Each quarter, the CTVD will recognize 1 early career investigator who is selected based on the following criteria:
The Early Career Scientist award carries with it a travel grant to attend a TB-related conference. This award will cover expenses related to this travel (air flight, lodging, and meals).
Early Career Scientist Award - January 2019
Dr. Elisa Nemes, PhD
South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), University of Cape Town, South Africa
Expertise: TB vaccinology and biomarkers, human immunology, immune-monitoring assays
Dr Nemes is a Senior Scientist at SATVI. Elisa trained (M.Sc and PhD) in T cell immunity to HIV in Italy and France and did a first post-doc in Cameroon studying paediatric immune responses to HIV and TB. Dr Nemes moved to South Africa in 2011 to join SATVI, where she provides scientific supervision of clinical trials of new TB vaccines, development of immunodiagnostics and basic immunological studies. Her experience focuses on characterizing human immune responses to HIV and TB to understand disease pathogenesis and immune correlates of risk, which can ultimately facilitate development and assessment of new vaccines. Elisa is centrally involved in the first randomized controlled trial demonstrating efficacy of BCG in preventing sustained
M. tuberculosis infection, as well as in studies aimed at defining vaccine-mediated immune correlates of protection against M. tuberculosis infection and TB disease. Dr Nemes is a member of the Conventional T Cells and Innate Immunity CTVD communities.
Early Career Scientist Award - November 2017
Adam Penn-Nicholson, Ph.D.
University of Cape Town, South Africa
Expertise: Human immunology, biomarkers, interferons, pathology
Adam is a Research Officer at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is an immunologist by training, with experience in the management of immunology of several clinical trials to test novel TB vaccine candidates, including ID93, M72 and MTBVAC. Adam received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University, in 2008, focussing on preclinical development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and HIV. Some of his research at SATVI has led to the identification, validation and qualification of blood-based biomarkers to predict TB disease risk, and towards a better understanding of the biology involved in progression from latent
M. tuberculosis infection to active TB disease. The transcriptomic biomarker is now being tested in a “screen-and-treat” strategy to evaluate the use of targeted preventive therapy in high risk individuals, and to assess both diagnostic and prognostic performance of the correlate of TB disease risk.
Early Career Scientist Award - October 2017
Joshua Mattila, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh, US
Expertise: Neutrophils, macrophages, nonhuman primate granulomas
Josh’s overriding interest in immunology is understanding host responses to intracellular pathogens, and how these responses are modified by co-infections. He earned his PhD in 2006 from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Entomology where he investigated innate immune responses to endosymbiotic rickettsiae and Borrelia burgdorferi in ticks. After this, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh for postdoctoral training with JoAnne Flynn where he used cynomolgus macaques to investigate how SIV changes anti-mycobacterial responses in individuals with latent tuberculosis. Josh’s work focused on identifying changes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific peripheral blood T cell cytokine expression over the course of disease reactivation. In addition to T cell cytokine responses, Josh has investigated nitric oxide and arginase expression by macrophages and neutrophils in granulomas, neutrophil protease expression in TB, and development of cell-type specific PET probes for tuberculosis. Josh’s lab in University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology focuses on the interplay between macrophages, neutrophils, and T cells in granulomas, and how these interactions promote or inhibit protection in tuberculosis.
Early Career Scientist Award - September 2017
Javeed Shah, Ph.D.
University of Washington, US
Expertise: Human immunology, Innate immunity, genetics, vaccines
Javeed obtained his M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 2005. During this time, he studied at the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institutes of Health. After completing his clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases, he joined the lab of Thomas Hawn at the University of Washington, where he focused on understanding the role of genetic variation within innate immune genes on the induction and maintenance of vaccine responses. Specifically, he studied a master immune regulatory protein, TOLLIP. After identification of a functionally active single nucleotide polymorphism in the TOLLIP promoter region that predicted TOLLIP deficiency in human macrophages, he evaluated the effect of TOLLIP deficiency on BCG-specific CD4+ T cell responses in 10-week-old South African infants. He discovered that infants with the hyperinflammatory TOLLIP-deficiency SNP developed fewer IL-2-producing CD4+ T cells at 10 weeks of age. This work suggests that individuals with genetic factors that are associated with increased ongoing inflammation may have diminished capacity to maintain their vaccine immunity over time. His current work is focused on evaluating the role of TOLLIP on TB pathogenesis using both human and mouse models of infection, with the goal of true “bench-to-bedside” translational research on TB vaccines.
Early Career Scientist Award - August 2017
Iman Satti, Ph.D.
The Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, UK
Expertise: Human Immunology, Tuberculosis, vaccine development
Iman obtained her PhD from Karolinska Institute, Sweden, in 2004. She joined Professor McShane’s group at Oxford University in 2008. Iman is leading the human immunology work within the group. Her work focuses on evaluation of immunogenicity of candidate TB vaccines in humans. She has established immunological methods for evaluating mucosal and systemic responses in studies of aerosol vaccination and she led a project assessing whether alternating systemic and mucosal immunization overcomes anti-vector immunity. Iman is leading the evaluation of potential immunological correlates using samples taken from controlled human mycobacterial infection using BCG delivered both intradermally and by aerosol. She is also leading a case control correlate analysis on cases of M.tb infection vs controls in samples taken from infant and HIV efficacy trials, and on cases of TB disease in the HIV efficacy trial cohort. In relation to new vaccine development, Iman is investigating possible mechanisms underlying declining vaccines’ immunogenicity in TB endemic areas compared to studies in the UK. Iman is currently developing new chip cytometry methods that maximize the utilization of samples and allows more detailed studies of immune markers in both tissues and cells.
Early Career Scientist Award - November 2016
Cecilia Lindestam Arlehamn, Ph.D.
La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
Expertise: T cells, Tuberculosis, T cell epitopes, Human Immunology
Cecilia obtained her Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbiology from the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 2009. She then joined Dr. Sette’s group at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology where she has focused on understanding the role of T cells in the context of tuberculosis infection and vaccination. Specifically, Cecilia has dedicated her research to the identification of T cell epitopes and characterization of T cell subsets in promotion of the immune response to tuberculosis. She has identified several previously unknown epitopes and antigens derived from TB, which are recognized in populations with diverse ethnic background and TB exposure. Currently Cecilia focuses on differential epitope recognition and in-depth T cell subset characterization in diverse TB disease states and exposures.
Early Career Scientist Award - July 2016
Uma Shankar Gautam, Ph.D.
Tulane National Primate Research Centre
Expertise: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, hypoxia, DosR, macrophages
After finishing his Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Allahabad, India and a PhD in Life Sciences from Devi Ahalya University, India in 2007, Dr Uma Shankar studied the molecular mechanisms behind DosR signaling in M. tuberculosis in response to hypoxia at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. In 2011, he joined the laboratory of Professor Deepak Kaushal at the Tulane National Primate Research Centre and began studying the infection phenotype of various stress response mutants in in-vitro as well as in-vivo models. Uma has contributed to the understanding of of non-coding RNAs (small RNAs) that are expressed in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) upon exposure to diamide and hypoxia and their role in TB disease.
Early Career Scientist Award - April 2016
Simone Joosten, Ph.D.
Leiden University Medical Center
Expertise: Human Immunology, Tuberculosis, Diabetes
After graduating in Biomedical Sciences from Utrecht University in 1999, Simone studied the immunological involvement in chronic renal transplant rejection in the department of Nephrology and obtained her PhD at Leiden University in 2004. She obtained certification in Immunology and in Experimental Pathobiology from the SMBWO. Following her PhD, she started working in the Department of Infectious Diseases and focused on mycobacterial infections. Simone also worked at the University of Cape Town, South Africa to work on immune responses following BCG vaccination in infants. Her current work focusses on TB biomarkers, detailed characterization of novel human T-cell subsets and more recently macrophage biology and metabolism.
Early Career Scientist Award - January 2016
Nacho Aguilo, Ph.D.
University of Zaragoza
Expertise: Microbiology, Immunology, TB
Over the years, Dr Nacho Aguilo has made significant contributions to research in TB host-pathogen biology, immunology, and vaccinology. His main research activities are related in the host pathogen in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, studying the mechanisms of virulence of M. tuberculosis and pulmonary vaccination. Dr Aguilo has been working in the study of apoptosis induction as a key mechanism of virulence of M. tuberculosis, mediated by ESAT-6. Dr Aguilo has contributed to the characterization of MTBVAC vaccine candidate and demonstrated the safety and efficacy of MTBVAC in a mice neonatal model.