2014 NIAMS IRP Retreat

Keynote Speakers

Glen N. Barber, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Cell Biology; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Barber received his Ph.D. from London University and did postdoctoral work at the University of Washington in Seattle. He was at the Emory University School of Medicine before joining the faculty at the University of Miami, where he is currently Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, and Cell Biology. Dr. Barber is the Eugenia J. Dodson Chair in Cancer Research, Chair of the Department of Cell Biology, and Associate Director of the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as Program leader of the Sylvester Cancer Center’s Viral Oncology group. His research has involved several fields of cell biology, virology, innate immunity, and cancer for the last 20 years. His research has had a major impact in several areas, most recently through the discovery and characterization of an innate immune regulator referred to as STING (stimulator of interferon genes). STING controls cytosolic DNA signaling pathways and is responsible for inflammatory disease manifested through the recognition of self-DNA.


Yasmine Belkaid, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator & Chief, Mucosal Immunology Section NIAID

Dr. Yasmine Belkaid obtained her Ph.D. from the Pasteur Institute in France on innate responses. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NIAID on immune regulation during infection, she joined the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati as an assistant professor. In 2005, she joined the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases at NIAID and was appointed senior scientist in 2008. She is currently the Chief of the Mucosal Immunology Section in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. Her laboratory has made many seminal contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms controlling host-microbe interactions at barrier sites such as the skin and the gut.


Lionel B. Ivashkiv, M.D.
Professor, Medicine and Immunology; Hospital for Special Surgery Genomics Center, New York, New York

Dr. Ivashkiv received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, where he also received postdoctoral research training and clinical training in rheumatology/immunology. He is currently Professor of Medicine and Immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is the David H. Koch Chair in Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration, the Associate Chief Scientific Officer for the Hospital for Special Surgery, and the Director of their Genomics Center. The Ivashkiv laboratory has made many important contributions to our understanding of cytokine-mediated pathogenic mechanisms in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. They have focused on regulation of cytokine signaling, cytokine production, and inflammatory phenotype of innate immune and stromal cells that are important in disease pathogenesis, especially in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), inflammatory osteolysis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). As a rheumatologist, Dr. Ivashkiv has been interested in RA and SLE pathogenesis for more than 20 years, and worked extensively on signal transduction crosstalk and downstream transcriptional regulation. Recently his group has established a research program connecting signaling pathways to chromatin and epigenetic regulation of inflammatory cell phenotypes. This work includes genome-wide approaches to study gene expression, epigenomic mechanisms, and identification and characterization of enhancers.


Meredith K. Wadman, B.M., B.Ch.
Future Tense Fellow, The New America Foundation, Washington, DC

Dr. Wadman is a graduate of Stanford University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She began medical studies at the University of British Columbia and completed medical school as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. Dr. Wadman is a currently a Future Tense Fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank. New America is supporting her to write a book on a fascinating cell strain with a colorful and controversial history and a big public health impact. Before joining New America, Dr. Wadman was a reporter covering the biomedical community for Nature for 17 years. She has also written on biotech and on biomedical policy issues for The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine.


Hao Wu, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator, Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine; Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Dr. Wu studied Medicine at Peking Union Medical College and obtained her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University. After postdoctoral training at Columbia University in the laboratory of Professor Wayne Hendrickson, she became an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and was promoted to Professor in 2003. In 2012, Dr. Wu moved to Harvard Medical School as the Springer Family Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Senior Investigator in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine of Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Wu has received a number of honors, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute pre-doctoral fellowship, the Aaron Diamond postdoctoral fellowship, the Pew Scholar award, the Rita Allen Scholar award, New York Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology, and the Margaret Dayhoff Memorial Award from the Biophysical Society. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Council of the Cancer Research Institute and the Editorial Board of Cancer Cell. Dr. Wu’s laboratory works on elucidating molecular mechanisms of signal transduction by immune receptors, especially of the innate immune system. Her work has contributed to a new paradigm for signal transduction emphasizing “structured, higher-ordered signaling machines” that translate receptor activation into cellular responses, with many implications for our understanding of normal as well as abnormal processes.