Scientist Spotlight: Derya Unutmaz, M.D.


Starting this month, we will be beginning a monthly spotlight series of “People in ME/CFS Research.” The first spotlight for January 2018 is on Derya Unutmaz, M.D. Derya is a Professor of Immunology and the Principal Investigator for The Jackson Laboratory ME/CFS Collaborative Research Center. His lab researches the mechanisms of the human immune system in the context of infectious or chronic diseases, cancer, and aging. Recently, I (Courtney) sat down with Derya to ask him some questions about his background and his involvement in ME/CFS – below are his candid responses.

Hey, Derya! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. First of all, tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in researching ME/CFS.

Thanks for talking with me, Courtney! I’m currently a Professor of Immunology at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine. I’m also affiliated with the UCONN School of Medicine, and I study the human immune system. Before coming here, I was a Professor at the NYU School of Medicine, where I worked for about 8 years. I originally started my lab at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN about 20 years ago. Throughout my career, I’ve always been interested in understanding how the immune system works, and specifically trying to understand the immune system in the context of different diseases.

Continue reading “Scientist Spotlight: Derya Unutmaz, M.D.”

Common Data Elements (CDEs) for ME/CFS

The ME/CFS CDE Working Group and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDE Team has recently released a draft version of the ME/CFS CDEs for public review, which has been divided into eleven subgroups covering baseline information and details about a variety of symptoms.

The CDE Working Group has opened up a public review period, and are asking that reviewers look at the CDEs and make comments on any portion of the recommendations based on their expertise. Comments can be sent by email to, in the provided template response spreadsheet, or via annotations within the documents.

NINDS has stated that after the public review period, the ME/CFS CDE Working Group will review and revise the recommendations as needed, and version 1.0 of the ME/CFS recommendations will be posted at the end of February 2018.

To review the CDEs and comment or make recommendations, click here. 

The deadline for commentary on the CDEs is January 31, 2018. 

Nature Article: A Reboot for [ME/CFS] Research

Elizabeth Allen
Elizabeth Allen keeps careful records of the many treatments she has undergone to relieve the symptoms of [ME/CFS]. Credit: Preston Gannaway for Nature

An excellent, well-balanced, and detailed synopsis on the current state of ME/CFS research was just published in Nature. The article, written by science journalist  Amy Maxmen, provides a  brief history of the ME/CFS disease, including “the early days,” like the Lake Tahoe epidemic, as well as more recent events such as the latest clinical trial of rituximab on ME/CFS patients.

Maxmen highlights the research that several scientists involved in rebooting the research are doing, and also talks about the NIH Collaborative Research Center grants. She also interviewed Derya Unutmaz about the potential role of the immunological, metabolic, and microbiome interplay of patients suffering from ME/CFS. This new research could be the tipping point for understanding this complex disease and developing much needed treatments.

Read the full article on Nature’s website here.