (NIA)
~ Sonja Scholz, M.D., Ph.D.(NINDS)

May 7 - Futures for PhDs
~ Michael Gottesman, MD (DDIR, NIH)
~ Win Arias, MD (CC)
~ Sharon Milgram, PhD (OD)


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