The mission of the NBBTP is to prepare biosafety and biocontainment professionals of the highest caliber to meet the needs of the biomedical, emerging disease and civilian biodefense research communities through the 21st century.
Each December, a select number of NBBTP Fellows, trained specifically to support high containment research environments begin work as biosafety professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the scientific, regulatory, biocontainment, biosafety, engineering, communications, management, and public relations challenges associated with the conduct of research in these facilities
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2018
Anthony Gresko, Ph.D.
Dr. Gresko earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Biology from Towson University and his doctorate in Infectious Diseases from the University of Georgia. As a recipient of the Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award for the NIH, he researched California serogroup bunyaviruses for characterization and vaccine research in mouse and non-human primate models for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. While at UGA, his research focused on virus-host interaction using RNA-interference technology to determine the role of target genes in influenza A virus replication, as well as investigating both the virological and immunological effects of co-infections with influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus. His work revealed an effect and potential role of the chemokine receptor CX3CR1 on influenza a virus replication. He has received multiple travel awards for attending American Society of Virology meetings while also presenting his data during these meetings. Dr. Gresko is interested in utilizing biosafety and biosecurity concepts internationally to create effective measures facilitating research with infectious diseases as well as training and education to promote global health.
Maria M. Landron, Ph.D.
Dr. Maria del Mar Landron Casanova is currently a Senior Specialist in Global Health at the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). After completing her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, she completed a summer internship in the University of Kentucky Department of Toxicology prior to earning her Masters of Public Health (General Public Health) program at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. Dr. Landron Casanova then returned to the University of Kentucky for her Doctor of Public Health with a concentration in Health Services Management. Multiple practicum opportunities in the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and the Puerto Rico Health Department, helped her develop an understanding of public health preparedness systems at both the local and state levels, respectively. Her mini-grant proposal for the National Coordinating Center for Public Health Services and Systems Research Dissertation and Junior Faculty Awards titled, "Assuring the Future of Public Health Systems Research” earned her funding for her dissertation project, “Comparing Public Health Emergency Preparedness Services Across States and Local Agencies”. Prior to being selected as one of three NBBTP Fellows, Dr. Landron Casanova worked in the private sector for a number of years, growing professionally and expanding her expertise. Dr. Landron Casanova aspires to utilize her skill set as well as her leadership, management, biosafety, biocontainment, public health and customer service experience to promote the well-being of people and the environment world-wide.
Eric Lewis, Ph.D.
Dr. Lewis is currently a Biosafety Specialist within the Department of Environment, Health and Safety at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Lewis earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Integrative Biology from the University of Florida. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. As a doctoral student he identified and characterized a fibronectin-binding protein expressed by the tick-borne relapsing fever agent Borrelia hermsii in the blood of experimentally infected mice. As a doctoral student, he also served in multiple leadership roles, including being a teaching assistant for multiple biological science lectures and laboratory classes as well as being a councilmember on the campus Advisory Council on Diversity. After he completed his doctoral studies, Dr. Lewis moved to Flagstaff, AZ to perform postdoctoral research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) North and Northern Arizona University (NAU). During his time at TGen North and NAU he characterized the early host innate immune response to pulmonary coccidioidomycosis in a murine model of disease. He performed a second postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he examined mammalian host immune responses to Burkholderia pseudomallei, B. mallei, and the B. cepacia complex. Dr. Lewis has presented his research at several national scientific meetings and published in multiple peer-reviewed scientific journals.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2017
Enitra N. Jones, Ph.D.
Dr. Enitra N. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree (cum laude honors) in Biology with a Microbiology concentration within the Honors College of Southern University and A&M College of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As one of the first recipients of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bacterial Pathogenesis Training Grant at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), she earned her doctorate in Microbial Pathogenesis, Immunology, and Inflammation while investigating determinants of chlamydial-induced urogenital tract complications. Prior to her acceptance into the NBBTP, Dr. Jones was an Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) postdoctoral fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her work focused on the development and optimization of adjunct therapies that may be effective against influenza-induced inflammation and the subsequent morbidity associated with pathogenic strains of influenza viruses. Dr. Jones has also found ways to integrate her love of science with her passion for community outreach. In 2013, she was awarded the Light of Hope Award by the City of Memphis and the Shelby County Health Department for the conception, development, and implementation of communicable disease initiatives for inner-city youth. She was awarded the “Outstanding Graduate Student” award by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and inducted into the Imhotep Honors Society for Leadership and Service. Dr. Jones has also been the recipient of numerous scientific research awards and honors.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2016
Julianne L. Baron, PhD, RBP
Dr. Julianne Baron is currently the Vice President of Research & Development and Regulatory Affairs at Special Pathogens Laboratory. Prior to this, Dr. Baron served as the Biosafety Program Manager for Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she supported the high containment research laboratories, processed IBC registrations, and developed and provided biosafety training. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program where she was able to complete biosafety projects with the American Society for Microbiology’s Small World Initiative, NIH’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Colorado State University, and The Ohio State University’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Dr. Baron earned her PhD in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. Her doctoral dissertation work involved the development of a molecular diagnostic test for the presence of Legionella pneumophila (the cause of Legionnaires' disease) in water and clinical samples and the characterization of the microbial ecology of hospital hot water systems following the introduction of chemical disinfection using next generation sequencing. Julianne has presented her research at several conferences including the 8th International Conference on Legionella in Melbourne, Australia and has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. She is a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient and has won several Best Poster Awards. In addition to studying waterborne pathogens, Julianne has completed research projects studying Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) immunology, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) pathology, Limnology, HIV genetics and SNP analysis, HIV-associated dementia pathogenesis, and dendritic cell immunology. She earned her BS at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA and graduated cum laude with a major in Biology and minors in Spanish and Anthropology.
David Martinson, PhD
Dr. Martinson received his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Grand Valley Sate State University, and his doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from East Carolina University. His doctoral work focused on characterizing iron responsive transcriptional regulation in the zoonotic bacterial pathogen Brucella abortus. He developed a model describing how the Brucella transcriptional regulators Irr and RirA sense and respond to cellular iron levels and how this mechanism contributes to bacterial survival and pathogenesis in the host. He received multiple awards for the presentation of his data at conferences and was the recipient of a student travel award to attend an American Society for Microbiology General Meeting. While at East Carolina University he served in numerous leadership roles including: Graduate Student Body President, President and Treasurer of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and President of the Brody School of Medicine Doctoral Students Association. Dr. Martinson is interested in applying biosafety and biosecurity concepts to biodefense related areas.
Hongliang Yang, PhD
Dr. Yang is currently the Containment Manager & Biosafety Officer at the Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston Texas. Prior to taking the position at Houston Methodist, Dr. Yang was a fellow in the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program at NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. During the fellowship, Dr. Yang produced Biosafety Manual for The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI Janelia Campus), developed BSL-2 Laboratories Accreditation Program at Northwestern University, and accomplished the applied biosafety project in BSL-3 laboratory at Yale University. Dr. Yang earned his MS in Pathology and PhD in Microbiology at Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU), School of Medicine. He also earned BS in Medical Technology at Zhengzhou University, China. Dr. Yang worked in a clinical laboratory as a medical technologist. During his doctoral work, Dr. Yang investigated the pathogenesis of leptospirosis and discovered that thrombocytopenia in the experimental leptospirosis of guinea pig is not related to disseminated intravascular coagulation. He also identified vaccine candidates against leptospirosis using reverse vaccinology. Dr. Yang did postdoctoral research in the Mycobacteria Research Laboratories at Colorado State University, where he investigated the molecular mechanisms of purified protein derivative (PPD) inducing delayed-type hypersensitivity response, and discovered several cocktails containing defined proteins were able to mimic the PPD response at the molecular level. Dr. Yang also made recombinant proteins using bioreactor for the Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Research Resources Repository. Dr. Yang has over 40 publications in journals and books. He has also served as a reviewer for over 15 peer-reviewed journals and is an editorial board member for the Chinese Journal of Zoonoses.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2015
Chad Austin, PhD, RBP
Dr. Austin is currently a Safety Specialist in the Biosafety group of the Safety, Health, Environment, and Risk Management team (SHERM) at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth). He and his team are responsible for creating and ensuring a safe operating environment for a broad diversity of research staff and faculty at UTHealth and is working to teach young scientists about the discipline of Biosafety through the close relationship between SHERM and the UTHealth School of Public Health where he has an appointment as an adjunct instructor. Dr. Austin is also heavily involved with ABSA International where he is active on a number of committees and as an instructor for two of the ABSA-Owned Courses: Basic and Advanced Risk Assessment. In addition to ABSA International, Dr. Austin is also active with the local ABSA affiliate, the Southern Biosafety Association (SBA) where he organizes the bi-monthly Biosafety and Infection Prevention Journal Club. Prior to joining UTHealth, Dr. Austin completed a post-doctoral Fellowship with the NBBTP where he provided multiple Institutional Centers at the NIH with safety services and participated in a wide variety of training courses, conferences, and professional development courses in the world of laboratory safety. He was also fortunate to work with outside organizations such as Cornell University, ABSA, and the architecture and engineering firm, HDR. Prior to the NBBTP, Dr. Austin graduated from the doctoral program in microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. For his thesis work, he studied the Tier 1 Select Agent, Burkholderia pseudomallei. This work was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Martin Voskuil. While at the University of Colorado, he was involved daily with maintaining compliance of the Select Agents program to the proper rules and regulations, and he was heavily involved in daily operations of his BSL-3 laboratory. Dr. Austin also trained with the Dow and Schweizer laboratories at Colorado State University to work in the Rocky Mountain Regional Biocontainment Laboratory for various collaborative research efforts, also focused on B. pseudomallei. As a graduate student, he was the recipient of the Molecular Pathogenesis of Infectious Diseases training grant and has participated in several conferences and workshops focused on biosafety, biosecurity, and the molecular pathogenesis of bacterial and viral agents. Dr. Austin is currently most interested in facilitating the safe practice of basic and applied biomedical and microbiological research by providing knowledge of and expertise in best safety practices and regulatory oversight requirements.
Cristine Campos Lawson, PhD., RBP
Dr. Lawson is currently the Deputy Director for Biosecurity for the Department of Defense (DoD). She is responsible for all DoD BSAT Biorisk Program oversight activities, and is the Biological Select Agent and Toxins (BSAT) Executive Agent (EA) senior biosecurity advisor, responsible for all biosecurity functions pursuant to regulation; biosecurity planning, coordination, oversight and overlap areas of concern with biosafety. Dr. Lawson is a member of the Editorial Review Board for Applied Biosafety: Journal of ABSA International, as well as, a member of ABSA Scientific Program Committee and Biosecurity Task Force. Dr. Lawson received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a graduate student, she received funding from the Pacific Southwest Regional Centers of Excellence (RCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases to focus her research on the role of autotransporter proteins in Burkholderia pseudomallei pathogenesis. She has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, as well as presented her research at several national and international meetings. Dr. Lawson previously earned her Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology, summa cum laude, with a minor in Chemistry from California State University Channel Island.
Brandon Hatcher, PhD
Dr. Brandon Hatcher received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). During his doctoral work he identified that sialic acid, a naturally occurring terminal carbohydrate ubiquitously expressed in the nasopharynx, could be used to stimulate Streptococcus pneumoniae to nonhematogenously invade the central nervous system. This helped provide evidence for an alternate route that bacteria can use to cause meningitis. While at UAB he served in numerous leadership roles including: senator for the Graduate Student Association, president/member of several student organizations, and officer/founder for UAB toastmasters club. Before UAB he completed a post-baccalaureate training in Molecular Virology at the University of Chicago. There he studied Human Papilloma Virus oncoproteins E6 /E7 and their interaction with human regulatory protein CYLD during infection. Prior to that he was a contracted Observer for the North Pacific Groundfish Program, in Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Chelsea Schiano, PhD
Dr. Schiano is the High-Containment Facility Officer and Alternate Responsible Official at UC Davis. In this position she oversees annual testing and re-verification of all BSL-3 laboratories, SOP development, waste management, incident response drills, containment facility design, and more for a very diverse high-containment research portfolio. In 2014 she earned a Ph.D. from the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, Illinois. Chelsea's graduate research focused on posttranscriptional mechanisms of regulation in Yersinia species, specifically regulation of the type III secretion system. Her thesis project involved working in high-containment with mouse models of bubonic and pneumonic Plague. During her time at Northwestern, Chelsea presented her work at the International Symposium on Yersinia in Recife, Brazil, as well as at several other meetings. She was also a TA for the Advanced Microbial Pathogenesis course and attended the GLRCE Biosafety Training Program. Her work has been published in PNAS, Journal of Bacteriology, Infection and Immunity, and Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. Chelsea began her education at SUNY Geneseo, and graduated magna cum laude with a major in Biochemistry in 2007.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2014
Sabena Blakeney, PhD
Dr. Blakeney is the Biological Safety Coordinator for the University of Central Florida. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Tulane University School of Medicine and Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from University of Maryland. As a graduate student, Dr. Blakeney received Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund to focus her research on the development of subunit vaccines against biodefense relevant pathogens that cause anthrax and plague. Following graduation, Dr. Blakeney spent four years as a visiting scientist at Plum Island Animal Disease Center where she conducted research on pathogenesis and development of improved vaccines and diagnostics against foot-and-mouth disease. She has presented her research at professional societies and published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Blakeney is interested in high-risk pathogens that are relevant to biodefense and agro-defense.
Althea Capul Treacy, PhD
Dr. Treacy is an Associate Biosafety Officer in the Division of Occupational Health and Safety at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD. Her current duties include biosafety evaluation, review of biological import and export requests, biospecimen stewardship, and training for high/maximum containment researchers. Dr. Treacy earned her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis in the Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis program and her Bachelor of Science with High Honors in Microbiology from the University of Michigan. During her doctoral work she refined how UDP-galactose transport affects the parasite life cycle and disease pathogenesis in the protozoan Leishmania major. Dr. Treacy conducted postdoctoral research at The Scripps Research Institute where she described interactions between specific arenaviral proteins and developed a rapid assay to measure viral budding from cells. She then worked at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where she used reverse genetic tools to examine roles for the arenaviral matrix protein in viral RNA synthesis and infection, mentored student researchers, and organized the opening of a BSL-3 laboratory. While at UCI she also taught undergraduate courses in microbiology, AIDS fundamentals, and biochemistry. She was most recently a Biosurety/Biosafety Program Manager at the NIH.
Sarah Ziegler, PhD
Dr. Ziegler is the Corporate Biosafety Officer for Southern Research Institute. Prior to her current position, she served as an Associate Biosafety Officer for UCLA. Sarah Ziegler earned her Ph.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch, researching alphavirus pathogenesis in the laboratory of Robert Tesh, M.D. She earned her M.S. and B.S. at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Biochemistry, studying the effects of photodynamic therapy in breast cancer cell lines. As a student, she received the Robert Shope Ph.D. Endowed Fellowship, a Sealy Center for Vaccine Development Fellowship and the Ann and John Hamilton Endowed Scholarship. She was involved with many groups at UTMB, including the Presidential Scholars Steering Committee, Senior Co-Director of the National Student Research Program and Co-President of the Experimental Pathology Graduate Student Organization. As a postdoctoral fellow, she worked in a high containment laboratory studying Rift Valley Fever virus transmission in mosquitoes. After her post-doctoral fellowship, she was employed with the National Biosafety Training Program as a Senior Laboratory Biosafety Training Specialist at the Galveston National Laboratory.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2013
Sara A. Cope
Sara Cope works as an Assistant Biosafety Officer and an Alternate Responsible Official for Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO. Sara began her doctoral studies in Molecular Biology at the University of North Texas (UNT), focusing her research on virulence in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and how pyrimidine auxotrophy can decrease such virulence. Ms. Cope earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from UNT, during which time she gained a great interest in Microbiology. While at UNT, Ms. Cope was awarded the Beth Baird Scholarship and served as the founding vice-president for the Society for Microbiology at UNT. During her time at UNT, Ms. Cope was a pollen counter for Family Allergy and Asthma Care, certified by the National Allergy Bureau and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. As a graduate teaching assistant, Ms. Cope taught both Microbiology and Medical Bacteriology Lab courses throughout her graduate career and served as the Microbiology instructor and mentor for the Upward Bound Math and Science summer program for high school students interested in the science disciplines.
Jarrad Marles, PhD
Dr. Marles is a Regional Science Manager for the DoD Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP). The focus of the program is to prevent the proliferation of biological weapons by providing partner nation governments with education and training to improve laboratory, clinical, and epidemiological safety and security, particularly in regards to especially dangerous pathogens and related materials. In addition, CBEP provides partner nations with research funding and assists with the enhancement of their detection, diagnostic, and reporting capabilities to improve national, regional, and global public health security. Prior to joining the NBBTP, Dr. Marles received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Dartmouth College. He previously earned his Associate of Science from Lorain County Community College (Ohio) and his Bachelor of Science with honors from the University of Akron. Dr. Marles is also a proud U.S. Army veteran having served as a paratrooper with the elite 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC.
Meghan Seltzer, PhD
Dr. Seltzer is a Team Lead in the Environmental, Health, and Safety/Compliance Department at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Research Campus. She currently manages the biological safety, occupational health, and training programs and is the chair of the Janelia Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. She has previously served as the Chemical Hygiene Officer. Currently, Dr. Seltzer is as an elected Councilor for both ABSA International and the Chesapeake Area Biological Safety Association. Prior to entering the NBBTP program, she earned her doctorate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Cellular and Molecular Medicine and her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The Pennsylvania State University.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2012
Thomas Cremer, PhD
Dr. Cremer currently works for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure compliance with the federal select agent regulations, 42 CFR 73. Previous to that he served as the onsite RBL Biosafety Officer to support BSL-3 and ABSL-3 operations at the University of Louisville's Regional Biocontainment Laboratory. Additionally he was designated as an Alternate Responsible Official (ARO) and later the Responsible Official (RO) for the University. Dr. Cremer has been actively involved with the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) though being a past presenter and pre-conference instructor at the annual conference. Prior to joining the NBBTP Dr. Cremer received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology interdisciplinary graduate program where he authored 12 peer-reviewed publications on the immune response to bacterial pathogens, including select agents. During that time he was awarded a NIAID T32 training grant and multiple research conference awards. He earned two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Toledo - one in Toxicology with a minor in Chemistry, the other in Criminal Justice with a minor in Forensic Science Investigation.
Marisa Hickey, DVM, MPH
Dr. Hickey works for the Food and Drug Administration as the Biosafety Manger for the Center of Biologics Evaluation and Research. She previously managed the Biosurety Training Program at the National Institutes of Health, developing and conducting high containment and Select Agent training for researchers, animal care takers, security and emergency responders, occupational medical personnel and facilities personnel. Prior to her time at NIH, she completed her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Public Health in Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Illinois. Dr. Hickey worked at the Lincoln Park Zoo, assisting the veterinary epidemiologist with a disaster preparedness manual for zoological institutions, and she continued this effort with the first ever table top exercise dealing with an avian influenza flu outbreak in Midwestern zoo populations. She continues to enjoy public health outreach and education, and is dedicated to the one health initiative to promote health care for humans, animals and the environment.
Antony Schwartz, PhD
Dr. Antony Schwartz is currently the Director of Biological Safety at Duke University. The Biological Safety Division is responsible for the Duke Hospital, Health System, Medical Center and the University. Programs managed by the Division include the Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure Control Plan, the Tuberculosis Exposure Control Plan, and the Environment of Care for the Duke University Hospitals and Clinics. Dr. Schwartz also serves as the Biosafety Officer managing the Duke Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) and as the Responsible Official for the Duke Select Agent Program. Previously he worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and served as the Responsible Official for the NIH Select Agent Program. Prior to that, he worked for ProSource Consulting, Inc. as the Associate Biosafety Officer for the NIH, an Alternate Responsible Official (ARO), and manager of the day-to-day facility maintenance activities of the maximum-containment BSL4 training laboratory on the NIH Bethesda campus. Dr. Schwartz entered the NBBTP Fellowship immediately after he received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi. While at Southern Miss, Dr. Schwartz also obtained a minor in Technology Commercialization. He leveraged this minor by participating in numerous small business ventures including the co-founding of a successful niche marketing, branding and web-design company. As a graduate teaching assistant, he has had the opportunity to engage and further the learning experience of students from different disciplines through his courses. Dr. Schwartz has served as the president and vice-president for the Graduate Student Forum in his department and was the department representative for the Southern Miss Graduate Student Senate. Dr. Schwartz is an alumnus of Jackson State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology (honors) and minors in chemistry and broadcast journalism.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2011
Dave Harbourt, PhD, RBP
Dr. Harbourt currently serves as the Biosafety Officer at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He previously worked for ProSource Consulting, managing the maximum containment laboratory training center on the NIH-Bethesda campus. Prior to the NBBTP, Dr. Harbourt received his Ph.D. from the Curriculum in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. His research was focused on using quantitative proteomics to evaluate expression of drug metabolizing enzymes and membrane transporters in relation to gastrointestinal toxicity in rats. During his time as a graduate student, Dr. Harbourt was a Teaching Assistant in the Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy course for the Department of Biology. The lab focused primarily on dissections and hands-on analysis of a series of marine and terrestrial specimens to compare structures and functions of organ and skeletal systems. Before his matriculation into UNC, Dr. Harbourt received his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry at Virginia Tech in 2005. While at Virginia Tech, he also worked as a Lab Assistant within the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science.
LT. Marcienne Wright, PhD
Dr. Marcienne (Marci) Wright is a Lieutenant in the Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and works as a Health Scientist for the ASPR Office of Policy and Planning, Division of Biosafety and Biosecurity in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She previously worked in this office as an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, conducting program analysis. Dr. Wright serves on the University of Maryland Baltimore Campus institutional biosafety committee and holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Bard College, where she develops and teaches biosafety and biosecurity outreach curricula for first year students. Prior to joining NBBTP, Dr. Wright served as a laboratory manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and completed a Ph.D. program in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In addition to her graduate research, Dr. Wright contributed to multiple science education policy initiatives at UAB and nationally. Dr. Wright received her Bachelor of Arts in biology from Williams College and her Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry and molecular genetics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2010
Ms. Lingenfelter now works for the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, an independent, non-profit organization focusing on mammalian genetics research to advance human health. Their mission is to "discover the genetic basis for preventing, treating and curing human disease and to enable research for the global biomedical community." Ms. Lingenfelter obtained her Bachelor of Science in genetics from Texas A&M University in 2000 and a Master in Science in Public Health in 2002 from the School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. As part of her master's research, she studied the ability of several microbial assays to estimate the genotoxicity of three model polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Ms. Lingenfelter continued studying PAHs for her dissertation work in the toxicology program at Texas A&M, which involved studying human environmental exposures to PAHs. In addition to research responsibilities, she worked as a teaching assistant for an undergraduate class in food toxicology and food safety and assisted with instruction in a graduate lab in an environmental sampling methods class.
Vivian Smith, M.S., SM (NRCM)
Vivian Smith attended Alcorn State University until 2008 when she graduated with a B.S. in Biology. At only 21, she was accepted into a one-of-a-kind fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda Maryland, the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP). She was the only undergraduate student to ever be accepted into the program. During her tenure, she independently directed the operations of the NIH high and maximum biocontainment laboratories. She developed hundreds of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for various biocontainment laboratories throughout the United States, assisted in biosafety level (BSL)-3 and BSL-4 program development, conducted risk assessments and performed program gap analyses focusing on biodefense and biosecurity related issues.
After successfully completing her tenure in the NBBTP, she was accepted into the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Master in Biotechnology program with a concentration in Biodefense. While working on her graduate degree, she worked full time at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) in Rockville, Maryland under the leadership of the world-renowned scientist, Dr. John Craig Venter – one of scientists who worked on the international collaboration to sequence the human genome. After completing her graduate degree at JHU, Vivian accepted a position at Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) in New York City as the BSL-3 Facility Manager for the Belfer Research Building. She was responsible for all aspect of program development for the BSL-3 and animal BSL-3 research laboratories.
In October 2016, Vivian continued her career with Battelle Memorial Institute working for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Biological Threat Reduction Integrating Contract (BTRIC) under the prime contractor CH2MHILL/Jacobs Engineering. DTRA’s mission is to reduce the threat to the U.S. and global health security from the spread of pathogens of security concern through cooperative international research partnerships. Vivian was deployed to a remote region of Kazakhstan for an 18-month assignment to serve as a Biosafety and Biosecurity (BS&S) SME aiding a high containment BSL-3 laboratory on a remote Kazakh military installation. Since September 2017, Vivian has been working with DTRA, Jacobs Engineering, and the Vietnam Ministry of Health and Department of Animal Health to help bring safer scientific practices to the country of Vietnam. Vivian has provided biosafety and biosecurity practical and academic skills to more than 100 Vietnamese researchers, laboratory technicians, Biosafety Officers, Regional Directors and Vice Directors. She has traveled the entire country of Vietnam with the purpose of equipping the various public health research laboratories with the skills to safely and securely prevent and/or respond to a public health crisis.
Her entire career has been devoted to advancing the field of nuclear, biological, and chemical defense. For this effort, she was named the 2018 winner of the Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) Industry Group’s Dr. Billy Richardson Award for Young NBC Researchers.
Molly Stitt-Fischer, Ph.D., CPH, CBSP
Dr. Fischer now serves as a Biosafety Officer for the University of Pittsburgh where she advises the University community on policy and programs necessary to assure the control of biological agents that will ultimately protect faculty, staff, students, the University and the environment. As part of her responsibilities, she serves as an active member of the Institutional Biosafety/rDNA committee, Biohazards Committee, and Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; and provides consultation on biological agents, potentially infectious material, recombinant DNA and other potential hazards in the academic and research environment. Dr. Stitt-Fischer received her Ph.D. from the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh in April 2008. She also has a Master of Science in Molecular Toxicology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (February 2002) and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from Allegheny College (May 1999). While pursuing her Ph.D., her research focused on exploring the connections between zinc homeostasis and nitric oxide signaling in the pulmonary endothelium. Prior to that, she worked as a research technician at the University of Pittsburgh examining zinc homeostasis in pulmonary endothelial cells.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2009
Alexis (Them) Brubaker, CBSP, (SM), NRCM, MSFS
Ms. Brubaker was promoted to the position of University Biosafety Officer for Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 2014, after serving as the Associate Biological Safety Officer for two and a half years. She leads a team that gets to provide biosafety services for everything from greenhouses to cows to nanotechnology, to classic BSL-2 & BSL-3 research. She has 9 years of experience in biosafety, including time working as a microbiologist in a high containment laboratory, two years as a Fellow in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP). Alexis was the training manager for the biosafety level four (BSL-4) at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Boston University. Alexis currently serves as chair of the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) Legislative Committee. She is an appointed member of the ABSA Unified Oversight Response Task Force that was created in response to the recent CDC and NIH incidents. Alexis is also a member of the University's IACUC and IBC committees.
Marcus G. Hodges, Ph.D.
Dr. Hodges currently serves as the Fellowship Director for the NBBTP. He attended Saint Augustine's College in Raleigh, NC and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medical science. In 2005, he earned a doctoral degree in biology from Howard University. As a graduate student, he conducted research on infectious organisms such as Trypanosoma musculi and Plasmodium falciparum. Prior to his acceptance into the NBBTP, Marcus worked as a NIAID postdoctoral fellow for the Laboratory of Allergic Diseases, investigating the immunomodulatory effects of Ascaris suum pseudocoelomic fluid on allergic asthma. Upon completing the NBBTP Fellowship, Dr. Hodges worked for the Battelle National Biodefense Institute as a Biosafety & Biosecurity Specialist for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC).
LT. Megan Morgan
LT. Megan Morgan serves in the Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and currently works as the IRF Biosafety Manager for the National Institutes of Health in Hamilton, MT. LT. Morgan earned a Bachelor's of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science and a certificate in Molecular Diagnostic Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Certified Medical Technologist and Clinical Laboratory Specialist in molecular biology. Her previous experience includes supporting the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the Defense Sciences Office for research involving animal and human subjects. She also gained science policy experience at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy, with a focus in biosecurity.
Hao A. Vu
Mr. Vu served as the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory Biosafety Officer at the Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, where he worked to support biomedical translational research activities that required the use of high containment facilities at the University of Louisville. He received his M.S. degree in Biodefense from George Mason University in 2006 and his undergraduate degree in Zoology from Brigham Young University in 2003. His interest and experiences with biosafety and biocontainment began when he first started life as a scientist researching and developing vaccines, antibodies, and potential therapeutic strategies for biodefense purposes at AFG Biosolutions, Inc. in Gaithersburg, MD. He joined the NBBTP fellowship in 2008, and freely credits his fellowship mentors and advisors, the great folks at the National Institutes of Health and all their affiliates for the excellent training, great experiences and wonderful friendships he has made during the fellowship and throughout his career. In 2010, he had the privilege of joining the outstanding people who make up the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Kansas State University. He worked at the BRI as a Biosafety Specialist supporting their research initiatives to develop viable countermeasures against human, agricultural animal and plant pathogens.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2008
Sherry S. Bohn, PhD, CBSP
Dr. Sherry Bohn is the Biosafety Officer for the University of Maryland in College Park, MD. She previously served as the Biosafety Officer for the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) in Frederick, MD. Dr. Bohn began her doctoral studies in Cellular and Microbial Biology at The Catholic University of America in 1999. She was a teaching assistant for a variety of classes including microbiology, cell biology and genetics, and was involved in scientific education outreach programs such as The Gene Search Summer Program at The Catholic University of America and the Paul Jr. High Public Charter School Saturday Academy through FAES/NIH. Her undergraduate work at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, resulted in dual degrees in Biology and Communication Arts, and before heading to graduate school she served as an Assistant Environmental Manager for The Geon Company in Pedricktown, NJ.
John Tonkiss, Ph.D., (SM), NRCM, CBSP
After completing his NBBTP Fellowship, Dr. Tonkiss worked as Associate Director of Research Safety for the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories (NEIDL) located on the Boston University Medical campus (Boston, MA). After 7 years in that role he became the Biosafety Officer for the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University (N. Grafton, MA) and has now served in that capacity for more than 3 years. John holds a Doctorate of Medicine in Child Health/Developmental Psychobiology from Manchester University (U.K.) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences, with first class honors from Manchester Polytechnic (now called Manchester Metropolitan University). After post-doctoral training at the University of Manchester, the University of Minnesota and Oxford University, Dr. Tonkiss obtained a faculty position at BUMC, becoming Associate Professor of Psychiatry in 1994. At BUMC, Dr. Tonkiss acted as Associate Director of the Center for Behavioral Development and Mental Retardation prior to entering the NBBTP fellowship.
NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2007
CDR Thomas Arminio*, USPHS, CBSP
CDR Arminio earned a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, an RN degree from the College of St. Catherine, and a Bachelors of Arts in Biology from Vassar College. Before joining the NBBTP, CDR Arminio was assigned to the Indian Health Service, Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital where he held the position of Safety and Infection Control Manager. Areas of interest in biosafety include applying clinical nursing skills to occupational health and emergency medical management in high containment environments, syndromic surveillance of biological threats and policy development in biosurety issues, with emphasis in internal settings. CDR Arminio served as the IRF-Biosafety Manager at Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIH's state-of-the-art biomedical research facility in Montana. The Integrated Research Facility (IRF) is the first facility of its kind to house BSL-2, -3 and -4 laboratory space along with offices and conference space, and enables researchers to study priority pathogens in the area of biodefense in the safest and most secure environment possible.
Angela Ragan, MS, SM (NRCM), CBSP
Ms. Ragan, MS, SM (NRCM), CBSP currently serves as the Alternate Biological Safety Officer at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). After completing the two-year NBBTP Fellowship in December 2007, Ms. Ragan served as the Biosafety Manager and Alternate Responsible Official (ARO) until 2018 at the NIH NIAID Integrated Research Facility. She has twenty plus years of professional experience in the occupational safety and health field at multi-faceted working environments (private consulting, government, and academia).
Ms. Ragan obtained a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science in Environmental Science with a minor in Geology from Slippery Rock University.In 2011 she completed a Master of Science in Biotechnology with a concentration in Biodefense from Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts of Sciences.During the Fellowship, she obtained the designation of Certified Biosafety Professional (CBSP) and Specialist Microbiologist (SM) by the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.