Closing Plenary

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From Science Fiction to Clinical Trial: The Use of Phage to Treat Antibiotic Resistant Infections

9:15-10:45 a.m. on Sunday, October 7, 2018: Moscone Convention Center, West: 2005-2024

Meet the Speakers

Steffanie Strathdee, PhD

Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA


Dr. Strathdee is an infectious disease epidemiologist who is renowned for her research on the intersection of HIV and drug use, having generated more than 500 scholarly publications. She is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego where she directs a campus-wide Global Health Institute. 

She is married to Thomas L. Patterson, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, where they co-direct a research and training program on the Mexico-US border.  Dr. Strathdee is credited with saving her husband’s life from a deadly superbug infection using bacteriophage therapy.  The case, which involved cooperation from three universities, the U.S. Navy and researchers across the globe, shows how phage therapy is a future weapon against multi-drug resistant bacterial infections which are expected to kill 10 million people per year by 2050.

Thomas Patterson, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA


Thomas Patterson PhD is distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. His HIV research has focused primarily on counseling interventions for high-risk individuals to increase condom use and reduce HIV transmission risk.

Dr. Patterson has been the P.I. of several major R01s to test such inter-ventions with different populations (HIV+ men who have sex with men, HIV-negative hetero-sexuals of both sexes, female sex workers, and the male clients of female sex workers), both in the U.S. and abroad (India, Mexico), as well as a major R01 to study the implementation of his safer-sex intervention for female sex workers at 13 diverse community clinics located throughout Mexico. He has published over 500 peer reviewed journal articles and numerous book chapters.

Dr. Patterson is currently working on a book with his wife, Steffanie Strathdee which chronicles how phages were used to save his life and why they have been largely ignored by clinicians.

Robert T. Schooley, MD, FIDSA

Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA


Robert T. Schooley, MD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Schooley received his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1974 and completed his medical house staff training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1976. He completed fellowships in infectious diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and at the Massachusetts General Hospital before joining the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1981.

Dr. Schooley began his research career studying the immunopathogenesis of herpesvirus infections in immunocompromised patients but shifted his focus to AIDS in 1981 when the first cases of this syndrome began to appear in Boston. His research group was among the first to delineate the humoral and cellular immune responses to HIV infection. Over the next 15 years he became increasingly involved in the discovery and development of antiretroviral chemotherapeutic agents including reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors and entry inhibitors. He was recruited to the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1990 to serve as Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases. While at Colorado he was elected to serve as Chair of the NIAID’s AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) which he headed from 1995 – 2002. During his tenure as Group Chair the ACTG expanded to include research sites in Latin America, the Caribbean, South Asia and Africa and is now the largest and most productive multinational clinical and translational research organization focusing on the pathogenesis and therapy of HIV and its complications.

He was recruited to the University of California, San Diego in 2005 where he served as Head of the Division of Infectious Diseases until July 2017. His relocation to UCSD was stimulated by the breadth and depth of the science at UCSD, the opportunity to shift his research focus to global heath and to develop a multidisciplinary HCV research program. His current research interests include HIV and HCV pathogenesis and therapy and infections that cause morbidity and mortality in resource limited settings. Working with Dr. Emilia Noormahomed, he (together with Drs. Benson and Smith) provides leadership to the UEM-UCSD Medical Education Partnership Initiative. This Partnership forms the basis of an extensive collaboration between UCSD and Mozambique’s major universities. This partnership supports education and research in multiple medical specialties, bioinformatics and engineering. Dr. Schooley is also the editor in chief of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Vincent A. Fischetti, PhD

Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY


Vincent A. Fishcetti, PhD, is Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology at the Rockefeller University, in NY.  He has over 40 years experience in the anti-infectives field.  Over those years, his laboratory has been involved in understanding the earliest events in gram-positive bacterial infection, so that strategies may be devised to prevent infection. Dr. Fischetti’s laboratory was the first to identify lytic enzymes as novel therapeutics to decolonize human mucous membranes of bacterial pathogens and treat systemic infections caused by antibiotic resistant organisms.  The first lysin against serious staphylococcal systemic infections is currently in phase 2 human trials.  His laboratory also identified the mechanism by which gram-positive bacteria attach their surface proteins in the cell, a target for antibiotic development. 

Dr. Fischetti is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, and was the recipient of two NIH MERIT awards. He has been editor-in-chief of the scientific journal Infection and Immunity for 10 years, and serves as advisory editor for the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Trends in Microbiology among others. Dr. Fischetti serves on the scientific advisory board of ContraFect, Symbiotic Health, and the Trudeau institute and is also a trustee of the Trudeau Institute. He has published over 230 primary research articles, over 70 textbook chapters and is a co-editor of two major books on gram-positive pathogens.  He is an inventor of over 40 issued patents dealing with the control of infectious diseases. Dr. Fischetti received a Ph.D. in Microbiology with honors from New York University.