Board of Advisors


In April 2016, the Board of Directors of Nicaragua Sugar Estates Limited, owner of Ingenio San Antonio, announced the formation of a Board of Advisors as a key part of the company’s efforts and initiatives to combat Mesoamerican Nephropathy (MeN).

The Board of Advisors is comprised of prestigious and highly qualified experts from the areas of epidemiology, toxicology, nephrology research, medical practice, education and occupational health and safety.

The Board of Advisors will advise the company on three key issues:

– How to maximize its investment in support of the institutions that are investigating the possible causes of MeN;

– The specific steps it needs to take to be at the forefront of best labor practices in the sugar industry and;

– How to further improve the lives of those afflicted by the disease.


June 7th, 2016, Miami, FL. The Board of Advisors met with the President and Chairman of NSEL to discuss the importance of the board’s role for the company, define the strategic objectives of the board and establish a short, medium and long term work plan.


November 21st & 22nd, 2016, Managua, Nicaragua. On the 21st, the BOA conducts its first site visit to Ingenio San Antonio to see first hand the sugar cane fields and the labor conditions. The visit also included a stop at the company hospital, the filtered water distribution center, the hydrating drink production center and ASOCHIVIDA (a prominent organization of former sugar cane workers afflicted with chronic kidney disease of non traditional causes).

On the 22nd, the second BOA meeting was held and progress to date was reviewed and discussed. In addition, the board defined the key milestones to be attained in 2017 in fulfilling the board’s objective of deciphering the MeN epidemic.


Camillo Ricordi, MD
Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery
Distinguished Professor of Medicine
Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Microbiology and Immunology
Director, Diabetes Research Institute and Cell Transplant Program
University of Miami

Camillo Ricordi holds the Stacy Joy Goodman Chair in Diabetes Research. He is Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and serves as Director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI; ) and the Cell Transplant Program at the University of Miami. Dr. Ricordi and collaborators developed the method for large scale production of human pancreatic islets, and he led the team that performed the first series of successful clinical islet allotransplants to reverse diabetes. Recognized by his peers as an expert in human cell processing, characterization and transplantation, Dr. Ricordi was president of the Cell Transplant Society and served on the FDA Biologic Response Modifiers Advisory Committee and the NIH Expert Panel and Strategic Planning Committees. He is currently serving as Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the NIH Clinical Islet Transplantation Consortium, which standardized cell manufacturing protocols in North America and Europe and completed the first multicenter FDA Phase III trial of islet transplantation in the US. Dr. Ricordi has received numerous honors and awards and was also Knighted by the President of the Republic of Italy. He is currently serving on the editorial boards of CellR4 (Editor-in-Chief; and Cell Transplantation (Co-Editor-in-Chief). In 2013 Dr. Ricordi was appointed President of the Ri.MED Foundation ( by the Italian Prime Minister. He also serves as Founding Chairman of The Cure Alliance ( and of the Diabetes Research Institute Federation ( He has authored over 700 scientific publications and 23 awarded patents.

Alessia Fornoni M.D., Ph.D., FASN
Professor of Medicine
Chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
Katz Family Endowed Chair
Director, Katz Family Drug Discovery Center
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Fornoni received her medical degree from the School of Medicine at he University of Pavia, Italy. She subsequently obtained a Ph.D. Degree in Medical Pharmacology at the same University.

She is currently tenured Professor of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and serves as Director of the Diabetic Nephropathy Clinic and Director and Chair of the Peggy and Harold Katz Drug Discovery Center. In 2013-2014, she also gained experience in drug development as Global Head of Discovery in Cardiovascular and Metabolism at Hoffman-La Roche in Basel, overseeing more than 120 scientists working on diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, nephrology and ophthalmology related research projects. She is currently the Vice-President and Chief Scientific Officer of L&F Health LLC, a small start up company focused on finding a cure for patients affected by diabetic kidney diseases. In 2015, she was also recently appointed as Associate Director of the MD PhD program.

As a physician-scientist who has maintained a resolutely focused research program that has provided novel and seminal contributions to our understanding of the pathogenesis of kidney disease, her research has been supported by grants from National Institutes of Health, private foundations and industry; she also serves as PI and Co-I on three NIH-sponsored clinical trials. She has received prestigious awards, was invited to write reviews for prestigious journals (e.g. NEJM), was nominated to the editorial board of Diabetes, presented at national and international meetings from five different continents, was visiting professor at more than 20 academic institutions, served as grant reviewer for NIH, ADA and AHA. She has 88 peer review publications, 30 of which as corresponding author. Her contributions have been published in high impact journals: Journal of Clinical Investigation, NEJM, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Diabetes, Kidney International and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology among others. She also contributed to three textbook chapters related to diabetic nephropathy and podocyte biology. She has been able to combine a successful career with an active family life (with 2 children) and serve as an outstanding role model for many trainees. She successfully trained more than 10 post-doctoral fellows, further supporting her accomplishments, dedication and perseverance, and more importantly her unstinted commitment as a physician-scientist.

Moving forward, her vision is to develop a Research Center where the standard parameters of academic growth based on excellent education and NIH funded translational research are paralleled by a strong drive to facilitate development and commercialization of new intellectual property. In this respect, her vision is one that brings industry, investors and not for profit organizations around the table with the intent to match science with innovation and patients’ motivation to find a cure for diabetes and its related complications.

Alvaro Salas, MD
Board Member
Central American Healthcare Initiative (CAHI)
Costa Rica

Dr. Álvaro Salas is a Costa Rican health professional with a vast wealth of experience.

Dr. Salas graduated as a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Costa Rica in 1976. Later he received a specialization in Health Services Administration and Planning at Leeds University, UK. Salas also received a Masters in Public Administration and Health Economics at the Kennedy School, Harvard University, USA.

He was the director of clinics and hospitals for more than 30 years for the Caja Costariccense de Seguridad Social (CCSS), the Costa Rican social security program responsible for more than 90% of health services provided in the country. In 1994 he was appointed Executive President of the CCSS.

Dr. Salas has worked extensively as an international health consultant, including extensive experience with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). His work has taken him to Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Columbia, Guatemala, Uruguay, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the United States, and most recently to China.

Vito M Campese, M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics
Former Chief of the Division of Nephrology
Director Hypertension Center
Keck School of Medicine at USC
Chairman, ISSNAF

A native of Bari, Italy, Dr. Campese graduated medical school summa cum laude before coming to the Keck School of Medicine on a fellowship in 1974.  Since his time at USC, Dr. Campese has established himself as one on the most prominent nephrologists in the field and headed Keck’s division of Nephrology from 2000-2015.  In addition to his numerous academic and administrative appointments, Dr. Campese is a former president of the Italian-American Society of Nephrologists and is currently a member of the Program Committee on the Council on High Blood Pressure Research for the American Heart Association

Classic Liceum, 1960
Doctor of Medicine, University of Bari, summa cum laude, 1966

Policlinico, 1966 – 1967

Policlinico, Nephrology, 1967 – 1969

University of Bari, Nephrology, 1971 – 1973
Keck School of Medicine of USC, Hypertension Service, 1974 – 1975

American Board of Internal Medicine: Internal Medicine
American Board of Internal Medicine: Nephrology

Professional society memberships:
American Physiological Society
American Society of Hypertension
American Society of Internal Medicine
American Society of Nephrology
Council for High Blood Pressure Research
Endocrine Society
International Society of Hypertension
International Society of Nephrology
National Kidney Foundation
Western Society of Clinical Investigation

The Domenico Cotugno Medal and Award in Nephrology, 1988
The Regione Puglia Targa d’Oro Award for Contribution to Science, 1991
Rotary Club Contribution to Science Award, Rotary Club International, 2002
University Kidney Disease Research Disease, 2006

Kristy Murray, DVM, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular Virology and Microbiology
Associate Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Assistant Dean for Faculty and Educational Development, National School of Tropical Medicine
Director, Feigin Center BSL-3 Laboratory, Texas Children’s Hospital

Dr. Kristy Murray is the Associate Vice-Chair for Research for the Department of Pediatrics and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. She also serves as the Assistant Dean for Faculty and Academic Development for the National School of Tropical Medicine.

Prior to joining the faculty at BCM, Dr. Murray was an Associate Professor of Epidemiology for the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health (2002-2012).  She received a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M University in College Station in 1998 and a PhD in Preventive Medicine and Community Health in Clinical Investigations from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Dr. Murray spent the first five years of her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At CDC, she served two years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer conducting outbreak investigations, including the initial outbreak of West Nile virus in New York City in 1999, bubonic plague in Wyoming, and unexplained illness and deaths in injection drug users in Ireland. She also had the opportunity to work on the polio eradication campaign in Bangladesh and research lyssaviruses in the Philippines. She received several awards at CDC including the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service for her work on the West Nile virus Encephalitis Investigation Team and for the Anthrax Investigation Emergency Response Team.

In 2002, Dr. Murray returned to Texas, and her research over the past 14 years has been focused on both laboratory- and clinically-based studies related to vector-borne and zoonotic diseases, including West Nile virus, dengue, St. Louis encephalitis, eastern equine encephalitis virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Chagas, murine typhus, and rabies. Her studies are predominately based in Texas, Nicaragua, and the Philippines. She teaches graduate-level courses on epidemiology and infectious diseases, and advises master’s and PhD-level students.  Dr. Murray has received several awards for her work in academia, including the Innovation in Health Science Education Award from the UT Academy of Health Science Education, Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence, the UT Health Science Center Young Investigator Award, and the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Most recently she received the Bailey Ashford Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene for her work in tropical medicine. Dr. Murray is an Associate Editor for PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases and serves on the editorial board of the journal Epidemiology and Infection and has authored more than 80 scientific and technical papers.

Wayne Sanderson PhD, MS
Epidemiology – Preventive Medicine & Environmental Health
Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention
The College of Public Health at The University of Kentucky

Wayne Sanderson, MS, CIH, Ph.D. is Professor and Chair of the Epidemiology Department in the College of Public Health at The University of Kentucky. Dr. Sanderson’s primary research focus is on agricultural health and safety and he is the Deputy-Director of the Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention, which is a national Center for research and education on health and safety problems facing our nation’s rural residents. He also conducts research studies on respiratory diseases, cancers, and birth defects associated with a variety of occupational and environmental exposures. The research projects of Dr. Sanderson’s students cover a very broad range of topics encompassing both epidemiology and exposure assessment components.

Before coming to the University of Kentucky in December 2009, Dr. Sanderson was a Professor in the Occupational and Environmental Health Department of University of Iowa College of Public Health. He was the Director of the Industrial Hygiene Training Program for the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety where he taught industrial hygiene and epidemiology courses, and he was Director of the Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health.

Dr. Sanderson worked for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)–a Center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)–starting in 1978 and culminating with his position as Chief of the Industrial Hygiene Section in the Industrywide Studies Branch. One of his last assignments with the CDC was as an investigator of anthrax contamination of post offices in Washington, DC.

Research Interests

Agricultural health and safety, respiratory diseases, cancers, and birth defects associated with a variety of occupational and environmental exposures

I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.