Leadership Team

Piedrahita-Jorge_5x7-150x150Dr. Jorge Piedrahita, (919-515-7407, japiedra@ncsu.edu) 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.





  Dr. Anthony Blikslager (919-513-7725, atbliksl@ncsu.edu) and Dr. Scott Laster (919-515-7958, smlaster@ncsu.edu) Associate Directors, Translational Pharmacology & Physiology

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. Lauren Schnabel (919-515-7410, lvschnab@ncsu.edu) and Dr. Rohan Shirwaiker (919-515-6416, rashirwa@ncsu.edu)

Together, Dr. Lauren Schnabel and Dr. Rohan Shirwaiker will lead the Functional Tissue Engineering Program as Associate Directors.   Dr. Lauren Schnabel is an Associate Professor of Equine Orthopedic Surgery and her research emphasis is in regenerative therapies for the treatment of equine musculokeletal disorders.  Dr. Schnabel’s expertise will be complemented by Dr. Shirwaiker, an Associate Professor in the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial Engineering.  He will bring knowledge in 3D Tissue Manufacturing focusing on the advancement of science and technology of scalable manufacturing of engineered tissues to products to address clinical needs.



Dr. Edward Breitschwerdt (919-513-8277, ebbreits@ncsu.edu) and Dr. Joshua Pierce (919-513-1480, jgpierce@ncsu.edu) Associate Directors, Emerging & Infectious Diseases

Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt 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. Breitschwerdt’s research emphasis has been on vector-transmitted, intracellular pathogens.  Since 1984, he has supervised a biosafety level P-3 research laboratory and supervised the Tick-transmitted Diagnostic Laboratory.  Dr. Pierce employs synthetic chemistry to tackle problems in chemical biology and drug discovery. Through the development of novel reactions he aims to synthesize complex natural products and use targeted modifications to lend insight into their biological mechanism of action. Ultimately, these efforts will uncover novel drug lead compounds for further development. will lead the Drug Discovery Initiative.  Dr. Pierce also heads up the CMI Drug Discovery Initiative and the Summer Interdisciplinary Research Initiative.


Eleanor Hawkins Dr. Eleanor Hawkins (919-513-7727, echawkin@ncsu.edu) Clinical Studies Core Leader

Dr. Hawkins is a Professor of Internal Medicine and a member of the CMI executive committee.  Dr. Hawkins’ research is concentrated on the study of chronic bronchitis in dogs.  Additional areas of study include the development of practical pulmonary diagnostic tests (particularly bronchoalveolar lavage), and the use of bronchoalveolar lavage to investigate drug disposition and immune function with the lung.  As Head of the Clinical Studies Core, she is especially keen to help NC State faculty form new collaborations with other institutions and industry partners, and help researchers utilize the specialized services offered by the core facility.


Dr. Matthew Fisher (919.515.5242, mbfisher@ncsu.edu) Musculoskeletal Group Head.

Dr. Fisher is an Assistant Professor in the joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill.  “His long-term research goal to utilize quantitative metrics and engineering principles to understand why individual tissue engineering and regenerative medicine approaches succeed within the body and to employ this knowledge to develop superior technologies with a strong focus on orthopaedic soft tissues.”  As, Head of the Musculoskeletal Group, he will work to strengthen the ties between the different musculoskeletal researchers across campus.





Mrs. Linda Costine(919.515.8113, ldcostin@ncsu.edu) Administrative Assistant