Advisory Board

Gilles Benichou, Ph.D.


Dr. Gilles Benichou is Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Senior Scientist, and Director of the Molecular and Cellular Immunology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Surgery.

Dr. Benichou’s research focuses on the mechanisms involved in the induction and the regulation of T cell responses in vivo to protein and peptide antigens. His laboratory has designed a series of models to understand the mechanisms underlying the recognition of peptide antigens by T cells in vivo and its influence on immune rejection and tolerance. To address this question, he is testing T cell responses to self- and non-self determinants present on transplant and tumor antigens.

Dr. Benichou is a pioneer in the field of transplantation-induced autoimmunity and its role in the chronic rejection of transplanted allografts.

Waldo Concepcion, M.D., FACS


Dr. Concepcion co-developed the Liver Transplant Program at California Pacific Medical Center from 1988-1994, at which time he and his team then moved the program to Stanford.

In 1996 he was named Director of the Transplantation Institute at Loma Linda University Medical Center, founding the Pediatric Liver Program and serving as Surgeon and Chief over the Multi-Organ Transplant Program. Under his leadership, the program became a leading Transplant Center, reported as one of the highest patient and organ graft survival rates in Sothern California, and earned the Institution distinction of Centers of Excellence among Health Care Organizations.

In 2005, he returned to Stanford as the new Chief of Pediatric Kidney Transplantation at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and continued the tradition of leading one of the best transplant programs in the world. In 2006, he was named Chief of Clinical Transplantation at Stanford University. Dr. Concepcion has published over 100 articles and book chapters in scientific literature.

Alan J. Garber, M.D., PhD., FACE


Dr. Alan J. Garber graduated from Temple University, in 1968, completed a PhD in Biochemistry in 1971, and a residency in Internal Medicine.

Subsequently, he was a fellow in Metabolism and then a junior faculty member at Washington University Medical School and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. In 1974, he transferred to Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where he is presently a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Dr. Garber is currently President-Elect of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Consulting positions include the NIH, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association and the National Kidney Foundation. Dr. Garber has served as the editor of Clinical Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolism Clinics of North America and Medical Clinics of North America. He is presently the current Editor of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism and Endocrine Today.

In addition, Dr. Garber chaired the Writing Committee for the AACE/ACE Consensus Statement on Outpatient Guidelines for Glycemic Control (2002) and was the co-chair, as well as the chairman, of the Writing Committee for the Consensus Development Conference on Inpatient Diabetes and Metabolic Control (2003). Dr. Garber is currently chair of the ACE Task Force and Consensus Panel on Diabetes and Pre-Diabetic States. Additionally, Dr. Garber is a member of the NIH-FDA Expert Panel on Cardiovascular Biomarkers, AACE liaison to the Food and Drug Administration, and past-chair of the Council on Complications for the American Diabetes Association.

He has authored over 275 peer-reviewed publications, as well as book chapters and monographs on diabetes, its complications and related disorders.

Peter Gottlieb, M.D.


Dr. Gottlieb received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and then attended UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, from which he graduated in 1984. Dr Gottlieb completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He then continued his fellowship training in endocrinology and metabolism there and worked in the laboratory of Dr. Aldo Rossini. In 1990, after completing his fellowship, he moved to the Weizmann Institute in Israel to do post-doctoral training in T cell immunology with Dr. Irun Cohen. After surviving Gulf War I, he returned to UMass and joined the staff as Clinical Director of Diabetes.

He subsequently joined the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in 1995, where he is now a Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and the Director of the Translational Research Unit at the Barbara Davis Center. Dr. Gottlieb has collaborated with Drs. George Eisenbarth, John Hutton, Marian Rewers, Satish Garg and other members of the BDC since coming there. In addition he has worked with colleagues throughout the world to improve the detection of T cell responses in human type 1 diabetes and is a member of the IDS T Cell Workshop.

His current research areas of interest include the immunology of type 1 diabetes with a focus on novel autoantigens, innate immune system abnormalities that contribute to disease phenotype and intervention trials to prevent or reverse type 1 diabetes. He had led several multi-center trials in new onset type 1 diabetes and is an active member of the Steering Committee for Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet and the Immune Tolerance Network, both NIH sponsored trial groups.

Gerald Nepom, M.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Nepom’s laboratory focuses on characterization of the human CD4 T cell response in autoimmunity, with an emphasis on type 1 diabetes (T1D). These studies evolved from his laboratory’s initial descriptions of HLA class II disease associations, structure, and function, including the development of human class II tetramers for direct T cell detection and analysis.

He currently serves as Director of Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) at Virginia Mason and Director of the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Nepom also serves as an advisor for many academic and nonprofit organizations involved in biomedical research.

He has published over 300 scientific papers and won several awards, including the University of Washington School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award and the David Rumbough Award for Scientific Excellence from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Mark Peakman, MSc, Ph.D.


Mark Peakman trained in medicine at University College London and pursued postgraduate training in clinical immunology.

After he received his PhD based on studies of the immune system in Type 1 diabetes (a childhood disease in which the cells that make insulin in the body are irreparably damaged by inflammation) he held a senior clinical research fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. He subsequently returned to the UK and now oversees a research group at King’s College London in the Department of Immunobiology. The main focus of the research is the role of immune cells (T lymphocytes) in the aetiology of the autoimmune disease, Type 1 diabetes. In particular, the group has defined the critical targets for T cells that appear to have a role in the destruction of insulin-producing cells, and key immunological pathways through which this damage is mediated.

More recently, the work has led to the definition of targets enabling the design of a novel approach to therapy. This strategy, termed “peptide immunotherapy” is the first of its kind in diabetes and further phases of this programme are ongoing. In the future, a better understanding of the role of the immune response in Type 1 diabetes will promote the further development of these novel therapeutics into the clinical setting.

John J. Rossi, Ph.D.


Dr. John Rossi is a thought leader in the development of therapeutic applications of RNA interference (RNAi), which is a technology that SEKRIS is developing for application to inflammatory disorders.

Dr. Rossi received a BA in biology from the University of New Hampshire and a PhD in microbial genetics from the University of Connecticut. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University Medical School, he has been on the faculty of City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA, where he is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Dean of the Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences at the Beckman Research Institute.

He also served as Associate Director of Research in the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Rossi is the author of more than 250 scientific papers based on his extensive work on small RNA biology. His present focus is on enhancing the intracellular efficacy of ribozymes and small RNAs and siRNAi and their application to gene therapy for HIV and cancer. Dr. Rossi was honored with the American Association for Clinical Chemistry Outstanding Speaker Award in 1991.

He is currently Co-Editor in chief of Nucleic Acid Therapeutics and Deputy Editor of Molecular Therapy. He also is an editor for JBC, Silence, BMC Biotechnology and Human Gene Therapy.

Daniel R. Salomon, M.D.


Dr. Salomon is a Professor at The Scripps Research Institute in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Director of the Laboratory for Functional Genomics and Gene Therapy, and the Program Medical Director of the Center for Organ Transplantation at Scripps Green Hospital. He did his undergraduate training at Northwestern University, graduate training at the Stritch-Loyola School of Medicine and was Chief Medical Resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center at UCLA.

Nephrology and transplantation immunology fellowships were done at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School after which he became the Medical Director of the Kidney and Heart Transplant Programs at the University of Florida. He then moved to the Laboratory of Immunology at the NIH, also serving as faculty at Georgetown University and consultant for Washington Hospital Center. Dr. Salomon has published over 110 peer-reviewed articles, 39 chapters and edited 3 books.

He served on numerous national and international committees, including Founding Member of the US Secretary of Health’s Xenotransplantation Advisory Committee and Chair of the Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee for the FDA. Dr. Salomon’s research is primarily on human kidney, liver and islet transplantation with a focus on identifying biomarkers for the diagnosis of organ rejection and functional genomics to understand the impact of epigenetic changes on lymphocyte activation and differentiation.

J.S.Skylar, M.D., MACP


Dr. Skyler is a graduate of Jefferson Medical College. He did his postgraduate training at Duke University Medical Center and the National Heart and Lung Institute.

He joined the University of Miami in 1976, where he is currently Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, & Psychology, in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, & Metabolism, Department of Medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He served as Director of that Division from 2000 to 2004. He is Deputy Director for Clinical Research amd Academic Programs, and Area Leader for Immunomodulation and Tolerance, at the Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami.

He also is an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado at Denver. He is Chairman of the NIH (NIDDK)-sponsored Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an international network conducting clinical trials to prevent type 1 diabetes or interdict the type 1 diabetes disease process.

In addition to immune intervention, his research interests are in clinical aspects of diabetes, particularly improving the care of type 1 diabetes through meticulous glycemic control, psychosocial and behavioral support. He is widely acclaimed for developing “algorithms” for patient adjustment of insulin doses. He is a past President of the American Diabetes Association, the International Diabetes Immunotherapy Group, and the Southern Society for Clinical Investigation, and was a Vice-President of the International Diabetes Federation.

He served as a member of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Subspecialty Examining Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine, as Chairman of the Council of Subspecialty Societies of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and a member of the ACP Board of Regents. He was founding Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Care, and currently is Senior Editor of Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics.

Roland Tisch,  Ph.D.


Dr. Roland Tisch is Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and a recipient of the NIH Presidential award.

After receiving his PhD from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Dr. Tisch pursued his research as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University where he was the leading author of a seminal study reporting the role of GAD as a therapeutic autoantigen for type 1 diabetes. Dr. Tisch’s work entails investigation of mechanisms regulating autoimmune recognition and responses to self-proteins. A broad range of aspects regarding the disease process are being studied in Dr. Tisch’s laboratory, including the development and immunoregulation of beta cell-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, biochemical interactions between T cell receptors and MHC molecules, and the regulation of dendritic cell and macrophage activation and effector function.

A significant effort is also being made towards the development of DNA vaccines to prevent and/or treat type 1 diabetes, in addition to establishing tolerance for islet transplants.