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Nationally Recognized Physician Scientist Named Chief of Infectious Diseases

8/19/2014


News
Dr. Bettina Fries
Dr. Bettina Fries to expand microbiology and other ID-related research

Bettina Fries, MD, a nationally recognized physician-scientist in the field of microbiology, has joined Stony Brook Medicine as Professor and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine, announced Vincent Yang, MD, PhD, the Simons Chair of Medicine.

At Stony Brook, Dr. Fries will work with faculty within the Departments of Medicine, as well as Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, to lead the education and clinical missions of Infectious Diseases and expand research. She will oversee a Division that provides services to some 300 patients per month. Ten full-time faculty lead clinical, research and training programs in all areas of infectious diseases, including two dedicated research arms, a Lyme disease research group and an AIDS Center.

"The Department of Medicine is delighted to have recruited Dr. Fries to head the critically important program in infectious diseases," said Dr. Yang. "Existing and emerging infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, antibiotic-resistant pathogens and influenza are constantly threatening the health of our community. Dr. Fries will lead the fight to prevent and treat these healthcare threats by leading our department in its clinical, research and educational endeavors."

Dr. Fries comes to Stony Brook from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. There she led infectious disease research, particularly in the area of fungal infections, within the College's Global Health Center. She also practiced as a physician specializing in infectious diseases at the Montefiore Medical Center.

She has received numerous extramural grant support, including 10 straight years of support by the National Institutes of Health. The focus of her research is on the pathogenesis of chronic infection by the pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformansI, as well as investigations on efficacy of anti-infective antibodies. She has been investigating both the host response to chronic C. neoformans infection and the molecular mechanisms that allow the fungus to change based on the host response. In addition, Dr. Fries has an independent line of projects that is focused on the development of monoclonal antibodies against Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and Klebsiella Pneumonia. These antibodies serve both therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.

Born in California but raised in Germany, Dr. Fries went to University in Marburg and graduated with a medical degree from the University of Freiburg. She also completed a medical doctoral thesis at The Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg. She came to the US on a Deutsche Forschungs Gesellschaft research fellowship award and worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for two years before arriving in New York City to begin her clinical training, including internship, medicine residency and Infectious Disease fellowship at Albert Einstein and Montefiore. She began her faculty career at Albert Einstein as Instructor and rose to the rank of Professor in 2013.

Dr. Fries has remained committed to the education of residents and fellows in infectious diseases. When at Montefiore, she was Director of the Medical Science Pathway Track in the Internal Medicine Residency Training Program at Montefiore. She served as the Associate Program Director of the Montefiore Internal Medicine Residency Program. In this capacity, Dr. Fries was responsible for the education of more than 50 residents throughout their training period. She will continue to work with trainees at Stony Brook.

Nationally, Dr. Fries is a Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America. She is a regularly invited reviewer for journals and grants, including as a charter member of the AIDS-Associated Opportunistic Infections and Cancer Study Section of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Dr. Fries has published close to 60 original scientific manuscripts and 20 review articles or book chapters. She is also a regularly invited speaker to various international and national conferences.
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