Xiaoxia Li, Ph.D.

Xiaoxia Li, Ph.D.

Department of Immunology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Dr. Xiaoxia Li received her Bachelor degree from Wuhan University in China and came to the United States for her doctoral training in 1983. She received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas. She did post-doctoral training in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with Dr. George Stark at the Cleveland Clinic, where she joined the Department of Immunology as Assistant Professor in 2001.

She is currently a Full Professor in the in the Lerner Research Institute and Professor of Molecular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Dr. Li has authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers. During the last several years, the discoveries from her laboratory have illustrated many of the intricate and complex pathways that control innate and adaptive immunity. Her lab elucidated important signaling mechanisms governing how IL-1R-TLRs trigger the inflammatory response by coupling NFkB activation with posttranscriptional pathways to induce robust production of cytokines and chemokines. These studies provide significant insight into fundamental mechanisms regulating innate immunity and yield essential information for the selection of potential drug targets. In addition, her laboratory was one of two groups that discovered SIGIRR, a member of the TLR family that provides negative regulatory function. This finding was extended to show that SIGIRR modulates intestinal inflammation/tumorigenesis by maintaining the microbial tolerance of the colonic epithelium and limiting the development of pathogenic Th17 cells.

The study of SIGIRR provides a novel mechanism by which the mucosal surface responds to commensal flora and participates in innate and adaptive immune responses. Finally, Dr Li’s laboratory was one of the groups that identified Act1 as a necessary signaling component in the IL-17 pathway. Using this she has made important contributions to understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate the functions of IL-17 in vivo. For example, a variant of Act1 (D10N) has been linked to psoriasis susceptibility in humans and Dr. Li’s laboratory has demonstrated that this molecular form is defective in its interaction with the molecular chaperone Hsp90, resulting in a global loss of function of Act1.  This work thus demonstrates the molecular basis for the contribution of Act1 (D10N) in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Dr. Li is recognized for her discovery of novel genes implicated in immune signaling pathways.

Leonidas Platanias, M.D.

Leonidas Platanias, M.D.

Deputy Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center

Professor of Medicine

Lurie Family Professor of Oncology

Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University.

Dr. Platanias is originally from Athens, Greece and moved to the United States in 1984, after graduating from the University of Patras medical school. He initially worked at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a postdoctoral fellow in the Clinical Hematology Branch, researching the mechanisms of regulation of normal hematopoiesis bone marrow failure by cytokines. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, from 1986 until 1989. In 1989, he  moved to Chicago as a clinical and research fellow in Hematology-Oncology at the University of Chicago. He worked there until 1992, and at that time he was introduced to the field of interferon and cytokine signaling.

He established his own laboratory working on cytokine signaling pathways in malignant cells in 1992 at Loyola University Chicago. From 1996 until 2002 he was at the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC), initially as Associate Professor and subsequently as Professor and Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology. In 2002 he became Deputy Director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago and Professor of Medicine and Lurie Family Professor of Oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. Dr. Platanias’s laboratory was the first to describe the activation of several non-Stat signaling cascades that play critical roles in the generation of IFN-responses, including pathways involving the Vav proto-oncogene and Crk-proteins; the p38 Map kinase pathway and the mTOR signaling cascade.

Another aspect of his work is the therapeutic targeting of signaling cascades that promote leukemogenesis in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and over the years has identified several signaling pathways and effectors that are deregulated in leukemic cells. Dr. Platanias has served and/or chaired several study sections and committees at NIH, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. He has served as President of the International Society of Interferon and Cytokine Research (ISICR) from 2010-2011.

Paul Hertzog, Ph.D.

Paul Hertzog, Ph.D.


Centre Director
Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases
NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow
Monash Institute of Medical Research

Professor Paul Hertzog is an Australian who was educated at the University of Melbourne where he obtained his PhD in Biochemical Pathology studying the molecular basis of liver disease.  He then undertook postdoc positions in cancer research, firstly in the USA at the Eppley Institute of Cancer Research in Omaha; then at the University of York in the UK.  The latter period included a brief training program in monoclonal antibody production and use at the Basel Institute of Immunology, a technology that has both fuelled his interest in immunology and provided a technology to underpin his research moves.

He moved back to Australia in the early 1980’s to continue his research in cancer, its mechanisms and diagnosis and the effects of the recently cloned interferons. In the Biochemistry Department and the Centre for Molecular Biology and Medicine, he became interested in the molecular mechanisms of interferon action in host defence against not only cancers, but also infectious diseases.

In 1991 he moved to the medical campus of Monash University in Clayton to a newly established Institute (now Monash Institute of Medical Research) to join Ismail Kola who was establishing gene targeting technology to generate knockout mice, a technology that promised, and indeed delivered on the ability to characterise molecular function of a gene product in vivo in the whole animal, rather than in test tubes or cells. They utilised gene targeting technology to generate murine models to study the role of interferons, the immune response, features of Down syndrome, the ETS family of transcription factors, oxidative stress, newly discovered cytokines in collaboration with Smith Kline Beechem and Millenium.

In subsequent years Paul’s research interests have broadened to include the role of interferons in the context of innate immune signaling via pattern recognition receptors, the role of type I interferon receptors in signaling, negative regulation by SOCS proteins, characterization of our newly discovered interferon epsilon and a systems biology approach to the innate immune response.

Paul has served on national and international grant review panels, editorial boards and committees of the ISICR. He convened the 2003 ISICR meeting in Cairns, Australia and will co-convene the 2014 ICIS meeting in Melbourne. He is founder of the Victorian Infection and Immunity Consortium, its Industry Alliance Program and co-convenes the Lorne Infection and Immunity annual conference.