Expert Directory

Agriculture,plant parasite,Plant Pathology,Soybean,Soybean Cyst Nematode

Dr. Greg Tylka is a Morrill Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Iowa State University. He's an expert in soybean and soybean disease, with a focus on the management of plant-parasitic nematodes. Current research includes study of SCN-resistant soybean varieties, effects of nematode-protectant seed treatments, and the effects of cover crops on SCN biology and management. He also serves as director of the Iowa Soybean Research Center at Iowa State University.

biomolecular chemistry,Cancer,Diabetes,Genetics,Heart Disease,Oncology

Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, is an oncologist and geneticist, as well as founder and president of the Sbarro Health Research Organization and director of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He works on molecular therapeutics and also studies the connections between obesity and cancer. Antonio Giordano grew up in Naples, Italy, where his father, Giovan Giacomo Giordano, was an oncologist and pathologist at the National Cancer Institute of Naples and a professor at the University of Naples. Giordano decided to branch out and start a career in research that was more oriented towards genetics applied to pathology. Early on, while following his father's research, he became interested in the link between the effect of toxic waste on the environment and the increasing cancer rates in the Campania region in Italy. Giordano earned his medical degree at the University of Naples in 1986, and his doctorate at the University of Trieste in 1990. He has published over 600 papers on gene therapy, cell cycle, genetics of cancer, and epidemiology. His early research includes seminal work done in 1989, demonstrating the importance of cell cycle proteins in the functioning of DNA tumor viruses. The transforming gene products of these viruses, such as the E1A oncoproteins of adenovirus 5, led to the identification of cellular factor p60, known as cyclin A. This research was the first demonstration of a physical link between cellular transformation and the cell cycle, thereby paving the way for the melding of these two areas of research. It also helped to open a very exciting avenue of research involving investigators with expertise in different aspects of growth control and cancer.Giordano’s lab also discovered the tumor suppressor gene RB2/p130 and the cell cycle kinases CDK9 and CDK10, two other key players in cell cycle regulation and cell differentiation. Antonio Giordano is the recipient of the Irving J. Selikoff Award for Cancer Research, the Rotary International Award, and Lions Club Napoli-Europa. He has also received the title of Knight of the Republic and Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. At the 25th anniversary of the National Organization of Italian American Women, he was awarded the Cross of Merit Melitense, an honor of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. www.shro.org www.drantoniogiordano.com

Eric Winer, MD

Professor; Director; Physician-in-Chief

Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital

ASCO,Breast Cancer,cancer disparities,Yale Cancer Center

Couples,Dating,family studies,Intimacy,Marriage,Sex

Johnson’s research interests include marriage and family functioning. He can discuss an array of issues related to relationships. Johnson’s most recent research investigated the success rate of government-funded education programs designed to promote healthy marriages, among couples in this same category. He is the author of “Great Myths of Intimate Relationships: Dating, Sex, and Marriage” and has provided discussions on the developmental course of marital distress and dissolution, particularly among young couples and people of color.

Combination Therapy,immuno-biomarkers,immuno-oncology,Immunotherapy Clinical Trials,Kidney Cancer,Kidney Cancer Immunotherapy,Renal Cell Carcinoma

Dr. Timothy M. Kuzel, a leading authority on developing innovative immunotherapy treatments for cancer, is the Rush University Medical division chief of Hematology, Oncology and Cell Therapy and professor of internal medicine
Kuzel is a past winner of the

Alfonso Torquati, MD

Chief of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery


Bariatric,Bariatric Procedures,Lifestyle Modification Advice,Obesity,weight loss hormone

Dr. Alfonso Torquati, an internationally renowned expert in metabolic and weight loss surgery, is the chairperson of the Department of General Surgery at Rush University Medical Center.  He also leads the Center for Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery, which

cancer metabolism,Cell Metabolism

As Scientific Director, Chi Van Dang oversees the execution of Ludwig鈥檚 scientific strategy to advance the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, with a special focus on the operations and staffing of the Lausanne, Oxford and San Diego Branches of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. He also works to align these efforts with those of the six independent Ludwig Centers across the U.S. to further cultivate collaboration within Ludwig鈥檚 global research community. Dang鈥檚 Ludwig laboratory is housed at The Wistar Institute, where he is also a professor.
Dang is best known for his elucidation of the molecular signaling pathways and mechanisms governing the unusual metabolism of cancer cells, which require vast quantities of energy and molecular supplies to sustain their wild proliferation. His laboratory was the first to show that a master regulator of gene expression named MYC鈥攁 gene whose mutation or aberrant expression is associated with many types of cancer鈥攁lters the utilization of a key sugar in cancer cells.

This body of work, which explained a hallmark of tumor metabolism known as the 鈥淲arburg effect鈥, bolstered the hypothesis that cancer cells can become addicted to their reengineered signaling pathways and dependent on particular nutrients. Dang and his colleagues have shown that disrupting those pathways could be a powerful approach to treating cancer and identified drug targets to that end. Therapies based on this work are today in various stages of clinical development.

Dang came to the U.S. from Vietnam in 1967 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in chemistry from Georgetown University. Dang subsequently obtained an M.D. from Johns Hopkins University and completed a fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, before returning to Hopkins. There he rose to become Vice Dean for Research and Director of the Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering before moving on to direct the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine鈥檚 Abramson Cancer Center. He was recently appointed to the Blue Ribbon panel that provided strategic guidance to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden鈥檚 Cancer Moonshot initiative. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and currently chairs the National Cancer Institute鈥檚 Board of Scientific Advisors."

Todd Knoop, Ph.D. in Economics

Professor of Economics & Business

Cornell College

Business Cycle,financial economics,fiscal policy,Inflation,Macroeconomics,unemployment numbers

Todd A. Knoop is a Professor of Economics and Business at Cornell College. He is also the author of multiple articles as well as the books "Business Cycle Economics: Understanding Recessions and Depressions from Boom to Bust," "Global Finance in Emerging Market Economies," "Recessions and Depressions: Understanding Business Cycles," "Modern Financial Macroeconomics," and "The traveling Economist." Academic History: Ph.D. in Economics, Purdue University, 1996 M.A. in Economics, Miami University, 1992 B.A. in Economics and Finance, Miami University, 1991

Disaster Recovery,sociological research

Lori Peek is director of the Natural Hazards Center and professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She studies vulnerable populations in disaster and has conducted field investigations in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the BP Oil Spill, the Christchurch earthquakes, the Joplin tornado, Superstorm Sandy, and Hurricane Matthew. She is currently co-leading a National Science Foundation-funded workshop series on methods of interdisciplinary disaster research and she is a member of the social science team for the National Institute of Standards and Technology Center of Excellence for Risk Based Community Resilience Planning. She is also working on several ongoing projects related to children’s health and well-being before, during, and after disaster.

Balance,Brain Tumor,Hearing,Neuroscience,Neurosurgery,Radiosurgery,UCLA

Isaac Yang, M.D., is a nationally renowned neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors, superior semicircular canal dehiscence (SSCD), and skull base brain surgery at UCLA. Yang is a board-certified neurosurgeon and director of medical student education for the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery; an associate professor of neurosurgery, head and neck surgery, and radiation oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and a principal investigator at the UCLA brain tumor laboratory.  
Yang is highly sought out by peers, patients and the media for his expertise in neurological diseases and brain health. He has made multiple TV appearances on Good Morning America, CBS' The Doctors, Dr. Drew LifeChangers, and several national news outlets. Originally from Lodi, Calif., Yang developed an interest in neurobiology as an undergraduate. He earned his bachelor鈥檚 degree with Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Berkeley.  His training followed with a medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  Yang completed a neurological surgery residency at the University of California San Francisco, as well as an NRSA NIH-funded F32 postdoctoral brain tumor research fellowship.
Yang鈥檚 clinical focus has been primarily on brain tumors, both glioblastoma and skull base tumors.  His research efforts have examined antigen expression and manipulation of the immune response to glioblastoma. His work was recognized by a UCSF Clinical and Translational Scientist Training Award and the CNS Dandy Clinical Research Fellowship.  Yang has been the recipient of several distinguished regional and national awards, including the UCSF Medical Center 2010 Exceptional Physician Award, the AANS Integra Brain Tumor Research Award, San Francisco Neurological Society Edwin Boldrey Award for Basic Science Research, American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons Research Award, Kaiser Award for Clinical Research, the national AANS Leksell Radiosurgery Award, and the Tumor Section Ronald L. Bittner Award on Brain Tumor Research.  
Yang has published more than 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals and authored more than half a dozen book chapters.  At UCLA, he is investigating the use of nanoparticles and nanotechnology for their application in brain tumor immunotherapy and vaccines.  Dr. Isaac Yang is dedicated to improving the care and treatment of all patients undergoing neurosurgery. 
If interested please follow Dr. Yang on Facebook at Isaac Yang UCLA Neurosurgery or find his most recent book, Service Minded Physician, on Amazon.

Health,Health Disparities

Swapna Reddy specializes in analyzing U.S. health care policy and law.

As a clinical assistant professor in the College of Health Solutions, her focus is on how policy can be used to improve health outcomes, increase health care access and equity, and reduce health disparities among minority and underserved populations. Ms. Reddy regularly comments to the media on issues related to U.S. health policy, including the Affordable Care Act, and has been featured on BBC, PBS, NPR, KJZZ, NBC News, Bloomberg News, Phoenix Business Journal and ABC 15.


Dr. Maidenberg has been teaching and supervising clinicians and psychiatry residents for over 25 years. He provides cognitive behavioral therapy for a variety of anxiety disorders and depression.

Bryan Cunningham

Executive Director, UCI Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute

University of California, Irvine

Cybersecurity,data protection,Privacy

As the founding executive director of UCI鈥檚 multidisciplinary Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute, Bryan Cunningham is focused on solution-oriented strategies that address technical, legal and policy challenges to combat cyber threats; protect individual privacy and civil liberties; maintain public safety, economic and national security; and empower Americans to take better control of their digital security. 

Cunningham is a leading international expert on cybersecurity law and policy, a former White House lawyer and adviser and a media commentator on cybersecurity, technology and surveillance issues. He has appeared on ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, FOX and other networks. 

Cunningham has extensive experience in senior U.S. government intelligence and law enforcement positions. He served as Deputy Legal Adviser to then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. He also served six years in the Clinton administration as a senior CIA officer and federal prosecutor. He drafted significant portions of the Homeland Security Act and related legislation, helping to shepherd them through Congress. He was a principal contributor to the first National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, worked closely with the 9/11 Commission and provided legal advice to the President, National Security Advisor, the National Security Council, and other senior government officials on intelligence, terrorism, cyber security and other related matters.

Cunningham is a founding partner of the Washington, DC-Los Angeles firm Cunningham Levy Muse, and his law practice has included assisting Fortune 500 and multinational companies to comply with complex legal regulations under U.S. federal law, myriad state laws and the numerous privacy and security requirements in the European Union and other overseas jurisdictions. 

He was founding vice-chair of the American Bar Association Cyber Security Privacy Task Force and was awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement for his work on information issues. He has served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Biodefense Analysis, the Markle Foundation Task Force on National Security in the Information Age and the Bipartisan Policy Center鈥檚 Cyber Security Task Force. He is also the principal author of legal and ethics chapters in several cybersecurity textbooks.

Climate Change,Wildfire

I balance cutting-edge fieldwork with analysis of global ecological data to examine how human changes to fire patterns are encouraging forest-savanna transitions, degrading ecosystems and increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Together with an international community of collaborators, I work across disciplines and scales—from individual organisms to entire ecosystems.


Dr. Larissa Mooney is a board certified addiction psychiatrist with expertise in the treatment of substance use disorders and psychiatric comorbidity.  After obtaining residency training at New York University, she completed a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.  Dr. Mooney is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Addiction Medicine Clinic, where she teaches psychiatrists in training in the clinical management of dual diagnoses.  Dr. Mooney serves on the Executive Board of Directors for the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP).  She has conducted research on treatment interventions for addictive disorders, including methamphetamine, cocaine and opioid use disorder and has received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study clinical outcomes in individuals with cannabis use disorder.   

Donald Kohn, MD

Professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences

Adenosine,Bubble Boy Disease,Gene Editing,Gene Therapy,Genetic Disease,Sickle Cell Disease,Stem Cell,Stem Cell Therapy,X Linked Diseases

Donald B. Kohn, M.D., studies the biology of blood stem cells, which are located in the bone marrow and have two important properties: they can duplicate themselves and they can create all types of blood cells. Over the course of 30 years of research, Kohn has developed new clinical methods to treat genetic blood diseases using blood stem cells that have been modified to remove genetic mutations.

Kohn鈥檚 blood stem cell gene therapy method collects some of a patient鈥檚 own blood stem cells and either adds a good copy of the defective gene or fixes the broken genes to eliminate disease-causing mutations. The patient then receives a transplant of their own corrected stem cells, which will ideally create an ongoing supply of healthy blood cells. Importantly, this method eliminates the risk of rejection associated with receiving a bone marrow transplant from a different person, meaning the patient doesn鈥檛 have to take a lifelong supply of anti-rejection drugs. 

Kohn鈥檚 clinical trials for adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency (also known as ADA-SCID or bubble baby disease), a condition where babies are born without an immune system and often don鈥檛 survive past the first two years of life, have cured more than 40 babies to date. Babies with the condition and their families have traveled to UCLA for this life-saving treatment from as far away as Lebanon and a new company was formed in 2016 to further develop the therapy and make it available at other centers and to more patients. 

Kohn is now applying similar blood stem cell gene therapy techniques in clinical trials for two other diseases. One of these diseases is X-linked chronic granulomatous disease, a rare inherited immunodeficiency disorder that prevents white blood cells from effectively killing foreign invaders such as bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms. If untreated, patients often succumb to chronic granulomatous disease within the first decades of life. 

The second disease is sickle cell disease, the most common inherited blood disorder in the United States. This disease causes abnormal 鈥榮ickle-shaped鈥 red blood cells that block small blood vessels and do not provide the appropriate amount of oxygen to the body, resulting in debilitating pain and organ damage. Kohn鈥檚 clinical trial seeks to overcome or repair the genetic mutation that causes this devastating disease, which impacts millions worldwide. 

Kohn earned his bachelor鈥檚 and master鈥檚 degrees from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin School Of Medicine. He completed a pediatric internship and residency in Wisconsin followed by a medical staff fellowship in the Lymphoid Malignancies Branch (formerly the Metabolism Branch) of the National Cancer Institute.

Kohn began working on gene therapy as a fellow at the National Institutes of Health in 1985 and then began practicing as a pediatric bone marrow transplant physician at Children鈥檚 Hospital Los Angeles in 1987.  While practicing at Children鈥檚 Hospital Los Angeles, he started his own lab focused on stem cell research and has continued this work, advancing new therapies from the lab to the clinic. 

Brain Development,Concussion,concussion and football,concussion and sports,Genetic Markers,helmet studies,Neuroimaging,Neuroplasticity,post-traumatic epilepsy,Sports-Related Head Injury,traumatic brain injuries,Youth

Before joining UCLA, Giza worked on the Yosemite Search and Rescue team. In 2011, he traveled to Afghanistan as a civilian advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense. He co-chaired the American Academy of Neurology committee that developed an evidence-based practice guideline for the management of sports concussions from 2009-2013. He currently serves on advisory committees for traumatic brain injuries/concussion with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Soccer and U.S. Soccer Federation. He has been a clinical consultant for the National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer. 

Larry Schlesinger, MD

President/CEO Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Immunology,Microbiology,Molecular Genetics

Larry S. Schlesinger, MD is an internationally recognized authority in infectious diseases with a particular interest in tuberculosis and lung biology. He earned a BA in Biology from Cornell University and MD from Rutgers Medical School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan and clinical and research fellowships in Infectious Diseases at UCLA. He joined the faculty at the University of Iowa in 1991 where he served as Fellowship Director for the Division of Infectious Diseases and Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine. He moved to the Ohio State University in 2002 where he served as Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine until 2011 when he became first chair of Microbial Infection & Immunity. During his tenure he founded the Center for Microbial Interface Biology, a Board of Trustees approved university-wide center with a focus on infectious diseases of concern to public health. In 2017 he became President and CEO of Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, TX. 
Dr. Schlesinger is a leading physician scientist whose studies focus on the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and other airborne infectious agents that subvert lung immune mechanisms. His discoveries have led to greater insight into the unique attributes that soluble and cellular components of the innate immune system of humans bring to the microbe-host interface (with a focus on human macrophages), translating them into drug discovery platforms. He is a prolific scholar, having authored more than 170 peer-reviewed articles, served as editor of 2 books and has written several chapters in leading textbooks on tuberculosis and lung biology. He has been continually funded for nearly 30 years by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies as well as private foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
He is a current NIH NIAID Council member, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of American Physicians and American Academy of Microbiology, and OSU鈥檚 2011 Distinguished Scholar and 2105 COM Distinguished Professor.

Joanne Turner, PhD

VP of Research, Texas Biomedical Research Institut

Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Aging and Disease,Immunology,Tuberculosis

Joanne Turner, Ph.D., is the Vice President for Research at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. In addition to her administrative role, where she oversees the research functions of Texas Biomed, she also manages a research program. Her research focuses on immunology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and immunology of aging. More specifically, she studies the changes that take place in the immune system during the natural aging process and how those changes can influence both innate and adaptive immune function when infected with M. tuberculosis. She also studies immune responses that correlate with an individual鈥檚 susceptibility to reactivate a previously latent infection with M. tuberculosis. Dr. Turner received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She started with Texas Biomed this past summer, having previously served as a Professor and Biosafety Level 3 Program Director at The Ohio State University. 

Jordi Torrelles, PhD

Tuberculosis researcher and scientist

Texas Biomedical Research Institute

lung microbiome,Tuberculosis

Dr. Torrelles鈥 research is focused on the study of the human lung environment and its effect on the outcome of TB disease due to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) infection. He also aims to improve the diagnosis of susceptible and drug resistant TB in high burden areas.

Beyond the diagnosis of TB, Dr. Torrelles and his team aim to understand the impact of the human lung mucosa in TB pathogenesis. He and his team have found that there are enzymes in the human lung mucosa that modify the bacteria prior to infecting host cells, thus, potentially redefining the M.tb pathway of infection and disease outcome.

Dr. Torrelles is originally from Catalonia, Spain. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry/ microbiology in 2003 from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. During his graduate studies, he moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to serve as a visiting scientist at Colorado State University. He finished his Ph.D. and became a research associate and lab manager before moving to The Ohio State University for his postdoctoral fellowship, where over the years he became independent and obtained the appointment of tenured Associate Professor.