Register Agenda Speakers
Roger Belcourt, MD, MPH, FACOEM
Roger was born in Saskatchewan, Canada and raised in the Reno – Lake Tahoe area. He obtained his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno. He completed a residency in Family Practice at UC Davis, before 4 years of service in the United States Air Force. While on active duty, he was exposed to the specialty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and subsequently completed a MPH with distinction from Medical College of Wisconsin. He returned to the Reno area where he engaged in the practice of Occupational and Environmental Medicine for 20 years, before returning to UC Davis in January of 2011. He is Board Certified in Occupational Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and holds Fellowship Status with the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine American Academy of Family Practice.
Dr. Fischer is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and co-directs the newly established Elizabeth R. Griffin Program in the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University. Prior to joining Georgetown’s faculty in 2016, Dr. Fischer co-directed a multi-disciplinary team in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, leading projects designed to help governments and their partners understand the resources needed to strengthen laboratory capacities for accurate, timely, and safe diagnostic testing for emerging and epidemic-prone diseases in diverse settings. Dr. Fischer received a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University and completed post-doctoral training in viral pathogenesis at the University of Washington and Seattle Biomedical Research Institute.
Gary Fujimoto, MD, is currently an Occupational Medicine consultant in private practice in Los Altos, California, working with a variety of high technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical research groups both nationally and internationally.
Gary was formerly Program Director, Occupational Medicine Department, Health Care Division, Palo Alto Medical Foundation and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, and on the Active Medical Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine (Surgery), Stanford University School of Medicine.
Gary was twice honored with an Excellence in teaching award from Stanford University School of Medicine.
He served as the principal medical consultant for biological and chemical exposures at Stanford University for over 20 years, and has served on the Institutional Biosafety Committees for several pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Gary also serves on the board of the Griffin Foundation, and has been involved with the occupational health colloquium since its beginning.
Warner Hudson, MD, FACOEM FAAFP
T. Warner Hudson, MD, FACOEM, FAAFP is Medical Director of the Occupational and Employee Health for the UCLA Health System and Campus. His responsibilities include the occupational and employee health of the approximately 50,000 UCLA employees and volunteers as well as some students for both the UCLA Health System and campus. Warner is an contributor to the UCLA IBC, and provides occupational health support to multiple BSL 3 labs, as well as the Department of Lab Animal Medicine.
Warner, who is certified in both Family Medicine and Occupational Medicine and Fellow of both specialty societies, and was ACOEM President 2011-2012. He has 25 years of experience with major universities, international corporations, local, state and federal agencies. He has experience with AAALAC, JC and LCGME accreditation
Daniel Kavanagh is Senior Scientific Advisor, Gene Therapy at WIRB-Copernicus Group. In this role, he works with research institutions, clinical trial sponsors, and contract research organizations to facilitate startup of clinical trials subject to NIH Guidelines. Prior to joining WCG, he was Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Assistant Immunologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a Principal Investigator studying infectious diseases at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Dr. Kavanagh holds a PhD in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology from the Oregon Health and Science University, and did postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, Boston MA, and the Rockefeller University, New York, NY. While at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Kavanagh served as Vice Chair of the Partners Institutional Biosafety Committee, which oversees biosafety at two main Harvard teaching hospitals. He was co-chair of a Phase I clinical trial of an autologous mRNA-transfected dendritic cell vaccine in HIV+ subjects. He also served as Director of the Harvard University Center for AIDS Research Biosafety Level 3 Core. Dr. Kavanagh has coauthored 37 peer-reviewed publications, with primary authorship in high-impact journals such as Nature Immunology, Blood, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and the Journal of Immunology. His professional interests span the areas of Molecular Biology, Translational Medicine, Biosafety, and Gene Therapy.
Dr. Scott Kitchen’s research interests are focused on investigating the effects of viral infection, as well as other cellular abnormalities, on human hematopoiesis and on exploring ways to correct defects that exist in immunity to viral and cellular antigens. The human immune system is normally fastidious in controlling the environmental assaults that the body receives every day. However, there are many instances where the immune response is ineffective in clearing infection or cancerous cells. Kitchen’s laboratory is interested in understanding the mechanisms that limit the immune systems’ ability to clear infection or cancer and in developing ways that augment these responses. Specifically, they are investigating the role of the CD4 molecule in multilineage hematopoiesis and in cellular responses, particularly in the context of HIV infection. They are also interested in developing gene therapy-based approaches to engineer human hematopoietic stem cells to reconstitute and/or enhance immune responses following their development into mature cells that specifically target HIV infection as well as other viral and cellular antigens. In addition, his laboratory is interested in the development of mouse/human chimeric models that allow the characterization of human hematopoiesis and engineered immunity in a surrogate in vivo host.
Dr. Stacey Kraemer joined UCLA’s Environment, Health and Safety in 2012 as Biological Safety Officer. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Pomona College in Claremont, California in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan in 1996 studying the transcriptional regulation of cyclooxygenases by environmental toxicants (e.g., dioxin) under a NIH Cardiovascular Traineeship. Her research interests turned toward studying gene- and stem cell therapies for treatment of genetic lysosomal storage disorders with associated with pre- and perinatal neurological pathology in large animal model systems. She continued this research using both large and small animal model systems as an Instructor at the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia (MCG). Dr. Kraemer subsequently transitioned into the role of Biological Safety Officer at the Division of Environmental Health and Safety at Georgia Health Sciences University in 2005, where she managed all aspects of the state’s Health Sciences University’s institutional biosafety program. Dr. Kraemer is an active member of the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) and holds professional credentials as a Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) and Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP) from the American Biological Safety Association.
Maureen Thompson, RN, COHN-S, RBP
Maureen Thompson BSN, RN is the Assistant Director of Environmental Health and Safety at Emory University and Environmental Health and Safety Officer (EHSO) at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center (NPRC). Her responsibilities include: guidance and oversight for regulatory compliance, environmental health and safety training, BSL/ABSL-3 containment oversight, safety inspections, hazard identification, hazard monitoring and risk assessments. She is also responsible for the follow-up and investigations related to student, volunteer and employee injuries and exposures as well, as the workers compensation program.
Maureen has worked in the field of Environmental Health and Safety for more than 25 years, first as the Safety Officer at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta and then as the EHSO at the Yerkes NPRC. She continues to work with numerous agencies and research facilities to address research related health and safety concerns and development of comprehensive safety programs. She is a voting member of the Emory University Institutional Biosafety and Research Safety Committees and is the EHSO representative on the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Susan E. Vleck is a Senior Biosafety & Biosecurity Specialist and Manager of the Animal Research Occupational Health & Safety Program in the Department of Environmental Health & Safety at Stanford University. She earned her B.A. in Biology with Honors from Grinnell College in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University in 2010. Her Ph.D. research centered on viral pathogenesis relating to functional and structural domains of Varicella-Zoster virus glycoproteins, and her Post-Doctoral research focused on investigating Hepatitis C virus and antiviral drugs, utilizing a humanized-liver mouse model. She now applies her background in viral microbiology to aiding Stanford researchers working with recombinant DNA and biohazardous agents. She supports the ongoing development and implementation of Stanford’s Biosafety & Biosecurity Program and ensures safe practices, understanding, and compliance for work done using infectious biohazardous agents and recombinant DNA. Her research support role includes reviewing protocols and training associated with research overseen by the Administrative Panel on Biosafety, as well as acting as a voting member or administrator of the panel, as needed. Her research compliance role involves providing biosafety-related resources and oversight for the Administrative Panel on Biosafety, the Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care and the Institutional Review Board Stem Cell Research Oversight panel. In these capacities, she works with Stanford’s research community of faculty, staff, post-doctoral scholars and grad students, other groups within Environmental Health & Safety, other departments at Stanford, and local, state and federal institutions that provide regulatory or guidance documentation. She currently lives in Santa Clara, CA, with her husband and two children, and likes to run and scuba dive in her spare time.
Otto Yang has been on faculty since 1999, and received tenure in 2004. He has a background in clinical infectious diseases, and his laboratory specializes in T cell immunology in HIV infection, relevant to developing immune therapies and vaccines for HIV and potentially other diseases including cancer and other viral infections.
Dr. Yang has a longstanding interest in infectious diseases and HIV-1 pathogenesis. This focus arose from his clinical experience as a medical resident physician at Bellevue Hospital in New York, when >50% of his patients were HIV-1 infected. He then pursued fellowship and postdoctoral training at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he developed a research program studying the role of CD8+ T lymphocytes (CTL, which are killer T cells that can destroy cells infected with viruses or which are malignant) in HIV-1 pathogenesis.
His laboratory pursues research on these questions, with projects ranging from controlled in vitro models of CTL-HIV interaction to clinical observational studies. A sampling of ongoing projects includes: studying the factors determining how HIV-1 develops CTL escape mutations (as it does for antiretroviral drugs), the role of the viral Nef protein that renders infected cells resistant to CTL, vaccination strategies for generating HIV-1-specific CTL responses in blood versus mucosa, the premature aging leading to failure of CTL during HIV-1 infection, the immunologic sequelae of perinatal HIV-1 infection, the fitness costs for viral escape mutations against CTL and antiretroviral drugs, the evolution of HIV-1 sequences in different genetic and immune backgrounds, the role of the mucosal immune compartment on susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. The unifying theme of these studies is to understand principles of immunopathogenesis that will be useful for vaccine and immunotherapy development.
A more recent research interest has been the role of CTL in the development of rejection in organ transplant patients. Dr. Yang has begun working with the new composite tissue transplantation program at UCLA, which will perform hand and face transplants, studying the role of this arm of immunity in causing tissue rejection.
Finally, he has been working on an exciting new area of nanoparticles called “vaults,” which hold promise as a new type of vaccine for HIV and other viruses. In addition to these research interests, Dr. Yang is also a clinician who maintains an active clinical role in the Division of Infectious Diseases.