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Avindra Nath, M.D.

Avindra Nath, M.D.

Senior Investigator and Clinical Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Dr. Nath directs the NIH Intramural Study on ME/CFS which seeks to define clinical phenotypes of ME/CFS, understand the underlying physiology of fatigue, determine if there are abnormal immune or microbiome profiles, establish biomarkers, and evaluate immunomodulators. His talk is entitled: "Comprehensive NIH Intramural Study of ME/CFS"

Dr. Avindra Nath is a physician-scientist who specializes in neuro-immunology and neurovirology. His research is focused on the clinical manifestations, pathophysiology and treatment of emerging neurological infections with a focus on HIV and endogenous retroviruses. In recent years, he has studied pathophysiology of ME/CFS and similar long-term manifestations in patients with Ebola and COVID-19. He is the past President of the International Society of NeuroVirology and a recipient of their Pioneer Award. He received the Wybran Award from the Society of Neuroimmune Pharmacology for contributions to Neurovirology. Additionally, he received the NIH Director’s Award and the HHS Secretary’s Award for his work on Ebola infection.

Dr. Nath is the Clinical Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at NIH, where he is also Chief of the Section of Infections of the Nervous System, and Director of the Translational Center for Neurological Sciences.

W. Ian Lipkin, M.D.

Principal Investigator: Center for Solutions for ME/CFS, Columbia University, New York City

Dr. Lipkin is the Director of the NIH ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center (Center for Solutions for ME/CFS) at Columbia University. The Center examines biological samples from people with ME/CFS and healthy controls for microbial agents, such as viruses and bacteria, that may play a role in the disease. The Center uses cutting-edge genetic analyses technology to identify metabolites (small molecules that have a variety of functions in cellular processes) that are present in the samples, which may help in the development of diagnostic tests for ME/CFS. His talk is entitled: "An Interim Report on Solving the Mystery of ME/CFS"

Dr. Lipkin is the John Snow Professor of Epidemiology and Director for the Center of Infection and Immunity with the Mailman School of Public Health and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is internationally recognized for innovating methods for infectious disease diagnosis, surveillance, and discovery and has been at the forefront of outbreak response to many of the world’s recent outbreaks, including West Nile Virus in NYC (1999), SARS in China (2003), MERS in Saudi Arabia (2012-16), Zika in the US (2016), encephalitis in India (2017), and COVID-19 (2020). He was scientific advisor for the Soderbergh film “Contagion”, and developed COVID safety protocols for the film industry, the Democratic National Convention Committee, and the 93rd Annual Academy Awards.

Derya Unutmaz, M.D.

Derya Unutmaz, M.D.

Principal Investigator: The Jackson Laboratory, Farmington, CT

Dr. Unutmaz directs the NIH ME/CFS Collaborative Center at Jackson Laboratories which uses novel analytical tools to understand the causes of ME/CFS. Their work centers on how the immune system, the microbiome (our body’s complete collection of microbes including bacteria and viruses) and metabolism (the chemical reactions that produce energy for the body) interact in ME/CFS. His talk is entitled: ”Metabolic and Immunological Perturbations during ME/CFS”

Derya Unutmaz is a tenured Professor of Microbiology, Medicine and Pathology at NYU School of Medicine. He is a Professor at Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, in Farmington, CT, and affiliated Professor at UConn School of Medicine.

His lab has developed various genetic methods and assays to interrogate human immune cells from healthy people and patients. These approaches led to several important discoveries in diseases such as HIV infection and cancer immunotherapy. His lab is also developing 3D-bioprinting and synthetic bioengineering technologies for precision medicine approaches for cancer and to fine-tune immune responses during aging and chronic diseases, most recently ME/CFS. His lab has also contributed to understanding of the immune response to COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Maureen Hanson, Ph.D

Maureen Hanson, Ph.D

Principal Investigator: Cornell Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease, Ithaca, NY

Dr. Hanson directs the NIH ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center at Cornell University, where she and her colleagues investigate the biological mechanisms underlying ME/CFS by obtaining blood samples and conducting brain scans on individuals with ME/CFS before and after they undergo an exercise test designed to bring on symptoms of post-exertional malaise. Dr. Hanson’s team uses a wide range of tools and technologies to test the role of genes, inflammation and the immune system in this disease. Her talk is entitled: "Searching Plasma for Clues to ME/CFS"

Dr. Hanson is Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). Her B.S. degree is from Duke University and her Ph.D. in Biology is from Harvard University, where she was also an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellow. Before joining Cornell, she was on the faculty in the Biology Department at the University of Virginia. Currently Director of the Cornell Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease, partially funded by a NIH U54 Center grant, previously she was Director of the Cornell Plant Science Center, Associate Director of the Biotechnology Program, and Director of several graduate training programs. Dr. Hanson’s diverse research programs utilize modern methods for examining genome sequences, cellular and organelle morphology and physiology, and gene expression in both plants and humans. Her current research on the pathophysiology of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome involves inflammatory markers in plasma, extracellular vesicles, immune cell gene expression and metabolism, plasma metabolites, and the effect of exercise challenges in healthy vs. ill subjects.

Lucinda Bateman, M.D.

Lucinda Bateman, M.D.

Founder and Clinical Director: Bateman-Horne Center, Salt Lake City, UT

Dr. Bateman is a clinical collaborator on two NIH ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center grants to study the immunology, metabolomics and microbiome of ME/CFS. In this role she has a unique opportunity to understand the impact of Long Covid on the ME/CFS research and clinical communities. Her talk is entitled: "Clinical Perspective and Impact of Long-COVID"

Dr. Bateman is a clinical researcher. She started the Fatigue Consultation Clinic in 2000 and in 2015 formed the Bateman Horne Center (BHC), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to improve the lives of people with FM and ME/CFS through clinical care, education and research. Dr. Bateman attended the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Utah, and practiced as a general internist in Salt Lake City for 10 years. Since 2002 she has served as principal investigator on more than 40 clinical trials. In the past few years the research focus has been on ME/CFS biomarkers. She participated as a clinical expert on a committee of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to review the literature and recommend new clinical diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS in a 2015 publication.

Vicky Whittemore, Ph.D

Vicky Whittemore, Ph.D.

Program Director: NIH, Division of Neuroscience, Bethesda, MD

Dr. Whittemore is a program director of the Channels, Synapses and Circuits Cluster in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role she oversees a grant portfolio on myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fatigue. She also oversees portfolios for basic, translational and clinical studies on epilepsy.

For this event, Dr. Whittemore will provide background on the NIH Collaborative Research and Intramural Studies programs as preface to our panel of speakers. Dr. Whittemore will also facilitate the question and answer part of the program.