Autoimmune and Infectious Diseases SAB

Our Autoimmune and Infectious Diseases Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of distinguished academic and industry leaders in the fields of autoimmune and infectious disease, translational research, immunology and T cell biology.

Gerald (Jerry) Nepom, MD, PhD (Chair), Director, Immune Tolerance Network; Member Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (Seattle); Professor (Affil) Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine.

David Hafler, MD, William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor of Neurology; Professor of Immunology and Chairman, Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine; Neurologist-in-Chief, Yale New Haven Hospital; Visiting Scientist, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Kevan Herold, MD, C.N.H., Kevan Herold, MD, C.N.H. Long Professor of Immunobiology and of Medicine (Endocrinology), Yale University; Deputy Director, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Co-Director, Yale Diabetes Center.

James Krueger, MD, PhD, Professor and Co-Director, Center for Clinical & Translational Science, Rockefeller University.

Robin Robinson, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer, RenovaCare, Inc. and former Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Robert Siliciano, MD, PhD, Professor of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Jeffrey (Jeff) S. Weber, MD, PhD, Deputy Director and Head, Experimental Therapeutics, Co-Director of the Melanoma Research Program, Laura and Isaac Comprehensive Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health; Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Gerald (Jerry) Nepom, MD, PhD (Chair)
Director, Immune Tolerance Network; Member Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (Seattle); Professor (Affil) Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine.

Dr. Nepom is Director of the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, and former Director and founder of the Benaroya Research Institute, in Seattle WA, USA. He received his MD and PhD from the University of Washington School of Medicine, and completed post-doctoral work in immunology at Harvard Medical School. His primary research interests focus on characterization of the human CD4 T cell response in autoimmunity, with an emphasis on type 1 diabetes (T1D), as well as the translation of immunological intervention strategies into innovative clinical trials. His laboratory is credited with several advances in human autoimmunity, including initial descriptions of HLA class II disease associations, structure, and function, and the development of human class II tetramers for direct T cell detection and analysis. Dr. Nepom also serves as an advisor for many academic and nonprofit organizations involved in biomedical research and is past president of FOCIS, the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. He has published over 350 scientific papers and received recognition through several awards, including the University of Washington School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award and the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

David Hafler, MD
William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor of Neurology; Professor of Immunology and Chairman, Department of Neurology, Yale University School of Medicine; Neurologist-in-Chief, Yale New Haven Hospital; Visiting Scientist, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

David A. Hafler, M.D. is the William S. and Lois Stiles Edgerly Professor and Chairman Department of Neurology and Professor of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, and is the Neurologist-in-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Dr. Hafler graduated magna cum laude in 1974 from Emory University with combined B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in biochemistry, and the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1978. He then completed his internship in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins followed by a neurology residency at Cornell Medical Center-New York Hospital in New York. Dr. Hafler was trained in immunology at the Rockefeller University and then at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Hafler joined the faculty at Harvard in 1984 and in 1999 became the Breakstone Professorship of Neurology at Harvard and was a founding Associated Member of the Broad Institute at MIT. As a preeminent physician-scientist, Dr. Hafler has made seminal discoveries defining the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and autoimmunity. His investigations identified human autoreactive T cells and the mechanisms that underlie their dysregulation including the discovery of human regulatory T cells. He co-led the discovery of genetic variants causing MS and demonstrated how these variants alter immune responses in relationship to environmental factors such as salt allowing activation of autoreactive T cells. His work has spanned many areas of immunology from understanding the immune pathogenesis of HTLV-1 virus disease, to cancer immunology and fundamental work on the co-inhibitory immune pathways TIGIT. Dr. Hafler has over 400 publications in the field of MS, autoimmunity and immunology with an H-index of 137 making him one of the most highly cited living neurologists.

Dr. Hafler is a co-founder of the International MS Genetic Consortium a group that identified the genes causing MS. He has served as a member of the editorial boards for Journal of Clinical Investigation and the Journal of Experimental Medicine, and is co-founder of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies. He led the NIH Autoimmunity Prevention Center Grant at Harvard and then at Yale. He was a Jacob Javits Merit Award Recipient from the NIH and has won many awards including Dystel Prize for MS research from the American Academy of Neurology, the University of Miami Annual Distinguished Alumni Award, the Raymond Adams Prize from the American Neurologic Association, and was the 2016 Frontier Lecturer at the AAN. Dr. Hafler is an Honorary Member of the Scandinavian Society for Immunology and has been elected to membership in the AOA Society, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, The Association of American Physicians, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Kevan Herold, MD, C.N.H.
Long Professor of Immunobiology and of Medicine (Endocrinology), Yale University; Deputy Director, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Co-Director, Yale Diabetes Center.

Kevan Herold, MD is Professor of Immunobiology and Internal Medicine at the Yale School of Medicine. He was trained as an Endocrinologist and as an Immunologist at the University of Chicago. His career has been focused on studies of the pathogenesis and treatment of immune diseases. His work began in murine models and has involved studies of human samples from clinical trials. He has been the PI of 6 multicenter clinical trials of teplizumab for treatment and prevention of Type 1 diabetes and has also led other single and multicenter clinical trials. This is the first drug that has been able to prevent or delay Type 1 diabetes in relatives at risk. His work has spanned a number of aspects of the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes including the immune mechanisms and the effects of autoimmunity on beta cells, with studies in preclinical and with clinical samples. A large portion of his studies involve understanding how immune therapies modify pathogenic immune responses. His lab identified a subpopulation of beta cells that appear to resist immune attack. He developed an assay to measure β cell death in vivo and described changes in beta cells that occur in response to immunologic stressors which, he postulated may enable their survival. His laboratory has a long standing interest in developing tools to analyze autoantigen specific T cells in patients with Type 1 diabetes and has used Class I MHC tetramers to analyze these cells in clinical trials and more recently developed T cell libraries for this purpose. His group was the first to identify autoimmune diabetes induced with checkpoint inhibitors which has provided insights into the mechanisms of Type 1 diabetes. He is a member of the Immune Tolerance Network Steering committee and the PI of the Yale Trial Net Center. He serves as Deputy Director for Translational Medicine in the Yale CTSA. He has been appointed as the new Chair of NIDDK TrialNet.

James Kreuger, MD, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, a Co-director for the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Senior Attending Physician, D. Martin Carter Professor in Clinical Investigation and Laboratory Head of Investigative Dermatology, The Rockefeller University Hospital

James G, Krueger, MD, PhD is Head of the Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology at the Rockefeller University. He also serves as a Physician, Co-director, Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the Rockefeller University Hospital, and Chief Executive Officer of the Rockefeller University Hospital in New York City.

Dr.Krueger earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a PhD in virology and cell biology from the Rockefeller University. He received an MD from Cornell University Medical College, where he also completed an internship in internal medicine and residency in dermatology. Dr.Krueger is certified by the American Board of Dermatology.

His research group at Rockefeller was the first to conduct clinical trials with specific, targeted immune antagonists in psoriasis and this work established that elimination of pathogenic T-cells from skin lesions could reverse the full pathological phenotype of psoriasis. Since then, his group has used immune-based therapeutics to dissect inflammatory pathways in psoriasis and to conduct parallel pharmacogenomic studies that define mechanisms of targeted therapeutics in human populations. A more recent focus has been definition of new inflammatory pathways, as well as new types of inflammatory cells in psoriasis lesions that are now being targeted with new biologic drugs. He has been an advocate of bidirectional translational research (bench to bedside and back) in humans using psoriasis as a model inflammatory disease to dissect pathogenic pathways that cannot be studied in animal models.

Robin Robinson, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, RenovaCare, Inc. and former Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Dr. Robin Robinson currently serves as Chief Scientific Officer for RenovaCare, Inc. since 2019 directing research and development of cellular therapies for wound healing and as an independent consultant to the pharmaceutical and financial sectors in the areas of vaccine, biodefense, stem cell therapy, and infectious diseases.

He reentered the biopharmaceutical business sector after retiring in 2016 from federal public service at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he served from 2008 – 2016 as the first director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and as BARDA’s Influenza and Emerging Disease program director (2004-2008). Dr. Robinson brought BARDA into prominence as one of the top 10 fully integrated R&D organizations worldwide supporting advanced development and acquisition of drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and medical devices to address the deleterious outcomes of weapons of mass destruction (i.e., smallpox, anthrax, botulism, chemical agents, and radiological threats), pandemic influenza, and emerging infectious diseases including Ebola and Zika viruses. 38 of its 250+ medical countermeasure products that BARDA supported since 2008 were fully approved and licensed by the FDA during his tenure; today that total is 60. In 2013-2015 Dr. Robinson was recognized as one of the top 50 most influential persons worldwide in vaccines by Vaccine Nation. In 2018 Dr. Robinson was recognized by Medicine Maker as one of the top 100 innovators in medicine.

Dr. Robinson established a pandemic influenza program beginning in 2004 with scientific and technical experts to implement the national and global strategic plans and policies for the development of new influenza antiviral drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics outlined in the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. For his leadership in this role, Dr. Robinson was the recipient of the Department of Defense’s Clay Dalrymple Award in 2008, the HHS Distinguished Service Award three times, and a finalist for the Service to America Medal in 2009.

Prior to federal public service, Dr. Robinson served as the Director of Vaccines at Novavax, Inc. (Rockville, MD) from 1995-2004, where he led the development of 20+ vaccines to hepatitis B and E, influenza, HIV, noroviruses, and human papilloma viruses from early development, clinical trials, manufacturing scale-up, and commercialization through FDA licensure. While at Novavax, he developed patented platform vaccine technologies including virus-like particles and subunit protein vaccines for human pathogens including malaria, human papilloma, hepatitis, and influenza and for prostate, melanoma, and cervical cancers.

Dr. Robinson pursued his own research in academic medicine as a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School from 1983-1992 on the molecular pathogenesis of herpesviruses and HIV.

Dr. Robinson received a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Biology from Millsaps College in 1976, a Doctoral degree in 1981 from the University of Mississippi Medical School in medical microbiology under Dr. Dennis O’Callaghan on herpesvirus oncogenesis, and completed in 1983 a NIH postdoctoral fellowship at the State University of New York at Stony Brook under Dr. Arnold Levine on molecular mechanisms in oncology.

Dr. Robinson also served on the Senior Advisory Group for the World Health Organization (WHO) on emerging infectious diseases and pandemic influenza (2006 – 2017). Additionally, he continues to serve as an editorial board member and reviewer for several professional scientific and technical journals on virology, vaccines, public health, and biotechnology.

Robert Siliciano, MD, PhD
Professor of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins Medical Institute; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Robert Siliciano is a Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is an immunologist and virologist recognized for his work on the treatment of HIV infection. He is known particularly for identifying and characterizing the latent reservoir for HIV in resting CD4+ T cells. This reservoir is the major barrier to curing HIV infection and the subject of an intense international research effort. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in chemistry and then received an MD and a PhD in immunology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After a postdoctoral fellowship in immunology at Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1988. He is a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For 16 years, he directed the Hopkins MD-PhD Program at Johns Hopkins.

Robert Siliciano and his wife Janet Siliciano lead a laboratory that is focused in finding a cure for HIV infection. Following the lab’s discovery in 1995 of a latent reservoir for HIV, they demonstrated that latently infected cells persist indefinitely even in patients on prolonged antiretroviral therapy (ART). These studies indicated that eradication of HIV 1 infection with ART alone would never be possible. The lab is now focused on understanding the in vivo dynamics of this reservoir, specifically the factors that account for the remarkable stability of the reservoir. The lab is also working to identify drugs that will reactivate latent HIV so that it can be targeted by the immune system, and to develop accurate, scalable assays that can be used to evaluate curative interventions. In addition, the lab has studied theoretical aspects of the pharmacodynamics of antiretroviral drugs in an effort to understand the remarkable ability of these drugs to block HIV replication.

Jeffrey (Jeff) S. Weber, MD, PhD
Deputy Director and Head, Experimental Therapeutics, Co-Director of the Melanoma Research Program, Laura and Isaac Comprehensive Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health; Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

Professor Weber is the deputy director of the Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center (PCC), and works with a multidisciplinary team of medical and surgical oncologists, dermatologists, and pathologists to treat patients with melanomas ranging from the most common to the most complex. He serves as co-director of PCC’s Melanoma Research Program, and is head of Experimental Therapeutics at PCC, overseeing work in experimental therapeutics.

Professor Weber’s clinical and research interests primarily lie in the field of immunotherapy for cancer. He works at the forefront of new ideas in immunotherapy for treating patients with melanoma and managing the side effects of these novel therapies. He has been instrumental in the development of ipilimumab for melanoma, publishing some of the earliest papers showing its efficacy, and has been an early advocate for the use of checkpoint inhibition as adjuvant treatment, culminating in the publication of the New England Journal of Medicine work showing benefit for the PD-1 antibody nivolumab compared to ipilimumab for resected high risk melanoma. He has also been involved in a large variety of clinical trials, including trials for melanoma vaccines, protocols involving adoptive cell therapy, and novel immunotherapy trials for patients with melanoma.

Professor Weber is the principal investigator of a number of ongoing studies funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including trials in clinical drug development and managing the autoimmune side effects of immunotherapy for melanoma. He has been the chair of the CONC study section of NCI and also serves as the co-principal investigator of NYU’s Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant for skin cancer and melanoma research from the National Cancer Institute. His research has been funded by RO1 grants from the NCI for over 25 years.

Professor Weber has published more than 230 articles in the top peer-reviewed journals in his field. He currently sits on the scientific advisory boards of seven cancer-related biotechnology companies and numerous cancer institutions and foundations.