I am so excited and honored to partner with the Bateman Horne Center to establish a world-class research program that will bring science-based medicine to ME/CFS patients. Suzanne Vernon

The Czarista has landed.  As promised Suzanne Vernon is back in the ME/CFS research field. She’ll be working with one of our top physicians, Dr. Bateman. One of our foremost creative disrupters in the research field teams with our of our top M.D.s – that’s a nice fit, and it bodes well for the newest major addition to the ME/CFS field – the Bateman Horne Center of Excellence.

Dr. Bateman has found a powerful partner to help bring her dream of building a major ME/CFS and FM Center to fruition.  Suzanne Vernon, after all,  has taken every ME/CFS program she’s been at to the next level.

Creative Disrupter and Now “ME Research Czarista”

Suzanne Vernon is a “creative disrupter”. Through about a dozen technical papers, she and Elizabeth Unger laid the groundwork for applying clinical, genetic and gene expression data to populations in the 1990’s.  She got Bill Reeves, an epidemiologist, to sign onto the first attempt ever in a medical research field to do that at the CDC. The Pharmacogenomics project  that resulted, got Gordon Broderick into the ME/CFS field. From there he took that work to Dr. Klimas’s Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine at Nova Southeastern, where it’s formed the basis for much of her research.

To the next level

Suzanne Vernon has taken every place she’s worked at to the next level…

Vernon’s move to the Solve ME/CFS Initiative resulted in the first Biobank for ME/CFS, a remodeled research program focused on collaboration and data sharing, a string of creative studies, a great deal of NIH funding and almost a dozen new researchers studying ME/CFS – some of whom she got to study it, for the cost of shipping them samples.  Included among those figures are Lasker Award Winner Michael Houghton and Dr. Unutmaz.

Suzanne Vernon got into this field because she wanted to make a  big difference.  Twenty years later she’s  still enrolling others in that possibility. That’s no small achievement in a field she was told would be a “career -ender” for her.  She told me that researchers get hooked by three things in ME/CFS: the opportunity to make an extraordinary difference in a field, the ability to help a lot of really sick people, and simply the sheer fascination of the disease.

This is a disease that does things no other diseases do. Whoever figures it out is going to make waves. Take your pick – help a lot of people; be a leader in a field; be the one to figure out the big mystery – any of those objectives are like catnip for the right kind of researcher.

“I’ve had great success recruiting innovative partners and rock star scientists into ME/CFS research. Now Dr. Bateman and I will establish Bateman Horne Center as a center of excellence for research and clinical care.” Suzanne Vernon

She mentioned about how jazzed one of the researchers she enticed into this field is.  This researcher, one of the “rock-stars” she mentioned in her blog, works at one of the top labs in the country. In fact it may be the top lab in his field. She said he is not just interested, but is actually excited, as in really excited, about the opportunity to make a difference in this field.

She said he and others, have applied for major NIH grants, to study ME/CFS (We should know soon about them.). It’s hard to imagine that with these kinds of researchers knocking on the door, that something is not going to shift.

Dr. Lucinda Bateman

One of our most respected and busiest ME/CFS/FM physicians, Dr. Bateman has done just about everything anybody in this field can do. From CFSAC to the IACFS/ME, to producing  training video’s for the CDC,  to participating on the IOM panel, Dr. Bateman has been there. She’s done everything she can to support the field.

Dr. Bateman's big move appears to be working out.

Dr. Bateman’s big move appears to be working out.

About a year ago she decided she’d had enough of working in her small and vital but perpetually overloaded clinic with its precarious finances. She realized she was never going to be able to make the difference she wanted to make in that clinic.  She got tired, in other words, of playing small ball. She decided to play big ball – to really go for it.

Instead of a small Clinic she would create a major ME/CFS and FM Center – A Center of Excellence.  That obviously took guts. It could have flopped on its face – but it hasn’t.  Suzanne Vernon’s appearance as Research Czarina (she got to make up the title)  indicates the COE is doing well.

Their first task  – create the first diagnostic tests for this disease.

 “If we are ever to mainstream medical care for the millions who suffer terribly from this disease there must be diagnostic tests. Dr. Vernon’s experience in identifying biomarkers, establishing biobanks and cost-effectively gathering large amounts of real-life, real-time data will close in on this reality.”  Dr. Lucinda Bateman

Bateman Horne Center of Excellence

The Bateman Horne COE is a big deal. So far as I know we have two other COE’s  integrated clinical and research units, (Dr. Klimas Institute at NSU and the Whittemore Peterson Institute) that are working full-time on ME/CFS and/or FM.  Dr. Montoya’s ME/CFS Initiative at Stanford and Dr. Enlander’s clinic at Mt Sinai and Dr. Natelson’s also combine research and medicine. A privately formed COE that works could support others in making the move.

I would love to see Peter Rowe join forces with Bateman and Vernon. He’s a superb researcher/doctor with a creative bent.  He’s got a waiting list an arm long.  Johns Hopkins appears to tolerate him without giving him the support he needs. He’s in much the same place that Dr. Klimas was in at the University of Miami.  Plus he’s our only expert on pediatric patients.  Someone needs to either give him a lot of money or snatch him up.

We’ll hear more over the next couple of weeks about how the Bateman Horne COE is going to look. For now, we know researchers from the Jackson Institute of Genomic Medicine (Unutmaz probably) and the Columbia University (Lipkin//Hornig team apparently) will be collaborating with them.

Let’s wish all of them luck in producing a strong and vital ME/CFS and FM Center of Excellence.


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