Our member of the month is Dr. Maria Limberis. Maria was born in Adelaide, Australia but raised on the island of Rhodes, Greece. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Liverpool John Moores University in Great Britain. As part of her degree, she conducted research for a year on non-viral gene therapy for cystic fibrosis in Germany at Boehringer Mannheim. Shortly after graduation, she moved to Adelaide Australia where she earned her PhD from University of Adelaide. Her graduate work focused on the development of novel gene therapies for cystic fibrosis. In 2003 she joined Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania as a post-doctoral researcher. In 2008 we was promoted to faculty and joined the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Currently Maria is Research Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and also the Senior Director of the Animal Models Core of the Gene Therapy Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her main research interest is gene therapy for cystic fibrosis airway disease. Currently she is working on vector-based prophylaxis against influenza, and have partnered with Johnson & Johnson to move this program into the clinic.
Maria’s grandparents were born and raised on the islands of Rhodes and Ikaria. They migrated to Australia following the 2nd world war. Her parents were born and raised in Adelaide Australia and visited Rhodes when she was a young toddler for a 12-month project and decided to stay! Along with her 3 younger siblings she was raised and educated in Rhodes.
Maria chose to become an HMS members because she was impressed by the drive and dedication of the board members to promote education of the Hellenic Medical Community, as well as their efforts for supporting our younger members who are seeking a future in the medical field.
Like all of us, Maria has a life outside of the office and because she has spent most of her life traveling and living in many countries around the world it is not surprising that she enjoys traveling! She is also involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and fundraises through the yearly Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cycle for Life event.