A committed champion of vaccines and vaccine diplomacy, Dr. Peter Hotez is the Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology and Microbiology at the Baylor College of Medicine. As codirector of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, Hotez has led the development and clinical trials of low-cost vaccines for hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, and various coronaviruses. His persistence in the face of online and in-person harassment is impressive. This is an interview with Dr. Hotez from a stop on his book tour at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on September 20, 2023.
In this episode, Ushma Neill interviews Elizabeth Jaffee, the Johns Hopkins–based oncologist and immunologist who led the clinical development of a first-gen cancer vaccine for pancreatic cancer and continues to use innovative approaches to identify the complex signaling pathways in tumor cells, the microenvironment, and the immune system toward the generation of cancer immunotherapies. All the while she's been a leader at the local, national, and international level, and currently is the chair of President Biden's Cancer Panel.
In this episode, Ushma Neill interviews the physician scientist and gene therapy, pioneer Dr. Katherine High. After a long career as an academic hematologist, first at the University of North Carolina, then at the University of Pennsylvania and HHMI, Kathy transitioned to a role in industry, first at Spark Therapeutics, then at ASK Biopharma where she led the first FDA approval for gene therapy for a genetic disease.
Neonatologist and pulmonary biologist Jeffrey Whitsett of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital provided understanding of pulmonary surfactant biochemistry and structural biology that underpins the widespread application and usage of surfactant replacement therapy in neonatal respiratory distress.
Lo is often called the father of noninvasive prenatal testing. After discovering fetal DNA in maternal blood, Lo catalyzed a medical revolution that has saved millions of pregnant people from having to undergo invasive tests like amniocentesis. With Lo’s pioneering technical advances, those who are pregnant can easily and reliably be screened for Rh factor mismatch, trisomies, and genetic disorders, and the implications of his work have and may go further in cancer testing, transplantation, and perhaps beyond.