Yanlin Niu Spotlights Kari Nadeau
By Yanlin Niu, Travel Scholar and Speaker Ambassador at the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting
During the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting at Stanford University, it was a great honor to be the ambassador of speaker Dr. Kari Nadeau. As one of the nation’s foremost experts in adult and pediatric allergy and asthma, Dr. Nadeau currently serves as the Director of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University, Section Chief of Allergy and Asthma at the Stanford School of Medicine, and is an endowed professor under the Naddisy Family Foundation. She is also a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment and a faculty fellow in Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health since 2015.
Dr. Nadeau’s educational training includes an MD and PhD from Harvard Medical School, residency in pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a clinical fellowship in asthma and immunology at Stanford. After completing her residency, she spent 5 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, where she was instrumental in obtaining FDA approval for two biologics in the ﬁelds of autoimmunity and oncology, before starting her fellowship at Stanford. Furthermore, Dr. Nadeau has served as a reviewer for NIH Study Sections and a member of the American Lung Association Medical Board, CA. Finally, she serves on the Environmental Health Policy committee for the American Thoracic Society and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology as well as a member of ASCI (American Society of Clinical Investigation).
The focus of Dr. Nadeau’s clinical research is to find safe and effective treatments for allergy and asthma, wherein she also focuses on understanding of the characteristics of allergens in basic research. She was the first to successfully desensitize individuals to more than one allergy at a time using multi-allergen oral immunotherapy. She continues to push forward with innovative clinical research using novel antibodies, peptide vaccines, and nanoparticles in order to provide safe and effective therapeutic options for those with allergies and asthma. Her research team works to find ‘fingerprints’ at the molecular level that link exposure to post-wildfire air quality to possible disease such as asthma, heart attack and stroke, and so on.
At the 2019 Planetary Health Annual Meeting, Dr. Nadeau was instrumental in organizing and moderating the plenary entitled “Burn: Wildfires, Deforestation, and Planetary Health.” According to researchers on the panel, it is predicted that the occurrence of wildfires will increase 30–50% by 2040 under the context of climate change. Consequently, it has resulted in increased strokes, heart attacks, asthma attacks and respiratory disorders. From the view of planetary health, Dr. Nadeau has conducted continuous research about the impact of wildfires on health, focusing on the immune system and associated allergic disease. During this panel, she shone an important spotlight on the adverse effects that wildfires have on human health, calling upon the effort of scientists, activists, and policy-makers across multiple disciplines and geographies to work together to preserve forests and protect health.
During a break at the meeting, I had a further discussion with Dr. Nadeau about my research plan in China, which is focused on the interaction effect between extreme heat and air pollution on human health. Dr. Nadeau was not only extremely approachable, patient, and a great listener, but she also gave me lots of professional advice and suggestions based on her existing related knowledge and rigorous scientific attitude. From our conversations, Dr. Nadeau made me more confident of the next step of my research and introduced me to extensive information regarding her research on planetary health and air quality in detail.
Though my time shared with Dr. Nadeau was limited, her influence from the short conversation on my attitude to scientific research is far-reaching. You can find all the characteristics that a top scientist should have from her, which inspired me to explore other realms and directions of planetary health beyond, but closely related to, my own research interest. I was so glad to have Dr. Nadeau as my speaker at this excellent international conference. Thanks to Dr. Nadeau and the Planetary Health Alliance.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Planetary Health Alliance or its members.