Professor, Director, Infectious Diseases Program, J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)Biography
Dr. William Nierman is the Director of the Infectious Disease Program at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). He is also a Professor the George Washington University School of Medicine and has taught Human Genetics at The Johns Hopkins University. He received his BS degree from the US Naval Academy and his PhD degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Nierman has broad experience in microbial pathogen genomics. His research focus is the genomic and functional analysis of two the levels of pathogen interaction with the human host, that caused by severe acute disease-causing bacterial pathogens, and that caused by fungi that can cause disease only in an immune-system-compromised host. Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei are severe bacterial pathogens that cause difficult to diagnose but very life threatening diseases, glanders and melioidosis. At the other end of the pathogenicity scale are Aspergillus and Penicillium fungal pathogens which cause invasive or systemic disease in immune compromised or immune suppressed human hosts. Management of the disease in both classes of infections is becoming increasingly compromised by the rapid evolution of drug resistance in the pathogens. Both groups of organisms pose serious public health issues in both developed and in developing countries.