SIVS Executive Committee

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In February 2018, Dr. Barrett became the Director of the Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences (SIVS) and the first holder of the John Sealy Distinguished University Chair in Vaccinology. Dr. Barrett became Director of the UTMB Sealy Center for Vaccine Development (SCVD) in January 2008. In April 2014 the SCVD was designated the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC) for Vaccine Research, Evaluation and Training for Emerging Infectious Diseases, one of seven WHO CCs for vaccines in the World, with Dr. Barrett as Director. He was elected Fellow of the International Society for Vaccines in 2014 and Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2016. Dr. Barrett’s research interests are the molecular basis of pathogenesis and vaccine development of flaviviruses (dengue, Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, tick-borne encephalitis, yellow fever, and Zika). His research has resulted in him authoring more than 300 papers, reviews and book chapters. He has made several contributions to World Health Organization (WHO) activities on flavivirus vaccine research, development and implementation. Most recently, he is a member of the Interim Scientific Advisory Committee, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). He is Founding Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Research Journal npj Vaccines (2015-present), and was an editor of the Journal of General Virology (2005-2009) and an associate editor for Vaccine (2010-2012). He is a member of the editorial boards of eight journals: Virus Research, Journal of Infectious Diseases, Journal of Medical Virology, Journal of Virological Methods, Journal of Virology, Virology, Clinical Vaccines and Immunology, and Pan Amazonian Health Journal.     
 
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Diane Barrett trained as a registered nurse at the Nightingale School of Nursing, St. Thomas’ Hospital, London and received her BS and MS degrees from the University of Southampton in the UK. She also obtained a post-registration certification and practiced as a Registered Health Visitor for several years before moving to Galveston, Texas in 1993. Ms. Barrett joined the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development (SCVD) Clinical Trials Group (CTG) as a Clinical Research Coordinator in October 2002, became a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator in 2004, and now has 14 years of federal and industry-sponsored vaccine clinical trials experience. In her current position as Vaccine Clinical Trials Operations Manager for the Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences Clinical Trials Program, she is responsible for administrative support, oversight of financial management, contract facilitation, assisting the principal investigator with preparation and submission of sponsor-required reports, quality management and the day-to-day supervision and management of the study team.

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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. In addition, Dr. Beasley is the Associate Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC) for Vaccine Research, Evaluation and Training on Emerging Infectious Diseases.

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Dr. Megan Berman is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine. She is board certified in internal medicine and is a practicing internist in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Her expertise is in chronic disease management and preventive care. She is the lead physician educating health professionals on adult immunization throughout UTMB. She works closely with the Internal Medicine residency program on quality improvement projects that have included vaccinations. Additionally, she is involved institutionally with UTMB’s immunization EPIC Task Force and as a sub-investigator for research vaccine trails with SIVS.

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Dr. McNees serves as Administrator and member of the Executive Committee for the SIVS. 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.

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Dr. Milligan is an expert in the field of viral immunology and serves as Senior Scientist on both the SIVS Executive Committee and the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC) on Vaccine Research, Evaluation and Training on Emerging Infectious Diseases Committee. His research focuses on cell-mediated immunity to viruses. Dr. Milligan utilizes a genital herpes simplex virus infection of mice as a model of epithelial and neuronal viral infection. Using vaccination with attenuated strains of HSV-2 as a paradigm for an effective herpes virus vaccine, he is investigating the activation and expression of B and T cell effector function in the genital tract and peripheral nervous system against HSV-2 infection. Additionally, he is examining the differentiation and maintenance of antigen-specific memory CD4+ and CD8+ T cells within the genital mucosa and sensory ganglia. Dr. Milligan is also interested in interactions between viral pathogens and the innate immune system and how these interactions shape the adaptive immune responses to West Nile Virus. Dr. Milligan is active in the education of graduate and medical students.

Dr. Reece serves as Assistant Director for the World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHO CC) for Vaccine Research, Evaluation and Training on Emerging Infectious Diseases. She is responsible for helping to manage and organize the WHO CC Internship Program. To that end, she helps recruit graduate/medical students for the internships and generates and maintains protocols for the student interns to follow that will help them navigate the intern process. She organizes and maintains communication between the WHO CC and collaborators and helps manage the associated projects. In addition, Dr. Reece manages WHO CC annual reports, maintains the intern database and the SIVS website. Dr. Reece is also an Assistant Editor for the Nature Research journal, npj Vaccines.

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Dr. Richard Rupp is the Director of the Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences Clinical Trials Program. He has been the Principal Investigator for dozens of trials spanning the spectrum from infants through the elderly. He is board certified in Pediatrics as well as in Adolescent Medicine. 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 ensures that his group has the highest level of commitment to quality and ethical standards. Additionally, Dr. Rupp has more than two decades of experience working within public schools on health related issues including efforts to enhance immunization uptake.

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Dr. Shi has pioneered flavivirus drug discovery in leading pharmaceutical companies and academia. He is also an internationally recognized leader in the field of flavivirus biology and vaccine development. He has published over 210 peer-reviewed articles and served as Editor (ACS Infectious Diseases, Journal of General Virology, and npj Vaccines) and Editorial Board member (Journal of Virology, Virology, and Antiviral Research). Dr. Shi’s lab integrates both academic and industrial expertise for basic and translational research.

 

 

 

 

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