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Faculty

  • Robert Finberg

    Robert Finberg, MD

    Category: Clinical Trials,Host Response

    The Richard M. Haidack Professor in Medicine and chair and professor of medicine

    Dr. Finberg oversees three clinical trials currently enrolling patients with COVID-19. Two are of the drug remdesivir in ICU patients: one is an NIH-funded multicenter controlled trial and the other is an expanded access trial funded by the manufacturer Gilead.

    The third trial is a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the protease inhibitor favipiravir, funded by the manufacturer Fujifilm and in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. 

    Four proposed clinical trials are being reviewed.

    Dr. Finberg, along with Scot Wolfe, PhD, has ongoing studies using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tools to define the virus and host genetic factors that define disease susceptibility. These studies are building on cell culture platforms that have been funded by the U.S. Department of Defense for their influenza studies. Finberg’s lab has developed a platform for studying the efficacy of antiviral approaches in cell culture and animal models, which will be applied, where helpful, to the novel SARS-CoV-2 therapies.

    Finberg’s lab works on the relationships between host cell surface proteins and viruses and bacteria, and the basis of cellular activation mediated by cell surface proteins. His clinical interests include immune-compromised hosts, infections in patients after transplant and inpatient infectious diseases.

  • Jonathan Gerber

    Jonathan Gerber, MD

    Category: Clinical Trials

    The Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research, associate professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology

    Dr. Gerber is leading a trial of convalescent plasma infusion to determine if it’s possible to give patients anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody immunity passively, using plasma from a donor who has recovered from COVID-19.

    Gerber researches how to improve the identification and targeting of stem cells at the root of leukemia and related diseases, with the goal of personalizing therapy and developing treatments that are more effective and less toxic.

  • Katherine Luzuriaga

    Katherine Luzuriaga, MD

    Category: Clinical Trials

    The UMass Memorial Health Care Chair in Biomedical Research, professor of molecular medicine and director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science

    Dr. Luzuriaga is leading an observational study of maternal-fetal transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and a trial of a pediatric antiviral drug.

    Luzuriaga researches how viruses, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV), establish persistent viral infections in children. She developed early diagnostic methods for pediatric HIV infection, led the first clinical trials of nevirapine in children, and conducted Phase I studies of several other antiretroviral therapies (ART) labeled for pediatric use. Having led the first early combination ART trials in infants, she is now focused on characterizing residual HIV reservoirs in individuals on ART to inform the development of strategies to achieve remission.