Scientific Advisory Board

Michael W. Konstan, MD is the Vice Dean for Translational Research at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Vice Chair for Clinical Research for the Department of Pediatrics. He received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from CWRU. After completing his internship and residency in pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, he returned to CWRU and Rainbow for fellowship training in Pediatric Pulmonology. He is currently a professor of pediatrics at CWRU, where he also serves as the co-director of CWRU’s Cystic Fibrosis Research Center.

Dr. Konstan’s academic career has focused on developing new therapies for the lung disease of cystic fibrosis (CF), with a special interest in anti-inflammatory therapies and clinical trial design. His research has been supported by grants from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration. He has led numerous national and international clinical trials of potentially new therapies for CF, including trials of pancreatic enzyme products, and is regarded as an international expert in this disease. Dr. Konstan has published extensively, serves on many advisory boards and committees related to advancing the treatment of CF, and continues to care for a devoted cadre of patients with CF.

Dr. Konstan has received several national awards for his accomplishments, including the Richard C. Talamo Distinguished Clinical Achievement Award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the “All Stars Among Us” award for community service from Major League Baseball and People Magazine.

Dr. Jeffrey Wagener is a pediatric pulmonologist in Aurora, Colorado and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital. He received his medical degree from University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and has been in practice for 40 years.

Professor Michael Wilschanski was born in London, England and graduated from the University of London (Royal Free Medical School) in 1985. He completed his Pediatric residency at Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem and following this a 3 year Fellowship in Pediatric Gastroenterology at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada. He returned to Israel and worked as a senior Pediatric Gastroentrologist at Shaare Zedek before being appointed Director of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit at the Hadassah University Hospitals (Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus) in 2003.

Apart from his clinical and research interest in Cystic Fibrosis, Professor Wilschanski has published on numerous aspects of pediatric gastroenterology including Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Celiac Disease, probiotics in neonatology and pediatrics and abdominal pain including Helicobacter pylori infection in children. He has a current research project on recurrent pancreatitis in children.


Scientific Advisory Board

Dr. Jonathan Barratt leads the Renal Research Group within the College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Leicester.  Dr. Barratt is the IgA nephropathy Rare Disease Group lead for the UK National Registry of Rare Kidney Diseases (RaDaR) and a member of the steering committee for the International IgA Nephropathy Network. Dr. Barratt is the Chief Investigator for two international randomized controlled clinical trials in IgA nephropathy, has attended both the FDA and EMA as an expert witness for new therapies in IgA nephropathy, and is a member of the FDA and American Society of Nephrology Kidney Health Initiative: Identifying Surrogate Endpoints for Clinical Trials in IgA Nephropathy Workgroup. Dr. Barratt serves as an Editorial Board member of the Kidney International and Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and sits on the Kidney Research UK Grants Committee.  Dr. Barratt is also a member of the Renal GeCIP (Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnerships) and UK Glomerulonephritis Clinical Study Group.

Dr. Kalunian is a Professor in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He serves as the Associate Director of the UCSD Center for Innovative Therapy. Dr. Kalunian completed fellowships at the Lutheran General Hospital for arthroscopic surgery and the University of California, Los Angeles for rheumatology. He has authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers and serves on several committees, including the Collective Data Analysis Initiative for the Lupus Foundation, serving as the Chair.

Dr. Merrill has been involved in design, implementation and execution of clinical trials of immune modulating treatments for SLE for over 20 years. She is the Director of the Oklahoma Lupus Cohort which includes a prospective collection of biologic materials, patient information and disease activity measures with more than 600 lupus patient volunteers. She has participated in more than 30 registrational trials for SLE, and has been the PI of several multicenter studies, as well as a number of investigator-initiated trials to test novel, efficient approaches formulated to increase the potential discriminatory capacity of targeted biologics, several of which have been implemented in recent years in early phase pilot studies by biotechnology companies.

As the Medical Director of the Lupus Foundation of America, she led the development of an online lupus assessment training website (www.lfa-point) which is now the gold standard in scoring complex outcome measures for trials, helped to launch a combined data analysis initiative, pooling data from completed clinical trials from multiple companies, and is currently working in a collaborative group of stakeholders to test and validate a new, simplified outcome measure for lupus, LFA-REAL (Rapid Evaluation of Activity in Lupus). She is a member of the Systemic Lupus International Collaborating Clinics, and has lectured about progress in lupus diagnosis, monitoring and treatment to physicians and patients around the world. She has more than 190 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Wofsy received his undergraduate degree from Harvard (1968), his MD from the University of California, San Diego (1974), and his medical residency training and rheumatology fellowship training from the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the UCSF faculty in 1980. He is currently Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology at UCSF. Dr. Wofsy also serves as Associate Dean for Admissions for the UCSF School of Medicine. He has served on numerous NIH study sections, and on the Arthritis Advisory Committee of the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Wofsy is a past-President of the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Wofsy’s research program is devoted to the development of novel therapies for autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). For many years, his research focused on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to autoimmunity in murine models for SLE. These therapies are designed to block pathologic immune responses without damaging the entire immune system. One of the therapies that was pioneered by Dr. Wofsy’s group involves the B7 family of molecules on antigen-presenting cells (APC). These molecules play a pivotal role in the generation of T-cell help. Specifically, the interaction of B7 molecules on APC with their ligand (designated CD28) on T cells provides an important signal for T-cell activation. Dr. Wofsy first showed that selective inhibition of the B7-CD28 interaction retards autoimmunity in murine lupus. He subsequently showed that this beneficial effect could be enhanced substantially in two ways: (i) by combining blockade of B7-CD28 with blockade of other receptor-ligand pairs (CD40-CD40L) on the surface of T cells and APC; and (ii) by combining blockade of B7-CD28 with cyclophosphamide therapy. In each case, combination therapy provided a prolonged benefit without sustained generalized immune suppression. This work laid the foundation for translational studies that resulted in FDA approval of a new treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Dr.Wofsy’s current research is focused on establishing whether this therapy can be life-saving in people with kidney disease due to SLE.