Erica Howell, Ph.D.
Erica Howell, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University, Fullerton. She has a 14 year old daughter with Blau Syndrome.
Founder, Board Member
Troy Townsin is originally from Melbourne, Australia and moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2004 where he is a celebrated author. Most importantly, Troy is the father of Felix and Lexi and started the Cure Blau Syndrome Foundation to help his daughter Lexi who we lost in 2019.
Cheryl-Lynn Townsin started the Cure Blau Syndrome with her husband, Troy, to fight for a cure for her daughter, Lexi, who passed away in 2019. Cheryl-Lynn works at Royal Roads University in Victoria, Canada where she is also earning her graduate degree in Global Leadership.
Jon Howell is an attorney in Orange County, CA. He provides legal counsel to the Cure Blau Syndrome Foundation. His daughter showed her first symptoms of Blau Syndrome at 6 months.
Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson is senior director of global communications at a leading technology and consulting firm. His two-year-old daughter has Blau Syndrome.
Medical Advisory Board
Carine Wouters, M.D., Ph.D.
Medical Advisory Board Member
Carine H Wouters is a pediatric rheumatologist working at Leuven University Hospital in Leuven, Belgium.
She is head of the clinical department of pediatric rheumatology and immune-inflammatory diseases at the Leuven University Children’s hospital, and professor in Pediatrics at Leuven University. She currently is the executive board member for pediatric rheumatology in the European Reference Network for Rare Immune Deficiency, Autoimmune and Autoinflammatory diseases.
Her major research interests comprise systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and macrophage activation syndrome (in collaboration with research group of Immunobiology, Patrick Matthys, Leuven), autoinflammatory diseases (in collaboration with research group Genetics of Autoimmunity, Adrian Liston) as well as granulomatous inflammatory diseases in children with a special interest to Blau syndrome (in collaboration with Carlos Rose, Wilmington, US).
1 KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Laboratory of Adaptive Immunology & Immunobiology, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
2 University Hospitals Leuven, Department of Pediatrics, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
Ruth Napier, Ph.D.
Medical Advisory Board Member
Dr. Napier is the principal investigator of a translational immunology laboratory at the VA Portland Health Care System and Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR. She has extensive experience in basic and clinical research in the fields of microbiology, immunology, autoimmunity, inflammation, and drug development.
Dr. Napier received her PhD from Emory University in Atlanta, GA where she repurposed a previously FDA-approved cancer drug as a novel immunotherapy to treat tuberculosis, which is currently in a Phase II clinical trial. She then completed two postdoctoral fellowships at Oregon Health & Science University in the Departments of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Napier’s research program is focused on understanding how microbial sensors, including the gene NOD2 (which is linked to Blau Syndrome), control pathogenic cellular responses in autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases such as autoimmune arthritis and uveitis, Blau Syndrome, and Yao Syndrome.
Her long-term research goal is to use this information towards discovery of biomarkers associated with hard-to-diagnose inflammatory diseases, and development of novel biologics that aim to reprogram pathogenic immune cells back to a quiescent state and thereby thwart progression of disease.