Maria Ali, MBBS, MBA, CMO
Dr. Ali is the Chief Medical Officer for George Clinical, a Contract Research Organization whose profits serve to support the work of the George Institute for Global Health.
Maria serves as the Chief Medical Officer for George Clinical, responsible for continuing to build the organization’s enviable network of investigators and scientific leaders. Previously, she leads the medical and safety services group at George Clinical who provide safety management, endpoint adjudication, medical monitoring and scientific leadership for both commercially sponsored and academic clinical trials. Maria has worked closely with the scientific leads at the George Institute to develop and implement scientific leadership models for George Clinical studies, as well as to develop new ideas for clinical research, and processes to improve clinical trial design and efficiencies. Maria has several years’ experience in both public health and clinical research as well as research management across a range of settings including hospitals, academic and clinical research organizations.
Brian J. Balin, Ph.D.
Dr. Balin is the Director of the Center for Chronic Disorders of Aging – Basic Science at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is the Chair of the Department of Bio-Medical Sciences and Professor of Neuroscience and Neuropathology.
Dr. Balin teaches in both the DO and Biomedical masters programs. He lectures and participates in case presentations and laboratory sessions on a variety of subjects including: neuroscience, neuroanatomy, neurodegeneration, neuropathology, general pathology, molecular basis of cancer, and infectious disease.
Dr. Balin is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease research. He is highly published in peer-reviewed journals, and has written a number of chapters and reviews on the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, including reviews on the “Pathogen Hypothesis” of this disease (see live discussion section, www.alzforum.org). In addition, he has presented and continues to present his work at major national and international scientific meetings including a number of international and world congresses on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Dr. David L. Hahn, MD, MS
Dr. Hahn is a family physician with advanced research training in epidemiology, medical microbiology & immunology, and clinical trial design. Dr. Hahn has been performing primary care practice-based research (PBR) into infectious causes for asthma since the late 1980s. Primary care PBR is research done in partnership with practicing clinicians in communities and the patients they serve to address problems that most patients have, most of the time.
Asthma is a common condition in people of all ages. Experts agree that “the root cause for asthma is inflammation” and that “there is no cure for asthma.” Current treatments are palliative, not curative (i.e., they suppress or “control” asthma symptoms only as long as they are taken).
Dr. Hahn has published over 50 peer reviewed articles, book chapters, invited commentaries and correspondence challenging current expert opinion by proposing the “infectious asthma (IA)” hypothesis: some asthma (the most severe type) is causally associated with chronic lung infections (such as Chlamydia pneumoniae and Mycoplasma pneumoniae) that are treatable with appropriate courses of certain antibiotics. The IA hypothesis opens the door for further research into asthma treatment, cure and even prevention.
Alan P Hudson Ph.D.
Dr Hudson received his PhD in Biological Science (Molecular Genetics) from the City University of New York in 1978. He undertook postdoctoral training at the University of Paris in Paris, France under the guidance of Dr Giorgio Bernardi, and at Southwestern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Dallas, Texas in the laboratory of Dr Ronald Butow.
His first academic position was at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he remained on the faculty until his move to Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan in 1997. At the Detroit medical school, Dr Hudson served as Associate Chair of the Department of Immunology and Microbiology for many years (recently combined with the Department of Biochemistry and renamed the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry). As an active researcher, he has published more than 160 research papers, solicited reviews, and book chapters, and as a teacher he has trained many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Research in Dr Hudson’s laboratory was supported by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and the Wilson Foundation. He retired recently and now is Professor Emeritus in his Department at the Wayne State Medical School. Dr Hudson continues to publish reviews and book chapters solicited from him by many publishers, and he is Editor-in-Chief of Current Clinical Microbiology Reports published by Springer-Nature.
During the early part of his career, Dr Hudson was interested in, and contributed significantly to, our understanding of the molecular genetic mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, his interests expanded to infectious diseases during the late 1980’s, particularly with reference to the genetic details of host-pathogen interaction for the obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. The system he and his clinical collaborators studied in great detail over nearly 30 years involves the elicitation of reactive arthritis in patients with prior genital infections with this organism. His research demonstrated that this organism, contrary to earlier beliefs, does disseminate from its site of primary infection, that is does so using monocytic cells as vehicle, and that the infected cells home to synovial tissues where they elicit a powerful inflammatory response. Interestingly, data from studies in Dr Hudson’s laboratory indicate that patients who progress from acute to chronic reactive arthritis do so because their initial infection included some proportion of ocular chlamydial strains (usually causing trachoma) in addition to the standard genital strains of C trachomatis. In recent years, Dr Hudson and his laboratory have been involved with Dr Brian Balin and others in studying the potential role of the respiratory pathogen Chlamydia pneumoniae in the neuropathology of late-onset dementia of the Alzheimer’s type.
Judith A. Whittum-Hudson, Ph.D.
Dr. Judith Whittum-Hudson is Professor Emerita at Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is a member of the Departments of Immunology & Microbiology (now merged as Microbiology, Immunology & Biochemistry), Internal Medicine (Rheumatology), and Ophthalmology; she is an Adjunct Professor Emerita in the Dept of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the College of Engineering.
Dr. Whittum-Hudson has been involved in chlamydia research and the quest for protective vaccines for most of her career, beginning at the Harvard School of Public Health in the trachoma research group. She obtained her BA in Biology from Wells College (Aurora, NY). Following 6 years of lab research, two of which were in Saudi Arabia doing trachoma field work with the Harvard group, she obtained her Ph.D. in Immunology/Pathology at the University of Connecticut Health Science Center (Farmington, CT). After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center/Southwestern University in Dallas, TX, she joined the faculty of the Immunology group at the Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution in Baltimore, MD. There, she returned to chlamydia vaccine research testing new candidate vaccines in primates and in a mouse ocular infection model which she developed. During that period, collaborations with investigators at both Hopkins and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst tested numerous vaccine formulations in animals. During this period, her laboratory began testing candidate iterations of a chlamydial glycolipid exoantigen (GLXA) in the mouse ocular model and subsequently a genital infection model. The first protective version of the vaccine was a monoclonal anti-idiotypic antibody (mAb2) which was a molecular mimic of the GLXA. During this period, the Whittum-Hudson lab began studies of experimental chlamydial reactive arthritis in mice, in collaboration with Alan Hudson and H. Ralph Schumacher in Philadelphia. They found that human biovars of C trachomatisdisseminated from infected conjunctivae or genital tracts to joints of inbred mice to serve as a model of human reactive arthritis. Importantly, vaccination reduced dissemination and joint histopathology. In 1998, Dr. Whittum-Hudson moved her laboratory to the Wayne State University School of Medicine, as Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine (Rheumatology), Immunology & Microbiology, and Ophthalmology. The vaccine studies continued and evolved to include identification of peptide antigens by use of phage display: mice immunized with several different peptides developed protective immunity and had reduced genital infections and pathology. Through collaborations with a pharmaceutical scientist (Panyam) and chemical engineers (Kannan, da Rocha) at Wayne State, her lab showed that nanoparticles or dendrimers could target antibiotics to infected cells and tissues. Other more recent studies showed significant protection after vaccination with peptide-dendrimer conjugates. Dr. Whittum-Hudson has co-authored a number of papers and reviews on the presence of C pneumoniae in brains of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease patients. Dr. Whittum-Hudson was recipient of funding from the NIH, the Wilson Foundation, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. She has co-authored numerous papers and chapters and is a co-inventor on several patents. She became Professor Emerita in 2014.
Dr. Charles W. Stratton, MD
Dr. Stratton is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Medicine, and Director of a Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology.
Emerging infectious diseases are a recognized problem in clinical medicine. Chlamydia pneumoniae was first recognized in 1988 as a cause of community acquired respiratory tract infections. Since then, this unique pathogen has been associated with a number of chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis and asthma. The pathogenesis of Chlamydia pneumoniae and its role in chronic inflammatory diseases as a cause of secondary infection worsening the original inflammatory process is the basis of current research efforts.
Dr. Stratton’s primary research is in pharmacodynamics, particularly the mechanisms of resistance. He has authored or co-authored over 200 papers on this subject and is recognized as an international authority in this area. Dr. Stratton has served on a number of editorial boards. Dr. Stratton is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. He received the Bronze Star for service in the Persian Gulf War.
He is a member of numerous professional organizations, and is a fellow in the American College of Physicians, College of American Pathologists, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, American Academy of Microbiology, and Infectious Diseases Society of America. For 14 years, he served as editor of “Topics in Clinical Microbiology”, a bimonthly section of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
Dr. Stratton also served as editor for Infectious Diseases Newsletter and the Antimicrobics and Infectious Diseases Newsletter. Dr. Stratton is the author of many articles, research publications, review publications, chapters, and abstracts. He has lectured extensively at teaching activities, meetings and conferences.
Wilmore Webley, Ph.D.
Dr. Webley is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and the Director of PreMed/PreHealth Advising at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Webley completed his undergraduate degree in Medical Technology at Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville JA. He earned a MS degree and later the Ph.D. in Microbiology at UMass Amherst with expertise in immunology, pathogenic bacteriology, and host-pathogen interactions.
Dr. Webley is a Fulbright Scholar, a recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition for outstanding teaching accomplishments. Dr. Webley serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Vaccines and Immunization, the Journal of Medical Microbiology & Diagnosis, Vaccines and Microbiology & Experimentation. He is a member of the International Society for Vaccines, American Society for Microbiology and the Chlamydia Basic Research Society.
His research focuses on infectious disease mechanisms and the role of specific infections in chronic diseases. Specifically, the Webley Lab has pioneered work in Chlamydia vaccine development and the role of pathogenic microbes in asthma initiation and exacerbation. The Webley Lab uses immunoinformatics and gas vesicle nanoparticles of Halobacteria as a platform for multi-subunit antigen display and have confirmed that this system is a potentially effective display and delivery platform for antigens of chlamydial vaccine antigens. His laboratory was the first to culture Chlamydia from bronchoalveolar lavage samples taken from pediatric patients with chronic, severe asthma and has since shown that early life chlamydial infection increases the risk for asthma onset and results in a unique asthma phenotype. His recent work has demonstrated the efficacy of antibiotics in treating a subset of severe asthmatics. His published work has made significant contributions to the fields of microbiology, vaccinology, allergy and immunology.