Scientific Advisory Board

Richard Flavell, PhD, FRS

R. FlavellSterling Professor of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Flavell received his PhD in biochemistry from University of Hull and completed postdoctoral studies in Amsterdam with Piet Borst and in Zurich with Charles Weissmann. Dr. Flavell’s research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of the immune response using transgenic and gene-targeted mice to study innate and adaptive immunity, T-cell tolerance and activation in immunity and autoimmunity, apoptosis, and regulation of T-cell differentiation. Dr. Flavell is co-discoverer of introns in cellular genes: he showed DNA methylation correlates inversely with, and prevents, gene expression. As a postdoc, he was the first to develop reverse genetics and is a pioneer in the use of this approach in vivo to study function. Dr. Flavell is a fellow of the Royal Society, member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, MD, PhD

G.H.J.S. Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism
Chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases & Sabri Ülker Center for Metabolic Research
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Hotamisligil’s research focuses on the regulatory pathways, which control glucose and lipid metabolism. His interdisciplinary mechanistic and physiological studies centered around organelle function, inflammatory and stress signaling, and biology of novel lipids aim to identify new pathways that are involved in human metabolic and inflammatory diseases including obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, atherosclerosis, and asthma and develop strategies to target these paths for preventive and therapeutic applications. Dr. Hotamisligil’s work has been revolutionary in developing the concept that obesity promotes inflammation and is associated with a variety of other factors that contribute to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic illnesses and led to the emergence of the field of immunometabolism. He also serves as an Associate Member of both the Broad Institute and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Hotamisligil received his MD degree from Ankara University and his PhD from Harvard University.

Michael Karin, PhD

M. KarinDistinguished Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego

Dr. Karin’s research is focused on understanding the link between inflammation, cancer, and metabolic disease as well as understanding the signaling mechanisms used by receptors involved in inflammation and innate immunity. In addition to establishing molecular links between obesity, inflammation and cancer, this work has revealed new targets for cancer prevention and therapy. He is a leading world authority on signal transduction pathways that regulate gene expression in response to extracellular stimuli, infection, inflammation and stress. Key achievements include the definition of cis elements that mediate gene induction by hormones, cytokines and stress, identification and characterization of the transcription factors that recognize these elements (members of the AP-1/ATF family) and the protein kinase cascades that regulate their activities, including the Jun kinases (JNK) and IkB kinases (IKK). Dr. Karin received his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD

R.M.David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Medzhitov’s research interests include biology of inflammation, innate immunity, mechanisms of allergic reactions, cell signaling, and gene regulation. His studies have helped elucidate the critical role of toll-like receptors (TLRs) in sensing microbial infections, mechanisms of TLR signaling, and activation of the inflammatory and immune response. Dr. Medzhitov was awarded The Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation’s inaugural international prize in immunology in 2013, the prestigious Shaw Prize in Life Sciences and Medicine in 2011, and the 2010 Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and European Molecular Biology Organization, and he is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Medzhitov received his PhD from Moscow State University, completed his postdoctoral studies at Yale University Medical School, and was a postdoctoral associate with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Fiona Powrie, FRS

F.P.Sidney Truelove Professor of Gastroenterology
Director, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology
Translational Gastroenterology Unit, Experimental Medicine Division, University of Oxford

Dr. Powrie’s research includes characterizing the interaction between the intestinal microbiota and the host immune system and how this relationship breaks down in inflammatory bowel disease. Her work has identified the functional role of regulatory T cells in intestinal homeostasis and investigates their development and mechanism of action. She has also shown that both adaptive and innate immune mechanisms contribute to intestinal inflammation and identified the IL-23 pathway as a pivotal player in the pathogenesis of chronic intestinal inflammation. Dr. Powrie received the Ita Askonas Award from the European Federation of Immunological Societies for her contribution to immunology in Europe and the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine 2012. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011, the EMBO in 2013, and the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2014. Dr. Powrie studied biochemistry at the University of Bath before completing a D. Phil. at the University of Oxford.

Lawrence Steinman, MD

L.S.George A. Zimmermann Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
Professor of Pediatrics, Stanford University

Dr. Steinman’s work aims at describing mechanistic biomarkers to predict outcomes to therapies in multiple sclerosis (MS) by focusing on what provokes relapses and remissions in MS, the nature of the molecules that serve to curb brain inflammation, and antigen specific therapy. Dr. Steinman was the senior author on the 1992 Nature article that reported the key role of a particular integrin in brain inflammation. This research led to the development of the drug Tysabri, which is approved to treat MS and Crohn’s disease. He has developed two antigen specific therapies, using DNA vaccines, for MS and type 1 diabetes. Dr. Steinman is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2011 he received the Charcot Prize for Lifetime Achievement in MS research. Dr. Steinman received his BA from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude in Physics, and his MD from Harvard Medical School.

Bruce Walker, MD

B.W.Director, Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Dr. Walker’s research focuses on cellular immune responses in chronic viral infections, with particular attention to HIV. He leads an international translational clinical and research effort to understand how rare individuals who are infected with HIV, but have never been treated, can fight the virus with their immune system. Dr. Walker is also an Adjunct Professor at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine in Durban, South Africa. He is a Principal Investigator for the HIV Pathogenesis Program, an initiative to study the evolution of the HIV and the immune responses effective in controlling HIV. Dr. Walker is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Walker received his MD from Case Western Medical School and completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.