Chagas Disease in the Americas: Improving Access and Tools for Patient Diagnosis and Treatment

[October 2, 2009]
Los Angeles, USA

 

 

Jana Armstrong, Executive Director, DNDi North America
As Director of DNDi North America, Ms. Armstrong is responsible for leading
regional efforts to support DNDi activities. Prior to assuming her present role in October 2007, she was the fundraising manager at DNDi in Geneva, responsible for securing government and private foundation financial commitments.
Before joining DNDi, Jana Armstrong worked with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in South Sudan and Kenya as Deputy Head of Mission for 2 years, managing programs for sleeping sickness, primary and nomadic healthcare, nutrition, and malaria, and then at MSF’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland for 2 years. Prior to that, she spent 8 years in international business development in the health care services and products sector in Russia, Central Europe, Switzerland, UK, and US.
Ms. Armstrong received her MBA in International Management from the American Graduate School of International Management (Thunderbird) in Arizona and France and a BSc in Business Administration from Indiana University.
Frederick S. Buckner, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Washington
Dr. Buckner is a practicing infectious diseases specialist, who runs a research laboratory at University of Washington that primarily focuses on drug discovery for parasitic diseases. One of the main efforts in his lab is to develop a new drug for Chagas disease. He and his collaborators at University of Washington have discovered a series of compounds that are among the most potent ever identified against Trypanosoma cruzi. These compounds work by blocking sterol biosynthesis in the parasites. The compounds are highly active in rodent models of Chagas disease and are currently undergoing preclinical evaluations in anticipation of possible future clinical studies with patients. Dr. Buckner is also involved in drug discovery projects for other neglected diseases including malaria, leishmaniasis, and sleeping sickness.
Victor Condé, MD, Physician, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders–Bolivia
Dr. Conde is the head physician of MSF’s Chagas disease treatment program in Cochabamba, Bolivia. He has diagnosed and treated Chagas patients in MSF projects in Cochabamba and Sucre, Bolivia since June 2005. Dr. Conde taught clinical medicine from 2005 to 2007 at Universidad Mayor, Real y Pontificia de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca in Sucre, and was chief physician of the Centro de Salud Virgen del Remedio, El Tejar, Sucre, 2001-2002. He received his MD from Universidad Mayor San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca in 2001, and his Bachelor’s degree from Colegio Don Bosco in Sucre, Bolivia in 1994.
David N. Cook, Ph.D.
David is head of business advocacy at BIO Ventures for Global Health, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people in the developing world by accelerating the development of novel biotechnology-based drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for infectious diseases. David is responsible for forging partnerships between biotech companies, academic institutions, and funding agencies. Previously, he was CEO of Anza Therapeutics, a biotechnology start-up developing a novel vaccine platform based on Listeria monocytogenes. Anza progressed two therapeutic vaccines into clinical trials (for HCV and pancreatic/ovarian cancers) and had preclinical vaccines for TB, malaria and HIV. Prior to Anza, David was the a senior officer in charge of R&D and business development at a number of biotech companies including Cerus Corporation, a public company focused on blood safety, and Eligix, Inc., a private start-up working in stem cell transplantation. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from UC Berkeley and an AB from Harvard College.
Erika Dueñas, Charge d’Affaires, Minister Counselor, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Bolivia
Erika Dueñas is from La Paz, Bolivia and holds an advanced degree in International Relations from ORT University in Uruguay; a specialization in Intellectual Property Rights and Biotechnology from the University of Montreal, Canada, and a Masters in Economic and Trade Law from the World Trade Institute(WTI) in Bern, Switzerland. Erika has been working on Intellectual Property and health related issues for the past 10 years at the national and international level (Including WHO/IGWG negotiations). She has participated actively in the negotiations of the current Common Industrial Property Legislation of Andean Countries on behalf of the Bolivian Foreign Affairs Ministry and was subsequently in charge of the Patent and Trademarks Office in Bolivia. Currently, she is the Chief of Mission (Chargé d’Affaires) at the Embassy of the Plurinational State of Bolivia in Washington DC.
James Fitzgerald, PhD, Senior Advisor Essential Medicines and Biologicals, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO)
Laurence Flevaud, Laboratory Advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
Laurence Flévaud is a biologist with a Master’s in biology (biochemistry, physiology) and diploma on tropical disease from University of Paris 6. Her research interests includes Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis, and visceral leishmaniasis. Flévaud has worked with MSF since 1997 in field programs in Angola, Uganda, Malawi, and Liberia. Since 2005, she has worked as a diagnostics advisor for MSF-Spain in Barcelona. In 2007, Flévaud participated in an operational research project that developed the validation of the StatPak-Chagas rapid diagnostic test under field conditions in MSF’s Chagas diagnosis and treatment program in Sucre, Bolivia. Currently she advises the Chagas program in Cochabamba, Bolivia regarding diagnostic issues. In addition, Flévaud is part of the WHO technical diagnostic group, which aims to look for better diagnostic tools for Chagas patients.
Joaquim Gascón, MD, Head of Tropical Section, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona-CRESIB
Dr. Gascón is head of the Tropical Section at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, and Research Professor at the Barcelona Center for International Health Research (CRESIB), where he treats and studies Chagas disease. He is also a lecturing collaborator at the University of Barcelona. Dr. Gascón has worked in tropical medicine for over 25 years, including field work and projects in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and Mozambique. He began working on Chagas disease in 2003.
Maira Gutierrez, Los Angeles-area patient
Maira Gutierrez is a 36-year-old resident of Mission Hills, CA, where she lives with her husband, 10-year old daughter, and 8 year-old son. She moved to the Los Angeles area from El Salvador when she was 7. During a routine Red Cross blood drive in 1997, Gutierrez was diagnosed with Chagas disease and began an 11-year search for treatment. In 2008, through a television news story, she heard about the Center of Excellence for Chagas Disease at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. Since receiving treatment there, Gutierrez has been involved in advocacy, through media appearances and community outreach, to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment for people with Chagas disease. Gutierrez worked several years as a registered nurse before joining Universal Studios, where she now works as an executive assistant.
Hannah E. Kettler, PhD, Senior Program Officer and Economist, Global Health Policy and Finance, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Dr. Kettler is an economist and senior program officer on the Global Health Advocacy team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She is responsible for a portfolio of grants and projects that aim to secure adequate financing and a supportive policy environment for global health product innovation and introduction. Prior to joining the Gates Foundation in March 2003, Dr. Kettler led a 2-year Rockefeller Foundation project titled “Biotechnology and Global Health” at the Institute for Global Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The recommendations and evidence base created in this project motivated BIO and the Gates Foundation to establish BioVentures for Global Health in 2004.
Between 1998 and 2001 Dr. Kettler worked as the Senior Industrial Economist for the Office of Health Economics (OHE) in London. The OHE is housed within the Association for British Pharmaceutical Industry and conducts research and consultancy. Her work focused on the economics of innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including analyses of merger and alliance strategies and cross-country comparisons of the performance of biopharmaceutical industries.
Dr. Kettler has a PhD in Industrial Economics from the University of Notre Dame. Her dissertation was titled: “Transitions to Competitiveness: Problems of Economic Restructuring in East Germany”.
David A. Leiby, PhD, Head, Transmissible Diseases Department, American Red Cross
For the past 16 years, Dr. Leiby has been affiliated with the American Red Cross, where he is the Head of the Transmissible Diseases Department at the Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences in Rockville, MD. He is the principal investigator for comprehensive, multicenter epidemiologic studies of Chagas disease, tick-borne pathogens, and malaria in blood donors. Dr. Leiby has published numerous papers and book chapters on this topic and is frequently invited both nationally and internationally to speak at meetings and institutions. Dr. Leiby also is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine at George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Dr. Leiby received a B.S. in Biology from Lafayette College, Easton, PA, a M.S. in Biology from Rutgers University, Camden, NJ, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology from the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. He was a National Research Council, Postdoctoral Resident Research Associate in the Cellular Immunology Department at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC.
Drew E. Lewis, MD, MTM&H, FACP, Head, Infectious Diseases Emerging Markets, Pfizer, Inc.
Dr. Lewis received his MD from the University of Alabama in 1983 and Internal Medicine training at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, MD. His infectious diseases training was conducted at the San Diego Naval Hospital and his Master’s in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the Uniformed Services School of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD. Dr. Lewis is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease, received his Certificate of Knowledge in Clinical Tropical Medicine and Travelers’ Health from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He practiced HIV medicine in upstate NY at an inner-city not-for-profit HIV clinic in the 1990s before joining the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Lewis has worked on developing drugs for bacterial infections, HIV, and malaria; his current position focuses on R&D for infectious diseases of the emerging world, a new focus at Pfizer.
Myriam Lorca H, MSc, PhD, Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, Technical Director Laboratoria Campus
Dr. Lorca is an Associate Professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile, with a PhD from Karolinska Institut, Sweden, and MSc from University of Chile. She completed postdoctoral studies at Tubingen University in Germany. Dr. Lorca’s background is in parasitology, molecular biology, immunology, and public health. She is an expert consultant for WHO, PAHO, JICA, IAAE, APEFE (Belgium), and different Ministries of Health in Latin America. Her professional experience is in Chagas disease, parasitic infections, congenital infections, diagnosis, clinical management and treatment, primary health, vector control programs, basic and applied research, and field work. Dr. Lorca is involved with multiple research projects and the teaching of pre- and postgraduate students, and has co-authored more than 100 journal publications.
Eliana T. Loveluck, MSW, Director, Center for Consumers, National Alliance for Hispanic Health
Eliana T. Loveluck is the Director of the Center for Consumers at the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, and has served in this capacity for over 15 years. As Center Director, Ms. Loveluck oversees numerous national projects conducted in partnership with Hispanic community-based organizations throughout the U.S. These projects focus on health promotion and disease prevention in areas such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, mental health, cancer, and environmental health, as well as capacity development for community-based agencies. Ms. Loveluck is also in charge of the Alliance’s cultural proficiency program that provides training for health care providers and senior state and local health department staff.
Ms. Loveluck is currently a member of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) Special Advisory Group on Improving Hospital Care for Minorities. She serves on CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) Health Disparities Task Force. She was also Chairperson for the Hispanic/Latino Workgroup of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) from 1997 to 2000, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of La Clínica del Pueblo. Ms. Loveluck has served as an external consultant in the areas of HIV prevention in racial/ethnic communities, racial and ethnic health disparities, and capacity-building assistance for community-based organizations for the CDC.
Prior to joining the Alliance, Ms. Loveluck served as the Health and Human Services Specialist for the District of Columbia’s Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (OLA) under Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. In that capacity, she was responsible for advocating for the health and human service needs of Hispanics in Washington, DC at all levels of city government. Prior to joining OLA, Ms. Loveluck served as the Family Services Coordinator at the Rosemount Center where she provided case management and other services for low-income Hispanic families in the D.C. metropolitan region. Before becoming a social worker, Ms. Loveluck was in charge of the Human Rights Project at the Institute for Policy Studies, where she advocated for human rights legislation as a component of U.S. foreign policy.
Ms. Loveluck holds a Master’s in Social Work from the Catholic University of America (Washington, DC, 1988) and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, 1976).
James H. Maguire, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Senior Physician, Division of Infectious Disease, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Maguire is currently Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Senior Physician in the Division of Infectious Disease at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA. Previously, he was Professor and Head of the Division of International Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Chief of the Parasitic Diseases Branch, CDC, Atlanta, GA. He is the recipient of the Ben Kean Medal of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and has been elected to the American Epidemiological Society.
 
After completing his professional training, he spent 4 years in northeast Brazil conducting epidemiological and clinical research studies on Chagas disease. More recently he served on various committees and working groups on Chagas Disease, including the WHO/PAHO Chagas Disease Product Development Team, and the Committee on Implementation Research on Chagas Disease of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR).  He currently participates in research studies on Chagas disease in Peru and Bolivia. He has authored over 165 original articles, chapters, and reviews, including 30 on Chagas disease.
Sheba K. Meymandi, MD, Director, Center of Excellence for Chagas Disease, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center
 
Dr. Meymandi is the director of the Center of Excellence for Chagas Disease at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, in Sylmar, CA, which opened in 2007 as the first US clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. The Center has since diagnosed and treated over 50 patients and conducts free comprehensive mobile medical evaluations in a grassroots effort to educate about the disease and to detect cases early. It also performs important clinical research into rates of prevalence, conduction abnormalities, pregnant women, and congenital transmission. Such research aims in part to identify potential markers for those at risk of sudden death due to Chagas.
Dr. Meymandi is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, the Associate Program Director of the UCLA Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program, and the Director of Cardiovascular Research and Invasive Cardiology at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center. She graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine and has a Bachelor’s in Psychobiology from the University of Southern California. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the UCLA-San Fernando Valley Program.
Susan P. Montgomery, DVM, MPH, Parasitic Diseases Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Dr. Montgomery is an epidemiologist in the Division of Parasitic Diseases at the CDC. In addition to coordinating CDC activities related to Chagas disease, she also conducts epidemiological studies of other diseases such as schistosomiasis and zoonotic parasitic infections. Her previous positions at CDC include staff epidemiologist in the Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch and EIS officer with the Arboviral Diseases Branch in the Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases. Dr. Montgomery received her DVM from Cornell University and MPH from Harvard School of Public Health.
Gemma Ortiz M Genovese, BSc(Hon), MSc, Neglected Diseases Senior Advocacy & Liaison Officer, Médicos Sin Fronteras/Doctors Without Borders
Ms. Ortiz began with MSF in October 2008 as the senior advocacy and liaison officer for neglected diseases. Her background is in public health with a BSc(Hons) in biomedical science (thesis HIV), and a MSc in control of infectious diseases, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she studied the national control program for Chagas disease in Argentina. Ms. Ortiz has also worked with the Mentor Foundation in developing the globally distributed (via UNDCP) “lessons learnt in drug abuse prevention” guide, intended to provide key information for actors working at local, national and international levels in the field of drug abuse prevention. She then worked with VISION 2020 (an IAPB and WHO initiative) rolling out Optometry Giving Sight in Europe, with the objective of raising awareness of refractive errors and funds for projects in Africa and Asia. Most recently, she worked as a senior project manager in the corporate sector advising and implementing the strategies for international medical marketing activities for two infectious disease products.
Claire Panosian (Dunavan), MD, DTMH (London), Professor of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine; Co-Director, UCLA Program in Global Health
Dr. Panosian is co-director and co-founder of the UCLA Program in Global Health. She joined UCLA’s medical faculty in 1984 as Chief of Infectious Diseases at LA County-Olive View Medical Center. Moving to UCLA’s Westwood campus in 1987, she founded UCLA Medical Center’s Travel and Tropical Medicine Program, which she currently directs. Since 1987 she has also consulted in infectious diseases at UCLA’s main hospital and taught courses in tropical medicine, international health, and health and human rights.
Between 1987 and 2002, Panosian worked in Albania, Armenia, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Tanzania and Vietnam as a visiting professor or health consultant. In 2005, she co-founded the UCLA’s Program in Global Health. In 2008, she served as President of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Her scientific bibliography includes original research articles as well as chapters, reviews and editorials on parasitic infections, diarrhea, tuberculosis, malaria and immunization. As a senior consultant-writer for the National Academies of Science / Institute of Medicine, she co-authored “Saving Lives, Buying Time: Economics of Malaria Drugs in an Age of Resistance” (2004) and “Healers Abroad: Americans Responding to the Human Resource Crisis in HIV/AIDS” (2005).
Dr. Panosian’s second career as a print and broadcast journalist includes 6 years as a medical editor, reporter, and/or co-anchor for Lifetime Television (1987-1993). In 2000, Panosian and her husband Patrick Dunavan – an 8-time Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker – produced a television program on hepatitis B which has reached 300-500 million international viewers. She has written regularly for Scientific American and Discover magazines, and in 1999 created and launched a monthly medical column (“The Doctor Files”) for the Los Angeles Times. Her columns and op-eds have also appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and Chicago Tribune.  She is a member of the Writers Guild of America and PEN USA.
Dr. Panosian attended Stanford University (A.B. History 1972), Northwestern University (M.D. 1976), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (D.T.M.&H. 1979). She completed residency in internal medicine at Northwestern University Medical Center in Chicago and fellowship in infectious diseases and geographic medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, where her postdoctoral research focused on host defense against parasites.
Bernard Pécoul, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
Dr. Pécoul has led DNDi since its founding in 2003 and played a leading role in its formation out of MSF’s Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines. DNDi and its partners have built the largest and most robust R&D portfolio ever for three of the most neglected diseases (leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis, and Chagas disease), and launched ASAQ and ASMQ, two low-cost, non-patented antimalarial combinations. Prior to directing DNDi and his involvement with the Access Campaign, Dr. Pécoul was the Executive Director of MSF-France, a co-founder of Epicentre (the research and epidemiology arm of MSF), and a field physician in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Dr. Pécoul obtained his MD from the University of Clermont Ferrand in France, and his MPH from Tulane University in New Orleans, USA.
Janine Ramsey Willoquet, PhD, Director, Regional Center of Investigation for Public Health, National Institute of Public Health, Chiapas, Mexico
Dr. Ramsey is Director of the Regional Center for Public Health Research in Tapachula, Chiapas, of the National Institute for Public Health (Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública [INSP]) of Mexico. Her work primarily focuses on three areas: Chagas disease surveillance and control, dengue vector control, and climate change health risk analysis. Prior to her directorship, she was a Research Scientist-Professor of INSP in Cuernavaca, Morelos from 1994 to 2005. In 1999, Dr. Ramsey received the Glaxo-Wellcome Prize for Epidemiological Research in Mexico, for the study of the distribution of domestic Triatominae and stratification of Chagas disease transmission in Oaxaca, Mexico. She received a PhD in biology from Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
Isabela Ribeiro, MD, Senior Project Manager, Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)
Dr. Ribeiro joined DNDi as a Senior Project Manager in March 2007, after working as a consultant on DNDi projects since 2005. In her role, she focuses on the initiative’s drug development for Chagas disease and malaria. Dr. Ribeiro has over 12 years of drug development experience with a focus on neglected diseases, most recently serving as a consultant to the UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR). With TDR, Dr. Ribeiro contributed to several projects involving the management of large community-based clinical studies in endemic countries.
A member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the PDTIS, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, since 2005, Dr. Ribeiro completed a postdoctoral fellowship in infectious diseases and an internal medicine residency at Ohio State University and worked as clinical research fellow based at the Communicable Disease Unit of St. George’s Hospital, London, after earning her MD from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
Davi Santana, Technical Director, LAFEPE
Dr. Santana is the Technical Director of LAFEPE (Laboratório Farmacêutico do Estado de Pernambuco) in Brazil, which manufactures a large variety of pharmaceuticals, including benznidazole. He is also an Associate Professor, and Coordinator of the Bioequivalence Center, at the Federal University of Pernambuco (NUDFAC) in Brazil.
Sergio Sosa-Estani, MD, PhD, National Center for Research on Endemic Diseases/ANLIS, Argentina
Dr. Sosa-Estani is Head Service of Epidemiology, National Center for Research on Endemic Diseases (CeNDIE), ANLIS “Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán”, Ministry of Health from Argentina. He is an Adjunct Researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET); researcher at the Institute for Clinical Effectiveness and Health Policy; and Professor of the Master of Clinical and Health Care Effectiveness at University of Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Dr. Sosa-Estani has led epidemiological and clinical research projects on tropical endemic diseases and re-emerging and emerging diseases. He has participated and conducted research on Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, STEC infection, uremic haeamolitic syndrome, HIV/AIDS, and hantavirus, among others.  He has published numerous journal and supplement articles, reviews, book chapters, and two theses, and has participated in official and academic committees of national and foreign institutions.
Matthew Spitzer, MD, President, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders USA
President of Doctors Without Borders/MSF-USA, Dr. Spitzer joined MSF in 1999, establishing primary care services and training medical providers in Khampa Tibet, southwestern China. With MSF, he has worked as a field coordinator in Sierra Leone, explored the medical needs of asylum seekers in detention in the New York area, and most recently worked in Cambodia where he coordinated a medical response to a dengue epidemic. Dr. Spitzer worked for 10 years at the St. Anthony Free Clinic in San Francisco and its affiliated rehabilitation program. This past year, he has been working in San Quentin State Prison’s primary care services and trauma/treatment area, and he teaches in the case-based curriculum of University of California, Berkeley’s Joint Medical Program.
Eric Stobbaerts, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator for Chagas Campaign, DNDi
Eric Stobbaerts joined DNDi in March 2009 as Policy & Advocacy Coordinator of the Chagas Campaign. In the last 20 years, he has worked with MSF as a Coordinator and a Head of Mission in many countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Indonesia, Egypt, and former Yugoslavia.  In 1998, he became Executive Director of MSF-Spain. Since 2004, Stobbaerts has consulted for various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in London and more recently headed the delegate office of MSF in Brazil.  Eric holds an MBA from the University of Geneva after completing studies in Economics and Public Affairs at the University of Louvain.
Rick L. Tarleton, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor, Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases,
University of Georgia; President, Chagas Disease Foundation
Dr. Tarleton is the Founder and President of the Chagas Disease Foundation, and a Professor at the University of Georgia. He was the Founding Director of the Center for Tropical and Emerging Global Diseases at the university. Dr. Tarleton’s specific research focus is on the mechanisms of immunity and disease in Trypanosoma cruzi infection, the causative agent of Chagas disease, as well as the development of diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines for T. cruzi. He is a former member of the NIH Tropical Medicine and Parasitology Study Section, and Burroughs Wellcome Fund Scholar in Molecular Parasitology. Dr. Tarleton received his PhD in biology from Wake Forest University in 1983, and was a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Immunology Unit, at the University of Rochester Cancer Center in 1984.
Mahmoud Traina, MD, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center
Julio Urbina, PhD, Emeritus Investigator, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC)
As a Professor and researcher at the Universidad Central de Venezuela from 1975 to 2006, and head of the Biological Chemistry Research Group, Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations from 1991 to 2006, Dr. Urbina’s work focused on the study of the structure and function of biological membranes and enzymes with the aim of identifying rational drug targets in kinetoplastid parasites. He has published over 130 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals in these areas. Dr. Urbina received a Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, the Lorenzo Mendoza Fleury Prize in 1997, and was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Scientific Research Scholar from 2000 to 2005. Dr. Urbina earned a Licenciado Degree in Biology from the Central University in Venezuela (1970) and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1975).
Paul Wilson, Assistant Professor of Public Health, Columbia University
Paul Wilson is a scientist and economist working to speed the development of new drugs and vaccines for the diseases of the developing world. Currently a consultant to NGOs and international organizations, Dr. Wilson has been Director of Policy Analysis at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and Associate Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. At Columbia, where he is on the faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health, Paul worked on strategies for reaching the Millennium Development Goals. He is the lead author of the UN Millennium Project report Combating AIDS in the Developing World. Before moving to Columbia to work on global health policy, he was Assistant Professor of Cell Biology at Cornell Medical College. Dr. Wilson holds a PhD in Zoology from University of California, Berkeley, MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, and an undergraduate degree in Physics from Princeton University.
Oliver Yun, Medical Editor, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders
Oliver Yun, MA, ELS is Medical Editor of Doctors Without Borders/MSF-USA, based in New York. As Medical Editor, Yun writes, edits, and manages MSF research publications and scientific content. He coordinated the technical content for the Chagas symposium. Prior to joining MSF in 2007, he managed the communications office of the multidisciplinary science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in Washington, DC. Yun received a Master’s in genetics from Columbia University in 1998, and Bachelor’s degrees in microbiology and in neuroscience from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1996. He is a member of the Council of Science Editors, Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, National Association of Science Writers, and American Medical Writers Association.