Spotlight: University of Rochester - IDCRC Site Visit

Spotlight: University of Rochester - IDCRC Site Visit
Top: Back row pictured L to R: Edward Walsh, MD, Walsh-Falsey Lab PI; David Stephens, MD, IDCRC co-PI; Valeria Cantos, MD, IDCRC COU; Kathy Neuzil, MD, IDCRC co-PI; Tanya Smith, clinical quality manager; Kary Steinmetz, clinical research director; Katiera Jackson, physician support specialist; Spencer Obrecht, RN, research nurse; Madison Murphy, human subjects research coordinator; Arthur Zemanek, RN, research nurse. Front row pictured L to R: Doreen Francis, RN, research nurse; Debbie Wall; Angela Branche, MD, Rochester VTEU co-director; Ann Falsey, Rochester VTEU co-PI; Amy Kachaylo, health project coordinator. | Bottom L: Pictured L to R: Edward Walsh, MD, Walsh-Falsey Lab PI; Chris Anderson, PhD, Anderson Laboratory director; Michael Peasley, laboratory technical associate; Angela Branche, MD Rochester VTEU co-director | Bottom R: In the tunnel. Back row pictured L to R: Kathy Neuzil, MD, IDCRC co-PI; David Stephens, MD, IDCRC co-PI. Front row pictured L to R: Ann Falsey, MD, Rochester VTEU co-director; Valeria Cantos, MD, IDCRC COU

The IDCRC Leadership Group (LG) continues their Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) site visits. On December 18, 2023, the IDCRC PIs, David Stephens, MD, Kathy Neuzil, MD, and Clinical Operations Unit (COU) member, Valeria Cantos, MD, were hosted by Ann Falsey, MD, and Angela Branche, MD, of the University of Rochester (UR) VTEU.

“The hospitality and engagement of the UR VTEU leadership, staff, and institution were exceptional; the commitment to excellence by the VTEU deserves very high praisenotes Stephens.

During this visit, the IDCRC LG group met with VTEU staff and took a tour of the study clinic, the Rochester VTEU Research and Processing labs, and the Investigational Drug Service. While a devastating flood in December 2022 of the Rochester Clinical Research Center impacted the VTEU operations, clinic, and support laboratory, and continues to pose significant challenges, it was clear the Rochester leadership and research staff have responded with resilience and creativity.

The IDCRC met with Marguerite Urban, MD, who is the Director of the Sexual Health Clinic, and Michael Keefer, MD, who is a member of the STI EWG and a co-PI of the HVTN network. The Rochester VTEU has more recently had a major role in the development and implementation of the DMID 22-0019 Doxycycline protocol. The strong partnerships and opportunities with the Rochester Sexual Health Clinic and the HVTN site will be important for recruitment and enrollment in this trial.

Drs. Stephens, Neuzil, and Cantos also had an opportunity to meet with Early Career Investigators at the site (Dan Croft, MD, MPH, Chris Palma, MD, David Dobrzynski, MD, Daniela DiMarco, MD, MPH, Regina Rowe, MD, PhD, and Jinjiang Pang. B.Med, PhD). Both Dan Croft, MD, MPH, and Chris Palma, MD, are current members of the IDCRC Mentoring and Career Development Key Function Committee.

The visit concluded with informative discussions with David Topham, PhD, and Tom Mariani, PhD. The IDCRC recognizes the longstanding expertise of this site in respiratory viruses, particularly RSV, and Rochester’s participation and leadership in the respiratory EWG. The Rochester VTEU’s strong participation and leadership in important COVID-19 trials DMID 22-0004 (COVAIL), DMID 21-0012 (Mix and Match), CoVPN 3002 (AstraZeneca), contributed high enrollment numbers very quickly. Tom Mariani’s laboratories are collaborating with and supporting the Rochester VTEU and looks forward to exploring further integrations into the IDCRC network to serve as a vital immunology and genomics scientific center.

“The UR VTEU team was thrilled to host IDCRC leadership in December and highlight some of the strengths of the University of Rochester scientific community. Kathy, David, and Valeria interacted with our amazing clinical research team and had lunch with junior investigators and emerging scientists who have led recent studies or were recipients of UR VTEU pilot awards. IDCRC mentorship engaged with basic scientists around the cutting-edge immunologic and omics works related to respiratory viruses we are known for at the University of Rochester. We look forward to how these productive and interesting conversations will allow us to continue to foster scientific collaborations within the network” says Branche.

The Leadership Group thanks the Rochester VTEU once again for their hospitality during this very successful visit and looks forward to visiting again soon.