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So far Lee Schoentrup has created 90 blog entries.

The Emerald City: Filled with Generosity

October 20th, 2015|Blog, HIV/AIDS|

NOTE: Susan Galea is Director, Global Clinical Safety and Pharmacovigilance, for Merck; she is working for three months at IDRI as part of the Merck Fellowship for Global Health program. Galea and another Merck fellow, Todd Kennedy, are working on the HIV Cure Initiative, for which IDRI serves as the fiscal sponsor. Maybe I have been drinking the philanthropic water of this city, but I would be remiss not to mention the generosity that I have seen from day one of my Fellowship. The substantial investment that Merck has provided for these Fellowships can’t be overlooked. Simply put, through the Fellows that they provide, Merck is attempting to fortify nonprofit organizations with technical and human support. Specifically, here in Seattle, they have paired Todd Kennedy and me with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and our sponsor Erik Iverson. This organization is genuinely advancing global health. Many of the world’s most devastating diseases are getting attention here as they focus on new diagnostics, adjuvants, drugs and vaccines for diseases such as leprosy, leishmaniasis and tuberculosis. So why is IDRI the fiscal sponsor for HIV Cure Initiative?  They believe in the importance of this collaboration and give generously of their time with the belief that they share with relevant scientists:  HIV can be functionally cured or at least put into a remission state. […]

Nobel Prize Calls Attention to Diseases of Poverty

October 9th, 2015|Blog, Malaria|

A lot of excitement is generated during the week the Nobel Prizes are awarded. This particular Nobel week was extra special for any microbiologist or drug hunter as the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2015 was awarded to three scientists involved in discovering important and novel therapies for parasitic diseases – malaria and roundworms. Youyou Tu was awarded for the discovery of artemisinin, a product derived from a plant (sweet wormwood) used in traditional Chinese medicine, that had excellent activity against the malaria parasite. She was instrumental in discovering the active ingredient in the plant, which can be a difficult and long process, as well figuring out its chemical structure. This led to artemisinin becoming part of the treatment for malaria and a great deal of human suffering being avoided. Although artemisinin resistance has appeared, it still forms part of combination therapy used to treat malaria, and has formed part of new treatments that reduced death rates almost by half. […]

IDRI and Wellcome Trust Team for Tuberculosis Vaccine Trial in South Africa

September 17th, 2015|Press Releases|

Seattle, WA | September 17, 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEATTLE, September 17, 2015: Today, the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and Wellcome Trust announce the start of a Phase 2a trial in South Africa of IDRI’s tuberculosis (TB) vaccine [...]

Going Global from Seattle? Collaboration and Caffeine

September 8th, 2015|HIV/AIDS|

NOTE: Todd Kennedy is a National Account Executive for Merck, who is working for three months at IDRI as part of the Merck Fellowship for Global Health program. Kennedy and another Merck fellow, Susan Galea, are working on the HIV Cure Initiative, for which IDRI serves as the fiscal sponsor. This is the Richard T. Clark Fellowship for Global Health, right? Wait, then what is a California guy doing in Seattle, Washington? In 12 short weeks can my fellow colleague Susan Galea and I make a significant global impact from the land of salmon, apples and grunge? These are the questions I was considering, before work on day 1 as I was sipping espresso from the original Starbucks at Pike Place Market. By 8:30 a.m., the potential and promise of our assignment came into focus. From the window of our sponsor’s conference room, you can literally see the offices of pivotal public and private stakeholders including leading NGOs (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation), academia, pharma and biotech. It seems clear that the key to addressing global health challenges is collaboration among trusted partners, many of whom are located right here in the Pacific Northwest. Working with the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), Susan and I have been asked to: “support development of an ‘investment case’ that will set forth a global health and economic rationale to catalyze multi-sector engagement in a strategic, collaborative effort to identify, develop, and distribute a cure for HIV that will be accessible in both high- and low-resource geographic settings.” […]

Internship is Like Learning a New Board Game

August 25th, 2015|Education, Training|

IDRI Summer 2015 interns: Shomith Mondal, Cole Phalen and Brandon Paris. Working for IDRI this summer has really helped me learn more about real world lab work. Taking lab classes is great, you learn a lot, but even [...]

Autoimmune Disorder Sparks Interest in Science

August 7th, 2015|Education, Training|

IDRI summer intern Brandon Paris, left, shares data with his mentor, Jeff Guderian. NOTE: Brandon Paris was one of three interns who spent 10 weeks at IDRI in summer 2015, as part of IDRI’s internship program for college undergraduates. He is a biology major at Whitman College. I have been interested in the human immune system since I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in 2006, but I never imagined where that interest would lead. In my three years at Whitman College, I have explored every corner of the biology major with this interest in the back of my mind. It has been a blessing to be able to bring this interest to IDRI, mesh into the framework here, and work towards IDRI’s global mission. During my time at IDRI,  I have worked with the adjuvant development team on a study that aims to better understand how IDRI’s adjuvant formulations provoke inflammatory responses, ex vivo, following incubation at different temperatures. I was given the opportunity to see one particular study through, start to finish, with many cytokine assays along the way. To grow and develop these lab skills with this project has been an invaluable learning experience. […]

Avoid Unwanted Travelers During Vacation

July 28th, 2015|News, Travel|

As we move into August, everyone wants to get in a summer vacation before Labor Day. There’s no better way to bring your vacation to a screeching halt than an encounter with an infectious disease, which is unfortunately a likely occurrence. In summer 2015, nearly 200 million Americans are planning a vacation – almost 85 percent of American are planning at least a one week getaway. According to the New York Times, traveler’s diarrhea is the most common health problem a traveler encounters, but there are others lurking as well. Going on a cruise? You’ve probably read the stories about what happens when the notorious norovirus comes along for the ride. But norovirus isn’t just for cruise ships anymore – it’s now causing problems on tour buses.  In August 2014, a survey of bus drivers in Yellowstone National Park showed  that five buses were carrying passengers who had diarrhea or vomiting — both symptoms of norovirus. Going on a plane? Hopefully you won’t be as unlucky as Samuel L. Jackson who encountered numerous Snakes on a Plane; however, you will most definitely come across Pathogens on a Plane.With recirculating air and forced close proximity, airplanes have a bad reputation as hotbeds of disease. […]

IDRI’s Summer Reading List

July 1st, 2015|Education, News|

With a long weekend looming and vacations starting, the annual summer reading lists have begun to appear. We thought it would be fun to share what IDRI employees are reading this summer — you might be surprised! Ayesha Misquith just finished reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova, which portrays an accomplished female professor who realizes she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which is a devastating diagnosis as this form of Alzheimer’s (under the age of 65) is more aggressive and rapidly progressing than the older onsets. “It resonates with the work we do at IDRI, to be able to accurately diagnose a disease and the race to find a cure for it,” said Ayesha, who also recommended checking out this list in Nature for popular “lab lit” summer reading. With two little ones at home, Jessica Cohen is skimming through books — including Brain Rules for Baby by Dr. John Medina and Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelsen —  about babies and preschoolers and what scientists have learned about baby development, parenting and sleeps. […]

From the Field: Visiting Leprosy-Affected Families

June 3rd, 2015|Diagnostics, Leprosy|

At a rural farm, visiting with families affected by leprosy. During a recent visit to Cebu, Philippines, I was privileged to join the Leonard Wood Memorial surveillance team, which was visiting with patients and their families in their homes as part [...]

The Silent Soldiers of War

May 21st, 2015|Drugs, Leishmaniasis, Malaria, News, Tuberculosis, Vaccines|

As Memorial Day arrives to herald the start of summer, it’s time to pause in remembrance of U.S. Armed Forces members who lost their lives during service to their country. And, over the course of time, hundreds of thousands of those lives were claimed by silent soldiers that have no loyalty to country or flag, with no respect for borders: infectious diseases. During the U.S. Civil War, disease claimed more lives than bullets; upwards of two-thirds of deaths in the war were attributed to disease. Smallpox, along with dysentery, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, measles, malaria, consumption (tuberculosis) and a host of other infectious diseases, cut a swath through soldiers on both sides. Often before they even faced their human enemies, soldiers were hit by a wave of infection,  soon after arrival in camp. Those from rural areas were most vulnerable, lacking the immunity to childhood diseases those from urban areas often had.  And, disease epidemics played a significant role in halting several major campaigns during the Civil War, with these delays prolonging the fighting by as much as two years. […]

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