Quan Lu

Quan Lu, Ph.D.

Dr. Lu is Professor of Environmental Genetics and Physiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He directs the Harvard Superfund Research Center and also co-directs the Molecular and Integrative Physiological Sciences Training Program at the Harvard Chan School.

His laboratory studies molecular mechanisms underlying complex gene-environment interactions in multigenic human diseases such as asthma, diabetes and neurodegeneration, focusing in part on the emerging role of extracellular vesicles in disease pathogenesis, prevention, and therapeutics. Research in Dr. Lu’s laboratory is supported by multiple NIH R01 grants and a Program Project grant as well funding from private foundations. Dr. Lu discovered ARMMs and is co-inventor of ARMMs-inspired technologies.

Connie Cepko Ph.D.

Dr. Cepko is the Bullard Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Genetics and in the Department of Ophthalmology. She co-directs the Leder Human Biology and Translational Medicine Program for PhD students at Harvard University. Her ground-breaking research has advanced understanding of the development of the central nervous system (CNS) and mechanisms of retinal degeneration. A Howard Hughes Investigator and author of over 230 peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Cepko has earned distinguished honors for her work, ranging from induction to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 to receiving a Leading Women Award in 2003, presented by the Patriots’ Trail Girl Scout Council in Boston. Dr. Cepko was also elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002. She trained in virology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with Dr. Phillip Sharp where she earned her PhD and later was a postdoctoral fellow at the MIT Whitehead Institute with Dr. Richard Mulligan, where she created some of the first retroviral vectors. Her laboratory is developing gene therapy to treat retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

Kate Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

Dr. Fitzgerald is Professor and Vice Chair of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Innate Immunity, and the Worcester Foundation in Biomedical Sciences Research Chair at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School. Her work is focused on the innate immune system aimed at understanding the molecular basis of the inflammatory response during Infection and in autoinflammatory diseases. The long-term goal of her work is to determine how innate immune sensing and signaling contribute to infectious, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases in humans.

Dr. Fitzgerald completed all of her education in Ireland. She received her B.Sc. in Biochemistry in 1995 from University College Cork, Ireland and her PhD in Biochemistry in 1999 from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. After pursing a post-doctoral fellowship at Trinity College Dublin, she joined UMass Chan as Instructor where she has been since 2001. She is currently a tenured Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Fitzgerald is an elected fellow of the American Society of Microbiology and an elected member of the Royal Irish Academy, the National Academy of Sciences (USA) and the National Academy of Medicine (USA). She is the recipient of several awards including the  Thermo-Fischer Meritorious Career Award (from the American Association of Immunology), the Saint Patrick’s Day Medal (from the Irish Government and Science Foundation Ireland) and the Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine research (from the International Cytokine and Interferon Society), amongst others.

She has extensive service both locally at UMass Chan and nationally including service on local and national advisory boards (e.g., Massachusetts Center For Pathogen Readiness, NIAID Board of Scientific Councillors, Burroughs Wellcome Fund Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases and the Cancer Research Institute). She was also the recent past President of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society.

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