Upstate Medical University

Meet our Team

Meet our Investigators

Stephen Thomas

Director, Institute for Global Health & Translational Science

Stephen Thomas is a virologist and vaccinologist who currently serves as a Professor of Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology and an Infectious Diseases physician-scientist at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He is the Chief of Micro and Immunology and the Director of the Upstate Global Health Institute. As Director of the Institute of Global Health and Translational Science, he provides leadership to multiple initiatives in the US and abroad.

Dr. Thomas earned his Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University, his Medical Degree from the Albany Medical College, and completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dr. Thomas is board certified in both Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine, holds a certification in Tropical Medicine and Traveler's Health from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

 

Dr. Thomas has spent more than 5 years of his early career living and working in Thailand and Southeast Asia. He played a key leadership role during the West Africa Ebola outbreak, advising senior Department of Defense leadership and leading his team in planning and executing of Ebola vaccine trials. He was instrumental in developing and implementing his institution's first in-human MERS-CoV vaccine trial and Zika vaccine. Prior to joining SUNY Upstate, Dr. Thomas spent twenty years in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, serving at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, finishing his time there as the Chief Operating Officer of the Institute.

 

As Chief of Infectious Disease at SUNY, Dr. Thomas leads the Infectious Diseases Division and is responsible for providing in- and out-patient consultation for more than 10% of New York State's population. As Director of the Institute of Global Health and Translational Science, he leads multiple initiatives encompassing education, research, and clinical service opportunities. His current research activities include work on dengue human infection models, development of vaccines against opioid use disorders, field-based studies exploring transmission and pathogenesis of arboviral diseases in Asia and Latin America, and both early and advanced phase testing of a number of vaccines and therapeutics against tropical diseases.

Kristopher Paolino

Director, Center for Clinical Research

Kristopher Paolino joined Upstate Medical University in 2016, where he currently serves as faculty mentor for the university's Resident Research Council and Director of Clinical Research at the Upstate Global Health Institute. His clinical research interests include vaccine development for tropical diseases, novel therapeutics such as bacteriophages for MRSA and invasive Staphylococcus aureusinfections, and Lyme disease and associated tick-borne infections.

Dr. Paolino attended SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine under the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. He trained at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., before becoming board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease.He then spent over 5 years working as a clinical researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. There, he served as Chief of the Clinical Trials Center (CTC), overseeing over 2 dozen clinical trials, one of which was the first to vaccinate a patient with the current leading Ebola vaccine deployed to West Africa. Other leading vaccine candidates that Dr. Paolino has investigated include treatments against malaria, dengue, anthrax, hantavirus, and MERS-CoV.

Elizabeth Asiago-Reddy

Chief of Infectious Disease Associates

Dr. Elizabeth Asiago-Reddy is a Syracuse native. She completed her medical school at University of Rochester, residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Mount Sinai, and fellowship in Infectious Disease at Duke University. She then worked on HIV care and clinical trials research in East Africa before relocating back to Syracuse to join the Infectious Disease faculty at Upstate.

Currently, Dr. Asiago-Reddy is the medical director of Upstate Inclusive Health Services, which provides primary care to individuals in Central NY with HIV. She is also the medical director of the Onondaga County Sexually Transmitted Disease Center. Dr. Asiago-Reddy and her colleagues brought the first adult industry-sponsored HIV clinical trials to Upstate. She enjoys engaging in epidemiological research with an aim to optimize HIV care and prevention in our local community and abroad.

Elizabeth Harausz

Investigator / Infectious Disease Division

Dr. Elizabeth Harausz is an expert in tuberculosis, particularly multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. Dr. Harausz received her medical degree and Masters of Public Health from Tufts University. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and her infectious disease fellowship at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She is board certified in both internal medicine and infectious disease.

Prior to joining Upstate Medical University, she worked with the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, and in the HIV Research Program at Walter Reed Army Research Institute in Bethesda, MD. Her overseas experience has included working with sites in Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda and Ecuador. She has also worked extensively with the World Health Organization. Her research interests include improving the diagnosis, treatment, access, and retention in care and prevention of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Rachael Cavelli

Nurse Practitioner

Rachael Cavelli is a Syracuse native. She joined the Upstate Global Health Institute in May of 2020. Rachael graduated from the Community General Hospital Nurse Practitioner program in 2000. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Rachael has worked in family medicine for 20 years. Before she became a NP, Rachael worked as a RN, and LPN which has given her many years of nursing and advanced practice experience.

Her extensive experience has created a solid foundation for evaluating research volunteers before, during and after various clinical trials.

Rachael serves as a sub-investigator on several clinical research trials. Rachael received an honorable acknowledgement in the New England Journal of Medicine, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Thomas, for her commitment and expertiseto the Pfizer/BioNtech Covid vaccine trial. She alsotakes pride in her ability to promote research opportunities for all individuals in an equal, diverse, and inclusive setting. In her spare time, Rachael enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Rezwana Hoque

Physician Assistant

Rezwana Hoque is a certified New York State Physician Assistant who isfunctioning as a clinical sub-investigator at Upstate Institute for Global Health and Translational Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health with a concentration in Global Health and Translational Science at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
She was previously employed as a primary care clinician for 2 years at the Adult Medicine Department at Syracuse Community Health Center where she focused on preventative care measures and chronic disease management in underserved populations.Through her volunteer work at the Rahma Clinic, a free clinic at Syracuse, she continues to provide medical care to underserved populations.
Rezwana is a first-generation student who graduated from Clark University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology; employed in the healthcare industry prior to graduating from MCPHS-Worcester Physician Assistant program in December 2019.

Michele Spring

Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician

Dr. Michele Spring is a pediatric infectious disease physician who joined Upstate Medical University in 2023. She previously worked for 18 years as a clinical trials researcher within the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) malaria research program in the Washington DC area. There, she helped evaluate the safety and efficacy of malaria vaccines, followed by more than 10 years in Thailand conducting malaria field studies. Her research now primarily focuses on relapsing malaria (Plasmodium vivaxandovale), studying the host and parasite factors that may influence treatment success.Her job at Upstate also includes working as a pediatrician in the Center for International Health, an outpatient clinic dedicated to new refugee and immigrant arrivals in the Syracuse area.

Her medical training began with a Bachelor of Science at the University of Notre Dame followed by a Master of Science in Public Health in parasitology from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. After two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, she completed medical school at Vanderbilt University, pediatrics residency at University of California at San Francisco, then a pediatric disease fellowship at Vanderbilt University with a malaria immunology research project in western Kenya with Case Western Reserve University.

Meet our Clinical Research Team

Michelle Klick

Clinical Research Manager

Michelle Klick is the Clinical Research Manager for the Upstate Global Health Institute. Her 20+ years of research experience has given her the skills to lead the research team through protocol development and execution across multiple phases of research. Michelle maintains a New York State Licensed Practical Nursing license and a SoCRA Certified Clinical Research Professionals certification.

She is a graduate of the 2017 Upstate Leadership Academy, where her capstone project centered on providing medical care to the refugee population in the Syracuse community. Her research career has spanned many clinical areas, including Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, Pulmonology, Neurology and Oncology. She is passionate about training new research professionals and helping them find success in navigating the countless details of conducting a clinical trial. Michelle is co-chair of the SUNY Upstate Clinical Research Professionals Group. Michelle recently attended the National Council of University Research Administrators’ 20th Financial Research Conference to expand her knowledge on research finance. Outside of work, Michelle is a busy mom of 2 boys. She has volunteered for the past 9 years in their local scouting program and is a board member for the local Home School Association.

Kianna Ripich

Clinical Research Coordinator II

Kianna Ripich is a Clinical Research Associate at the Upstate Global Health Institute. Within Global Health, Kianna has assisted in the coordination of various Phase I-III clinical trials, including Dengue Human Infection Models, Vaccine, and Diagnostic trials. In 2017, she graduated from Northeastern University and earned a Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience.

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Keely Terrillion

Lead Recruitment Specialist

Keely Terrillion is the Lead Clinical Research Recruiter for the Upstate Global Health Institute. In this role, Keely recruits and schedules participants for all of the Phase I-III clinical trials, including human infection model, vaccine, and diagnostic trails. She creates and executes recruitment methods for each study individually, which includes creating brochures, managing advertisements, and attending events.

Keely graduated from Herkimer Community College with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. From there, she began working as a preschool assistant and worked her way to become head teacher, where she created and executed lesson plans as well as interacted with children, staff members and parents.

Keely has many years of experience in the customer service industry, which has provided the perfect foundation for interacting with and educating the public on the important research that the Institute is doing. Outside of work, Keely enjoys being outside and spending time with her family.

Peter Greco

Clinical Research Coordinator II

Peter Greco is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Upstate Global Health Institute. A native of Syracuse, Peter obtained a BA in Anthropology from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. He then received a Masters of Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences.

Peter has spent the better part of the decade working with vulnerable populations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, first at an alternative-to-incarceration residential treatment center for women in East Harlem, followed by 6 years of clinical research on opioid dependence with the NYU School of Medicine at Bellevue Hospital. At NYU/Bellevue, Peter coordinated two large clinical trials funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and collaborated extensively with city agencies including the Department of Corrections, Department of Homeless Services, and NYC Health and Hospitals.

Now at Upstate, Peter is excited to apply his research experience to promote innovation and address challenges in the field of global health. Outside of work, he likes to travel, cook, and spend time hanging out in Queens with his family.

William Gregory

Clinical Research Coordinator I

William Gregory is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Upstate Global Health Institute. In his position, William assists the department with all phase I-III clinical trials while learning the role of a research coordinator.

Williamgraduated from SUNY Oswego where he obtained a Bachelor's Degree degree inBiology.His background includes countless hours of educational based laboratory and researchtraining along with priorexperience in the customer service fieldand asan employment and training representative.Outside of work, William enjoys traveling along with spending time with friends and family.

BreAnn Burnette

Clinical Research Coordinator I

BreAnn Burnette is a Clinical Research Coordinator I for the Upstate Global Health Institute. In her role, BreAnn manages the participant schedule and research supplies. She has also assisted with COVID-19 antibody and vaccine research.

BreAnn graduated from Cayuga Community College with an Associate Degree in Business Administration. From there, she began working as a phlebotomist and worked her way to becoming a Certified Medical Assistant in Oncology. As an Oncology Medical Assistant she managed clinic workflow and helped create new procedures in addition to interacting with patients and clinic staff.

BreAnn has many years of experience in customer service and private practice medical settings, which has been a great foundation for her role at the Institute. Outside of work, BreAnn enjoys spending time with her family and dogs.

Joy Higuchi

IP Prep, Research RN

Joy Higuchi, RN, AMB-BC, has been with the Upstate Global Health Institute since July 2020. Prior to joining GH, she gave thousands of injections at an asthma and allergy practice, and was a staff nurse on a busy medical-surgical unit before that. Originally, she was a high school German teacher in Minnesota.

As an unblinded team member, Joy manages, prepares and administers investigational product. Her first study with Global Health was the landmark Pfizer Covid vaccine trial. As a result, she has developed a great appreciation for our noble volunteers. Joy is also board-certified as an ambulatory-care nurse. In her current position, she diligently reads to keep up on new developments in infectious-disease research.

Outside of work Joy enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren, playing classical and sacred music on the piano, and sewing. She likes to travel when she can get away, and is always looking forward to her next visit to Japan.

Gretchen Bridendolph

IP Prep, Research RN

Gretchen Bridendolph is a Master’s prepared Registered Nurse. Her previous experience spans from Intensive Care bedside nursing to Education to present-day Clinical Trials. She is new to research but enjoying the change.Gretchenloves being with her husband, two children. Together, they enjoy camping, hiking, fishing.

The family is in the beginning stages of the ADK Firetower Challenge. She is new to NY but loving all that CNY and ADK have to offer.

Shola James

Administrative Assistant

Shola James is a Clinical Research Administrative Assistant for the Upstate Global Health Institute. In her role Shola manages ordering and logistics of research supplies as well as assists with finance and reimbursements.

Shola has over 14 years of experience with patient, clinical, laboratory and administrative experience. Outside of work, Shola enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys traveling.

Marianna Williams

Clinical Research Assistant

Marianna Williams is a Clinical Research Assistant with the Upstate Global Health Institute. She is a New Jersey native and graduated from Independence University with an Associate's Degree in Occupational Sciences. Prior to coming to SUNY Upstate Medical, she worked as a Medical Assistant for four years in primary care; assisting the uninsured, underprivileged, and reformed addicts. Later she gained experience with minor endoscopic procedures during my tenure in gastroenterology.

Outside of work Marianna likes to spend my free time with my daughter and husband, watching scary movies, sketching, and going to the beach in Jersey.

Lauryn White

Clinical Research Recruitment Assistant

Lauryn White is a Clinical Research Recruitment Assistant, for the Upstate Global Health Institute coming from Brooklyn, New York and now resides in Syracuse. She studied Psychology at SUNY Cobleskill and has a strong passion to help others. Lauryn is also very determined to make a difference no matter how small as she served. As a resident assistant during her time in college for three years, where she became inspired to be a part of a team who works together serving one goal. She hopes to make a small change in her department that eventually creates a ripple effect of outward positive change in the Syracuse community.

Meet our Administrative Team

Christina Campagna

Director of the Center for Education and Training

Christina Campagna is the Director of the Center for Education and Training for the Upstate Global Health Institute. In this role, she facilitates bilateral educational experiences for trainees at Upstate and partner global health institutions. Her 10+ years of experience in research and education aids her passion to train medical and public health students in global public health through experiential and project-based learning. Tina works in the Upstate Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. She teaches in the Upstate Master of Public Health (MPH) program, and directs the MPH Concentration in Global Health and Translational Science.

After earning a B.S. in Biology from Syracuse University, Tina spent several years working in the laboratory on infectious disease research before finding her passion in global public health. She then completed her MPH dually through SUNY Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University and is currently earning a Ph.D. at the University at Buffalo in Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning. Outside of work, Tina enjoys traveling and spending time with her son and family.

Evan Newell

Institute Postaward Manager

Evan Newell joined the Upstate Global Health Institute as the Post Award Manager in June of 2019. He oversees financial matters relating to established studies, including account setup, vendor contracts and payments, and procurement. Evan has worked in nonprofit management and administration since 2010, including positions within state government, small nonprofits, and academic institutions.

He holds a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Northwestern University. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with family, gaming with his friends, playing the drums, and fixing up old bikes.

Terrence Howell

Director, Quality Affairs

Terrence Howell is the Director of Quality Affairs for the Upstate Global Health Institute. He has 20 years of experience working in a wide range of quality roles, from bench QC scientist through quality management system writing and implementation. Terry is passionate about quality and ethics in clinical trials. He enjoys teaching researchers about the importance of quality and the history of regulations. In addition to his role as Director of Quality he teaches a graduate level course at SUNY Upstate University on quality in the biotech industry.

He completed his undergraduate education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He also completed an MBA from Northeastern University while working in the biotech industry in Boston, Massachusetts. Outside of work, Terry is busy with his family, hobby farm and two children.

Shannon Atkins

Quality Affairs Coordinator

Shannon Atkins is the Quality Control Coordinator for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from SUNY Cortland in 2011. In 2013, she began her career in research with the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. Shannon started as a Research Assistant and then transitioned to a Clinical Research Coordinator working on a variety of vaccine clinical trials.

Shannon received her SoCRA Certified Clinical Research Professionals certification in 2016. Currently, she is working on a part-time basis. Shannon conducts internal audits of our studies to ensure compliance and quality control. She also works on the IRB submission process for our studies and assists with various research related tasks as needed. Shannon is also a stay-at-home Mom to care for her children, Thomas and Sophia.

Cynthia Purce

Cynthia Purce is the Accounts' Receivable Manager for Clinical Trials performed by The Upstate Global Health Institute. Cindy draws from over 30-years experience in medical billing, medical insurance coverage, financial management, and workflow analysis to manage the financial aspects of clinical trials.

Cindy holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Marketing. Cindy came to Upstate in 2017, working with the Upstate Cancer Center to manage the financial process for clinical trials in Hematology, Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Urology, and OB/GYN Oncology. Outside of work, Cindy enjoys baking, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends at their families’ camp.

Holly Chanatry

Holly Chanatry, MS, has been at Upstate since 2005 in research administration at both the departmental and institutional levels and joined the Upstate Global Health Institute at its inception in 2011. Holly and her team manage all financial and administrative responsibilities for the Institute including strategic planning, grant and contract management, financial reporting, human resources, payroll, and special projects. Holly also oversees the financials for the university's Microbiology & Immunology basic science department.

Holly holds a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross, and a master's from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. Prior to joining Upstate, Holly worked for 20 years in a variety of roles in the film and media industries. She has three adult children who have fled the nest, so she enjoys traveling to visit!

Danielle Doll

Danielle Doll currently serves as the Grants and Contracts Manager for the Upstate Global Health Institute. She has been with the Institute for five years and Upstate Medical University for ten. Her research administration experience includes developing, reviewing and negotiating a variety of research contracts and budgets, including federal and industry sponsored, managing grants post-award, preparing technical reports, as well as supporting Investigators and Coordinators in navigating the clinical research and grants submission process.

 

Throughout her career, Danielle has served in various roles for a combined 12 years in research, including Project Manager, Clinical Research Manager, Clinical Trial Administrator, and Research Assistant. She also has more than 4 years of experience in public health, as part of the Communicable and Infectious Disease team with NYSDoH conducting surveillance throughout the Central New York region, and a brief but highly valuable experience as Public Health Educator at the county level.

 

Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from SUNY Cortland, a Master of Science in Education from SUNY Oswego and a Master of Business Administration from Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, with a dual concentration in Business Analytics and Supply Chain Management.

 

In her free time, Danielle stays busy cheering at soccer, basketball, baseball and softball games for her three children. She also enjoys spending time with family and friends, supporting local performing arts, and singing with the Syracuse Pops Chorus.

Tamara Long

Tamara Long is a staff assistant for Global Health joining the team to manage the transition to our beautiful new facility on Campuswood Drive. Tamara graduated from Centenary University with a bachelor's in psychology. Prior to coming to Global Health Tamara worked as a legal secretary helping with business formations and other administrative tasks. Tamara is a New York State Notary Public. Outside of work, Tamara enjoys time with family, friends, pets and going to concerts.

Meet our Laboratory Team

Dongmei Liu

Laboratory Manager

Dongmei Liu is the Laboratory Manager for the Upstate Global Health Institute. She was born in China, where she received a B.S. in Biology from Sichuan University and an M.S. in Information Technology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After working as a journal editor for four years, she moved to the U.S. and settled in Buffalo, NY, where she received a M.A. in Biology from Buffalo State College. She then went on to work in a research laboratory at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute for five years. There, she focused on cell-based assays for breast cancer research.
Dongmei moved to Syracuse in 2005, and joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Upstate Medical University as a laboratory manager. Her work primarily involved testing the antiviral efficacy of chemical compounds on the varicella zoster virus through cell-based assays and mouse models. While working as a full-time employee, Dongmei earned an A.A.S. in Nursing and became a registered professional nurse in 2016.
Dongmei brought her diverse academic training, rich laboratory experience, and nursing skills to the Institute for Global Health and Translational Science in 2022. She now serves as both the laboratory manager overseeing the operation of the sample processing laboratory, as well as an unblinded pharmacist for selected clinical trials.

Ryan Meath

Processing Lab Tech

Ryan Meath is a Research Support Specialist in the Samples Processing Lab in the Upstate Global Health Institute, providing GCP/GLP-compliant lab support services for sponsored clinical research aimed at developing treatment and prevention strategies for infectious diseases.

Ryan holds a BS in Biotechnology and an MS in Clinical Chemistry, both from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He also holds an AAS in Environmental Technology: Geoscience from Onondaga Community College (OCC) in Syracuse, NY. In addition, he maintains OSHA 40 hour HAZWOPER and 24 Hour Hazmat Tech certifications.

Ryan's prior research experience includes 5 years as a Research Technician for SUNY Upstate's Psychiatric Genetic Epidemiology and Neurobiology Lab (PsychGENe Lab), investigating neuropsychiatric diseases (Autism, Schizophrenia, PTSD, Bipolar, etc) in efforts to identify blood-based genetic biomarkers for risk and resilience assessment, diagnosis, and treatment development. Ryan has also researched Iguana molecular phylogenetics and conducted archaeological fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico.

In his spare time, Ryan enjoys camping, kayaking, and is an avid Science Fiction fan; he also follows college hockey and lacrosse (Go Tigers!).

Kristen Baxter

Technician, Sample Processing Laboratory

Kristen Baxter is a Research Support Specialist for the Upstate Global Health Institute. She has been hands on in the lab since August 2019 performing a wide range of clinical research procedures. Previously having spent two years in a toxicology lab effluent testing, she is well versed in laboratory techniques. Working mostly with human blood, Kristen routinely does Real-Time PCR analysis to assess viremia in subjects in our human challenge clinical trials. She also works closely with different branches of the Institute to contribute to SOP development, laboratory compliance, and making sure the lab runs smoothly on a daily basis.

Having obtained a B.S. in Conservation Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Kristen has a strong appreciation for the natural world and all of its inhabitants. She has a passion for attending concerts and rooting for local sports teams. Being a CNY native has shaped her love for Syracuse and the surrounding areas and she looks forward to contributing to Upstate and the Institute for some time to come.