Upstate Medical University


Meet our Investigators

Dr. Paolino attended SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine under the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program, and was trained at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, becoming board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases.  He then spent over 5 years working as a clinician researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research where he served as Chief of the Clinical Trials Center (CTC), overseeing over 2 dozen clinical trials to include first site to vaccinate a patient with the current leading ebola vaccine deployed to West Africa, as well as several other leading vaccine candidates against disease treats such as malaria, dengue, anthrax, hantavirus, and MERS-CoV. He joined the faculty at Upstate Medical University in 2016, where he serves as faculty mentor for the university’s Resident Research Council and is 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, as well as Lyme disease and associated tick-borne infections.
Stephen J. Thomas, MD is a Professor of Medicine, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, and Infectious Diseases physician-scientist from the State University of New York (SUNY), Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He is the Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases and Director, Institute for Global Health and Translational Science (IGHTS). 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 (WRAIR) completing his career as the Chief Operating Officer of the institute.

Dr. Thomas is a virologist and vaccinologist who spent more than 5 years of his early career living and working in Thailand and Southeast Asia. He played a key leadership role advising senior DoD leadership during the West Africa Ebola outbreak and leading his team’s planning and execution of Ebola vaccine trials. He was instrumental in developing and implementing his institution’s first in human MERS-CoV vaccine trial and Zika vaccine development efforts. At SUNY, Dr. Thomas leads the Infectious Diseases Division responsible for providing in- and out-patient infectious disease consultation for more than 10% of New York State’s population. As the IGHTS Director, he provides strategic and technical leadership to multiple initiatives in the US and abroad encompassing education, research, and clinical service opportunities. Current research activities include work on dengue human infection models, development of vaccines against opioid use disorders, Latin America and Asia-based field based studies exploring transmission and pathogenesis of arboviral diseases, and early and advanced phase testing of a number of vaccines and therapeutics against tropical diseases.

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 and Infectious Diseases fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dr. Thomas is board certified in both specialties, holds a certification in Tropical Medicine and Traveler’s Health from the America Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), and is a Fellow in the American College of Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of American, and the ASTMH

Dr. Endy is an international expert in the field of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever and emerging viral pathogens. Dr. Endy has conducted basic science research in the field of virology, developed vaccine field and epidemiological study sites in Southeast and Central Asia, conducted phase I and II clinical vaccine trials and is active in the development and management of research programs that are product oriented towards developing vaccines and diagnostics that meet FDA regulatory requirements. Currently, Dr. Endy is the PI for the US Army’s Dengue Human Infection Model (DHIM), being developed at SUNY Upstate and a co-PI for the clinical development of a heroin vaccine. Dr. Endy is an active reviewer for peer reviewed journals, a subject matter expert on dengue and dengue vaccine development for industry partners, published over 120 manuscripts and book chapter, and an NIH funded researcher conducting studies on dengue in Thailand.  He is a Board Certified physician in the subspecialty of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine and did his residency and fellowship training at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC.  Dr. Endy obtained his medical school training at the Uniformed Services University, F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine, Bethesda, MD; received an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI; and a BS degree from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. He served with distinction in the United States Army for 24 years and retired as a Colonel in 2006.
Dr. Donald Blair was born in southwest Pennsylvania, where he lived until age 13. He completed high school in Akron, Ohio, followed by college and medical school 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/Eritrea for two years, followed by three months in Yap. He then went on to serve nine additional months at the FDA in Washington, DC, conducting human research on antibiotic availability. He returned to the University of Michigan and completed his Internal Medicine residency, Infectious Diseases Fellowship and Clinical Pharmacology Masters program (MSPharm). In July 1974 he joined the faculty of SUNY Upstate Medical Center (now Upstate Medical University) in Syracuse, NY. He has worn a variety of hats at the University including; ID clinician, Internal Medicine Residency Directory, Chief of General Medicine, Chief of Infectious Disease, Director of ID Fellowship, and Co-founder and Medical Director of the Designated AIDS Center (DAC, now named Immune Health Services, IHS). During his years at SUNY Upstate, Dr. Blair has been a clinical researcher working on trials with the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). He is now a sub-investigator on multiple trials for the Institute for Global Health.
Dr Asiago-Reddy is a Syracuse native. She completed 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. Dr. Asiago-Reddy is currently the medical director of Upstate Inclusive Health Services which provides primary care to most of the individuals in Central NY living with HIV. She is also medical director of the Onondaga County Sexually Transmitted Disease Center. Dr. Asiago-Reddy and her colleagues in infectious disease brought the first adult industry sponsored HIV clinical trials to Upstate, and also enjoys engaging in epidemiological research with an aim to optimize HIV care and prevention in our local community and elsewhere.
Dr. Elizabeth Harausz is an expert in tuberculosis, particularly multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.  Previous to joining Upstate Medical University, she worked with the Desmond Tutu TB Centre/Stellenbosch University in Cape Town and the HIV Research Program as part of the Walter Reed Army Research Institute in Bethesda.  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. 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 internal medicine and infectious disease.  Her research interests include improving the diagnosis, treatment, treatment access/retention in care and prevention of drug-susceptible and drug-resistant tuberculosis.

Meet our Clinical Research Team

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 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 her local scouting program and is a board member for the local Home School Association.
Kate Caiello is a Clinical Research Coordinator for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health.

In this role, Kate coordinates all aspects of Phase I-III clinical trials, including Dengue Human Infection Models, Vaccine and Diagnostic trials. Kate has worked in research since 2016 and earned her certification as a Clinical Research Professional in 2018. Kate is also a Licensed Practical Nurse with over 6 years of clinical experience with hands on nursing in a fast-paced family care, private practice setting. Kate’s varied background in data analysis and health care has provided the perfect foundation for the detailed work of coordinating clinical trials, as well as interacting with the public to educate them on the important ongoing research the Institute is doing. Outside of work, Kate enjoys spending time with her family

Patrick Mehlek is a Clinical Research Associate for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. In this role, Patrick coordinates Diagnostic, Vaccine and HIV Treatment trials within the Institute, as well as coordinating trials throughout the Department of Medicine. Patrick is working towards his SoCRA certification and plans to take the certification exam early next year. Patrick is a Licensed Practical Nurse with 8 years of clinical experience; earning his license from OCM BOCES.  His entire nursing career was within family medicine at a private practice. Patrick is a graduate of East Syracuse – Minoa Central High School as well as the CNY Regional Custody and Police Academies. Patrick’s varied background in Nursing and Law Enforcement has provided the perfect foundation for the detailed work of coordinating clinical trials. Outside of work, Patrick enjoys spending time with his family, golfing, and is a Co-Chairman of the CNY Coaches vs Cancer.
Kianna Ripich is a Clinical Research Associate for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. With Global Health, Kianna has assisted the coordination of various Phase I-III clinical trials, including Dengue Human Infection Models, Vaccine, and Diagnostic trials. In 2017, Kianna graduated from Northeastern University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Neuroscience. Kianna also has experience in Neurology research and currently assists on a Phase II TIA and ischemic stroke trial. Outside of work, Kianna is a part-time ski instructor and enjoys hiking and traveling.
Keely Terrillion is a Clinical Research Recruiter for the SUNY Upstate Institute for Global Health. In this role, Keely recruits and schedules all of the participants for Phase I-III clinical trials, including Dengue Human Infection Models, Vaccine and Diagnostic trials. Keely creates and executes all recruitment methods for each study individually, such as creating brochures, advertisement and attending events. Keely graduated with her Associates from Herkimer Community College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. From there she began working as a Preschool assistant and worked her way to a head teacher, where she created and executed lesson plans as well as interacting with the children, other staff members and the parents. Keely also has many years of experience in the customer service industry, which has provided the perfect foundation for interacting with the public every day to educate them on the important research the Institute is doing. Outside of work, Keely enjoys being outside and spending time with her family.
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.
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 Master of Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. Peter has spend the better part of the last 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 NYU School of Medicine at Bellevue Hospital. While at NYU/Bellevue, Peter coordinated two large clinical trials funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and collaborated extensively with various city agencies including the Department of Corrections, Department of Homeless Services, and NYC Health and Hospitals. Now at Upstate, he is excited to apply his research experience to promote innovation and address challenges in the field of global health. Outside of work, Peter likes to travel, cook, and spend time eating and hanging out in Queens with his family.