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Reducing the Impact of Infectious Diseases by Supporting Trans-Disciplinary Academic Research


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Mary Margaret Frank

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Mary Margaret Frank is an Associate Professor of Business Administration and Academic Director of the Institute for Business in Society at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Frank currently serves on the board of directors and as chairperson of the Audit Committee of the Female Health Company/Veru Healthcare (FHC). Professor Frank’s research, teaching and curriculum development involve the intersection of private, government and public sector engagement on societal issues in order to affect change. In order to best accomplish this broader objective, she has initiated a cross-disciplinary agenda at the University of Virginia including a seminar titled the National Debt, a course and pan-university student initiative to address HIV/AIDS, the creation of the P3 Impact Award to recognize outstanding global public-private partnerships, and the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program featuring business, law and public policy speakers and issues. These initiatives and her outstanding teaching, innovative curriculum design and leading research have led Frank and her students to receive accolades from leading political figures as well as numerous awards. She believes that solving society’s most complicated problems require talented people from a variety of backgrounds who want to work together for a common goal.

Gertrude Fraser

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Gertrude Fraser is Associate Professor of Anthropology and African and African American Studies at the University of Virginia. She has written and conducted research in the areas of African American culture, community, and identity in the diaspora; race, gender and science; comparative body politics; genetics, ethics, and minority populations; and ethnohistory.  She is the author of African American Midwifery in the South: Dialogues of Birth, Race, and Memory. She has served as consultant in developing culturally competent research methodologies and accrual strategies for breast cancer, mental health, diabetes, genetic and health policy research. Her career has effectively combined scholarship on culture, medicine and African American communities, with action on behalf of strengthening opportunities for women, African Americans and other minorities in science, health care and in higher education. She is currently P.I. on an NSF ADVANCE IT grant focused on improving the institutional capacity to recruit, retain and support the professional success of women faculty in STEM fields. Her courses include “Race, Gender and Medicine,” and The Anthropology of Genocide.”

She was a Program Officer in higher education and scholarship at the Ford Foundation from 2001-2003.  Ms. Fraser earned degrees from Bryn Mawr College and The Johns Hopkins University, where she completed her Doctorate in Anthropology. 

Brent French

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Brent A. French is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering with joint appointments in Radiology and Cardiovascular Medicine. He currently serves the University as a member of the IACUC and SOM as a member of the Promotion and Tenure Committee. In addition, Dr. French serves as Faculty Advisor to the Molecular Imaging Center Core facility administered by the SOM through the Office of Research Core Administration. Dr. French has a longstanding record of accomplishment in a number of fields ranging from ischemic heart disease to gene therapy to preclinical imaging. Each of these fields relate directly to the goals of the institute, given that the pro-inflammatory component of ischemic heart disease is aggravated by infection (particularly periodontitis), that gene therapy shows great promise against infectious disease, and that the longitudinal assessment of most any animal model of infectious disease can be enhanced by preclinical imaging. Among Dr. French’s many collaborations at UVA, the one that synergizes best with this Pan-University Initiative is his collaboration with Kevin Janes (BME) aimed at developing AAV9-mediated gene therapies to treat both the acute and chronic forms of coxsackievirus infection in children and young adults. Among Dr. French’s external collaborations, perhaps the most relevant is the collaboration with Dr. Jurgen Schrader at the University of Dusseldorf aimed at developing novel MRI methods for the early assessment of pneumonia. Other external collaborations of note include close ties (and recent publications) with the R&D arm of AstraZeneca located in Molndal, Sweden.