The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health recently established the Center for Infectious Disease Studies, led by Kevin Winthrop, M.D., M.P.H., an epidemiologist and infectious disease expert.
Evaluating Infectious Diseases
The Center specializes in evaluations of infectious disease, in individual patients and the population as a whole. The Center’s experts are national leaders in two rare diseases that predominantly affect the lungs – nontuberculous mycobacterial, or NTM disease, and bronchiectasis. About 100,000 people in the U.S. have pulmonary NTM disease, and 200,000 have bronchiectasis.
NTM can cause a chronic infection that may lead to progressive lung disease. Bronchiectasis is an inflammatory lung disease in which the walls of the bronchi, the airways into the lungs, are widened, causing collection of mucus and recurring infections of the airways.
From left to right, back row: Ted Warnock, Gina Megson, Jeremy Hawkins, Daniel Bouchat, Kevin Winthrop, Peter Sullivan, Ryan Stadnik, Bri Ferry, Luke Strand, and Matt Strnad. From left to right, front row: Vanessa Yataco-Marquez, Sarah Siegel, Haley Miller, Dawn Esser, Amanda Brunton, Emily Henkle, Arielle Hernandez, and Gloria Rhyne.
The Center’s researchers also study rheumatologic disease and drug safety, along with pharmacoepidemiology – or research into the use and effectiveness of drugs in large numbers of people.
Our Research Projects
The OHSU-PSU SPH Center For Infectious Diseases conducts a variety of ongoing research projects. We study infectious diseases throughout the Oregon and Pacific Northwest Region partnering with organizations like the Oregon Health Authority.
Learn more about each of our ongoing research projects.Research Projects
Ongoing Clinical Trails
Learn about the ongoing clinical trials that the Center For Infectious Diseases Studies is conducting and collaborating on with other organizations. Clinical Trials
Center For Infectious Diseases Study Staff
Kevin Winthrop, MD., M.P.H. – is principal investigator and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Studies. Dr. Winthrop is a professor of public health at the School of Public Health and an associate professor of infectious diseases and ophthalmology at the OHSU School of Medicine. He is a former infectious disease epidemiologist with the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More information on his clinical care can be found here (SOM bio) or here (SPH bio).
Emily Henkle, Ph.D., M.P.H. – is an epidemiologist and clinical researcher. Her broad research interest is measuring health outcomes in chronic lung disease, primarily bronchiectasis and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections, and more recently sickle cell disease. Prior and ongoing work, in collaboration with patients as research partners, has included natural history, patient-centered research priorities, comparative effectiveness, and validation studies to better understand and treat these conditions. She is currently supported by an NHLBI K01 and the FDA to develop and evaluate patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) for use in NTM clinical trials and patient-centered clinical care. Additional information can be found here (SPH bio).
Luke Strnad, M.D. – is an associate professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases in OHSU’s School of Medicine and holds a secondary faculty appointment in the OHSU-PSU SPH as an assistant professor of epidemiology programs in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. He is an investigator with the Center, focusing on clinical trials involving therapy for NTM chest infections as well as bloodstream infections. He also a clinician educator within the School of Medicine and specializes in mycobacterial disease, staphylococcus aureus infections, infectious in individuals with active substance use disorders, and education around health disparities and structural determinants of health. He completed his medical school at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, his internal medicine residency and chief residency at the Beth Israel Deaconess Department of Medicine, and his infectious disease fellowship training at the University of California San Francisco before joining the OHSU infectious diseases faculty in 2016. In addition to his clinical and educational work within the School of Medicine, Luke is the associate program director for the infectious disease fellowship program, director of the infectious disease fellowship program’s HIV curriculum, the director of quality improvement for the division of infectious diseases, and a member of the IDSA/ESCMID staphylococcus aureus bacteremia guideline writing committee. More information on his clinical care can be found here (SOM bio).
Cara Varley, M.D., M.P.H. – is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases in OHSU’s School of Medicine and holds a secondary faculty appointment in the OHSU-PSU SPH as an assistant professor of epidemiology programs in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. She is an infectious disease specialist, an epidemiologist and investigator with the Center, focusing on clinical trials involving therapy and outcomes for NTM chest infections.
After earning her Master of Public Health and medical degree at OHSU, she completed her Internal Medicine residency at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. She returned to Oregon to pursue her Infectious Diseases fellowship at OHSU and completed an additional year of training with a focus on management of mycobacterial and chronic chest infections. She is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and sees patients in the Oregon Mycobacterial Clinic.
Cara’s primary research interest is the epidemiology of pulmonary NTM disease, specifically development of outcome measures. She also has an interest in expanding screening for and prevention of infections in people with substance use disorders, expanding access to HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and HCV treatment, incorporating structural determinants of health in medical education, and providing clinical and research mentorship to students, residents and fellows. She is the director of the Infectious Disease Trainee Research Program, teaches the HIV Epidemiology course through the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, and serves on the School of Medicine Diversity Affairs Committee. More information on her clinical care can be found here (SOM bio).
Sarah Siegel, Ph.D., M.P.H. – is an epidemiologist in the Infectious Diseases Research Group within the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. She has worked in clinical trials focusing in infectious diseases for over a decade, with prior clinical research experience in environmental influences on adolescent physical activity and eating behaviors at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Sarah earned her B.S. in materials science & engineering, with a minor in biomedical engineering, at Cornell University, and both her Master in Public Health and Doctorate degrees at OHSU, specializing in epidemiology and biostatistics.
Alexandria Shonk, B.S. – works on treatment trials for NTM lung disease and the group’s COVID-19 vaccine research. She previously worked for the OHSU Oregon Clinical and Translational Research. She is currently a candidate for an MPH in Epidemiology at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and has a B.S. in Biology from Oregon State University.
Daniel Bouchat, B.S., CCRP – is a program manager for several protocols in the group. He is working on NTM-focused trials including the PCORI-funded pragmatic “2 vs. 3” drug treatment trial for MAC patients, and the NIDCD-funded trial studying the effect of a novel study drug in preventing aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss. He previously worked in the department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at OHSU where he coordinated several NIH/AHRQ postdoctoral training programs. Daniel earned his B.S. in Psychology and Human Physiology at the University of Oregon.
Dawn Esser – supports the Infectious Disease Research Group with administrative tasks relating to numerous studies and clinical trials. Dawn is also involved in work with the National Bronchiectasis Research Registry, including data abstraction and entry. She is a student of Portland Community College, majoring in Graphic Design.
Gina Megson, M.P.H. – works on treatment trials and patient-reported outcome measure studies for NTM lung disease. She has a B.A. from Macalester College and an MPH from University of Washington – Seattle.
Gloria Rhyne, M.A., CCRP – is a project administrator for the MAC 2v3 pragmatic trial. Gloria also is the project manager for the NW NTM Biobank registry and the Bronchiectasis Research Registry. She previously worked with OHSU’s Stem Cell/Bone Marrow Transplant program’s registry and on studies related to hematopoietic stem cell therapies. Gloria earned her B.S. in Psychology at Portland State University and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Lewis & Clark College.
Haley Brown, B.S. – works on supporting the NW NTM Biobank repository and is involved in work with the National Bronchiectasis Research Registry. Haley is also involved in work on observational and vaccination studies focused on yellow fever and other arbovirus diseases. Haley earned her B.S. in biology at Whitworth University, and is currently earning her M.P.H. at OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, specializing in epidemiology.
Haley Miller, B.S. – is one of the two clinical trials managers and a data coordinator supporting the Infectious Diseases Research Group’s data team. She works on several NTM studies and primarily focuses on screening and study recruitment management across multiple protocols. As a member of the data team, she works on database creation and maintenance, data monitoring, data analysis, and manuscript writing for a wide variety of protocols. She is a graduate of Oregon State University, earning a B.S. in Public Health and a B.A. in Spanish. She is currently a candidate for an MPH in Epidemiology at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.
Jeremy Hawkins, B.S. – leads the data team within the group. He supports an NTM interventional protocol and the ABA VIDA clinical trial, as well as several observational studies. His role primarily focuses on data management, monitoring, and analysis. Prior to joining the research group, Jeremy worked in local governmental public health communicable disease control for five years in eastern Oregon. Jeremy earned his B.S. in Public Health at Oregon State University, and is currently pursuing his M.P.H. in epidemiology at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.
Matt Strnad, B.S. – is one of the two outgoing clinical trials manger for the team. He supports several NTM and bronchiectasis-focused protocols including, the ASPEN and ARISE/ENCORE studies, as well as multiple COVID-19 vaccine and observational studies. He previously worked as a student volunteer for the group prior to finishing his degree. Matt earned is B.S in physiology from Seattle Pacific University.
Naomi DeBacker, B.S. – supports several NTM-specific protocols, including the clofazimine for M. Avium Complex clinical trial. Naomi previously studied bone regeneration in an orthopedic bioengineering laboratory prior to joining the team. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon, earning a B.S. in Human Physiology.
Peter Sullivan, B.A. – is one of the two outgoing clinical trials manager supporting several protocols. He is lead coordinator on a several observational studies researching short and long term immune responses to arboviruses and yellow fever vaccine. He is backup coordinator and familiar with all of the interventional trials for NTM lung disease. Peter earned his B.A. in biochemistry at Oberlin College
Ryan Stadnik, M.P.H. – supports a wide variety of protocols. He works on interventional trials for vaccine safety and efficacy in immunocompromised patients, as well as NTM lung disease. In addition, Ryan also manages a multi-site study focusing on immune responses with the co-administration Tdap and/or Hepatitis A vaccines alongside the SARS-CoV-2 booster. Ryan graduated from the University of Wollongong with an M.P.H. and a focus on Health Promotion, and from the University of Colorado with a degree in Integrative Physiology.
Ted Warnock, B.S. – is the other clinical trials manager for the team. He supports interventional trials for NTM lung disease including the monotherapy omadacycline study for M. Abscessus and the NW NTM Biobank repository. Ted is also involved with the national Bronchiectasis Research Registry, and has worked on several studies regarding the treatment of HIV-positive individuals with Chris Evans M.D., M.P.H. as the principal investigator. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon, earning a B.S. in Human Physiology.
Vanessa Yataco-Marquez, M.D., M.S.P.H. – works on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development studies and clinical research related to NTM lung infections and hospital-related infections. She also supports translational research investigations at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute. Vanessa has a B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from McGill University, and an M.D. and M.S.P.H. from the University of Texas at Houston.