Marian Lemle is a creative thinker and citizen scientist.
When her daughter suddenly became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), Marian worked diligently to comprehend the underlying causes. She began a systematic study of the literature and developed some initial ideas; chance favors the prepared mind.
While attending a lecture on induced hibernation in mice at the annual meeting of the White House Fellows in 2006 (where she had given a talk the previous year on creative thinking), she had a spark of inspiration--that people with CFS/ME didn’t need an injection of hydrogen sulfide gas (a focus of the mouse study)—they were already in a dialed-down state resembling hibernation, and that this gas, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), possibly had something to do with with the disease at a molecular level. She theorized that the gas was possibly affecting the body's ability to fully utilize oxygen.
That insight led to the development of the “hibernation” theory of illness in CFS/ME, and represented the first comprehensive theory of hydrogen sulfide in chronic illness.
She produced a paper on the topic in 2007, e-published ahead of print in September 2008 a short hypothesis and testified before the federal committee overseeing research in this area (CFSAC) that same year. She also presented a poster on her theory at the International Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (IACFS/ME) Conference in 2009.
Several key aspects of her ideas concerning hydrogen sulfide and the bioenergetics of the mitochondria have since been confirmed. In August 2016, a second study of the metabolomics profile in ME/CFS patients expanded on a previous signature analysis and provided additional support for the theory that ME/CFS patients may be experiencing a hypometabolic state akin to hibernation.
Early on in her career, Marian worked in policy planning and development at the White House Office of Telecommunications Policy. She has served on four non-profit educational boards.
She holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where she was the Edward Shils Teaching Assistant in Venture Initiation and Entrepreneurial Development, and a Certificate in Painting and Drawing from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, where she was awarded the Vera Lester Memorial Award for Painting. Recently, she descended over 2000 feet below sea level in a small submarine to witness firsthand life forms that thrive in an environment of diminished oxygen and total darkness.