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Quardricos Driskell serves as Vice President of Public Policy & Government Affairs, where he spearheads the efforts to champion patient-first policies on Capitol Hill and unites stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem, to protect and improve key policies on behalf of people impacted by autoimmune disease. Prior to joining the Autoimmune Association, Driskell led an impactful career in legislation with the American Urological Association (AUA). His efforts resulted in hundreds of millions raised to fund critical research dollars and was instrumental in driving essential legislation on behalf of patients.
Driskell is a graduate of Morehouse College, Harvard University, The George Washington University and serves as an Adjunct Professor in Legislative Affairs at The George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management.
Olivia Casey serves as the Senior Director, Programs, for the Autoimmune Association. Olivia oversees programs with a focus on ensuring the needs of stakeholders are met in an efficient and timely fashion. Her role includes the identification, planning and execution of projects that focus on a positive impact for both the organization and patients. In her non-work life, Olivia’s interests include cactus, desert preservation, running with her rescue dogs, cooking and reading.
Sonia Sharma, PhD
Sonia Sharma, PhD, serves as an Associate Professor at the Center for Autoimmunity and Inflammation and the Center for Cancer Immunotherapy at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Dr. Sharma’s current research focuses on using unbiased, genome-scale approaches to unravel innate immunity, the body’s early immune response to microbial pathogens and neoplastic cells, which has also been implicated as a common causal factor in many inflammatory, allergic and autoimmune diseases. She integrates cutting-edge genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, computational and translational approaches to define the key genetic mechanisms regulating cellular innate immunity, and determine how they impact human health and disease. Dr. Sharma has an outstanding record of research accomplishments, including high impact discoveries published in top scientific journals. Her work has made her an internationally recognized expert in the use of high throughput, genome scale approaches, in particular RNA interference and CRISPR/Cas9, to dissect complex cellular signaling pathways and questions of immunological relevance. Her use of these technologies is a powerful tool that can be applied to any cellular pathway or disease process. Dr. Sharma was instrumental in establishing the Institute’s Functional Genomics Center, which she currently directs, and she is channeling her expertise to further her own research program. Her work, particularly her studies of anti-viral and anti-tumor type 1 interferon signaling, which incorporates work with human genetics and biosamples, will be instrumental in understanding how genes contribute to human health and disease.
SWHR’s Autoimmune Policy Program is supported by an educational sponsorship from Horizon Therapeutics. SWHR maintains independence and editorial control over program development, content, and work products.