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Women in Medicine and Science at Upstate

This guide provides information on female pioneers associated with Upstate and its predecessor institutions who left lasting impacts on medicine and science. Please check back regularly as we will continue to add influential women to this guide.

Coleen Cunningham MD

Dr. Collen K Cunningham is Chair of the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine (UCI) pediatrics, and is pediatrician-in-chief for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC). She is a pediatric infectious diseases physician who has focused her research on the prevention and treatment of HIV infection in children. 

Dr. Cunningham has co-authored more than 120 manuscripts, book chapters, and many multicenter clinical trials aimed at treating and preventing HIV infection in children. She has also played important roles in the evaluation of vaccines for other infectious diseases. Dr. Cunningham was awarded the Academic Service Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Dr. Cunningham earned her undergraduate degree in biochemistry at the SUNY at Binghamton. She earned her medical degree in 1985 from SUNY Upstate Medical Center where she also completed her pediatric residency in 1988 and pediatric infectious diseases fellowship in 1991. In 1991 she joined the faculty at Upstate as an Assistant Professor and remained until she took on her position at Duke University Medical Center in 2003 to serve as the chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and director of the Pediatric HIV Clinic. While at Upstate, Dr. Cunningham was active as a student and resident advisor and in faculty governance. She also organized a women’s faculty group in the Department of Pediatrics. 

The image is from Children's Health of Orange County (CHOC):

Resources on Coleen Cunningham MD

1. Outstanding Young Alumna - Coleen K. Cunningham MD, Class of 1985 (link)

2. Duke Symposium to Examine Ebola Outbreaks, Recovery (link

Bibliography - Publications

1. Patel SM, Spees L, Smieja M, Luinstra K, Steenhoff AP, Feemster KA, Arscott-Mills T, Boiditswe S, Patel MZ, Shah SS, Cunningham CK, Kelly MS. Predictors of poor outcomes among infants with respiratory syncytial virus-associated acute lower respiratory infection in Botswana. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2018 Dec 5. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002168. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30543564 PMCID: PMC6465100.

2. Kelly MS, Surette MG, Smieja M, Rossi L, Luinstra K, Steenhoff AP, Goldfarb DM, Pernica JM, Arscott-Mills T, Boiditswe S, Mazhani T, Rawls JF, Cunningham CK, Shah SS, Feemster KA, Seed PC. Pneumococcal Colonization and the Nasopharyngeal Microbiota of Children in Botswana. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2018 Nov;3(11):1176-1183. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002174. PMID: 30153231 PMCID: PMC6181769 [Available on 2019-11-01].

3. Dow DE, Mmbaga BT, Turner EL, Gallis JA, Tabb ZJ, Cunningham CK, O'Donnell KE. Building resilience: a mental health intervention for Tanzanian youth living with HIV. AIDS Care. 2018;30(sup4):12-20. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2018.1527008. Epub 2019 Jan 9. PMID: 30626197; PMCID: PMC6422704.

4. Brumme ZL, Sudderuddin H, Ziemniak C, Luzuriaga K, Jones BR, Joy JB, Cunningham CK, Greenough T, Persaud D. Genetic complexity in the replication-competent latent HIV reservoir increases with untreated infection duration in infected youth. AIDS. 2019 Feb 1;33(2):211-218. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000002045. PMID: 30325763 PMCID: PMC6298800.

5. Dow DE, Shayo AM, Cunningham CK, Mmbaga BT. HIV-1 Drug Resistance and Virologic Outcomes Among Tanzanian Youth Living with HIV. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2019 Feb 4. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000002288. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 30724834.

6. Kelly MS, Zheng J, Boiditswe S, Steenhoff AP, Feemster KA, Arscott-Mills T, Seme B, Ratshaa B, Rulaganyang I, Patel MZ, Mantzor S, Shah SS, Cunningham CK. Investigating Mediators of the Poor Pneumonia Outcomes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Exposed but Uninfected Children. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc.2019 Mar 28;8(1):13-20. doi: 10.1093/jpids/pix092. PMID: 29165579; PMCID: PMC6437836.

7. Cunningham CK, Karron R, Muresan P, McFarland EJ, Perlowski C, Libous J, Thumar B, Gnanashanmugam D, Moye J Jr, Schappell E, Barr E, Rexroad V, Aziz M, Deville J, Rutstein R, Yang L, Luongo C, Collins P, Buchholz U; International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) 2012 Study Team. Live-Attenuated Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccine With Deletion of RNA Synthesis Regulatory Protein M2-2 and Cold Passage Mutations Is Over-attenuated. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2019 May 6;6(6) eCollection 2019 Jun PMID: 31211158, PMCID: PMC6559275.

8. Hurst J, Barrett K, Kelly MS, Staples B, McGann K, Cunningham CK, Reed A, Gbadegesin R, Permar S. Cultivating research skills during clinical training to promote pediatric-scientist development. Pediatrics. 2019 Aug;144(2). pii: e20190745. doi: 10.1542/peds.2019-0745. PMID: 31363070, PMCID: PMC6855830

9. Patel SM, Jallow S, Boiditswe S, Madhi SA, Feemster KA, Steenhoff AP, Arscott-Mills T, Muthoga C, Ajibola G, Shapiro R, Shah SS, Cunningham CK, Kelly MS. Placental Transfer of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Antibody Among HIV-Exposed, Uninfected Infants. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2019 Sep 24. pii: piz056. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piz056. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:31549157

10. Masese RV., Ramos JV., Rugalabamu L, Luhanga S, Shayo AM., Stewart Kearsley A, Cunningham CK., Dow DE. Challenges and Facilitators of Transition from Adolescent to Adult HIV Care Among Youth Living with HIV in Moshi, Tanzania. J International AIDS Society 2019, PMID: 31651089, PMCID: PMC6813636

11. Cunningham CK, McFarland EJ, Morrison RL, Capparelli EV, Safrit JT, Mofenson LM, Mathieson B, Valentine ME, Perlowski C, Smith B, Hazra R, Purdue L, Muresan P, Harding PA, Mbengeranwa T, Robinson LG, Wiznia A, Theron G, Lin B, Bailer RT, Mascola JR, and Graham BS for the IMPAACT P1112 team. Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of the Broadly Neutralizing HIV-1 Monoclonal Antibody VRC01 in HIV-Exposed Newborn Infants. J Infect Dis. 2019 Nov 4. pii: jiz532. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiz532. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 31681963

12. Abu-Raya B, Goldfarb DM, Smieja M, Luinstra K, Richard-Greenblatt M, Steenhoff AP, Feemster KA, Arscott-Mills T, Cunningham CK, Shah SS, Patel MZ, Kelly MS, Sadarangani M. The prevalence and clinical characteristics of pertussis-associated pneumonia among infants in Botswana. BMC Pediatr. 2019 Nov 16;19(1):444. doi: 10.1186/s12887-019-1820-0. PMID: 31733643, PMCID: PMC6858628

13. McFarland EJ, Karron RA, Muresan P, Cunningham, CK, Libous J, Perlowski C, Thumar B, Gnanashanmugam D, Moye J, Schappell E, Barr E, Rexroad V, Fearn L, Spector SA, Aziz M, Cielo M, Beneri C, Wiznia A, Luongo C, Collins PL, Buchholz UJ and the International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) 2011 Study Team. Live respiratory syncytial virus attenuated 1 by M2-2 deletion and stabilized temperature sensitivity mutation 1030s is a promising vaccine candidate in children. J Infect Dis. 2020 Feb 3;221(4):534-543. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiz603.PMID: 31758177, PMCID: PMC6996856

14. McFarland EJ, Karron RA, Muresan P, Cunningham CK, Perlowski C, Libous J, Oliva J, Jean-Philippe P, Moye J, Schappell E, Barr E, Rexroad V, Fearn L, Cielo M, Wiznia A, Deville JG, Yang L, Luongo C, Collins PL, Buchholz UJ; International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) 2013 Study Team. Live-attenuated respiratory syncytial virus vaccine with M2-2 deletion and with SH non-coding region is highly immunogenic in children. J Infect Dis. 2020 Feb 1. pii: jiaa049. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa049. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 32006006, PMCID: PMC7289559

15. Karron R, Atwell J, MacFarland E, Cunningham C, Muresan P, Perlowski C, Libous J, Yogev R, Aziz M, Woods S, Wanionek K, Collins P, Buchholz U; Live-attenuated vaccines prevent respiratory syncytial virus-associated illness in young children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020 Sep 1. doi: 10.1164/rccm.202005-1660OC. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32871092