Meet the Team

PHAB Lab: Public Health Aerobiology, Virology, and Exhaled Biomarker Laboratory at the University of Maryland School of Public Health

Dr. Donald Milton
Professor of Environmental Health
Principal Investigator

Donald K. Milton, MD, DrPH, is a Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, with a secondary appointment in the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine. An internationally recognized expert on the aerobiology of respiratory viruses, Dr. Milton developed the concept of using indoor CO2 to directly measure rebreathed air and airborne infection risk. He is the Principal Investigator of the UMD StopCOVID study (investigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission) and of the newly NIH-funded Evaluating Modes of Influenza Transmission (EMIT-2) study, a 5-year $15 million UMD-UMB collaboration to perform randomized controlled trials that will define the modes and mechanisms of influenza transmission.

Dr. Milton graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1976 and obtained his Doctor of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University in 1980.  He went on to obtain his Master of Occupational Health and Doctor of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1985 and 1989, respectively.

Dr. Kristen Coleman
Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Kristen K. Coleman is an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and former Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme at Duke-NUS Medical School and the Department of Medicine at NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in Singapore. Dr. Coleman was a member of the Duke One Health Research team at the Duke Global Health Institute for which she was engaged in research projects in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and the US. She earned her PhD in Biology (Ecology track) in May 2017 from the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo. Her doctoral research focused on measuring airborne influenza virus in the school environment. Her current research focuses on the environmental detection, epidemiological surveillance and transmission of emerging and zoonotic pathogens, primarily respiratory viruses such as influenza virus, adenovirus, and coronavirus. She is a new member of the Public Health Aerobiology, Virology and Exhaled Biomarker Laboratory (PHAB Lab) at the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health.

Aditya Srikakulapu
Research Engineer

Aditya earned a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University, and postgraduate and bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Trichy, India and Jawaharla Nehru Technological University in Anantapur, India, respectively. He has done work developing methods of solubility distribution quantitation of atmospheric organic aerosols. He is assisting the StopCOVID project with operation and maintenance of the Gesundheit-II and IcePac samplers.

Dr. Barbara Albert
Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Barbara Albert is a central Pennsylvania native who earned a BS in Health and Physical Education and an MD from Pennsylvania State University. She has residency training in Internal Medicine from George Washington University Hospital and completed residency training and a Master's Degree (MPH equivalent) in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Dr. Albert has provided medical support for numerous studies and programs at the University of Maryland College Park over the past 25 years. She served as the medical advisor for the former Wellness Research Lab in the Department of Kinesiology, and as the Medical Director for the Center for Health Behavior Research, she was a co-investigator in 10 large, multicenter clinical trials of pharmaceutical products to aid in smoking cessation. She has worked with Dr. Milton on several projects studying transmission of acute respiratory infections, including the CDC-funded EMIT study, the CATCH study, and the StopCOVID study examining SARS- CoV-2 transmission. She is also currently working with researchersfrom the UMB Center for Vaccine Development on two separate clinical trials of investigational vaccines against COVID-19.

Rhonda Washington-Lewis
Clinic Research Manager

Rhonda started her career in healthcare more than 20 years ago with the Department of Defense working at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) department as a Medical Technician. She assisted in research being conducted with soldiers who obtained Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). Her interest in healthcare developed into a passion for public health while working at NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) where she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator for 7 years. While conducting clinical trials and witnessing the development of vaccines, medical devices, and investigational drugs she realized that this work not only contributed to global health but, it fed her soul as well. Her NIH/NIAID work includes; vaccine development clinical trials for Ebola, HIV, Influenza, SARS, West Nile, Chikungunya, Malaria and AIDS Therapeutic treatment. While working with NIAID she also served as the liaison and host to the international colleagues located in Uganda. She also helped launch the Vaccine Research Center's first Mobile Clinic and has contributed to numerous papers. She is now continuing her career here at the University of Maryland where she has been the Clinical Research Manager for a Smoking Cessation clinical trial sponsored by NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, and more recently the CATCH study.

Yi Esparza
Clinical Research Nurse

Yi is a registered nurse who received her Bachelor's degree in Nursing from the University of Missouri in St. Louis. She worked as a Research Nurse Coordinator for the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine prior to coming to Maryland.

Dr. Kate McPhaul

Associate Research Professor

Dr. McPhaul’s areas of expertise include Workplace Health and Safety and Occupational Health. She earned her Master’s degree of Public/Occupational Health from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. in Nursing/Occupational Health from UMB. She is a Registered Nurse (Bachelor’s from UVA). She is the former Chief Consultant for Occupational Health at the Veterans Health Administration and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Workplace Health & Safety Journal.

Faith Touré
Research Associate

Faith assists in communication, scheduling, and recruitment of participants. She is a recent graduate of UMD College Park.

Dr. Sheldon Tai
Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Sheldon Tai completed formal veterinary training at National Taiwan University, and earned his PhD in comparative medicine and integrative biology at Michigan State University. He is interested in studying how viruses replicate and transmit, how they interact with host cells, and how viruses cause diseases in humans and animals. Some of his previous works include cloning the entire feline herpesvirus genome as a bacterial artificial chromosome and deriving its complete sequence, elucidating the mechanism of HIV-1 genomic RNA packaging, demonstrating the temporal relationship between expression of Marek's disease virus oncogene Meq and progression of lymphoma in infected chickens, and evaluating the efficacy of novel anti-influenza drug candidates.

Dr. Jennifer German
Assistant Clinical Professor

Dr. Jennifer German earned her BS in Genetic Engineering from Cedar Crest College, and earned her PhD in Biology from University of Maryland, College Park. Her graduate work focused on the innate immune response to West Nile virus infection, and she has always had a strong interest in viral pathogenesis and host-pathogen interactions. After earning her PhD, she continued working at the University of Maryland as a Research Educator with the First-year Innovation & Research Experience, leading an undergraduate research study monitoring bacterial contamination of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. She then joined the PHAB Lab as the Student Engagement Coordinator for the CATCH study, which allowed her to merge her interests in viral pathogenesis and engaging undergraduate students in authentic research opportunities.

Dr. Petri Kalliomäki
Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Petri Kalliomäki recently earned his Ph.D. in Engineering from Aalto University, Finland. He has also worked at the Turku University of Applied Sciences in Turku, Finland. His research interests lie in the built environment and ventilation, and computational fluid dynamic models. He will be working on current and next-generation breath samplers for the StopCOVID project.

Maria Schanz
Research Technician

Maria earned her BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, with a second major in Studio Art. Before coming to UMD, she spent more than 10 years as a research technician at UNC Chapel Hill working with infectious disease samples from humans, utilizing techniques in cell and molecular biology, including viral cell culture and blood sample processing. She is assisting the StopCOVID project by performing qRT-PCR assays for SARS-CoV-2.

Jianyu Lai
Graduate Research Associate

Jianyu is a PhD student in Epidemiology at the UMD School of Public Health. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Preventive Medicine from Sun Yat-Sen University, China, and received a master’s degree (MPH) in Epidemiology with a graduate certificate in health informatics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. As a research associate in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Michigan Health System, she was involved in a shoulder registry cohort study and a multi-center 2 by 2 factorial randomized trial. She also assisted in several systematic review projects mainly focusing on patient-reported outcome measures. Her research interests include the transmission and biomarkers of respiratory infectious diseases, as well as epidemiological methods. She is currently in the clinical research team.

Louie Gold
Faculty Specialist

Louie recently finished his Master of Health Science, Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is a UMD College Park alum with a background in Public Health Science and Spanish. He is interested in disease investigation research. When he was an undergraduate, he assisted with the predecessor to the StopCOVID@UMD study, CATCH@UMD (DARPA Prometheus) for four years.

Dr. Filbert Hong
Sr. Project Manager and Data Manager

Dr. Filbert Hong is the senior project manager and data manager (continuing his roles from Prometheus@UMD), assisting in study coordination and REDCap administration. Filbert had left the world of scientific research for a long time but has since come back. For more than ten years he was Director of Artistic Operations for the National Philharmonic (based at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD), a $2 million-budget symphony orchestra and chorus. He was orchestra personnel manager, production manager, chorale manager, stage manager, guest artist manager, education coordinator, and music performance librarian. He has also done orchestra personnel and production work with the Takoma Ensemble (based in Takoma Park, MD) and the Concert Artists of Baltimore. While he was a graduate student at Harvard University, he was Resident Tutor for Music and Biophysics at Lowell House, and managed many of Harvard's student orchestras. For four years he was executive producer for the Lowell House Opera, New England's oldest continually running opera company. He is a violinist and violist, and choral singer.

Filbert earned his A.B. in Chemistry and Physics at Harvard College, and his Ph.D. in the Harvard University Biophysics program, studying agonist and antagonist interactions with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ion channel, using electrophysiology methods (on whole cells and on detached patches), in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School in the laboratory of Jonathan B. Cohen. He has also done work on the isolation of novel kinesin-related proteins and the photoelectric action of bacteriorhodopsin.

Isabel Sierra Maldonado
Project Manager

Isabel earned a Master of Health Administration degree from UMD-SPH in 2020. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biology at the University of Virginia. She has done work in population-based studies of the usage of Lynch syndrome screening for colorectal cancer.

PHAB Lab alumni

Dr. Somayeh Youssefi
Assistant Research Professor

Dr. Somayeh Youssefi earned her BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran, and earned her PhD in Environmental Engineering from Drexel University. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at School of Public Health in the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests include environmental issues, renewable energies, aerosols, bioaerosols and exhaled breath biomarkers. Her work on the IARPA-funded TESt-IT project involved design and development of a sampler to collect exhaled breath aerosols. These aerosols that originate from the lung and respiratory tract contain various biomarkers that can inform us about the individual health, as well as his/her environmental exposures. Her current research is about flu transmission, as well as exhaled breath microbiota in smokers versus non-smokers.

Dr. Jacob Bueno de Mesquita
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Hailing from Kingston, RI, Jacob completed his undergraduate degree in Human Science with a Certificate in Global Health at Georgetown University. Upon graduating he joined CDC as a Public Health Associate, fulfilling a two-year field assignment embedded at the Union County Health Department in central Ohio. As a field assignee in the Emergency Preparedness and Immunization Programs, Jacob contributed to strengthening community resilience in response to biological hazards, and improving reach of evidence-based immunization and clinical public health services. His research interests include infectious disease prevention and wellness promotion through built environment design strategies. Jacob hopes to continue to serve local public health initiatives globally by focusing on applied, translatable research projects. Jacob recently received his Ph.D. in Environmental Health from the Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health in the School of Public Health at UMD College Park.

Dr. Oluwasanmi (Sanmi) Adenaiye
Physician/Postgraduate Research Associate

Dr. Oluwasanmi Adenaiye earned his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MD Equiv.) from the College of Medicine, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. As a clinical research assistant in the department of Chemical Pathology of University College Hospital Ibadan, he was involved in coordination, design and implementation of a study on Azoospermia Factor in Male Infertile Nigerian Men with Idiopathic Dyspermia. He is recent master's degree graduate at Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health. His research interests include Infectious diseases, Environmental and Occupational Health. Dr. Sanmi (his shortened first name) is a member of the clinical research team.

Delwin Suraj
Research Associate

Delwin earned a BS in General Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park. As a research assistant at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, he supported a research project focused on acute respiratory infection (ARI). This project centered around identifying chemical and physiological biomarkers that can indicate which individuals, when exposed to certain pathogens that cause ARI, are likely to become contagious and spread the ARI to others. During his undergraduate years, he also worked on research projects in other areas such as acute spinal cord injury and cancer cell migration. Currently, he is serving as a research coordinator for the Public Health Aerobiology, Virology, and Exhaled Biomarker Laboratory (PHAB LAB).

Michael Lutchenkov
Research Technician

Michael recently earned a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Health from UMD. He has done work with Dr. Lai-Xi Wang in the UMD Department of Chemistry and Biochemstry on oligosaccharides, performing assays with HPLC, mass spectrometers, and NMR spectrometers. He is assisting the StopCOVID project by performing qRT-PCR assays for SARS-CoV-2.

Aaron Kassman
Clinic Research Assistant

Aaron Kassman is a recent graduate of Syracuse University. He received a Bachelor's degree in History and Photography. He assists the clinic in participant transport and offsite operations.

UMD School of Public Health

Dr. Tianzhou (Charles) Ma
Assistant Professor in Biostatistics

Dr. Tianzhou (Charles) Ma received his PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018 and a MS in Biostatistics from Yale University in 2013. Dr. Ma’s research focuses on statistical methods in genomics and bioinformatics, meta-analysis and omics data integration, statistical machine learning, Bayesian analysis, high-dimensional variable selection, as well as their application in cancer, psychiatry (aging and depression) and epidemiology fields. His work has appeared in Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Statistica Sinica, Bioinformatics, Journal of Computational Biology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nucleic Acid Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Oncogene, Biological Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology. He is open-minded and actively seeking for collaborations with researchers from various fields, to understand the objectives of their projects, provide consultation in study design and help analyze the data.

UMD Clark School of Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Jelena Srebric
Professor of Mechnanical Engineering
Associate Dean of Research, Clark School of Engineering

Dr. Jelena Srebric is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Cluster for SustainabilITY in the Built Environment at the University of Maryland (CITY@UMD). For the C.A.T.C.H. study she and her team will be measuring CO2, temperature, and relative humidity within selected residence halls in the Cambridge Community. Dr. Srebric earned a Ph.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000, as well as M.S. and B.S. degrees from the University of Belgrade in 1997 and 1994, respectively. She manages and directly supervises the research activities for approximately $1.5 million annually in externally funded projects. She also teaches and develops new courses on energy and environmental systems in the built environment with more than two thousands of students who took her courses at Penn State, Harvard and University of Maryland. She also presented more than thirty guest lectures at different universities including Stanford, Princeton, MIT, and Columbia. The focus of Srebric’s research group work is on multi- scale modeling of built infrastructure to provide a reliable assessment of how these systems affect occupant population, energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions. These modeling efforts include development of computational tools as well as experimental facilities and sites. Dr. Srebric is the author and co-author of more than hundred publications. She received two research awards and four paper awards from ASHRAE. The International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences recognized her work on indoor air quality with the 2005 Yaglou Award. She was an invited speaker at the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 2011 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, and an invited plenary speaker at the Indoor Air 2011 conference.

Dr. Shengwei Zhu
Assistant Research Professor

Shengwei Zhu is an assistant research professor at the University of Maryland and Cluster of Sustainability in the Built Environment (CITY). His research interests are focused on the man-made environments of different length scales, including (1) thermal comfort and air quality, (2) airborne infection control, (3) ventilation design, and (4) numerical modelling by CFD. Dr. Zhu received his Ph.D. (2005) and M.Eng. (2002) with a major in Built Environment at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and B.Eng. (1996) in Mechanical Engineering at Zhejiang University, China. He was awarded Hans Christian Ørsted Postdoctoral Fellowship at Technical University of Denmark in 2006 and Environmental Fellowship at Harvard University Center for the Environment in 2008. He had an appointment as a professor in School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He also serves as an overseas researcher of Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo. Dr. Zhu has published more than 90 scientific articles until now, including 36 papers in international journals and conferences.

UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
Department of Computer Science

Dr. Ashok Agrawala
Professor of Computer Science

Dr. Ashok Agrawala is Professor in the University of Maryland Department of Computer Science at College Park and Director of the Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Lab. For C.A.T.C.H., he and his team are developing and implementing the Locus real-time location tracking application for smartphones. Dr. Agrawala is the author of seven books and over two hundred peer-reviewed publications. With Glenn Ricart he developed the Ricart-Agrawala Algorithm, an extension and optimization of Lamport's Distributed Mutual Exclusion Algorithm. He received B.E. and M.E. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India in 1963 and 1965 respectively; Masters and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1970. He started his professional career as Senior Engineer at the Applied Research Lab of Honeywell in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1968 and developed an Optical character recognition machine. He started his academic career at the University of Maryland, College Park in 1971 as Assistant Professor of Computer Science where he rose to the rank of Full Professor in 1982. Recently his work has focused on context-aware pervasive systems.

Mara Cai
Research Associate

Mara worked on the Prometheus@UMD project for three years. Her primary scope focused on the Locus app and the CATCH study wearable devices, and she acted as liaison for the clinic for wearable devices. She is a graduate of UMD College Park with a degree in Computer Science.

Faizan Wajid
Graduate Research Associate

Faizan is a PhD student in Computer Science at UMD College Park working under Professor Ashok Agrawala. His primary interests are working with large datasets to model and design context aware systems. His current project is aimed at developing such a system for continuous sensing of user activity and behavior from wearable sensors. He assisted in the analysis of wearable device data for the CATCH study where the primary sensor data was the user’s respiration.

University of Maryland Institute of Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS)

The University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) provides a unique multidisciplinary computing environment to address some of today’s most pressing scientific and societal challenges. Led by distinguished researchers and supported by a cutting-edge infrastructure, UMIACS pioneers computational science involving national defense, precision medicine, big data, cybersecurity, language and culture, and much more. If your organization faces a fundamental problem that is best solved by the use of powerful computing tools, UMIACS has the expertise, history and capabilities to deliver a solution.

The success of UMIACS in catalyzing and excelling in interdisciplinary applications of computing is often attributed to: (1) identification and focus on grand challenge applications of computing with significant societal impact, (2) identifying and incentivizing outstanding faculty to excel in their research through rotating appointments, and (3) mediating interaction amongst interdisciplinary researchers through an outstanding computational infrastructure. We have developed the skill set and culture necessary for building strong interdisciplinary research programs, providing advanced computing research infrastructure, and first-rate technical support, which have greatly facilitated our national and international leadership role in multi-disciplinary computing.

The synergistic environment provided by UMIACS is currently enabling innovative collaborations between faculty from Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Linguistics, Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, Aerospace Engineering, the Smith School of Business, and the iSchool.

University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Dr. Matthew Frieman
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Biology

Dr. Matthew Frieman earned a BA in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from The Johns Hopkins University. The focus of his lab is on how viruses spread and cause disease using the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and the Influenza virus as his model systems. Dr. Frieman will be responsible for heading the molecular detection and analysis aspects of the Prometheus Project.

Dr. Shuo Chen
Associate Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health
Director of Biostatistics and Data Science, Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Dr. Chen is a biostatistician with a research focus on modeling large biomedical data with complex and organized, yet latent interactive relationship. He develops novel machine learning and Bayesian models for brain connectivity network (neuroimaging), omics, and social network data. Dr. Chen also has extensive experience of biostatistical collaborative research in the areas of clinical trial design and analysis, environmental health, infectious disease, and cancer research.

Dr. Wilbur Chen
Professor of Medicine

Dr. Chen is an adult infectious disease physician-scientist with a specific interest in clinical vaccinology. He is Chief of the Adult Clinical Studies section within the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health and Director of the UMB Travel Medicine Practice. His research is concentrated on two areas of global health importance. First, he is devoted to developing vaccines for enteric pathogens, infectious diseases chiefly of resource poor and economically disadvantaged countries and populations. Second, he is interested in developing improved vaccines for the elderly, a rapidly growing segment of the global population which is susceptible to many infections and a special population that generally responds poorly to vaccination.

Dr. Chen is active investigator within the NIAID-supported Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU), composed of 9 academic centers throughout the U.S., and was the principal investigator of the NIAID-supported Food and Waterborne Diseases Integrated Research Network Clinical Research Unit (FWD IRN CRU). He has been a PI on vaccine trials for: influenza viruses (Seasonal, Pandemic 2009 H1N1, Avian H5N1, and Avian H7N9 influenza), agents of bioterror (Tularemia and Staphylococcal enterotoxin B), and enteric pathogens (typhoid, cholera and enterotoxigenic E. coli)-including human experimental challenge studies with wild-type V. cholerae and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC).

In collaboration with PATH (an international nonprofit organization, Program for Appropriate Technology in Health), Dr. Chen has imminent research projects evaluating a meningococcal vaccine, Shigella vaccines, and developing a human challenge model with heat-stable enterotoxin (ST)-only expressing ETEC. With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Chen is also developing a human challenge model with Cryptosporidium hominis.

Rice University
Department of Computer Science

Dr. Todd Treangen
Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Before joining Rice, Dr. Treangen was a Research Scientist at the University of Maryland College Park. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2008 from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Barcelona, Spain). His research group focuses on solving large-scale computational problems specific to computational biology, with a focus on developing robust software tools targeted towards biothreat screening, infectious disease monitoring, and microbial forensics.

Dr. Leo Elworth
Postdoctoral Scientist

Leo Elworth recently received his PhD in Computer Science at Rice University working on statistical modeling of DNA sequence evolution. He was advised by Dr. Luay Nakhleh, the J.S. Abercrombie Professor and Chair of the Department of Computer Science at Rice. Since joining at Rice, Leo was awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Library of Medicine, has published work in computational biology in journals such as Bioinformatics, presented research at scientific conferences like RECOMB-CG in Barcelona and WABI in Helsinki, and contributed to a soon to be released book on computational modeling of evolutionary histories of genomes.

Walter Reed Army Institute of Research
Viral Diseases Branch

Dr. Irina Maljkovic Berry
Chief, Viral Genetics and Emerging Diseases

Dr. Maljkovic Berry's research has mainly involved theoretical and bioinformatics studies of viral transmission and evolution, both on individual and population/global levels, including phylogenetic, phylodynamic and molecular epidemiology studies. She has focused on RNA viruses, including HIV-1, Tick-borne encephalitis virus, Hantavirus, Influenza, Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. Most studies focused on virus genetic analyses in the context of virus epidemics and spread, surveillance on the human population level, and viral adaptation and evolution. Understanding evolutionary processes of rapidly evolving human pathogens is crucial for epidemic and outbreak prediction, prevention, surveillance and control. In addition, evolutionary analyses provide insights in identification of pathogen pathways to drug and immune system evasion, transmission, and vaccine development. The dynamics of global diversity of RNA viruses is highly influenced by the host genetics and the pressure of the host immune system, and the exact relationships may be revealed by an approach that combines immunological, epidemiological and phylogenetic analyses. Her research has also involved studies of the impact of viral population diversity on the human population level, as well as on the host immune system responses and memory formation. Ultimately, greater knowledge of the evolution and interplay of pathogens and their hosts will lead to more efficient treatment, prevention, and vaccine development strategies.

University of California, Irvine
Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine

Dr. Philip Felgner
Director, UCI Vaccine Research and Development Center
Director, Protein Microarray Laboratory and Training Facility

Dr. Philip L. Felgner has pioneered a high throughput cloning and protein microarray chip fabrication approach that is useful for profiling immunoreactivity on a large scale and he directs the UCI Applied Proteomics Research Laboratory (APRL). Using a special high throughput recombination method developed in the lab, APRL scientists have cloned more than 30,000 plasmids derived from 30 infectious microorganisms, expressed and printed the encoded proteins on microarrays. The arrays have been probed an inventory of more than 9,000 sera from infected, vaccinated and healthy people worldwide and immunodominant and serodiagnostic antigens have been derived from each agent. De. Felgner's lab is funded to expand the inventory to 60,000 plasmid and protein targets from 50 different infectious agents. The goal of this research activity is to develop a more detailed understanding of how the immune system responds to medically important infectious organisms, and to identify serodiagnostic and subunit vaccine antigens. ~The Felgener lab has fabricated and probed over 18,000 proteome microarrays for viruses: HIV 1&2 (5 subtype, 4 clades), HPV (11 types), Vaccinia, Variola, Monkeypox, HSV-1 & 2, VZV (HHV-3), Dengue (4 types), West Nile Virus and Chikungunya virus bacterial species, Brucella melitensis, Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia muridarum, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Francisella tularensis, Coxiella burnetii, Borrelia burgdorferi, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Salomnella typhi, Rickettsia prowazekii, Orientia tsutsugamushi, Bartonella henselae and Leptospira interrogans and parasites: P. falciparum, P. vivax and S. mansoni ~Dr. Felgner's work is an ongoing collaboration with research and clinical scientists from more than 30 institutions worldwide and his lab has published 26 papers with these investigators in the last few years. (1-26) Taken together the results from this work show that in addition to identifying vaccine and serodiagnostic antigen candidates the protein microarrays are a rapid and accurate approach for defining immunogenicity of vaccine formulations, for distinguishing vaccine "take", determining the level and longevity of protection, and identifying correlates of protection and surrogate endpoints in animal models and in man. Other applications under investigation are protein-protein interaction studies, kinase substrate screening, hybridoma screening and immunodominant T cell antigen screening. More recently APRL has begun fabrication of the first human proteome microarray containing 17,526 non-redundant proteins encoded on the human genome. The array will be probed with more than 10,000 cancer patient specimens from 17 common cancers and 3,000 healthy controls, to determine disease specific autoantibody profiles associated with each cancer. APRL is an approved recharge unit that does projects at a fixed price approved by the University of California. We are linked with the Pacific Southwest Regional Center for Biodefense (PSWRCE) and maintain the Protein Microarray Core for the Center. A small business, Antigen Discovery Inc., has licensed the technology from the University and manages commercial aspects.

Dr. Saahir Khan
Physician/Postdoctoral Research Associate

As a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and a clinician specializing in Infectious Diseases, I am focused on technology development for novel diagnostics and vaccine candidates. With my colleagues in the Protein Microarray Laboratory at UC Irvine, I am working on identification of specific antigenic determinants for emerging viruses like Zika to utilize in more accurate diagnostics and more effective vaccines.

Fraunhofer USA Center for Experimental Software Engineering

Dr. Adam Porter
Executive Director, Fraunhofer USA CESE
Professor of Computer Science (UMIACS)

Dr. Adam Porter is Professor at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, and Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering. His research has focused on developing tools and techniques for large-scale software development: empirical methods for identifying and eliminating bottlenecks in industrial development processes, experimental evaluation of fundamental software engineering hypotheses, and development of tools that demonstrably improve fundamental software development processes, such as software inspection and software testing. His research has been supported by NSF, DARPA, IARPA, NASA as well as numerous industrial organizations. Currently, he is a co-principal investigator on an NSF grant researching how developers of mobile applications reason about ethics and privacy. He is also the creator of a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on Android mobile application development that has over one million student registrations from over 200 countries around the world. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Sandro Fouché
Systems Architect

Dr. Sandro Fouché is a Systems Architect with the Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering. His research is focused on the implementation and use of tools to improve software quality in distributed systems and ensuring software security. His broad goal is to create new algorithms and systems to simplify the creation, use and security of large, distributed computing systems. Dr. Fouche currently teaches courses in Software Engineering, System Administration, and Cybersecurity. Before entering academia, he worked at a variety of computer and Internet companies including America On-Line and Microsoft, doing software development and system administration. He earned his degrees (B.S. and Ph.D.) in Computer Science at UMD College Park.