Infectious Disease Sciences

Infectious diseases are a leading cause of illness and death worldwide, and are particularly dangerous to individuals with compromised immune systems. Immunocompromised people are less apt to control primary infection, more susceptible to developing complications from infections, and often afflicted by pathogens that rarely cause disease in the general population. The Infectious Disease Sciences Program at Fred Hutch seeks to improve detection, prevention, and treatment outcomes for infectious diseases, through targeted laboratory research and multi-site clinical trials.

Mission: To advance knowledge of host-pathogen interactions and develop innovative management strategies for infectious diseases in immunocompromised and immunocompetent persons.

Boeckh Lab
Boeckh Lab

Situated within the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, our program has four pillars of focus and expertise: research, patient care, training and multidisciplinary events designed to share innovations and best practices, both locally and around the world. Established in the 1980s at Fred Hutch, the Infectious Disease Sciences (IDS) Program has been home to many major, innovative programs, including projects to study herpesvirus infections (with an emphasis on CMV, HSV, HHV-6, and HHV-8), respiratory viruses, invasive fungal disease, the microbiome and its role in human disease, HIV cure, infection-related cancers, and infection control and hospital epidemiology.

Our researchers conduct interdisciplinary, collaborative research and training at the highest level of excellence. Our Program has strong and long-standing collaborations and partnerships with multiple stakeholders, including patients and researchers, physicians and medical centers, data scientists and policy makers, industry sponsors, and federal agencies. The IDS faculty have a wide range of expertise and diverse clinical and research backgrounds, and many have joint appointments with the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where they contribute to teaching, training, patient care and research missions.

IDS Key Areas of Research

Our physicians and scientists apply their extensive experience in immunocompetent and immunocompromised populations to study the epidemiology of infectious diseases, investigate emerging infectious diseases, develop novel diagnostic methods and perform clinical trials for new treatments for major infections. Specific areas of research focus include:

  • Herpesviruses (HSV, HHV-6, HHV-8)
  • Respiratory viruses
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Microbiome studies
  • Infection control and prevention
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Immunotherapy for cancer-associated infections
  • Mathematical modeling of viral infections
  • Cures for viral disease
  • Herpesviruses (HSV, HHV-6, HHV-8)
  • Respiratory viruses
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Microbiome studies
  • Infection control and prevention
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Immunotherapy for cancer-associated infections
  • Mathematical modeling of viral infections
  • Cures for viral disease

Patient Care & Clinical Services

Our world-class, board-certified infectious disease physicians work closely with scientists to offer the most up-to-date options for diagnosis, treatment and prevention in cancer patients and others with weakened immune systems. IDS physicians also direct the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's nationally recognized Infection Prevention and Control and Antimicrobial Stewardship programs.

Our training programs help promising trainees achieve academic and professional success. The Joel Meyers Endowment Scholarship and T32 training grant provide critical support to young physician scientists who are on the cusp of launching independent careers.

Our Research Networks and Initiatives

IDS houses major initiatives aimed at expediting research progress and improving clinical outcomes by fostering collaborations within the Hutch and around the world, while supporting our team-oriented approach to patient care. Through these initiatives, we seek to advance our understanding of infectious diseases, and to improve prevention and treatment of these diseases.
 

Microbiome Research Initiative

The Microbiome Research Initiative (MRI) serves as an incubator for new scientific opportunities by galvanizing investigators who are pursuing microbiome studies, capitalizing on recent advances in the field and catalyzing nascent research on the microbiome that impacts cancer and infectious diseases. Launched by IDS member Dr. David Fredricks, MRI has inaugurated a biennial research symposium for leaders in the field. The goal of the organization is to better predict health outcomes, understand the origin of disease, and manipulate the microbiota to promote health.

IDS faculty members Keith Jerome and Hans-Peter Kiem co-direct defeatHIV, a public-private research consortium of world-renowned investigators, clinicians and community members committed to finding a cure for HIV. Working at the forefront of curative HIV therapy research, our investigators are leveraging the latest cell and gene therapy techniques to target HIV, with the goal of eliminating the reservoir of latent virus that can persist during antiretroviral treatment. defeatHIV is one of six Martin Delaney Collaboratories sponsored by the National Insitutes of Health that are developing curative therapies for HIV.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

Dr. Catherine Liu, an associate member of IDS and the Clinical Research Division, leads the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Fred Hutch and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The program aims to improve outcomes among transplant recipients and patients receiving cancer treatment, and to prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. Our goals include promoting optimal selection, dose and duration of antimicrobial therapy, while ensuring patients receive the highest standard of care.

Our Leadership

See our Faculty & Labs
Michael Boeckh, M.D., Ph.D.

Michael Boeckh, M.D., Ph.D.

Program Head

A leading expert in cytomegalovirus (CMV) and respiratory virus infections, Dr. Michael Boeckh is the Head of the Infectious Disease Sciences Program in the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division (VIDD) at Fred Hutch.

His laboratory was instrumental in the recent discovery of a new drug for CMV, the leading infectious killer of transplant patients. Dr. Boeckh has long-standing experience in clinical trials and other investigations to advance the health of transplant recipients and directs a number of national NIH-funded clinical studies. He is also the Program Director and Principal Investigator for the Infectious Disease in the Immunocompromised Host T32 training program.

A full member of VIDD and the Clinical Research Division, Dr. Boeckh is also a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington. He sees patients at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the University of Washington Medical Center.

Limei Fan, Executive M.B.A., M.A.

Limei Fan, Executive M.B.A., M.A.

Director, Program Operations

Limei Fan oversees the diverse functions of IDS operations, including financial planning, grant and contract activities, personnel management, protocol management and regulatory compliance, faculty communication and administration, and scientific symposia, conferences and events.

She leads efforts to develop and implement program procedures, mentors staff, serves as senior project manager in major studies and manages affiliate relationships. Trained in executive leadership, and with a management background in private-public-education-business partnerships, Limei focuses on practical approaches to advance learning, optimize resources and provide excellent service.

Faculty with Leadership Roles in Consortium Programs

David N. Fredricks, M.D.

Keith Jerome, M.D., Ph.D.

Catherine Liu, M.D.

Steve Pergam, M.D., M.P.H.

David N. Fredricks, M.D.

Director, Microbiome Research Initiative, Fred Hutch

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Michael Boeckh

Program Head

Limei Fan

Director, Program Operations

Pamela Allen

Research Administrator IV, Manoj Menon, M.D.; Warren Phipps, M.D., M.P.H.; Global Oncology

Shaila Austria

Project Manager, Infectious Disease Clinical Services, Personnel & Lab Operations

Sue Bartlett

Program Manager, David Fredricks, M.D.; Microbiome Research Initiative

Noujeng Her

Research Administrator III, Grants & Contracts

Deidre Hill

Executive Assistant, Michael Boeckh, M.D., Ph.D.

Cindy Hirano

Regulatory Affairs Associate Supervisor, IRB & Protocol Coordination

Emma Leeming

Research Administrator, Joshua Schiffer, M.D., M.Sc.; Joshua Hill, M.D.

Beth Minnich

Administrative Manager, Larry Corey, M.D.

Angela Mittmann

Project Coordinator, Meeting Coordination and Event Planning; Office and Program Support

Maria Paleologos

Administrative Coordinator, Catherine Liu, M.D.; Steve Pergam, M.D., M.P.H.; Christopher Johnston, Ph.D.; IDS Social Media

Haiyan Ping

Fiscal Manager, Grants, Contracts & Finance

Ashley Sherrid

Technical Editor

Zon Wang

IRB/Regulatory Coordinator, IRB & Protocol Coordination

Mary Lamery*

Administrative Specialist, Keith Jerome, M.D., Ph.D.

Lisa Rider*

Virology Program Coordinator, UW Virology Administration

Tamara Schmautz*

Virology Administrator, UW Virology Administration

* University of Washington employee