2017 Ramsay Award Program Results

October 31, 2017

A Letter from President Carol Head

With Dr. Nahle, I’m delighted to announce our 2017 Ramsay Award Program recipients.

As you may know, the Ramsay Award program is a foundation of SMCI’s commitment to explore all worthy research avenues. We’re proud that our organization is operating at the center of the ME/CFS research field. We’re included on three of the four NIH grants, we’re convening leaders in symposiums like our recent Discovery Forum in DC, and are currently funding a carefully crafted portfolio of fourteen research projects.

With this new 2017 class of Ramsay Grants, given how little is understood about this disease, we’re proud to diversify our research into these many rigorous projects. We’re not betting on one horse.

The Ramsay Award Program is funded entirely by the patients and their loved ones who support our work, trusting SMCI to explore the most promising fields.


Carol Head

A Letter from Chief Scientific Officer and VP for Research Dr. Zaher Nahle

The Ramsay 2017 Award program in Basic, Clinical, Preclinical and Epidemiology Research is now supporting five additional extraordinary projects across the globe. And we take pride – despite our limited resources – in nurturing the most promising ideas put forth by talented researchers. It is our expectation that these newly funded projects will advance the discovery process and shed light on the molecular basis of ME/CFS. This is a complex, multifactorial disease with documented abnormalities in system-wide physiological components such as neuroendocrine pathways, the immune system, bioenergetics regulators, pathogens and the microbiome –  to name a few.

The Ramsay Award competition is designed to invest in the work of any investigator or team tackling complex issues in ME/CFS research through systematic and methodical investigations. The cross-discipline investigations awarded this year span three continents and come from Sweden, Israel, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and, of course, the United States. The new constellation of researchers joins an equally impressive group of SMCI-sponsored projects. We are now supporting no less than ten stand-alone projects involving dozens of scientists in seven countries, in addition to SMCI’s own research initiatives established at major universities, research centers and leaders in the biotech industry.

The Ramsay Program is competitive, meaning we had more applications for funding than we were able to fulfill, and so a rigorous, peer-review process was used to select the most meritorious applications. We will update our community on these projects as they kick off in January 2018. Importantly, these studies will advance the knowledge for diagnosis and characterization of ME/CFS in at least five key areas where we still have considerable knowledge gaps:

  1. Biomarkers for initiation (infection) and metabolic derangement in ME/CFS (Team 1, Sweden)
  2. Epigenetic regulation in specific immune cell types (Team 2, USA and Spain)
  3. Intestinal virome alterations and abnormalities in ME/CFS (Team 3, United Kingdom)
  4. Immunometabolism of T cells and monocytes in ME/CFS (Team 4, Germany)
  5. Antibody reactivities against autoantigens & the microbiome in ME/CFS (Team 5, Israel)

We are grateful for the work of these SMCI awardees and are fully committed to their success. More details about the investigators and their teams can be found below. Notably, these new partnerships are a key element of our wide array of research and scientific programs, including our established targeted initiatives in areas such as biomarker discovery, gut microbiome, bioenergetics, immuno-senescence, cellular energetics, nutrient sensing and signaling, diagnostics and metabolic imaging, as well as recently announced partnerships with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in drug screening and functional genomics and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to explore cardiopulmonary and neuropathy abnormalities in ME/CFS.

Congratulations to the winning teams.

With kind regards,

Zaher Nahle

The Ramsay Award Program Has Three Main Objectives:

INVEST in original ideas that could clarify the onset, progression, root causes, and natural history of ME/CFS.

CREATE permissive environments to attract, support, and retain talent in the ME/CFS community and help awardees generate relevant data to compete for long-term federal funding.

FACILITATE collaboration and cross-pollination among dedicated researchers through the sharing of resources and access to additional programming and the organization’s network.


Meet the Winning 2017 Ramsay Research Teams

Team 1 ()

Team 1 (Sweden)

Blomberg – Uppsala University Hospital http://www.akademiska.se/en/About-us1/

Bergquist – Uppsala University http://www.uu.se/en

Gottfries – Gottfries Clinic http://www.gottfriesclinic.se/in-english/gottfries-clinic/

Olof Zachrisson – Gottfries Clinic http://www.gottfriesclinic.se/in-english/gottfries-clinic/

Read the Abstract: Biomarkers for initiation (infection) and metabolic derangement in ME/CFS

Team 2 (USA & Spain)

Team 2 (USA & Spain)

Lubov Nathanson – Nova Southeastern University http://www.nova.edu/

Vladimir Beljanski– Nova Southeastern University http://www.nova.edu/

Malav Suchin Trivedi – Nova Southeastern University http://www.nova.edu/

Elisa Oltra – Universidad Católica de Valencia https://www.ucv.es/international/about-us

Read the Abstract: Effect of ME/CFS on epigenetic regulation in specific immune cell types

Team 3 (United Kingdom)

Team 3 (United Kingdom)

Fiona Newberry – Quadram Institute Bioscience https://quadram.ac.uk/

Simon Carding – Quadram Institute Bioscience https://quadram.ac.uk/

Tom Wileman – University of East Anglia https://www.uea.ac.uk/

Read the Abstract: Investigating alterations in the intestinal virome in CFS/ME

Team 4 (Germany)

Team 4 (Germany)

Carmen Scheibenbogen – Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin https://www.charite.de/en/

Franziska Sotzny – Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin https://www.charite.de/en/

Read the Abstract: Immunometabolism of T cells and monocytes in ME/CFS

Team 5 (Israel)

Team 5 (Israel)

Eran Segal – Weizmann Institute of Science https://www.weizmann.ac.il/pages/

Read the Abstract: Deciphering antibody reactivities against autoantigens & the microbiome in ME/CFS