M. Eric Gershwin, MD is a distinguished professor of medicine as well as the Jack and Donald Chia professor of medicine. He is also chief of the division of allergy and clinical immunology at the University of California School of Medicine in Davis. Dr. Gershwin graduated from Stanford Medical School in 1971 and subsequently trained in internal medicine and then immunology at Tufts University-New England Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1975 and has been division chief since 1982. Dr. Gershwin has been continuously funded by NIH since 1975 and currently has published more than 20 books, 600 experimental papers, and 200 book chapters or review articles. He is editor of the Journal of Autoimmunity and Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology and on the editorial board of multiple other journals. His major contributions revolve around the theme of autoimmune disease. Dr. Gershwin was the first individual to clone an autoantigen and identified the mitochondrial autoantigens of PBC in 1986; this antigen was identified as the E2 component of pyruvate dehydrogenase. Subsequently, his lab has focused entirely on PBC and his diagnostic reagents have become the standard throughout the world. More importantly, however, he has dissected the CD4, CD8 and B cell response in PBC and demonstrated that the autoepitope is nearly identical in each case. Further, his research has helped to explain why only small bile duct cells are involved and this thesis has led to our understanding of the pathophysiology of biliary damage as an orchestrated response that begins with adaptive immunity and ends with innate immunity. This work has been published in the Journal of Immunology, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has sat and chaired on committees for NIH, NSF, USDA, FTC and the FDA. Dr. Gershwin has been studying nutrition and immunology for more than three decades.
Amha Belay, PhD is a highly respected and leading expert in microalgal biotechnology in general and Spirulina (Arthrospira) in particular. He has an extensive experience in the use of algae in health management, and in a wide variety of applications such as food, feed, nutraceuticals, and environmental management. His other areas of expertise include nutraceutical and functional foods development, quality assurance, and regulation.
Dr. Belay is currently senior vice president and scientific director of Earthrise Nutritionals, the largest Spirulina-producing company in the world. He oversees algal production and quality assurance, quality management systems, product development, and regulatory affairs.
Before joining Earthrise in 1989, he was associate professor and head of the Biology Department at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. He was also a senior research fellow at the Institute of Hydrobiology, Pallanza, Italy, under the auspices of the Third World Academy of Sciences, a visiting researcher at the Freshwater Institute in Windermere, UK, under the auspices of the British Council, and a senior Fulbright fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Belay has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented several invited scientific presentations worldwide. He has served as editor and editorial advisory board member of many scientific journals. He is a founding and executive member of the International Society for Applied Phycology, and a member of several professional associations including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Nutraceutical Association, the American Herbal Products Association, the Institute of Food Technologists, the Natural Products Association (formerly the NNFA), the Phycological Society of America, and the Asia-Pacific Society for Algal Biotechnology to mention a few.
Dr. Belay was born in Ethiopia (the land of the Spirulina lakes). He earned his first degree at the now Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia and his PhD at the Universities of London and North Wales, UK, under the late Professor G. E. Fogg, F.R.S. He lives in La Quinta, California with his wife and two children.
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