Spotlight: Saint Louis University - IDCRC Site Visit

Spotlight: Saint Louis University - IDCRC Site Visit
Top L: Jeff Lenox, MD; David Stephens, MD; Daniel Hoft, MD, PhD | Top R: View from SLU facilities | Bottom L: View from SLU facilities | Bottom R: Jeff Lenox, MD; Kathy Neuzil, MD; Daniel Hoft, MD, PhD

The IDCRC Leadership Group (LG) continues their Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEU) site visits. On November 17, 2023, IDCRC PIs, David Stephens, MDKathy Neuzil, MD, and Clinical Operations Unit co-director, Jeff Lennox, MD, visited the Saint Louis University (SLU) VTEU.

“It was an absolute pleasure to visit the SLU site and to learn about their scientific and public health accomplishments. The high regard with which they are held at the School of Medicine, the university, and the broader community was evident in our many interactions throughout the day,” says Neuzil.

During this visit, leadership had the opportunity to learn about SLU’s research initiatives and programs, tour their facilities, and meet in-person with their researchers to learn about the groundbreaking research and innovation taking place at SLU.  

“Drs. Neuzil and Stephens' visit was a tremendous opportunity for me, as a junior faculty investigator and member of the IDCRC Mentorship Program. Hearing their questions and feedback regarding SLU's contributions within the IDCRC was very helpful as I work to direct my own efforts towards maximal impact,” says Brett Jagger, MD, PhD, assistant professor, infectious diseases, SLU.

SLU’s VTEU PI, Daniel Hoft, MD, PhD, division director, infectious diseases, allergy and immunology, director, Center for Vaccine Development, professor, infectious diseases and immunology, provided an update on the state of the VTEU and on Hoft Lab scientific projects, and the LG had the chance to meet with Christina Jacobs, MD, FAAFP, vice president of medical affairs and dean, School of Medicine, and Ken Olliff, PhD, vice president for research, SLU.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for us here at the SLU VTEU to host the site visit by IDCRC leadership representatives Kathy Neuzil, David Stephens, and Jeff Lennox. It was very helpful for many of our faculty and staff to directly interact with these IDCRC leaders. We greatly appreciated the open discussions of science and IDCRC operations. It was also fun for us to get to know each other better and to discuss potential future work,” says Hoft.

Research Presentations

These faculty members delivered presentations to the LG on research initiatives and projects taking place at SLU.

  • Getahun Abate MD, PhD, associate professor, infectious diseases: Overview of Research Interest: Mycobacterial Diseases, Emerging Infections, Bioterrorism
  • David Ford, PhD, professor, biochemistry and molecular biology: Chlorinated lipids: Response to Infection
  • Sarah George, MD, professor, infectious diseases: Zika (ZPIV) Vaccine Immunity Studies at SLU
  • Brett Jagger, MD, PhD, assistant professor, infectious diseases: Optimizing Vaccine-mediated Protection against Influenza Virus Disease
  • Jianguo Liu, MD, PhD, professor, infectious diseases: A New Target for Host-directed Therapy against Mtb Infection and for TB Vaccine Development
  • Ranjit Ray, PhD, professor, infectious diseases: Hepatitis C Virus Vaccine Candidate using mRNA-LNP Platform

“Our SLU VTEU team was gratified to host the IDCRC leadership and highlight some of our investigators’ accomplishments, including significant work on influenza, tuberculosis, hepatitis C, Zika, and mpox vaccines, as well as mycobacterial therapy. It was great for our diverse multidisciplinary clinical trials team—including nursing, regulatory, and laboratory to meet the IDCRC leadership team and showcase our facilities. They also met with one of our omics leaders (Dr. David Ford) to hear some of our groups' more basic research. We are eager to work with the IDCRC on more exciting studies and furthering the IDCRC goals,” says Sarah George, MD.

Operations Discussion

A site visit would not be complete without meeting with the operations team—the backbone of the institution. We thank Tammy Grant, MBA, business manager-academic and research, Carol Duane, PhD, RN, director, regulatory affairs, Karla Mosby, RN, CCRC, clinical research nurse supervisor, Christopher Eickhoff, BS, MS, associate research professor, and Azra Blazevic, DVM, MSPH, associate professor, internal medicine, for the engaging and fruitful discussion.

Looking Ahead

“We thank the Saint Louis University VTEU for hosting the IDCRC leadership. The engagement and hospitality by SLU were outstanding,” says Stephens.

The IDCRC looks forward to continuing to work with SLU. We value their role in the success of the IDCRC, such as the site’s major role in the development and implementation of the Gritstone protocol, and their participation in the important CoVPN trials at their site and subsites. We are eager to continue the work with this site on the development and implementation of the TB Challenge protocol (DMID 22-0011) and other future trials.

The Leadership Group thanks the Saint Louis University VTEU again for their hospitality and looks forward to visiting again soon.