Dr. Jorge Piedrahita, 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. Frances Ligler, Associate Director, CMI- Functional Tissue Engineering
With faculty affiliations both at UNC and NC State in biomedical engineering and nanomedicine, Dr. Fran Ligler will assist CMI members in bridging opportunities across the region in the area of regenerative medicine. Her personal background includes biochemistry, immunology, diagnostics, biosensors, microfluidics, and organ-on-chip engineering. She brings long experience in translating innovative concepts to commercial biosensors that produce actionable information at the point of use.
Dr. Trudy Mackay, Associate Director, CMI- Translational Genetics & Genomics
Dr. Mackay will help catalyze collaborative research projects between CMI members with expertise in basic research and CMI members with clinical expertise, spanning model organisms and companion animals, comparative genomics and phenotype prediction from genetic and genomic data. Her expertise is dissecting the genetic and environmental bases for variation in complex traits, including animal models of human disease and complex traits.
Siddhartha (Sid) Thakur, Associate Director, CMI- EID-Emerging & Infectious Diseases
Dr. Thakur 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.