Upstate Medical University


Meet our Investigators

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 Institute for Global Health and Translational Sciences.  His clinical research interests include vaccine development for tropical diseases, novel therapeutics such as bacteriophages for MRSA and invasive Staphylococcus aureus infections, 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.

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 Institute for Global Health and Translational Science. 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.




Tim Endy

Investigator/ Infectious Disease Division

Dr. Timothy Endy is an international expert in the field of dengue, dengue hemorrhagic fever, and emerging viral pathogens. Dr. Endy has conducted research in the field of virology, developed vaccine-field and epidemiological study sites in Southeast and Central Asia, and conducted phase I and II clinical vaccine trials. He has also served as the Principal Investigator (PI) for the US Army’s Dengue Human Infection Model (DHIM), which is being developed at SUNY Upstate. (more…)

Donald Blair

Investigator / Infectious Disease Division

Dr. Donald Blair was born in southwest Pennsylvania, where he lived until age 13. After completing high school in Akron, Ohio, he earned his bachelors and medical degree at Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Following a year of internship at the University of Michigan University Hospital from 1965-1966, he accepted a commission in the United States Public Health Service. He served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia and Eritrea for two years. He then went on to serve nine additional months at the FDA in Washington, D.C., conducting human research on antibiotic availability. Following his time in D.C., Dr. Blair returned to the University of Michigan and completed his Internal Medicine residency, Infectious Diseases Fellowship and a Masters program in Clinical Pharmacology. (more…)

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.


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 SUNY Global Health Research Unit 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.


Rezwana Hoque

Physician Assistant

Rezwana Hoque is a certified New York State Physician Assistant who is functioning 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.

Meet our Clinical Research Team

Michelle Klick

Clinical Research Manager

Michelle Klick is the Clinical Research Manager for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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. (more…)

Kianna Ripich

Clinical Research Coordinator I

Kianna Ripich is a Clinical Research Associate at the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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.


Keely Terrillion

Lead Recruitment Specialist

Keely Terrillion is the Lead Clinical Research Recruiter for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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.


Shannon Atkins

Clinical Research Coordinator I

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.


Peter Greco

Clinical Research Coordinator II

Peter Greco is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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.


William Gregory

Clinical Research Coordinator I

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


William graduated from SUNY Oswego where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree degree in Biology. His background includes countless hours of educational based laboratory and research training along with prior experience in the customer service field and as an 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 SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. In her role, BreAnn manages the participant schedule and research supplies. She has also assisted with COVID-19 antibody and vaccine research. (more…)

Joy Higuchi

IP Prep, Research RN

Joy Higuchi, RN, CMSRN, has been with Global Health since July 2020. Prior to joining GH, she gave thousands of injections at a private 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 has the privilege of managing, preparing and administering investigational product. The first study in which she had a role 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 a medical-surgical 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

Senior Research Support Specialist

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.  Gretchen loves 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

Clinical Research Assistant

Shola James is a Clinical Research Assistant for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health.  In her role Shola manages, participant schedule, compensation and research supplies.  She also has assisted in the latest trials the Institute of Global Health has done.

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 likes curling up with a good book and traveling.

Marianna Williams

Clinical Research Assistant

Marianna Williams is a Clinical Research Assistant with the Institute for Global Health and Translational Science.  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 Trial Recruiter Assistant

Lauryn White is a Clinical Trial Recruiter Assistant, for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health 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 Lupone

Director of the Center for Education and Training

Tina Lupone is the Director of the Center for Education and Training for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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 SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health 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 SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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.

Meet our Laboratory Team

Dongmei Liu

Laboratory Manager

Dongmei Liu – is the Laboratory Manager for the Institute for Global Health and Translational Science and 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 Institute for Global Health and Translational Science (IGHATS), 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 SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. 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.