Eight years after joining the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (SMCI), Suzanne D. Vernon, PhD, will be stepping down as Scientific Director in late June. She will continue with the organization in a consultancy role. SMCI has begun an international search for a Research Director.
As the organization’s first Scientific Director, Vernon played a key role in transforming SMCI into a patient-centered research organization—one that translates donor-funded research into tangible results and progress.
Shortly after joining SMCI in 2007, Vernon tapped into her professional network to spark interest in ME/CFS research. Her efforts resulted in more than 10 new investigators becoming engaged in ME/CFS research. “ME/CFS is a blank slate, and for scientists this represents a great opportunity for discovery,” says Vernon.
During her time with the organization, Vernon established the SolveCFS BioBank, which is one of the few biobanks focused on ME/CFS. “Our SolveCFS BioBank puts patients as partners in the research pipeline,” says Vernon. This patient-centered research approach engages patients in being part of the solution.
Vernon’s contributions to SMCI have left the organization well-positioned to continue its leadership role in funding forward-thinking investigators from the best institutions. The Solve ME/CFS Initiative is one of the largest private funders of ME/CFS research.
Vernon is excited about the opportunities that are ahead of her. She is considering a return to her infectious disease roots, as well as embarking on quantified self research in the chronic disease space.
“Suzanne has made an indelible contribution not only to our organization, but also to the field of ME/CFS research broadly,” says Solve ME/CFS President Carol Head. “Her efforts will continue to bear fruit for many years to come.”
Head adds that this is an exceptional time for research into ME/CFS, given the impetus of the Institute of Medicine report. “We look forward to building on the current research momentum, which is beginning to bring clarity to this complex, insidious disease,” Head says.