Dr. Jorge Piedrahita (919-515-7407) Director
Dr. Piedrahita is charged with managing a research institute involving faculty representing multiple departments and several colleges across within NC State, plus Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest. He supports interactions between clinical and basic research groups by developing mechanisms that encourage and facilitate those interactions. When investigators come together, learn about each other’s research, and discover areas of collaboration, veterinary and human patients receive the benefits of this scientific community.
As joint Associate Directors for the CMI, Dr. Anthony Blikslager and Dr. Scott Laster bring an excellent balance of basic and clinical research experience to the TPP. Dr. Blikslager has significant experience and understanding of clinical research, and the practical translation of basic research to the clinical setting. His focus is on the mechanisms by which the gut repairs and regenerates following injury, including ischemia/ reperfusion injury, ulceration, and inflammatory insult. Dr. Laster is a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and his work focused on defining new treatments for the damaging inflammatory response that often accompanies infection. The Laster lab is also investigating the mechanisms underlying food allergy, specifically the effects of certain food allergens on cytokine production by dendritic cells. Combined, Dr. Bliskalger’s and Dr. Laster’s role is to look for opportunities and initiatives that will assist basic and clinical researchers to collaborate in the transition of basic discovery to ‘cage side’ or ‘bed side’ clinical/drug therapies.
Dr. Binil Starly (919-515-1815) Associate Directors, CMI Functional Tissue Engineering
Dr. Ke Cheng is an Associate Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, an Associate Professor in the UNC/NCSU Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering and Adjunct Professor in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and UNC School of Medicine. With faculty positions both at NC State and UNC, Dr. Cheng will help to bridge opportunities across the region in the area of regenerative medicine. Dr. Binil Starly is a Chancellor’s Faculty of Excellence Program cluster hire in Regenerative Medicine. He directs the Data Intensive Manufacturing Laboratory. As a manufacturing engineer, Dr. Starly will be able to identify, develop and find resources needed to build key platforms to help translate engineered cell, tissue and organ systems to an industrial scale operation. Such enabling platforms will allow for the automation and standardization of processes involved with either scaling-out or scaling-up regenerative medicine therapies for eventual impact at the bed-side.”
Dr. Thakur and Dr. Pierce will provide leadership to the Emerging and Infectious Disease research program and will facilitate interactions between research groups working in the areas of Host-Pathogen Interaction, Mathematical Modeling, Drug Discovery and Global Health. A key role will be to foster collaborations between members of the Comparative Medicine Institute and other infectious diseases focused centers located in the triangle area. Dr. Thakur`s own research focus is on studying the dissemination and persistence of antimicrobial resistant food borne pathogens at the interface of humans, animals and the environment. Dr. Pierce will lead the Drug Discovery Initiative.