Dear Solve M.E. Community,
With sincere gratitude, I am excited for this privilege to stand, walk, and run with you in the journey of medical research to understand and fight against the mystery and toll of ME/CFS and Long Covid. I believe that research is a powerful tool that can not only enrich the collective knowledge of humankind but also, more importantly, bring hope to patients, families, and all of us who care about one another’s wellbeing.
Before joining Solve, I spent more than twenty years either carrying out research projects or managing research programs and funding. As a believer in the power of collaboration, I dedicated my time to craft partnerships with industry, government, and other research foundations to advance medicine together when I led a department of scientific affairs in the non-profit sector. During my tenure at the National Institutes of Health, I managed a multi-million-dollar portfolio of federal research investments, as well as coordinated clinical and translational research with a large consortium of academic medical centers across our country. Building on my experience, I especially hope to increase the awareness of ME/CFS among researchers, promote collaborative research, and secure more funding for tangible ME/CFS research studies.
As the longest-serving U.S. non-profit organization that advocates for and supports ME/CFS patients, Solve has laid a solid foundation in the preceding decades to nurture an environment that is much more conducive for scientific breakthroughs in ME/CFS. From this solid foundation we are witnessing the growing recognition1 of the similarity and possibly shared mechanisms among infection-associated chronic conditions (IACCs) such as ME/CFS, Long Covid, Lyme Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. This realization among the scientific communities opens the door for comparative research to expedite the necessary discoveries for better diagnosis, treatment, and care for ME/CFS and Long Covid patients. In this new phase of ME/CFS research, patient-researcher partnerships, real-world data (RWD)2 (e.g., registry and health-tracking data), and research alliances are more important than ever. To catalyze scientific and medical advances for ME/CFS and Long Covid patients, Solve’s research team will deepen our efforts to collaborate broadly and accelerate strategically.
Beyond collaborating with academic researchers, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations, we aim to forge new relationships with the for-profit sector such as biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or health tech companies, to bring in new capabilities that can empower the research and development (R&D) of ME/CFS and Long Covid diagnostics and interventions. In addition, I hope to promote more interactions and mutual understanding between patients and researchers by establishing ongoing dialogues on the current status of science, so that patients and their family members can hear directly from the experts in the field, and researchers can ground their research plans in realistic patient experience and perspectives.
To accelerate the R&D for ME/CFS and Long Covid, we will proactively leverage Solve Together’s capability in data collection, research planning, and patient engagement, as well as our content expertise, convening power, and research investments to not only promote more clinical studies in ME/CFS, Long Covid, or other IACCs but also expedite study initiation and human-subject recruitment. In addition, I aspire to work with ME/CFS and Long Covid researchers to take advantage of some of the new translational science tools (such as decentralized, remote/virtual, and adaptive trial methodologies) that were initially developed for other fields of research, to inspire new and improved study design and implementation for ME/CFS and Long Covid. We will also closely examine how to best harness computational technologies, such as artificial intelligence/machine learning and edge computing/federated learning, with the hope of enabling quantum leaps in our understanding and diagnosis of ME/CFS and other IACCs.
Each of you in the Solve community plays a critical role in our collaborative endeavor to realize Solve’s Mission: “Make ME/CFS, Long Covid and other post-infection diseases widely understood, diagnosable, and treatable.” Solve’s research team is committed to working with all of you and across the biomedical research ecosystem to make breakthroughs possible.
H. Timothy Hsiao, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research Strategy and Alliances