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


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Peter Kasson

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Peter Kasson is Associate Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics and also of Biomedical Engineering. His research focuses on physical mechanism in infectious disease, with active projects on basic mechanism, robust identification of drug targets, and improvement of rapid diagnostics. Pathogens currently studied are influenza virus, antibiotic-resistant gram negative bacteria, and a new program on Zika virus. He is an active member of the RAPIDD consortium on predicting pandemic influenza (a BARDA- and NIH-funded international initiative with participants from the US, Europe, and Asia). Other major national and international collaborations include with Stanford on novel platforms for measuring viral fusion and screening inhibitors, with Google on large-scale computation and machine learning, with Stockholm University on high-performance molecular simulation, and with Uppsala University and the University of Wisconsin on drug-resistant bacteria. He is also an early tester of Oxford Nanopore Technologies' point-of-care sequencing devices (used successfully in the European Mobile Laboratory for Ebola sequencing in West Africa).

Dean Kedes

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Dean Kedes is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology. Dr. Kedes is a physician-scientist with subspecialty clinical training in infectious diseases. His basic research program focuses on the human oncogenic pathogen, Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV/HHV8). KSHV is the pathogen underlying the most common AIDS-associated malignancy worldwide, Kaposi’s saroma KS) as well as two other B cell lymphoma-like diseases. KS is a global health concern, ranking as the single most common cancer in a number of African nations. Dr. Kedes’ ongoing research program ranges from very basic work, including the determination of the function of individual KSHV encoded proteins and the use of super resolution microscopy (in collaboration with UVA investigator, M. Mitchell Smith) to elucidate the supra structure of the tether linking the viral genome to the human chromatin during latent infection. In addition, his research interests include projects aimed at characterizing primary infection of human tissue with KSHV and the identification of novel potential therapeutics. Over the last 16 years, the Kedes laboratory has pursued basic, translational and applied research projects and has made significant contributions to the field of KSHV biology and pathogenesis. Dr. Kedes is the Director of the University’s Medical Scientist Program, with an average enrollment of over 50 MD/PhD students and requiring the participation and coordination of over 150 faculty members and various members of the University’s upper and middle administration.

Jessica Keim Malpass

Jessica Keim Malpass

In the face of uncertainty how can we best optimize and translate the most effective solutions into practice for patients/families, providers, and policy makers that also allows for engagement in the process? I am a translational nurse scientist that works at the intersection of biotechnology and family-centered approaches within the domains of predictive analytics (particularly for sepsis), innovative nurse-driven models of care (with a focus on vaccine uptake), and health/regulatory policy and the interfaces with infectious diseases. 

Kimberly Kelly

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Kimberly Kelly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. The Kelly Laboratory is interested in analyzing how the various biological scales such as molecules, proteins, cells, and structures interact in both normal and abnormal states. They utilize a multidisciplinary approach with expertise in chemical biology, physiology, proteomics, molecular imaging, and nanotechnology to make fundamental discoveries that are linked to the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The Kelly laboratory has been genetically engineering viruses to produce novel nanomaterials, identify pathogenic viruses, diagnose and treat cancer, and develop a method to identify drug resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis. In addition, Dr. Kelly teaches an undergraduate course entitled Nanomedicine (BME 4890), which incorporates focuses of the Institute, specifically therapeutic design and vaccines.

Melissa Kendall

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Melissa Kendall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology. Dr. Kendall’s expertise focuses on host bacterial interactions. Specifically, Kendall’s lab examines signaling pathways important for bacterial pathogens to sense and adapt to distinct host niches and cause disease. For this, they study enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella. These pathogens cause outbreaks of deadly disease throughout the world. Importantly, antibiotics are not recommended to treat EHEC infections, as antibiotics are thought to worsen the clinical manifestations of disease. Moreover, studies from around the world indicate that Salmonella has become increasingly resistant to conventional antibiotics, which can complicate treatment for systemic infections and, indeed, the mortality rate for these types of infections remains high. These issues underscore the urgent need to develop novel treatments for infectious diseases. A promising strategy is to prevent or limit infection by targeting signaling pathways responsible for expression of virulence traits. Thus, Kendall lab’s work studying signaling systems in EHEC and Salmonella may lead to the development of novel therapeutics to treat infectious diseases. Their research is in line with the goals of the Institute of Global Infectious Diseases, to enable treatment, and distribution of care for the most prominent and urgent global infectious disease threats.

Mark Kester

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Mark Kester is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Co-director of the NanoSTAR Institute. His laboratory has evaluated nanoliposomes, nanodendrimers and nanocolloids as effective drug delivery vehicles for pharmacological and molecular agents. Relevant to the proposed Institute of Global Infectious Disease, his laboratory focuses on the relationship between sphingolipids and human viruses. By altering the sphingolipid composition of a host cell, viral infectivity is often reduced or eliminated altogether. Dr. Kester has begun to study the mechanistic relationship between influenza virus and the sphingolipid composition of human cells. Preliminary data indicate that specific sphingolipids may serve as promising targets to halting the viral infection. Their goal is to formulate a sphingolipid based nanoliposome that works synergistically with current anti-flu medications, such as Tamiflu.

Michael L. King

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Michael King is a professor of practice in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Dr. King is retired from Merck and Co., Inc. as Senior Vice President, Science and Technology after a 32 year career. A major portion of his work at Merck was in the process development/commercialization of new pharmaceuticals and vaccines. At Merck Dr. King chaired Merck’s Biological Process Council for over a decade. Currently he is teaching the course “Bioproduct and Bioprocess Development” in SEAS which focuses on the commercialization of new vaccines and biologics. He is also a consultant with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helping de-risk their investment in a new vaccine technology. Dr. King served on the board of directors of the biotechnology company Medivation, Inc. in San Francisco, CA, until its acquisition by Pfizer in 2016. Dr. King’s role with the Institute would include education (integration of immunology, product technology, biochemical process engineering, regulatory, etc.) as well as subject matter expert on areas of opportunity in vaccine technology, adjuvants, vaccine delivery challenges, etc.

Glynis Kolling

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Glynis Kolling is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health, Department of Medicine, and is also a member of the Center for Global Health, the Institutional Biosafety Committee, and the UVA Fecal Microbiota Transplant Program. As part of the Center for Global Health, she has helped to mentor trainees from Brazil and Africa on projects related to enteric infections. She has extensive expertise in microbiology, bacterial pathogenesis (i.e., enterohemorrhagic E. coli, enteroaggregative E. coli, and Clostridium difficile), microbial communities, and applying host systems for understanding the host-microbial interface. Dr. Kolling maintains trans-disciplinary and cross-Grounds collaborations with academic and clinical faculty in Biomedical Engineering, Biology, Geriatrics, and Gastroenterology.

Susan Kools

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Susan Kools is the Madge M. Jones Professor in Nursing and the Director of Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence. Working with research partners at the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda, she is engaged in community-based participatory research that focuses on developing strengths-based, culturally and developmentally appropriate interventions to promote healthy development and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in very young adolescents (VYAs, ages 10-14) in Uganda. This work will include prevention of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, which are urgent global infectious diseases issues.

Anton Korinek

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Department of Economics

College of Arts & Sciences

Anton Korinek is an Associate Professor at the University of Virginia, Department of Economics and Darden School of Business as well as a Research Associate at the NBER, a Research Fellow at the CEPR and a Research Affiliate at the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute Centre for the Governance of AI. He received his PhD from Columbia University in 2007 and has also worked at Johns Hopkins and at the University of Maryland. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University, the World Bank, the IMF, the BIS and numerous central banks.

His areas of expertise include macroeconomics, international finance, and inequality, with special focus on the effects of artificial intelligence. His most recent research investigates how to weigh economic and epidemiological concerns in responding to COVID-19 - in short, there is no trade-off between lives and livelihoods because people need to feel safe to start spending again. He also shows that there are significant externalities from individual behavior that call for public health interventions. In other work, Korinek analyzes the externalities that give rise to antimicrobial resistance - for example, feeding antimicrobials to livestock imposes costs on society by fostering the growth of resistant bacteria.