NBBTP Alumni

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 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

Dr. Julianne Baron is currently the Biosafety Program Manager in the Vanderbilt Environmental Health & Safety department where she serves both Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is responsible for supporting the high containment laboratories, developing biosafety guidance and SOPs, providing and creating biosafety training, and processing IBC registrations, amendments, and associated lab inspections. Prior to taking this position, she completed 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

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 is 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 UTHealh School of Public Health. 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 number of different 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 heavily involved 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 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. She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013. As a graduate student, Dr. Lawson 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 presented her research at several national and international meetings, as well as published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Lawson previously earned her Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology, summa cum laude, 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

Chelsea is currently the High-Containment Facility Officer at UC Davis. In this position she oversees annual re-verifications of BSL-3 laboratories, SOP development, waste management, incident response drills, and containment facility design, among other duties, for a very diverse high-containment research portfolio. Prior to taking the position at UCD, she was a fellow in the prestigious National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. During the fellowship Chelsea produced training for the ABSL-3 users at Rocky Mountain Labs, developed SOPs for the new BSL-3 at Weill Cornell Medical College and for the RBL at the University of Pittsburgh, and consulted for the USDA-ARS, in addition to general and high-containment biosafety duties for the NIH research community. 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. 

Back to the Top

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.

Back to the Top

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. 

Back to the Top

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.

Back to the Top

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.

Back to the Top

NBBTP Fellowship Class of 2010

Rebecca Lingenfelter

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

Ms. Smith now works as the BSL-3 Facility Manager for the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. She previously worked as a Regulatory/Environmental Health and Safety Specialist for the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, MD, a leader in genomic research with offices in Maryland and California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Alcorn State University. Prior to her acceptance into the NBBTP, Ms. Smith was a mentor in the HBCU-UP program at Alcorn State University where she conducted laboratory safety lectures to educate students to the possible dangers of working with dangerous chemicals and the importance of laboratory safety. She also worked as an assistant researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where she focused on mapping candidate genes involved with tomato fruit cuticle biosynthesis.

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.

Back to the Top

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 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.

Back to the Top

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

Upon completing his NBBTP Fellowship, Dr. Tonkiss began work as the Associate Director of Maximum Containment Safety, recently advancing to the position of Associate Director of Research Safety for the National Emerging Infectious Disease Laboratories (NEIDL) at the Boston University Medical Center in Massachusetts. He 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 has acted as 1) Associate Director of the Center for Behavioral Development and Mental Retardation, 2) scientific member of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and 3) Protocol Compliance Reviewer tasked with reviewing all active animal use protocols involving USDA covered species.

Back to the Top

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 serves as the Biosafety Manager for the NIH NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) at Fort Detrick.  She successfully completed the 2-year NBBTP Fellowship in December 2007.  Ms. Ragan currently provides safety oversight and review for the NIH IRF BSL-2 and BSL-4 containment laboratories.  She has more than 19 years of professional experience in the Occupational Safety and Health field at multi-faceted working environments (private consulting, government contracting, and academia).  Ms. Ragan obtained a Bachelor of 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 and Sciences.

After initial training and employment within industrial hygiene and occupational health and safety, Ms. Ragan served as the Biological Safety Officer/Industrial Hygienist at the Catholic University of America prior to the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program (NBBTP) Fellowship at the NIH.  During the Fellowship, she obtained the designation of Certified Biosafety Professional (CBSP) and Specialist Microbiologist (SM) by the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists.

Back to the Top