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Mary Ann Fletcher, Ph.D.
Director, E.M. Papper Laboratory of Clinical Immunology, Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine, Nova Southeastern University
Schemel Professor for Neuro Immune Medicine, Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine, Nova Southeastern University
Professor Emeritus, University of Miami, School of Medicine
Mary Ann Fletcher, Ph.D., has over 40 years’ experience in laboratory immunology and as a senior scientist in interdisciplinary research. She has been the Director of the E.M. Papper Laboratory of Clinical Immunology for over 30 years and oversaw its recent relocation from the University of Miami to NSU. Along with being a laboratory director, Dr. Fletcher has been an Assistant Professor in Medicine and Immunology, and is currently the Institute’s first Schemel Professor for Neuro-Immune Medicine.
Dr. Fletcher has over 260 published articles in peer reviewed journals and book chapters. Her particular research focus is on the identification of clinically useful biomarkers in complex multi symptom illnesses such as HIV, ME/CFS and GWI.
Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Health, the Veterans Affair, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Fletcher also holds 2 U.S. patents for developing diagnostic tests related to infectious mononucleosis.
In addition to her current role as a CLIA certified Clinical Laboratory Director and Endowed Professor, Dr. Fletcher is on the manuscript review panel for multiple journals including the Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of Immunology, and Brain Behavior and Immunity. Dr. Fletcher is also a member of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee which advises the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
VA MERIT: A Translational Medicine Approach to Gulf War Illness: From Cells to Therapy
The objectives of the proposed study are to determine if intervening at these therapeutic targets selected via computational modeling will act as predicted and normalize immune and neuroendocrine function in an in vitro system. The study will have 2 phases: an exploration/ screening phase and a validation phase. The screening phase will be conducted on 17 repurposed drugs. These will be assessed in vitro using whole blood cultures from 40 GWI patients and 40 matched controls. The most promising 5 drugs will be validated in PBMCs from a new cohort of 40 GWI patients and 40 matched controls.
DoD GWIRP/ IIREA: High Fidelity Design of Multi-modal Restorative Interventions in Gulf War Illness.
Transition from idealized treatment regimens by integrating drug pharmacokinetic properties into a model-based framework of HPA-immune interaction in order to identify optimally beneficial, low-risk and cost-effective re-purposing strategies that are immediately deployable as short exposure courses in GWI phase-I clinical trials. Specific aims include: (AIM 1) implementing relative dynamics of intracellular and cell-cell signaling, (AIM 2) incorporating available drug action data, and (AIM 3) Increasing the speed and thoroughness of current search capabilities for optimal intervention courses. My role is to give clinical context to the models that are developed.
GWIRP/ IIRA: Epigenetic Mediation of Endocrine and Immune Response in an Animal Model of Gulf War Illness.
The overall objective is to identify epigenetic mechanisms of altered Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis and immune signaling in a mouse model of environmental exposures linked to GWI. DNA methylation and histone modifications will be examined in peripheral blood and the brain using a high-throughput genome-wide approach. This proposal builds on a funded GWIRP Consortium project examining gene regulatory dynamics in a mouse model of exposure to a sarin surrogate under stress/immune challenge.
Illness progression in chronic fatigue syndrome: a shifting immune baseline. Russell L, Broderick G, Taylor R, Fernandes H, Harvey J, Barnes Z, Smylie A, Collado F, Balbin EG, Katz BZ, Klimas NG, Fletcher MA. BMC Immunol. 2016 Mar 10;17:3. doi: 10.1186/s12865-016-0142-3. PMID:26965484
Alexithymia, Assertiveness and Psychosocial Functioning in HIV: Implications for Medication Adherence and Disease Severity. McIntosh RC, Ironson G, Antoni M, Fletcher MA, Schneiderman N.AIDS Behav. 2016 Feb;20(2):325-38. doi: 10.1007/s10461-015-1126-7.PMID:26143246
Using gene expression signatures to identify novel treatment strategies in gulf war illness. Craddock TJ, Harvey JM, Nathanson L, Barnes ZM, Klimas NG,Fletcher MA, Broderick G.BMC Med Genomics. 2015 Jul 9;8:36. doi: 10.1186/s12920-015-0111-3. PMID:26156520
Inferring Broad Regulatory Biology from Time Course Data: Have We Reached an Upper Bound under Constraints Typical of In Vivo Studies?Vashishtha S, Broderick G, Craddock TJ, Fletcher MA, Klimas NG.PLoS One. 2015 May 18;10(5):e0127364. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127364. eCollection 2015.PMID:25984725
Spiritual coping predicts CD4-cell preservation and undetectable viral load over four years. Kremer H, Ironson G, Kaplan L, Stuetzele R, Baker N, Fletcher MA. AIDS Care. 2015;27(1):71-9. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2014.952220. Epub 2014 Oct 8. PMID:25297848
Assistant Professor, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University
Voluntary Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fl
Lubov Nathanson, Ph.D., is a multidisciplinary scientist with over 20 yeras of work experience in basic and translational genomics and proteomics research. She has combined expertiese in bioinformatics, molecular biology, biochemistry and systems biology. Recently, Dr. Nathanson's academic work involves analysis of gene expression data from microarrays and RNA-seq.
Adjunct Professor, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences Division of Math, Science and Technology, Nova Southeastern University
Research Faculty, Department of Veterans Affairs, Miami, Fl
Paula Waziry, Ph.D., is a pharmacologist fascinated with the immune system, cancer development, nucleocytoplasmic transport, development of innovative therapies and pathogens’ interactions with hosts. Her research philosophy encompasses an integrated approach that takes in consideration the wellbeing of the person, rather than concentrating on specific diseases or organ systems.
Based on this approach, Dr. Waziry is propelled to investigate Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) as it is a debilitating disorder without known causes and is believed to have a genetic predisposition along with environmental factors (epigenetics, pathogens). Furthermore, symptoms of ME/CFS resemble those of viral reactivation and some patients ameliorate using antiviral drugs, however, no specific virus has been identified as causative of ME/CFS.
Dr. Waziry’s knowledge of viral host evasion and takeover of nucleocytoplasmic machinery function has led to her research focus in identifying pathways at cellular levels that can be targeted for therapeutic intervention. Through her research, Dr. Waziry will reveal new therapeutics for ME/CFS and also contribute to the field of virology and antiviral drug design.