Renowned Dengue Expert Delivers 19th Annual WINDREF Lecture

The WINDREF building on SGU’s True Blue Campus.

A global health problem, dengue viruses are a major cause of morbidity in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. At the 19th Annual WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University, Dr. Timothy Endy discussed the unique viral and host factors, and interactions that increase the complexity of dengue and potential vaccine development.

In his presentation titled “Understanding Dengue Pathogenesis and Essential Areas for Research”, the Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at SUNY Upstate Medical University reviewed the history of dengue research in Thailand and shares his key findings and the future directions in the study of the disease. According to Dr. Endy, in countries where dengue is endemic, the first infection happens when children are toddlers with symptoms that can be compared to a bad flu. The second infection, however, is much more worrisome—it can cause what’s called a hemorrhagic fever, which can include unstoppable bleeding inside the body. He cautions that if not treated properly, people, often children, can bleed to death.

“My research mostly focuses on why the second infection is so severe because that is really where all the illness and deaths come from—all of that was set up by the very first infection,” stated Dr. Endy. “Unfortunately, there have not been any studies that really focus on the first infection since it is so hard to find and often goes undetected by healthcare providers. Yet, inapparent dengue is an important component of the overall burden of dengue infection, as it provides a source of infection for mosquito transmission during the course of an epidemic.”

As Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine at Upstate, Dr. Endy is considered an international expert in the field of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever and emerging viral pathogens.

Additionally, Dr. Endy not only came to Grenada to provide an overview of the type of dengue research he’s been doing for almost 30 years but as part of a proposed incidence study in Grenada from 2018-2021 to be conducted in collaboration with SGU and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, LLC. The study will focus on the incidence of infection of the dengue virus in the student body and hopes to provide a better understanding of the host response to the first dengue infection.

Throughout his career, Dr. Endy has conducted basic science research in the field of virology, developed vaccine field and epidemiological study sites in Southeast and Central Asia, conducted phase I and II clinical vaccine trials, and is active in the development and management of research programs that are product oriented towards developing vaccines and diagnostics that meet FDA regulatory requirements.

Previously known as the annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture, the event was named for SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, whose vision and dedication to the international growth of St. George’s University led to the creation of the Windward Island Research and Education Foundation  in 1994. Since then, the lecture has drawn the attention of numerous renowned presenters willing to share their expertise on topics such as climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions. Past speakers have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, best known for his role in the discovery of the HIV’s link to AIDS; Dr. Ruth Macklin, a bioethics pioneer; and renowned cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster.

Dr. Kenneth R. Bridges, Expert in Sickle Cell Research, Delivers Annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture

More than 100 years ago, sickle cell disease was discovered while two doctors examined Grenadian-born Walter Clement Noel. One of the world’s leading authorities on the disease, Dr. Kenneth R. Bridges, Founder and Director of the International Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation, delved into this disease, and its treatments, in his keynote address at the annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture on January 18 at St. George’s University’s Bourne Lecture Hall.

“Sickle cell disease is the world’s most common single gene disorder,” said Dr. Bridges in his address. “However, the disease is not simply a blood disorder but a systematic disorder that affects every part of the body. Tell me which area of the body you’re interested in studying and I will tell you what sickle cell disease does to it.”

Sickle cell disease is a disorder of the blood caused by an inherited abnormal hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein within the red blood cells) that causes distorted (sickled) red blood cells leading to tissue and organ damage and chronic pain.

The current treatment of sickle cell disease focuses on treating symptoms while the more challenging and expensive treatments like disease modification therapies remain underutilized, including a promising new drug treatment called GBT440, which causes the inhibition of polymerization of deoxygenated sickle cells.

“The GBT440 drug was specifically and carefully designed to fit into this one area of the body where it stops the abnormal hemoglobin cells from sticking together in the first place, which is at the very start of the problem,” explained Dr. Bridges. “Now with the help of our colleagues here in Grenada, we’re hoping to recapitulate this treatment in a much more profound way and to really deliver on the promise made to Walter Clement Noel 100-plus years ago in that we will now be able to effectively treat this disorder.”

Dr. Bridges received the MD degree from Harvard Medical School, and subsequently trained in internal medicine and hematology in Boston, at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, respectively. Following medical subspecialty training, Dr. Bridges worked on the biology of cellular iron metabolism for three years at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. He later returned to Harvard as a member of the Hematology Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he reached the faculty rank of Associate Professor of Medicine. During this time, Dr. Bridges also maintained active clinical work and established the Joint Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemic Disorders at the two aforementioned Boston-based institutions, emphasizing bench-to-patient translational research.

WINDREF and St. George’s University have long attracted world experts on climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions, among other topics to its various lecture series. Past speakers have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, best known for his role in the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Dr. Ruth Macklin, a bioethics pioneer; and renowned cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster.

The annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture is named for SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, whose vision and dedication to the international growth of St. George’s University led to the creation of the Windward Island Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) in 1994; was instrumental in instituting the School of Arts and Sciences in 1996; and whose memory was honored with the creation of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program and the establishment of Keith B. Taylor Hall on the True Blue campus in 2007.

Professor Ian McConnell Delivers Annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University

Professor Ian McConnell, most recognized for his fundamental discoveries on the immune system, drew upon his distinguished career in research while delivering the Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture at Bourne Hall on November 8. His address, titled “One Health: Successes and Opportunities,” focused on the immunology of infectious diseases of both animals and man, and was delivered to an audience of more than 1,100 faculty, staff, community members, and online viewers.

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Dr. McConnell is an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Science and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, England. One Health has been a theme of his extensive research and teaching, with particular emphasis on zoonotic diseases and genetic diseases of animals that have parallels with genetic diseases in man. In particular, his work is currently focused on the scientific basis of infectious diseases of animals and man and how they impact public health at a global level.

“One Health is a concept that has had a long history in both medical and veterinary science,” said Dr. McConnell. “It is an important and defining concept which recognizes the interconnectedness between medicine, veterinary medicine, epidemiology, and the biomedical and biological sciences. Public health, environmental health, and biodiversity all play in to the issues and concerns affecting the health of animals and man.”

ian-mcconnell-lectureAlthough One Health is a broad subject that covers many areas in veterinary medicine, human medicine, and biological sciences, Dr. McConnell chose to focus his lecture on two areas: global infectious diseases and comparative medicine. He used the examples of the eradication of rinderpest and rabies in animals in Europe to illustrate the successes and opportunities for One Health in global infectious diseases. For comparative medicine, he discussed the opportunities for translational research in man based on the repair of spinal cord injuries in dogs.

In addition to his professorship, Dr. McConnell is a Founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the UKs foremost Academy of medical science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), and was elected to Fellowships of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Royal College of Pathologists’ on scientific merit. He is a Professorial Fellow in Veterinary Science of Darwin College Cambridge.

After he graduated in veterinary medicine from the University of Glasgow and in Natural Sciences (Pathology) from the University of Cambridge, he carried out his doctoral studies (PhD) in immunology in the laboratory of Professor Robin Coombs, one of the founding fathers of immunology, in the Department of Pathology at Cambridge. Professor McConnell also gave the 13th Annual Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture at St. George’s University in 2007.

The Annual WINDREF and Keith B. Taylor Memorial Lecture, named after SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, has drawn the attention of numerous renowned presenters willing to share their expertise on topics such as climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions. Past speakers at the lecture have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, best known for his role in the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Dr. Valentin Fuster, a renowned cardiologist who presented on the topic, “The Worldwide Challenge of Cardiovascular Disease.”

Published on 11/15/16

Dr. Yvette I. Sheline Delivers 10th WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University

news she line bigDr. Yvette Sheline, Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurology and Director of the Center for Depression, Stress and Neuroimaging, Washington University School of Medicine,
delivered the 10th Annual WINDREF Lecture on the evening of

March 16th at Bell Lecture Hall on St. George’s University’s True Blue campus.  She drew upon an accomplished career in Psychiatry, with a specific research focus on neuroimaging and treatment studies of depression.  She spoke on the topic: “Brain Imaging: New Insights into Neuropsychiatric Disorders.”
Since the inception of the WINDREF Lecture Seriesin 2000, Dr. Sheline joins an impressive list of guest speakers who are experts in their fields, including Professor Sir Andrew Haines, Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor David Molyneux, President of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and Dr. John Rouben David, a prolific author and award winning specialist on leishmaniasis.

Dr. Sheline addressed the audience of SGU faculty, research scientists and students, emphasizing the use of neuroimaging in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.  Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a term that is used to describe a group of brain disorders which cause memory loss and make it harder to carry out daily tasks.  Dr. Sheline explained that the development and advancement of molecular imaging techniques of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s patients are critical to early diagnosis and evaluation.  The abnormal accumulation of amyloid in organs is thought to play a significant role in various neurodegenerative diseases.

After graduating from Harvard University, Dr. Sheline received an MS in neurophysiology at Yale University and an MD at Boston University Medical School.  She completed psychiatry residency training at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital.

A recipient of many awards including the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depressions (NARSAD) Young Investigator and Independent Investigator Awards and a NARSAD Klerman Award Honorable Mention, Dr. Sheline’s research studies have identified structural brain changes in MRI studies of depression, serotonin neurotransmitter changes on PET scans, and functional alterations in the emotional circuitry seen during MRI studies of depression.

Dr. Sheline has also served on the Board of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, and has published her work in several top-tier academic journals, including PNAS, The Journal of Neuroscience, The American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Neuropsychopharmacology, and the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

The Windward Island Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) was established in 1994 to advance health and environmental development through multidisciplinary research and education programs.  WINDREF provides a scientific resource center which promotes collaborative relationships between internationally recognized scholars and regional scientists, adhering to the highest ethical and academic standards in all research endeavors.

The Inaugural Keith B. Taylor Memorial Lecture joins with the Ninth WINDREF Lecture

Professor Sir Andrew HainesOn Sunday, February 10th, SGU welcomed Professor Sir Andrew Haines to its new Charter Hall to educate and inspire an audience of faculty, staff and invited guests. Sir Andrew Haines, an internationally respected researcher in epidemiology and health services research, delivered a lecture on “Climate Change, Energy Use and Health in the 21st Century.”

Sir Andrew Haines’ presentation addressed the grave environmental and humanitarian effects which stem from the use of non-renewable energy; the result being the sharp acceleration of Greenhouse Gases (GHG), most notably carbon dioxide and methane. The umbrella effect, universally known as global warming, is seen in the rise in air, land and water temperatures.  Sir Andy discussed the dramatic consequences of global warming which include extreme weather variations like droughts and floods, a rise in sea level which results in displacement of population, threats to food production, increase in infectious disease due to overcrowding, rise in carriage of bacteria and fungi, and increased health risks including mental health and malnutrition.

Sir Andy explained that while industrialized countries like China and the United States are the largest producers of GHG it is the underdeveloped countries that are most vulnerable to the environmental and health risks that ensue.  The burning of fossil fuels and deforestation cuts absorption of carbon dioxide and have irreversible effects.  Through immediate conservation measurements which include drastic cuts in non-renewable energy in exchange for renewable sources of energy such as wind, water and sun, we as a community, nation and universe can meet the challenges ahead.

Sir Andy became Dean (subsequently Director) of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in January 2001. He was previously Professor of Primary Health Care and Director of the Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences at Royal Free and University College Medical School, and worked part time as a general practitioner in North London. He was also formerly Director of Research and Development at the NHS Executive, North Thames and a member of the Council of the Medical Research Council. He has worked internationally, including in Nepal, Canada, Jamaica and the United States.

Sir Andy’s research interests are in health services and epidemiology.  He has undertaken a number of major intervention trials in primary care settings and has also studied the impacts of climatic factors on health. He has published widely on these topic areas and has more than 150 papers in leading peer reviewed journals. He is a frequent contributor of editorials in the British Medical Journal and the Lancet. He has also written seven books and numerous reports and letters. He has an impressive funding track record for research and institutions, and serves on a number of international and local health related committees.

Sir Andy was a member of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their second and third assessment reports. He also chaired a Task Force on Health Systems Research for World Health Organization (WHO) which reported in 2005. He sits on many national and international committees including the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research. He was knighted in the 2005 New Years Honors list for services to medicine, and has recently been elected as chair of the UK Health and Social Care Policy Committee.  St. George’s University is grateful to Sir Andy for his participation in this year’s WINDREF Lecture.

The Windward Island Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) was established in 1994 to advance health and environmental development through multidisciplinary research and education programs.  WINDREF strives for program excellence by promoting collaborative relationships between internationally recognized scholars and regional scientists and by adhering to the highest ethical and academic standards in all research endeavors.

Keith B. TaylorThis Memorial Lecture is dedicated to the memory of Keith Breden Taylor, DM, FRCP (1924-2006), former Vice Chancellor of St. George’s University. During his tenure from 1989 to 1998, Dr. Taylor worked tirelessly to implement his vision that St. George’s University should grow into an international university. He achieved that by creating a Panel on Research and Scholarly Activity in 1992; then founding a research institute, WINDREF, in 1994 which allowed the development of a graduate studies program; by instituting the School of Arts and Sciences in 1996 which broadened the academic opportunities for students in the region; and, first and foremost, by insisting on an international scope for each and every development at the University.

Published on 2/12/08

The 8th Annual WINDREF Lecture Presented by Dr. John Rouben David

Dr John Rouben David Black and White PortraitDr. David delivered the 8th Annual WINDREF Lecture on the evening of Thursday, February 15, 2007 at the Caribbean House Great Hall, True Blue campus.  He delivered on the topic: Leishmaniasis: A novel approach to control visceral leishmaniasis and another to treat cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Dr. David received his MD degree from the University of Chicago Medical School, Chicago, Illinois in 1955. His academic appointments have been held at New York University (assistant professor 1964 – 66) assistant and then associate professor of medicine (1969 – 73) then professor of medicine (1973 –) at the Harvard Medical School, a senior associate in medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the chief of the Division of Tropical Medicine, Harvard Medical School, the John LaPorte Given Professor & Chairman, Department of Tropical Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) (1981-91), the Richard Pearson Strong Professor & Chairman, Tropical Public Health, HSPH (1991 – 97), the Richard Pearson Strong Professor, Immunology and Infectious Diseases, HSPH (1997 – 2002) and the Richard Pearson Strong Professor Emeritus since 2002.

He has received many awards in several countries for his contributions to research in tropical diseases, especially immunological aspects of leishmaniasis. He is a member of 15 international societies, served on countless committees of many international health bodies and editorial boards. Dr. David has been a prolific author and has published over 300 peer reviewed papers and held a number of grants over many decades. In New York, he is currently an advisor to the Jeffrey Sach’s Millenium Village project in Africa and Health Specialist concerning neglected tropical diseases. Dr. David is an active member of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) Scientific Advisory Board.

WINDREF Lecture on Lymphatic Filariasis Given by Dr. Eric Ottesen

The 7th Annual WINDREF Lecture was delivered by Dr. Eric Ottesen on February 15, 2006, in the Bourne Lecture Hall on the True Blue campus. Addressing an audience of 100 people, Dr. Ottesen, a distinguished leader in the field of research on lymphatic filariasis, presented his lecture entitled Understanding the Science, Attacking the Problem: Lymphatic Filariasis and Beyond.

Dr Eric Ottesen Black and White PortraitLymphatic Filariasis is a worldwide parasitic disease that has affected, in particular, the people of Guyana. A known sign of lymphatic filariasis is Elephantiasis – grotesquely swollen legs. WINDREF, the research organization associated with SGU, has identified lymphatic filariasis as one of its key research projects and is working towards eliminating the disease in Guyana. The scale of this health problem is worldwide involving 80 countries and over 120 million people. The World Health Organization has declared its intention to eradicate this disease in the world by 2020.

It was fitting that the WINDREF lecture was given by Dr. Ottesen. WINDREF Annual Lectures, from their inception, have always reached a high standard on the cutting edge of biomedical research and Dr. Ottesen’s lecture on lymphatic filariasis certainly lived up to that standard.

Dr. Ottesen received his AB degree from Princeton and his MD from Harvard before taking his residency in pediatrics at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Ottesen then joined the United States Public Health Service and worked at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH rising to the Head, Section of Clinical Parasitology, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. Between 1994 and 2001 Dr. Ottesen worked at the World Health Organization, Geneva, becoming the Project Leader, Filariasis Elimination Programme, in the Department of Control, Prevention and Eradication. He returned to the US in 2001 to assume his current post of research professor and director of the Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre at Emory University – Rollins School of Public Health.

Dr. Ottesen has published over 220 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals and his work has been recognized by the award of many honors and awards from several societies in different countries. He serves on a number of scientific journal editorial boards and a number of advisory boards.

A highlight of the WINDREF Lecture was the presentation of the Mike Fisher Award to Lord Lawson Soulsby of Swaffham Prior. Lord Soulsby is the first recipient of this award, for his life long contribution to medicine. Director of WINDREF, Dr. Calum Macpherson has noted that Lord Soulsby, like Mike Fisher has “made a difference to the lives of people and animals on the planet”. Lord Soulsby is the Chairman, WINDREF (UK) Board of Trustees and the award was also recognition of his leadership and contributions in this area.

Published on 02/28/2006

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The 6th Annual WINDREF Lecture Presented by Mary Jeanne Kreek, MD

Mary Jeanne Kreek is Professor and Head of Laboratory, the Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at The Rockefeller University in New York City, where she focuses on determining how genetics as well as other neurobiological alterations factor into addictive diseases such as opiate addiction, cocaine dependency, nicotine addiction and alcoholism. She has received several awards for her scientific research related to the biology and treatment of addictive diseases including the prestigious Betty Ford Award and the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award for Lifetime Excellence in Drug Abuse Research, one of the highest recognitions in the field of drug abuse research. Her 2005 lecture was titled “Drug Abuse and Addictions: Some scientific approaches to a global health problem.”

The 5th Annual WINDREF Lecture Presented by Lord Soulsby of Swaffham of Prior, MRCVS, DVSM, MA, C.Biol.,F.I. Biol., DSC (Hon)

Lord Soulsby of Swaffham of Prior is a distinguished microbiologist and parasitologist.  He has been a Fellow of Wolfson College Cambridge since 1978, and was Professor of Animal Pathology at the University of Cambridge from 1978 to 1993.  His 2004 lecture was titled “Zoonoses, Old and New…the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”

The 4th Annual WINDREF Lecture Presented by Professor David Molyneux, MA, PhD, DSc, FIBiol

Professor David Molyneux is Director of the Lymphatic Filariasis Support Centre at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine since 2000 and Professor of Tropical Health Sciences at The University of Liverpool.  He has recently become involved in parasitic and vector borne disease control programs advising the World Health Organization on trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria control. His 2003 lecture was titled “Success and Failure in Parasitic Disease Control: Lessons Learned?”