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Alonso Aguirre

Executive Director, Smithsonian- Mason School of Conservation

Expertise: Animal Conservation, Animal Science, Animal Epidemiology, Disease Outbreaks, Animal-to-Human Disease Transmission, Conservation Medicine, Ecology, Global Change

Alonso Aguirre directs the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, based in Front Royal, Va. He is an animal epidemiologist, a veternarian, and conservation activist.

Previously he was senior vice president at EcoHealth Alliance in New York, also holding different appointments at the Consortium for Conservation Medicine, the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation, Columbia University and Tufts University. After obtaining his D.V.M., he received a M.S. in wildlife ecology and epidemiology and a Ph.D. in wildlife biology and protected areas management from Colorado State University where he served as assistant professor years later. He acted as wildlife epidemiologist for NMFS Protected Species Investigations, heading and pioneering the epidemiology program for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals and sea turtles.

He authored the books Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice and Helminths of Wildlife: A Global Perspective, New Directions in Conservation Medicine: Applied Cases of Ecological Health, and published over 160 professional papers, monographs and scientific reports. He also served as co-editor and now as review editor of the new Springer journal EcoHealth. He also is a co-editor of the Journal of Wildlife Diseases and European Journal of Wildlife Research.

Aguirre is also an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at Mason.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Charles L. Bailey

Executive Director of George Mason University’s Biomedical Research Laboratory and Distinguished Professor of Biology

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Expertise: Biodefense, Infectious Diseases, Biomarkers

As director of Mason’s Biomedical Research Laboratory (BRL), Bailey has overseen the five-year building project that began in 2005 when Mason was awarded a $27.7 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Prior to joining Mason, Bailey served as commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases where he led medical and scientific research programs dedicated to the development of new forms of medical protection against biological weapons and other infectious diseases. The results of his hands-on experiments with a wide variety of infectious agents have been published in more than 100 scientific articles in refereed books and journals. He has also presented at national and international conferences and to U.S. government officials, and served previously as a senior analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency. Bailey holds a doctorate from Oklahoma State University.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Calvin B. Carpenter

Deputy Director of George Mason University’s Biomedical Research Laboratory and Research Professor

Expertise: Biodefense, Infectious Diseases

Carpenter is a veterinarian with more than 26 years of military experience and over sixteen years of infectious disease and biodefense research experience. Prior to joining Mason, he served as the chief of the Medical Science and Technology Division in the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the deputy director for Grants Management at the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and program manager for the Department of Defense’s Prion, Muscular Dystrophy and Hepatitis C Research Programs. Carpenter is a member of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States. He is a graduate of Command and General Staff College and has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal. He holds a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Oklahoma State University and is board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Robin Couch

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Expertise: Therapeutics for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease

Robin Couch is a research scientist who is investigating the development of new therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Couch is currently evaluating the effectiveness of neuroprotection, which involves the use of neurotrophins, or molecules naturally produced by resident cells in the brain, to defend the brain cells from death. This includes nerve growth factor which is a specific neurotrophin that binds to brain cells and promotes their survival. His other research interests include isoprene biosynthesis, personalized medicine and anti-cholesterol therapeutics.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Jane Flinn

Director, Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience

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Expertise: Role of Metals in Alzheimer’s Disease

Jane Flinn is examining the role of metals, particularly zinc, iron and copper, in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients. She is also studying the effects of metal levels in drinking water on behavior and on plaque development. Flinn, who holds a doctorate in psychology from George Washington University and a doctorate in physics from Oxford University, has long been focused on the biological bases of learning and memory. She recently completed a study — conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey — that focuses on the effects of enhanced zinc on spatial memory and plaque formation in transgenic (or genetically modified) mice.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Cara Frankenfeld

Assistant Professor, Department of Global and Community Health

Expertise: Chronic Disease, Diet, Cancer, Illness, Public Health, Epidemiology, Environment, Women’s Health

Cara Frankenfeld is an assistant professor of epidemiology in the Department of Global and Community Health.  Her work seeks to understand the way that diet, environment, and our host bacteria interact to affect human health.  She is also working on how we measure diet and in the relationship between dietary flavonoids and isoflavonoids (particular compounds in fruits, vegetables, and soy and other legumes) and chronic conditions. 


She is a member of the American College of Epidemiology, the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society for Nutrition.


Frankenfeld completed a M.S. in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology at the University of Washington, where she studied the relationship between markers of intestinal bacteria profile and postmenopausal breast cancer risk factors.  In addition to this main area of study, she also worked on projects evaluating the validity of food frequency questionnaires, footwear and fall risk in the elderly, and risk factors for meningioma.  She completed post-doctoral work at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the National Cancer Institute.   She has also provided consulting expertise in the areas of environmental and occupational epidemiology, including dioxins, asbestos, and electric and magnetic fields. 

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Patrick Gillevet

Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy

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Expertise: Molecular Environmental Biology, Bioinformatics, Molecular Evolution, Genomics, Crohn’s Disease, Breast Cancer, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Cirrhosis of the Liver and HIV

Gillevet has been the lead scientist at the Environmental Biocomplexity and Ecology group at George Mason University since 1996. This group focuses on using state-of-the-art molecular techniques to study problems in molecular environmental sciences and genomic evolution. Gillevet is also the director of Mason’s new MicroBiome Analysis Center where he and his team of researchers are studying bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa within the human body. The effect of these organisms on human health will be a major focus of research at the center where investigators will explore microbial imbalances on or within the gut, mouth, respiratory tract and urinary and reproductive systems.

Prior to joining Mason, Gillevet was the technical director of the University of Illinois’ Center for Prokaryotic Genome Analysis from 1988 to 1990 and served as the director of Harvard University’s Harvard Genome Laboratory from 1990 to 1993. He established an integrated fluorescent sequencing facility at the National Center for Human Genome Research from 1993 to 1996. Gillevet holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Manitoba. His research interests include molecular environmental biology, molecular evolution, genomics, Crohn’s Disease, and bioinformatics.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Pamela M. Greenwood

Associate Professor of Psychology

Expertise: Genetics of Cognitive Aging, Cognitive Aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease

Pamela Greenwood uses behavioral, genetic and computational methods to investigate the cognitive sciences. Her overall goal is to find ways to identify older individuals who are likely to remain healthy and those who are likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Her research focuses on genes which regulate both normal cognitive aging and abnormal cognitive aging. She looks for effects of gene-to-gene interactions on cognitive aging, notably genes associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, including the Apolipoprotein E gene and neurotransmission genes. Greenwood serves as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging Special Emphasis Panels and for the National Science Foundation’s Cognitive Neuroscience Program.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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Kathryn H. Jacobsen

Assistant Professor

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Expertise: Infectious Diseases, Germs, Pandemics, Public Health, Epidemiology, Global Health

Jacobsen is an assistant professor in the College of Health and Human Services’ Department of Global and Community Health. She teaches courses in epidemiology and international health, and is an expert in infectious diseases and how diseases spread. Her research seeks to better understand the health effects of economic and infrastructural development using a diverse range of epidemiologic methods, including the development of mathematical models of infectious disease transmission and field research. Jacobsen can speak about the spread of germs and about the specific risks one faces when traveling, using bathrooms, hotels, etc. She has worked with collaborators in Africa and South America designing, conducting, and analyzing program evaluations and studies of infectious disease epidemiology, and is the author of the textbook, Introduction to Global Health.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

Dmitri Klimov

Associate Professor, Department of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

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Expertise: Computer Simulations of Molecular Aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease

Dmitri Klimov uses computer simulations to study Alzheimer’s disease. His research focuses on the formation of starchlike protein assemblies that accumulate in body tissues called amyloid fibrils and their role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease. He is also interested in the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. He has published more than 57 papers and recently received a half-million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of his research. Prior to joining Mason, Klimov worked as an assistant research scientist at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Media Contact: Michele McDonald, 703-993-8781,

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