Leadership

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Bruce Blazar, MD
Director

Dr. Bruce Blazar directs the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). He also directs the Center for Translational Medicine, an integrated component of CTSI, created to bring innovative, early phase therapies into the clinic.

Dr. Blazar has served as a past member of three NIH study sections and past Chair of one. He is a past member of the FDA Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Translational Research Award Committee, the American Society of Gene Therapy Immunology Committee, American Society of Hematology (ASH) Transplantation Biology Subcommittee, the Immune Tolerance Network Executive Committee, and the NCI Board of Scientific Counselors for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology. He is the past Chair of the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation annual scientific meeting and Co-Chair of the 2012 ASH annual scientific meeting. Dr. Blazar is the recipient of an NIH MERIT Award, the ASH Ernest Beutler prize and lectureship, and the Till and McCullough Lecture Award, Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group and the Lifetime Achievement Award and Lecture for the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium. He is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Medicine (renamed as the National Academy of Medicine). He is the author of more than 600 manuscripts on the immunobiology of bone marrow transplantation.

Dr. Blazar has a deep knowledge and dedication to clinical translational science (CTS) research. As a researcher, he has directed preclinical basic and translational immunology and stem cell research and early phase clinical studies for more than 25 years, with particular emphasis in the blood and marrow transplantation immunobiology. These studies include the first testing of: 1) the drug rapamycin to prevent alloresponses following hematopoietic cell transplantation; 2) keratinocyte growth factor to prevent tissue injury in rodents and humans after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation; and 3) rodent and human testing of T regulatory cells (Tregs) as an immune suppressive therapy to prevent alloresponses. The latter have resulted in three ongoing phase I trials that have infused ex vivo expanded allogeneic cord blood or adult peripheral blood Tregs; and 4) preclinical development and clinical testing of new chronic graft-versus-host disease therapies such as the drug, Ibrutinib. 

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Daniel Weisdorf, MD
Deputy Director

As Deputy Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), Dr. Daniel Weisdorf works closely with the CTSI executive leadership team to oversee the institute’s operation and achieve excellence in clinical research. Dr. Weisdorf is also Chief of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation, Director of the Adult Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, Associate Chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Medicine, and co-leads the Transplant Biology and Therapy Program at the Masonic Cancer Center. As Professor of Medicine, Dr. Weisdorf's clinical and research interests are in application of blood and marrow transplant therapies for hematologic malignancies as well as extensive study of the clinical complications of transplantation including opportunistic infections and graft versus host disease (GVHD).

Dr. Weisdorf received his MD from the Chicago Medical School in 1975 and received Internal Medicine Training at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. He was a Fellow at the University of Minnesota in Hematology and Medical Oncology and is Board certified in both disciplines. Dr. Weisdorf previously served as the Scientific Director of the National Marrow Donor Program and currently is Senior Research Advisor for the Acute Leukemia Committee of the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research. He is the University of Minnesota Principal Investigator and former Steering Committee chair of the NIH-sponsored Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network.

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Constantin Aliferis, MD, MS, PhD, FACMI
Chief Research Informatics Officer

Dr. Constantin Aliferis’ research is focused on high dimensional modeling and analysis designed to transform biomedical data into novel actionable scientific knowledge. His 3 key areas of broad interest are:

  • Use of advanced informatics and analytics to accelerate and enhance the sophistication, volume, quality and reproducibility of scientific research
  • Precision medicine
  • Quality and cost improvements of healthcare using Big Data approaches

Over the last 25 years Dr. Aliferis has invented and applied methods that include: automated protocols and automodeling systems for complex data analytics, Markov Boundary induction, Causal Graph based discovery and modeling, high dimensional feature selection, Support Vector Machines, multi-modal omics analysis, multiplicity modeling, clinical predictive modeling, scientometrics and evidence-driven information retrieval.

Between 2008 and 2015 he served as the Founding Director of the Center for Health Informatics and Bioinformatics (CHIBI) at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC). At NYU he led the CTSI Informatics program since 2008 and the Informatics core of the NYU Cancer Institute since 2011. He also served as Scientific Director of the Best Practices Integrative Informatics Consulting Core, and Scientific Director of the NYULMC High Performance Computing Facility. He was also the Founding Director of both the Vanderbilt and NYU PhD Training Programs in Biomedical Informatics. At NYU and Vanderbilt, Dr. Aliferis had appointments in Informatics, Pathology, Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Computer Science, Biostatistics and Data Science.

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Milton Eder, PhD
Associate Director, Community Engagement to Advance Research and Community Health (CEARCH)

Milton "Mickey" Eder, PhD, joined the University’s Family Medicine and Community Health research faculty in 2014 to conduct translational and primary care practice-based research. Previously, he served as Director of Research and Evaluation at Access Community Health Network, a large network of Federally Qualified Health Centers in the Chicago area for 10 years.

His work with Access Community Health Network included multi-site research collaborations, with funding from the NIH and AHRQ. He developed policies and practices to organize community-academic research partnerships with a focus on health disparities and patient safety. Eder earned his PhD from the Committee on History of Culture, an interdisciplinary program at the University of Chicago.

Previously a member of the CTSA Community Engagement Key Function Committee and co-chair of the Outcomes of Community Engagement workgroup, Mickey was selected as an academic co-chair of the Partnership for the Advancement of Community Engaged Research (PACER), a special interest group supported by the Association for Clinical and Translational Science.

Mickey has been instrumental in furthering national CTSA community-engagement efforts and served as a member of the External Advisory Board (EAB) for CTSI. He serves on EABs for three CTSA-funded institutions and as an associate editor for "Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action."

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David H. Ingbar, MD
Associate Director, Research Education, Training, and Career Development (CTSI-Ed)

Dr. Ingbar is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota with joint appointments in Pediatrics and Integrative Biology & Physiology, and has served as Director of the Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Division for more than ten years. Prior to becoming a CTSI Associate Director, he served as Director of the K Scholar Multidisciplinary Seminar Series and led CTSI faculty scholar progress evaluations.

Dr. Ingbar received his MD from Harvard Medical School, and was an Internal Medicine Resident and Chief Resident at the University of Washington before completing his Pulmonary & Critical Care fellowship at Yale University. In addition, he is a physician scientist who focuses on understanding how the lung is repaired after injury and how this compares to lung development. 

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Tucker LeBien, PhD
Associate Director, Office of Discovery and Translation

Dr. Tucker LeBien directs CTSI's Office of Discovery and Translation (ODAT), designed to accelerate the process of bench-to-bedside translation in a coordinated, University-wide effort. ODAT supports innovative, early development research with a high likelihood of translational success. Dr. LeBien's experience as a researcher and administrator makes him uniquely qualified for this role.

Dr. LeBien is Associate Vice President for Research for the Academic Health Center, Vice Dean for Research in the Medical School, and Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. An immunologist, he is a recognized authority in human lymphocyte (blood-cell) development. He is a former scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and currently holds the Apogee Enterprises Chair in Cancer Research. LeBien has been a faculty member since 1980. He earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology and master’s degree in bacteriology from North Dakota State University. He earned his doctorate in medical microbiology (immunology) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Le Bien's research interests are in normal and abnormal human B cell development.

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Timothy Schacker, MD
Associate Director, Clinical Translational Research Services

Timothy Schacker, MD, is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program in HIV Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty in 1996. Dr. Schacker received his MD from the University of Minnesota in 1986 and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Oregon Health Sciences University and Infectious Disease Fellowship at the University of Washington in 1993. He then joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Schacker has developed an internationally recognized program in translational research focused on how HIV causes immune suppression. His group recently made the discovery of a process of inflammatory damage in lymphatic tissues; the principal site of HIV infection, that results in fibrosis of the lymphatic structures required to maintain a normal population of CD4 cells. They are testing novel therapies to prevent and/or reverse this process and slow T cell depletion in HIV and improve their reconstitution when antiretroviral is begun. He is also the principal investigator of a federally funded program of projects designed to determine barriers to HIV eradication. In addition, Dr. Schacker has established a collaboration with the Joint Clinical Research Center in Kampala, Uganda to study how constant exposure to common infections like tuberculosis, malaria, and helminthic infections affect rates of HIV transmission and progression.

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