Yingzi Cong, PhD

Dr. Yingzi Cong's basic research program is based on the analysis of unique murine models of inflammatory bowel disease using a battery of reagents that have been developed recently. Our hypothesis is that IBD is mediated by a restricted set of pathogenic CD4+T cells responding to microbiota, the antigens to which the host is normally tolerant. Innate cells and TLR ligands play a critical role in activation and expansion of pathogenic T cells. microRNAs regulate host response to enteric bacterial antigens and pathogenesis of IBD. A number of research projects are underway in my laboratory and these NIH-funded studies involve a number of significant collaborations both at UTMB as well as with other Universities and Research Institutes.

SCVD Faculty »

Executive Committee

Alan DT Barrett, PhDAlan DT Barrett, PhD
Alan DT Barrett, PhD, serves as Director of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. As such, Dr. Barrett provides scientific direction for the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development's research programs. He is a world-renowned expert in the biology of flaviviruses. His research efforts have led to forty extramurally funded projects. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles – most of which are related to the molecular characterization/development of vaccines. He completed his 5-year term as an editor of the Journal of General Virology in December 2009 and became an Associate Editor for the journal Vaccine in January 2010. He is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Virology, Journal of General Virology, Journal of Virological methods, Virus Research, Journal of Medical Virology and the Pan Amazonian Health Journal. He spent five years on the World Health organization (WHO) Advisory Committee for vaccines against dengue and other flavivirus diseases, including four years as chair. He has been a member of a number of WHO working groups for yellow fever, dengue, Japanese encephalitis and tick-borne encephalitis vaccines, and is a member of the Virus Diseases Panel of the Department of Defense Military Infectious Diseases Research program.

David WC Beasley, PhDDavid WC Beasley, PhD
David WC Beasley, PhD, serves as a member of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development Executive Committee. Dr. Beasley is an internationally recognized expert in the field of molecular biology of flaviviruses. His research focuses on the plasticity of flavivirus envelope protein sequences and the molecular basis for phenotypic variations between individual strains and major groups of flaviviruses, with the goal of developing and evaluating new and improved vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. He also served as a Co-Director of UTMB's select agent BSL-3 laboratories and was the Director of the Galveston National Laboratory Regulatory Compliance Core. Dr. Beasley has been actively involved in UTMB's preparations for conduct of regulated nonclinical studies at BSL3/4 since 2005, with an emphasis on development and use of animal models for testing and approval of new vaccines and therapeutics under the FDA's Animal Rule.

Nigel Bourne, PhDNigel Bourne, PhD
Nigel Bourne, PhD, serves as a member of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development Executive Committee. Dr. Bourne is an internationally recognized leader in the development of in vivo models to explore the pathogenesis of infectious diseases and their use to evaluate strategies for disease prevention and treatment. He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Antiviral Research.

Andrew G McNees, PhD, MBAAndrew G McNees, PhD, MBA
Andrew G McNees, PhD, MBA, serves as Director, Administration, for the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. He is responsible for serving as a liaison with various entities both on campus and off; overseeing budgets and support staff; preparing grants, contracts, reports and manuscripts; facilitating the ordering of supplies and equipment; and organizing logistics support for the center as a whole. In addition, Dr. McNees compiles data and reports the status of ongoing projects to Dr. Barrett for review.

Gregg N Milligan, PhDGregg N Milligan, PhD
Gregg N Milligan, PhD, serves as a member of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development Executive Committee. He is an expert in the field of viral immunology and currently directs NIH-funded research projects dealing with identification of protective correlates of immunity against genital herpes virus infections and with the link between innate and adaptive immune responses in flavivirus infections. Dr. Milligan is active in the education of graduate and medical students.

Martin G Myers, MDMartin G Myers, MD
Martin G Myers, MD, serves as the Director of Public Health Policy and Education for the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. In this capacity, he works with academicians, vaccine manufactures, legislators and communities to make vaccines more available. Dr. Myers is Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine at UTMB. Dr. Myers is also President and Board Chair of Immunizations for Public Health, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to providing evidence-based information about vaccines to those who need it through its National Network for Immunization Information (NNii). He serves as the Director and Editor for NNii and manages its Web site. Dr. Myers is a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He has authored or coauthored more than 150 articles, mostly focused on the prevention of infections in children. He has published numerous essays about vaccines and vaccine safety on the NNii Web site and in 2008 he published a book titled "Do Vaccines Cause That?! A Guide for Evaluating Vaccine Safety Concerns", both for parents and health professionals who counsel parents. His extensive background in infectious diseases, their presentation and treatment, and his knowledge of associated vaccine regulatory and public health policy issues are important to the success of the center.

Richard Rupp, MDRichard Rupp, MD
Richard Rupp, MD, serves as the Director of Clinical Trials and Clinical Research for the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. Dr. Rupp is board certified in Pediatrics as well as in Adolescent Medicine. He has more than a decade of experience working with schools on health related issues including the improvement of immunization rates. He has been the Principal Investigator for vaccine clinical trials spanning the spectrum from infants through the elderly. Dr. Rupp's expertise in Adolescent Medicine has been particularly helpful in the success of trials involving teens. In his role as Director of Clinical Trials, he leads a program that is instrumental in providing an environment conducive to performing clinical trials with the highest level of commitment to quality and ethical standards. Co-Investigator for the VaccineSmarts public vaccine education program.

Dennis W Trent, PhDDennis Trent, PhD
Dr. Dennis W Trent is a member of the SCVD Executive Committee. He received his BS and MS from Brigham Young University and his PhD in Medical Science from the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center. His research focuses on the development of Dengue virus vaccines that are more immunogenic and safer than what is currently available. His lab also examines different prime-boost strategies using live attenuated and DNA vaccines. Dr. Trent has been involved in vaccine development for the past fifteen years and has been a faculty member at Brigham Young University, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Colorado State University. Dr. Trent previously served as Director, Division of Viral Products, FDA, CBER, Office of Vaccines, and has also held positions in science and regulatory affairs in the pharmaceutical industry. He joins UTMB as Director, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, in the Institutional Office of Regulated Nonclinical Studies, with a secondary faculty appointment in Microbiology & Immunology.