Virtual Seminar Forum
International Eosinophil Society 2021 Science Series Webinar
Eosinophils and COVID
Moderator: Dr. Andrew Wardlaw
Eosinophil Involvement in COVID-19 and Other Viral Infections
Amali Samarasinghe, PhD (confirmed)
University of Tennessee
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
Amali Samarasinghe, PhD was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka and arrived in the United States in 1998 for college. She has always been fascinated by life science and enjoys the structure of the scientific process. As an aficionada of the alternative hypothesis, Dr. Samarasinghe has passion to uncover the inner workings of non-dogmatic possibilities. The fundamental focus of her laboratory is to pursue host-pathogen interactions in the respiratory system in hosts with underlying allergic asthma in which the immune response is already perturbed. Dr. Samarasignhe’s lab has made interesting observations and discoveries with murine model systems specifically designed to model influenza virus and/or pneumococcal infections in fungal asthma. Her lab found that the inflammatory processes associated with fungal asthma protect the host from severe influenza and synergistic interactions between influenza A virus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. Novel antiviral mechanisms for eosinophils were uncovered to include their ability to regulate CD8+ T cell functions during influenza. Ongoing studies in her laboratory are aimed at additional pathways that may guide this protective response in allergic hosts.
COVID-19 infections in Eosinophilic and Eosinophil-Depleted Patients
Mirna Chehade, MD, MPH (confirmed)
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
Director, Mount Sinai Center for Eosinophilic Disorders
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Mirna Chehade, MD, MPH, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and the founding director of the Mount Sinai Center for Eosinophilic Disorders, which provides cutting-edge clinical care, research, and support for patients with eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases (EGIDs) and their families, including eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).
After receiving her MD degree from the American University of Beirut School of Medicine in Beirut, Lebanon, Dr Chehade went on the complete an internship in pediatrics there. She then completed a residency in pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo in Buffalo, NY, USA, and a fellowship in pediatric gastroenterology, nutrition, and liver diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.
A prolific researcher, Dr Chehade is currently involved in numerous ongoing studies, both publicly and privately funded: she is a site principal investigator in the Consortium of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disease Researchers (CEGIR) funded by the NIH, principal investigator in several studies, and site principal investigator in multiple multicenter clinical studies of EoE and eosinophilic gastroenteritis. She is the author or co-author of numerous publications on gastrointestinal food allergies and EGIDs. Dr Chehade is an active member of several national and international scientific organizations—she currently serves as chair of the Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases Committee of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and as chair of the EoE prevalence task force of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Vaccine Hypersensitivity with Focus on COVID-19
Michael McNeil, MD, MPH (confirmed)
Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Preparedness, Detection and Control of Infectious Diseases
Center for Disease Control
Michael McNeil, MD MPH, is Team Lead, Vaccine Safety Datalink Team, Immunization Safety Office, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He is board certified in public health and general preventive medicine. He has several years’ experience leading safety investigations using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the collaborative Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project. Recent studies have focused on the safety of vaccines administered primarily in the U.S. military (e.g., anthrax, smallpox), the monovalent pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 vaccine, and newer vaccines included in the childhood and adolescent schedule. Currently, he and the team are involved in implementing monitoring for the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.