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The American Association of Immunologists

AAI Public Policy Fellows Program (PPFP)
2015-2016 Fellows

(To view past Fellows, click here.)

Tullia Bruno, Ph.D.

Tullia Bruno, Ph.D., University of Colorado School of Medicine/University of Pittsburgh
I am extremely honored to be selected for the 2015-2016 AAI PPFP. In the last year, I have taken a specific interest in science and policy, and I am excited to learn how they work together. I am currently at a point in my career where I am trying to obtain independent funding for my project, and I want to become better acquainted with how funds are allocated for research, and specifically, how this influences funding for immunology research. I plan on being in the field of tumor immunology as I move into an assistant professor position in the next year, and I believe that my time in the AAI PPFP will be beneficial to my career and will mold me into an active advocate for immunology research.

Jason Gigley, Ph.D.

Jason Gigley, Ph.D, University of Wyoming
I am very honored and happy to be selected as an AAI Public Policy Fellow for 2015-2016. Generating public support, improving government policies, and increasing funding for biomedical research are critical for preventing and treating disease. I am excited to participate in the AAI PPFP so that I can become a better advocate for the importance of biomedical research and federal funding to support this research at both the local and national levels. Having scientists involved in discussions that influence these decisions is very important because we can provide a real life perspective on how funding policies directly impact our work and affect long-term biomedical outcomes. My hope is that by participating in this important program, I will learn how to help my fellow scientists better understand policy making and better voice their opinions to facilitate stronger support for biomedical research at all levels. I thank the AAI very much for this opportunity and look forward to participating in this program.

Nicole Holodick, Ph.D.

Nichol Holodick, Ph.D., The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
It is an honor to be selected as a 2015-2016 AAI Public Policy Fellow. As United States citizens, it is our responsibility not only to stay informed of the issues affecting both our community and the nation as a whole, but also to voluntarily participate in political affairs. I realize that before I can truly explore my passion for biomedical research, it is my responsibility and duty to first understand how to conduct myself in the political arena so that our profession will be intact for generations to come. By becoming an AAI Public Policy Fellow, I will be taking the first step to ensure that, at the very least, I am in a better position to have a voice in determining how we, as scientists, can pursue our work. In addition, I think that this fellowship will help me better convey the importance of science to those who do not have scientific or clinical research backgrounds, which will further increase a positive awareness throughout the country.

David Larson, Ph.D.

David Larson, Ph.D., University of Hawaii Cancer Center
I am excited and honored to be selected as a 2015-2016 AAI Public Policy Fellow. With science funding constantly threatened, I believe that it is critically important for researchers to be able to effectively explain the importance of their work to policy makers and community leaders. While I believe that communication is one way to successfully advocate for science research, I look forward to gaining a more complete understanding of how government leaders determine policy and how we, as scientists, can help shape those policies. I am truly looking forward to the AAI Public Policy Fellows Program and hope that my participation will provide me with the opportunity to help make positive changes to biomedical research in this country.

Jean Nepomuscene Manirarora, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Jean Nepomuscene Manirarora, D.V.M., Ph.D., FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research/United States Department of Agriculture
I am honored and thrilled to have been selected for the 2015-2016 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program. As a veterinarian and immunologist with a passion for translating basic research findings into novel treatments for autoimmune diseases through cellular therapies, I strongly believe that funding for biomedical research at all levels should always be among the government’s top priorities. The biomedical field in this country is suffering from a widespread malaise, mostly owing to excessive competition for declining resources that are needed to do research and to support the next generation of scientists. Given the fact that the biomedical field is quickly expanding in other parts of the world, especially in Europe, it is high time for U.S. scientists to team up with government officials and develop policies aimed at stabilizing scientific research funding in this country. With this fellowship, I look forward to learning how I can efficiently advocate for increased public and government support for biomedical research.

Meghan Marré, Ph.D.

Meghan Marré, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh
I am honored and excited to be selected for the 2015-2016 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program. Communication between the scientific community and legislators is crucial for shaping policies that support biomedical research. We, as active researchers, must speak on our own behalf because we know what resources are necessary to conduct our research. We also understand better than any other group that even the most basic research questions may yield important advances and may ultimately lead to novel treatments or cures for disease. The PPFP is an excellent opportunity to learn how public policy is shaped, and to begin to effectively advocate for increased government support of both basic and translational research. I am excited to work with AAI to improve the conditions under which we as immunologists conduct our research.

Nicole Perry, Ph.D.

Nicole Perry Lieberman, Ph.D., Seattle Children’s Research Institute
It is truly an honor to be selected as a 2015-2016 AAI Public Policy Fellow, and it will be my pleasure to serve the AAI and the larger research community. As a postdoctoral fellow, I look forward to building a long career in research and seeing my colleagues do the same. Therefore, I feel a responsibility to do what I can to ensure that America remains a global leader in science, including by educating both lawmakers and the public about the continued importance of scientific research. Particularly at this moment in history, when partisan rhetoric threatens to undermine much of what the American scientific community has built for generations, it is imperative that young scientists add their voices to the conversation. Through my participation in the AAI PPFP, I hope to exchange ideas with like-minded individuals and learn effective strategies to advocate for continued support of biomedical research. In particular, I would like to focus on promoting a culture of mutual respect among scientists, policymakers, and the public.

Erica Stone, Ph.D.

Erica Stone, Ph.D., The Wistar Institute
I'm honored to be selected to participate in the 2015-2016 AAI Public Policy Fellows Program! Unfortunately, at this time in our country, the acceptance of and funding for science falls short. As publicly funded scientists, we have a duty to help refocus and reenergize scientific discussions in this country. I believe this program will help me do my part in these conversations.

Joshua Vieth, Ph.D.

Joshua Vieth, Ph.D., The Child Health Institute of New Jersey/Rutgers University
My selection as a 2015‐2016 AAI Public Policy Fellow is a great honor. I am very excited about the prospect of gaining a better understanding of the advocacy involved in publicly funded research, especially as it pertains to the advancement of medical and immunological research interests. It is important that we as scientists remain engaged in the funding process, especially in the current economic climate. This program will provide an inimitable opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the AAI public affairs team, to become better acquainted with how policies that affect biomedical research are formulated, and to gain experience by actively participating in conversations about policy and funding at the highest levels. I am thankful to AAI for this incredible honor, and I look forward to adding my voice to theirs in support of policies that sustain and advance scientific research and education.

Jessica Werner, Ph.D.

Jessica Werner, Ph.D., University of Michigan
I am excited to be a part of the AAI Public Policy Fellows Program because I have always been interested in the mechanisms behind research funding at the federal level. As scientists, I think that we often don’t get exposure to how those decisions are made, despite the fact that the outcome of those decisions plays a critical role in our lives and our work. I look forward to participating in the AAI Public Policy Fellows Program.


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