The Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board makes funding recommendations to the Board of Directors for health grants, and provides strategic advice and support on programmatic issues.
Current Scientific Advisory Board Members
Averil Ma, MD, Scientific Advisory Board Chair, is a gastroenterologist and immunologist. His laboratory studies molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. His recent work focuses on the regulation of ubiquitin dependent cell signaling in immune cells. He is the Rainin Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center and Chief of the Gastrointestinal Division at University of California, San Francisco.
David Artis, PhD, is the Michael Kors Professor of Immunology and Director of the Jill Roberts Institute for IBD Research at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. He has developed a research program focused on dissecting the pathways that regulate innate and adaptive immune cell function at barrier surfaces in the context of health and disease that also encompasses a significant effort to translate research findings in pre-clinical models into patient-based studies of immune-mediated diseases.
Yasmine Belkaid, PhD, Chief, Mucosal Immunology Section, LPD, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), obtained her PhD in 1996 from the Pasteur Institute in France on innate responses to Leishmania infection. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NIAID on immune regulation during Leishmania infection, she joined the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation in Cincinnati as an assistant professor in 2002. In 2005, she joined the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases as a tenure-track investigator. Since 2008, she has worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania.Her laboratory aims to understand the mechanisms controlling infection at barrier sites such as the skin and the gut. These two sites represent the first portal of pathogen exposure and are major anatomical sites for development of inflammatory disorders.
Tejal Desai, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Desai directs the Laboratory of Therapeutic Micro and Nanotechnology where her research brings together advanced micro and nanotechnologies, fundamental insight into cellular behavior in engineered environments, and novel pharmacologic delivery approaches to address disease treatment and clinical translation. By taking advantage of an understanding of how cells respond to engineered materials and the ability to fabricate precise structural domains, her lab seeks to design new platforms to overcome existing challenges in therapeutic delivery.
Michael Fischbach, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at University of California, San Francisco and a member of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3). His laboratory uses a combination of bioinformatics, genetics, biochemistry, and chemistry to identify and characterize small molecules from microbes, with an emphasis on the human microbiome.
Bana Jabri, MD, PhD, is a pediatric gastroenterologist and an immunologist. She studies mechanisms underlying the development of complex intestinal inflammatory disorders with a particular focus on the interplay between the tissue, immune cells and the microbiota and its impact on the regulation and function of tissue resident T cells. Her research is primarily driven by the study of human tissues and immune cells, and aims at developing mechanistic hypotheses based on the discoveries made in patients and testing them in mouse and cellular models. Her laboratory is also involved in the development of preclinical models and clinical trials. She is Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Pediatrics, Vice Chair for Basic Research in the Department of Medicine, Director of Research for the Celiac Disease Center and co-Director of the Digestive Disease Research Center Core at the University of Chicago.
Former Scientific Advisory Board Members
B. Brett Finlay, PhD, is a professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories, and the departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Finlay’s research interests are focused on host-pathogen interactions, at the molecular level. By combining cell biology with microbiology, he has been at the forefront of the emerging field called Cellular Microbiology, making several fundamental discoveries in this field, and publishing over 400 papers. His laboratory studies several pathogenic bacteria, with Salmonella and pathogenic E. coli interactions with host cells being the primary focus.
Claudio Fiocchi, MD, is Professor of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and a member of the Lerner Research Institute and Digestive Disease Institute, Cleveland Clinic. His research is focused on the pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), with the overall goal of uncovering fundamental molecular and cellular abnormalities that underlie the maintenance of a chronic state of inflammation in the intestinal tract. Dr. Fiocchi is the recipient of the Henry Janowitz Lifetime Achievement Award from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America and the Clifford and Jane Anthony Chair in Digestive Disease Research and Education. He is also an Honorary Foreign Member of the Brazilian Academy of Medicine.
Dan R. Littman, MD, PhD, is Professor of Molecular Immunology at New York University, an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is best known for his work on T-lymphocytes. Dr. Littman is the recipient of numerous awards, including: The Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science, the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine, the AAI-Invitrogen Meritorious Career Award, and the New York City Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science and Technology. He was elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine in 2012.
Ruslan Medzhitov, PhD, is the David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine. He is also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His research is focused on innate immunity and inflammatory diseases. Among his many awards are: The first annual Lurie Prize, the Searle Scholarship, the William B. Coley Award for Distinguished Research in Basic and Tumor Immunology from the Cancer Research Institute, a Master of Arts Privatum at Yale University, the Emil von Behring Award, American Association of Immunologists (AAI)–BD Biosciences Investigator Award, a Doctor Honoris Causae at the University of Munich, the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, the Howard Taylor Ricketts Award, and the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award. In 2010, he was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.