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Biomedical Cross-disciplinary Series

Join us for the GW Biomedical Cross-disciplinary Seminar Series: Connecting Academic Research & Inquiry Across Disciplines. This annual series will explore a new cross-disciplinary topic each year. The goal is to promote networking and collaboration in translational health among researchers, health care providers, and policy makers from different disciplines to shift the paradigm—from seeking a cure to developing a strategy of prevention.


Inflammation and specifically chronic inflammation are the primary pathophysiologic process in all chronic diseases, according to scientific consensus. Chronic diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases (CIDs) are predicted to increase to 49.2 percent in 2030. (1) CIDs will increase demand and cost of health care services while leading to reduced quality of life and death. (2) This has become increasingly clear during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, where CIDs have shown to increase risk for severe COVID-19 illness. (3) The 2020 seminar series will focus on both the treatment and prevention of CIDs. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the series is moving online.

The inaugural series will run through September 2021. This virtual series is open to all and covers the following topics:

  • Cancer and inflammation
  • Genomics and inflammation
  • COVID-19
  • Bioinformatics and inflammation
  • Cardiometabolic disease and inflammation
  • Neuropsychiatric disease and inflammation
  • Precision medicine and inflammation
  • Treatment approaches and inflammation
  • One GW event

The series was organized by the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences’ (SMHS) Department of Pharmacology & Physiology and the Office of Integrative Medicine and Health. The seminar series is supported by departmental funding and the generosity of Ellen J. LaBelle, MD `74, RESD '78, associate clinical professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and John Pan, MD '70, RESD '74, clinical professor, Department of Clinical Research and Leadership and founding medical director, Office of Integrative Medicine and Health.


Repetitive Elements and the Immune Response in Cancer
Tuesday, November 19, 2019 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker: Katherine Chiappinelli, PhD, assistant professor
Division of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, GW SMHS

Location: Ross Hall, Room 224

Registration: Closed

Genomics and Inflammation
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker: Tim McCaffrey, PhD, professor of Medicine and Microbiology, Immunology,
and Tropical Medicine, director of the Division of Genomic Medicine, GW SMHS

Location: Ross Hall, Room 227

Watch the Webinar

COVID-19 and Inflammation
Tuesday, September 22, 2020 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Hana Askelrod, MD, MPH, assistant professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, GW SMHS

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Using Machine Learning to investigate Intestinal Inflammation
Thursday, October 29, 2020 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Sana Syed, MD, MS, assistant professor of Pediatrics, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, UVA School of Medicine, and UVA Child Health Research Center

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T cells Turn Up the Pressure
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Meenakshi S. Madhur, MD, PhD, FACC, assistant professor, Department of Medicine Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Cardiology; assistant professor, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; and associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for
Infection, Immunology and Inflammation at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

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The Emerging Role of the Immune System in Depression and Other Psychiatric Disorders
Thursday, January 21, 2021 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Andrew H. Miller, MD, William P. Timmie Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, director of the Behavioral Immunology Program, and co-leader of the
Cancer Prevention and Control at the Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of

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Role of Immune System in Depression: Exciting Therapeutic Opportunity or Blind Alley?
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Golam Khandaker MBBS, MPhil, MRCPsych, PhD, Lead, Inflammation and Psychiatry Research Group, Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

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Treatment Approaches and Inflammation
Thursday, March 11, 2021 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Vishwa Deep Dixit, DVM, PhD, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Comparative
Medicine and of Immunobiology, Yale School of Medicine, and a member of the Yale Center on
Research on Aging.

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Interoception and Mental Health
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 (12 - 1 p.m.)

Speaker(s): Sahib S. Khalsa, MD, PhD, director of Clinical Operations, Laureate Institute for Brain Research, associate professor, University of Tulsa, Oxley College of Health Sciences, and director, LIBR Float Clinic and Research Center.

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RAND Corporation. Projections of Chronic Illness Prevalence and Cost Inflation. Accessed December 5, 2019.

Straub RH, Schradin C. Chronic Inflammatory systemic diseases: An evolutionary trade-off between acutely beneficial but chronically harmful programs. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health. 2016; 2016(1): 37–51.

Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness | CDC Available online: (accessed on Aug 25, 2020).