Joe Sliman, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Why I joined Emmes

The company has a long-standing position as clinical research organization that does important, valuable work for its clients. Its reputation for integrity in science was a big attraction. I have the opportunity to build our medical affairs and pharmacoviligance departments. My previous work with Department of Defense, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is relevant to our government work, and my background with pharmaceutical and biotech firms will be useful as we grow our commercial base.

How I chose my career

My grandmother was chief nurse at a hospital in my hometown in Washington, PA, and my mother was a nurse there too. When my mother would start her shift, my grandmother would take me on her night shift rounds, and I would eat breakfast with the doctors in the surgeon’s lounge. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a doctor.

A career highlight

I was part of an advisory committee briefing team for tasimelteon, an orphan drug (a biological product or drug used to treat a rare disease or condition). The board voted 11-0 in favor of its approval – a rare occurrence. I was very proud of that.

My background

Before joining Emmes, I was senior director of clinical research and medical director at Social & Scientific Systems. Before that, I was chief medical officer at Synthetics Biologics, Inc. and earlier had worked for Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Medimmune and Dynport Vaccine Company. At the start of my career, I handled U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet disease surveillance programs, which included influenza surveillance, preparedness and prevention.

A bit about me

I grew up living near an airport, so my other dream – besides becoming a doctor – was to fly. Later, I ended up flying helicopters for the U.S. Marine Corps. In my free time, I enjoy playing basketball and ice hockey, as well as going on hikes. My favorite place in the world is Iceland, and I’ve been there 21 times!


M.D., Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Master of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
B.S., Molecular and Cell Biology, Pennsylvania State University

Selected papers and presentations

Kokai-Kun JF, Roberts T, Coughlin O, Le C, Whalen H, Stevenson R, Wacher VJ, Sliman J. Use of ribaxamase (SYN-004), a β-lactamase, to prevent Clostridium difficile infection in β-lactam-treated patients: a double-blind, phase 2b, randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Infect Dis. 2019 Mar 15.

Malkin EM, Yogev R, Abughali A, Sliman JA, Wang CK, Zuo F, Eickhoff M, Esser MT, Tang RS and Dubovsky F. Safety and Immunogenicity of a Live Attenuated RSV Vaccine in Healthy RSV-seronegative Children 5-24 months of age. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 29;8(10):e77104. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077104.

Balfour HH, Sifakis F, Sliman JA, Knight JA, Schmeling DO, and Thomas W. Age-specific Prevalence of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Infection among Children in the United States and Factors Affecting its Acquisition. J Infect Dis. 2013 July 18. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit321.

Sliman JA, Metzgar D, Asseff DC, Coon RG, Faix DJ, and Lizewski S. An Outbreak of Acute Respiratory Disease Caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae onboard a Deployed US Navy Ship. J Clin Microbiol. 2009 Dec;47(12):4121-3.

Sliman JA, Eberly, BJ, Tamashiro DA, Calimlim PS, and Whelen AC. Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA): Investigation on a United States Navy Ship. Haw J Public Health. 2008;1:62-67.