Co-Organizers

Buddy Creech, MD, MPH - photo

C. Buddy Creech, MD, MPH

C. Buddy Creech, MD, MPH, is associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, and director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program. Dr. Creech’s research focuses on the evaluation of new vaccines and immunotherapeutics, including candidate vaccines for influenza, pertussis, and S. aureus, and using systems biology tools to characterize the circulating and tissue-specific immune response to vaccination. He also has a longstanding interest in defining the clinical and molecular epidemiology of S. aureus colonization and disease in children, particularly among children with musculoskeletal infections. Dr. Creech is principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded Vanderbilt Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit and co-principal investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment site at Vanderbilt. He serves as secretary-treasurer on the Board of Directors of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) and is chair of the PIDS Research Affairs Committee.

Elaine I. Tuomanen

Elaine I. Tuomanen

Elaine I. Tuomanen, MD, CM, is the ALSAC Endowed Chair of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She is also director of the Children’s Infection Defense Center at St. Jude and adjunct professor of pediatrics and molecular sciences at the University of Tennessee.

After receiving her medical degree from McGill University, she served as pediatric intern and resident at Montreal Children’s Hospital. Dr. Tuomanen began her pediatric infectious diseases fellowship training at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and completed her training as the Bristol Fellow of Infectious Diseases and the Parker B. Francis Pulmonary Research Fellow at Rockefeller University, where she began her work on Streptococcus pneumoniae pathogenesis under the mentorship of Dr. Alexander Tomasz. While an associate professor at Rockefeller University, she headed the Laboratory of Molecular Infectious Diseases, where she continued her groundbreaking work on the interplay between pneumococci and innate immunity. Among her seminal contributions are studies that link pneumococcal virulence factors to specific host receptors, the inflammatory bioactivities of cell wall, and the increased susceptibility of children with sickle cell disease to pneumococcal disease. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for 30 years, and she is the author of over 200 peer-reviewed publications and over 100 reviews and book chapters.

In recognition of her impact on medical sciences, Dr. Tuomanen was elected a member of the Association of American Physicians and fellow of the American Academy for Microbiology. She was the recipient of the 1998 Maxwell Finland Award from Infectious Diseases Society of America, the 1997 E. Mead Johnson Award for Outstanding Research in Pediatrics from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the inaugural Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS) Distinguished Research Award in 2014.

Dr. Tuomanen has devoted many years to understanding the mechanisms by which Streptococcus pneumoniae invades the human host, establishes infection, and manifests as invasive disease. In recent work, she and her research group have identified the molecular mechanisms by which S. pneumoniae access the cerebrospinal fluid and have developed vaccine antigens that protect against S. pneumoniae colonization, pneumonia, and meningitis. In addition, she has demonstrated a strong commitment to educating and mentoring the research efforts of our younger colleagues as the founder of the annual St. Jude-PIDS ID Research Conference, initiating the St. Jude-PIDS Transplant ID Symposium, and creating the PIDS-St. Jude Fellowship Award in Basic Science.

Speakers/Moderators

Bios coming soon

Miquela Caniza, MD, MPH - photo

Miguela Caniza, MD, MPH

Miguela Caniza, MD, MPH, a native of Paraguay, received her MD at the School of Medicine of the National University in Asunción, Paraguay. She completed her pediatric residency at the State University of New York in Stony Brook, N.Y., and her fellowship training in pediatric infectious diseases at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. More recently, she received her master of public health degree from the University of Memphis in Tennessee. She is board certified in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases, and she has experience in international pediatric infectious diseases. She is a member of the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine and the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. At St. Jude, she cares for children with infections; globally, she focuses on improving infection care and prevention in children, especially those with cancer, using research and education.

 

Patricia M. Flynn, MD

Patricia M. Flynn, MD, is a member of the Department of Infectious Diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where she holds the Arthur Ashe Chair in Pediatric AIDS Research. She is also professor of pediatrics and preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. She received her medical training at Louisiana State University Medical Center (1981) and completed pediatric (1984) and pediatric infectious diseases (1987) training at the University of Tennessee/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center joint program. Dr. Flynn began working in the HIV/AIDS program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in 1988. Over the past 30 years, she has had the opportunity to watch the dramatic reductions in the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission and the introduction of active medications that extend the life of HIV-infected persons. She has also witnessed the rising new infection rates in adolescents through high-risk behaviors. The St. Jude HIV clinic provides comprehensive care for over 300 HIV-infected infants, children, and adolescents. Dr. Flynn and the St. Jude clinic participate in the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group and the Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study.

 

Francisco Gonzalez, MD

Francisco Gonzalez, MD, was born in Caracas, Venezuela. He received his medical degree from Universidad Central de Venezuela and practiced general pediatrics for a year in his home country. Dr. Gonzalez completed pediatric residency at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and continues his education at New York University School of Medicine as a pediatric infectious diseases fellow, focusing his research on group B Streptococcus.

 

Jo Handelsman, PhD

Jo Handelsman, PhD, is the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where she served for three years until January 2017, and was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin and Yale University before that. She received her PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in molecular biology and has since authored over 100 papers, 30 editorials, and five books. She is responsible for groundbreaking studies in microbial communication and work in the field of metagenomics. She is also widely recognized for her contributions to science education and diversity in science. Notably, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama in 2011, and in 2012, Nature named her one of “ten people who mattered this year” for her research on gender bias in science.

 

Indriati Hood-Pishchany, MD, PhD

Indriati Hood-Pishchany, MD, PhD, is a third-year clinical fellow in pediatric infectious diseases at Boston Children’s Hospital, working in the laboratory of Dr. Seth Rakoff-Nahoum. Her research interests lie at the intersection of maternal and child health, investigating the microbial ecology of the female reproductive tract microbiome. The microbiome is emerging as a new frontier in reproductive health, yet as associations between the microbiota and myriad reproductive outcomes emerge, the mechanisms underlying these associations remain largely unknown. Her work aims to address this disconnect between association and mechanism through 1) phenotypic, genetic, and molecular characterization of each of the major bacterial constituents of the vaginal microbiota; 2) developing robust in vitro culture systems to study these bacteria in complex, polymicrobial communities; and 3) applying “multiomics” approaches to measure microbe-microbe and host-microbe interactions in the reproductive tract ecosystem.

Scott James, MD - photo

Scott James, MD

Scott James, MD, is an assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases and is the fellowship program director at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He earned undergraduate degrees at the University of Florida prior to completing medical school and pediatrics residency at the University of South Florida. He did his fellowship training at UAB and subsequently joined the faculty there. Dr. James has research interests in molecular virology with an emphasis on emerging antiviral resistance in human herpesviruses, preclinical investigation of new and novel antiviral compounds, and clinical trials investigating optimal antiviral therapies for herpesvirus infections in infants and children.

 

Amanda Jezek

Amanda Jezek is the senior vice president for public policy and government relations at the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), which represents over 11,000 ID physicians and scientists. She oversees IDSA’s Public Policy and Government Relations Department, with responsibility for policy development and advocacy on IDSA’s priority issues, including antimicrobial resistance, antimicrobial and diagnostics development, immunizations, preparedness, federal funding, and other issues relating to public health and research. She has been with IDSA since 2011, previously serving as IDSA’s government relations director. Prior to joining IDSA, Jezek was the deputy director for federal affairs at the March of Dimes Foundation. In this capacity, she led the March of Dimes’ policy development and lobbying efforts on all issues related to access to health care for women of childbearing age, infants, and children, including the foundation’s work on the Affordable Care Act. Jezek also lobbied for Mental Health America, and worked as a legislative assistant and press secretary for U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA). She holds a BA in political science from Dartmouth College.

 

Karen L. Kotloff, MD

Karen L. Kotloff, MD, is head of the Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Pediatrics and principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded Vaccine Testing and Evaluation Unit at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She also serves as associate director of clinical research at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health. Her main areas of interest include epidemiologic studies and clinical trials related to enteric diseases, vaccine-preventable infections, and child survival among children in developing countries in Africa and Asia, and clinical vaccine trials.

 

Anna Maria Mandalakas, MD, PhD

Anna Maria Mandalakas, MD, PhD, is a professor of pediatrics and tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine where she serves as chief of the Section on Global and Immigrant Health and directs the Global Tuberculosis Program of Texas Children’s Hospital. She also serves as adjunct professor in the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston’s School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Science. Over the past two decades, her translational research has focused on identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and prevention of tuberculosis (TB) disease in children living in both TB high- and low-burden settings. Since joining Baylor College of Medicine in 2012, Dr. Mandalakas has collaborated with colleagues to develop research capacity and enhance the care and treatment of TB and TB/HIV affected children and adolescents living in over a dozen countries hosting Baylor initiatives.

Gabriela Maron, MD - photo

Gabriela Maron, MD (Gaby)

Gaby completed Medical School and Pediatrics residency in her home country of El Salvador, where she was also Chief Resident. She then came to Memphis for a Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases, at the joint program of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN. She did an additional year of fellowship in pediatric and adolescent HIV and completed a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology. Following fellowship she returned to El Salvador where she worked as the ID physician for the national pediatric HIV clinic and the ID consultant for the national oncology program. She returned to St. Jude in 2013 and has since worked as the ID consultant embedded in the Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cellular Therapy. Her current research interests include infections in transplant patients and the association of the microbiome with outcomes in HCT patients.

Varvara Probst, MD - photo

Varvara Probst, MD

Dr. Probst is currently a second-year pediatric infectious diseases fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC). She was born and raised in Russia, and after high school she was accepted in Novosibirsk Medical University in 1999 where she completed six years pediatric training. After graduating in 2005, her first clinical experience was in an infectious disease hospital. Overall, she practiced pediatrics for eight years in Russia and in 2013 she moved to the U.S. and decided to pursue medical training in the U.S. In 2017, Dr. Probst commenced her first year of fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is currently funded on a T32 grant – “Conducting Research in Vulnerable Populations of Children”. Her research focus is to determine adenovirus genotype prevalence and impact on clinical outcome in U.S. children using the New Vaccine Surveillance Network platform.

Drew Schwartz, MD, PhD - photo

Drew J. Schwartz, MD, PhD

Drew J. Schwartz, MD, PhD, is currently a second-year pediatric physician scientist fellow in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Washington University School of Medicine. He is the recipient of a Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society-St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Fellowship Award in Basic Research and is developing, in the laboratory of Gautam Dantas, PhD, a gnotobiotic mouse model to study why preterm neonates are particularly susceptible to infection in the context of antibiotics. He completed his internship and residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in 2015. Prior to that, Dr. Schwartz received his MD and PhD from Washington University School of Medicine, obtaining his PhD in molecular microbiology and microbial pathogenesis in the laboratory of Scott Hultgren, PhD, where he studied the host-pathogen interaction in E. coli urinary tract infections. He completed his undergraduate degree at Duke University and is therefore an avid Duke basketball fan.