Committee Membership Information

Study Title:

PCR Standards for the BioWatch Program

Primary Board:

Study Director:

Dr. Katherine Bowman - (Staff Officer)
National Research Council

Dr. Kenneth I. Berns - (Co-Chair)
University of Florida College of Medicine

Kenneth I. Berns is Distinguished Professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Emeritus at the University of Florida. He also serves as a member of the National Science Advisory Board for BioSecurity (NSABB). He has served as a member of the Composite Committee of the United States Medical Licensing Examination, Chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges, President of the Association of Medical School Microbiology and Immunology Chairs, President of the American Society for Virology, President of the American Society for Microbiology and Vice-President of the International Union of Microbiological Societies. Dr. Berns' research examines the molecular basis of replication of the human parvovirus, adenoassociated virus, and the ability of an adeno-associated virus to establish latent infections and be reactivated. His work has helped provide the basis for use of this virus as a vector for gene therapy. Dr. Berns received M.D. and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Edwin P. Przybylowicz - (Co-Chair)
Eastman Kodak Company [Retired]

Edwin P. Przybylowicz retired in 1991 after over 35 years with the Eastman Kodak Company, the last 7 years as Senior Vice President and Director of Research. In retirement he has served as a Commissioner of the U.S.-Polish Joint Fund for Cooperation in Science and Engineering (U.S. State Department with Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), a program that fostered collaborative projects between Polish and U.S. scientists, chairing conferences and workshops on technology transfer in Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia. From 1994 to 1996, he was Director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Przybylowicz received his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990. In 2005, he completed 12 years as an elected member of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) Bureau and Executive Committee, Chairman of the Finance Committee and is Past-chair of the U.S. National Committee for IUPAC. He has served on and chaired numerous National Research Council (NRC) committees and has been part of the report review process in capacities as reviewer, coordinator and monitor. He is currently a member of the NRC Report Review Committee.

Dr. M. Allen Northrup
Northrup Consulting Group

Dr. Northrup is the founder of Microfluidic Systems and a co-founder of Cepheid. He received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Davis. He then spent over 8 years as a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and University of California at Berkeley where he was the first to demonstrate the PCR process in a micro-machined silicon chip. He also co-developed micro-actuators and micro-actuator materials. As chief technology officer and vice president of research, Cepheid had its IPO in 2000; and as chief executive officer, sold Microfluidic Systems to Positive ID Corporation in 2011. Dr. Northrup has 50 issued US and foreign patents, 40 peer-reviewed publications, and several engineering and entrepreneurial business awards.

Mr. Tom Slezak
E.O. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Tom Slezak has been involved with bioinformatics at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for 30 years after receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in Computer Science from the University of California, Davis. Mr. Slezak is currently the associate program leader for informatics for the Global Security Program efforts at LLNL. He was involved with the Human Genome Program from 1987-2000, leading the informatics efforts at LLNL and then the DOE's Joint Genome Institute from 1997-2000. In 2000 he began to build a pathogen bioinformatics team at LLNL pioneering a novel whole-genome analysis approach to DNA signature design. His team developed signature targets for multiple human pathogens that were used at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games under the BASIS program and later adapted for use nationwide in the DHS BioWatch program. Under a close collaboration with the CDC, the LLNL team has been called on for computational help on smallpox, SARS, monkeypox, avian influenza, and numerous other pathogens. In addition to continuing work on human and agricultural pathogens, Mr. Slezak?s team is currently focusing on signatures of mechanisms of virulence, antibiotic-resistance, and evidence of genetic engineering. They have been focusing on detecting novel, engineered, and advanced biothreats for several years, leveraging high-risk ITIC and DHS funding. Mr. Slezak has chaired or served on multiple advisory boards, including the rice genome project, mouse and maize genetics databases, spruce tree genome project (Canada), plant pathogens, and a NIAID sequencing center contract renewal.

Dr. Bruce Budowle
University of North Texas Health Science Center

Bruce Budowle is the Director of the University of North Texas Health Science Center's Institute of Investigative Genetics and Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics. He received a Ph.D. in Genetics in 1979 from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From 1979-1982, Dr. Budowle was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Working under a National Cancer Institute fellowship, he carried out research predominately on genetic risk factors for such diseases as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, melanoma, and acute lymphocytic leukemia. In 1983, Dr. Budowle joined the research unit at the FBI to carry out research, development, and validation of methods for forensic biological analyses. The positions he has held at the FBI include: research chemist, program manager for DNA research, Chief of the Forensic Science Research Unit, and the Senior Scientist for the Laboratory Division of the FBI. Dr. Budowle has contributed to the fundamental sciences as they apply to forensics in analytical development, population genetics, statistical interpretation of evidence, and in quality assurance. Some of the methods he developed are: 1) analytical assays for typing a myriad of protein genetic marker systems, 2) designing electrophoretic instrumentation, 3) developing molecular biology analytical systems to include RFLP typing of VNTR loci and PCR-based SNP assays, VNTR and STR assays, and direct sequencing methods for mitochondrial DNA, and 4) new technologies; and 5) designing image analysis systems. Dr. Budowle has worked on laying some of the foundations for the current statistical analyses in forensic biology and defining the parameters of relevant population groups. Dr. Budowle has been directly involved in developing quality assurance (QA) standards for the forensic DNA field. He has been a member of the Scientific Working Group on DNA Methods, Chair of the DNA Commission of the International Society of Forensic Genetics, and a member of the DNA Advisory Board. He was one of the architects of the CODIS National DNA database, which maintains DNA profiles from convicted felons, from evidence in unsolved cases, and from missing persons. Some of Dr. Budowle?s efforts over the last decade are in counter terrorism, primarily in efforts involving microbial forensics and bioterrorism. Dr. Budowle is heavily involved in the forensic applications on bioterrorism and has been involved in developing the field known as microbial forensics. In the area of microbial forensics, Dr. Budowle has been the chair of the FBI?s Scientific Working Group on Microbial Genetics and Forensics, whose mission was to set QA guidelines, develop criteria for biologic and user databases, set criteria for a National Repository, and develop forensic genomic applications. He also has served on the Steering Committee for the Colloquium on Microbial Forensics sponsored by American Society of Microbiology and was the organizer of three Microbial Forensics Meetings held at The Banbury Center in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. His current efforts focus on the areas of human forensic identification, microbial forensics, and emerging infectious disease. He is working on microbial forensics topics such as issues attribution, quality assurance, population genetics, next generation sequencing technology, and sample collection.

Dr. Grace Kubin
Texas Department of State Health Services

Grace Kubin is director of the Laboratory Services Section of the Department of State Health Services in Austin, Texas. In this role, she oversees activities of the Lab Operations and Quality Control Units and South Texas Health branch and also serves as the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA) director for both the Austin and South Texas laboratories. She previously served as the laboratory operations unit director (2010-2011) and emergency preparedness branch manager (2007-2010) for the Department of State Health Services. She is a member of the Association of Public Health Laboratories Public Health Preparedness and Response Committee and has served as a Member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Association of Public Health Laboratories Laboratory Efficiencies Initiatives Workgroups on Harmonization of Platforms, 2012; Sharing of Test Services Policy Guide, 2012; and Public Health Laboratory Data Management Tool, 2012, as well as chair of the Laboratory Response Network National Conference Planning Committee, 2012. Dr. Kubin has received honors including the Emerging Leader Award from the Association of Public Health Laboratories (2009) and the Charles E Sweet Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Department of State Health Services (2009). She received her M.A. in microbiology and Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Peter M. Vallone
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Peter M. Vallone received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999. In 1999 he was awarded a NRC postdoctoral fellowship that brought him to the Biotechnology Division at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). After completing his postdoctoral work in 2001 Dr. Vallone became a permanent staff scientist at NIST and he is currently the leader of the Applied Genetics group. During the last 14 years Dr. Vallone has worked on developing multiplex assays for the detection of genetic variation, developed methods for the rapid amplification of STR loci, and has been involved in the characterization of nucleic acid-based reference materials. Dr. Vallone has also developed various bioinformatic software tools for the design of nucleic acid based assays (e.g. AutoDimer). Dr. Vallone has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles in the area of DNA thermodynamics and forensic DNA testing.

Dr. John Hardham
Zoetis, Inc.

John M. Hardham is an associate research fellow and technical director for the Emerging Infectious Disease Program at Zoetis, Inc. (formerly Pfizer Animal Health). Dr. Hardham is also a Commander in the United States Navy Reserve where he serves as the Executive Officer for the 4th Marine Medical Battalion. After completion of his postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, TX, he became a research scientist for Pfizer, Inc. in 1999. Dr. Hardham has served in a variety of roles in the research and development of vaccines and biopharmaceutical products. Dr. Hardham accepted a direct commission into the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in 1994. Over the next decade, he served at several naval and fleet hospitals around the country, as Environmental Health Officer and Administrative Officer, before being mobilized into active duty for the Iraq War in 2003. Dr. Hardham served as the Microbiology Lab Director and Preventive Medicine Mobile Medical Augmentation Response Team (PM-MMART) Microbiologist for Navy Environmental Preventative Medicine Unit 6, Pearl Harbor, HI. From 2006-20011, Dr. Hardham was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense Programs, where he served as the Deputy Medical Director and then Medical Director. In this role, he directed the Department of Defense Medical Countermeasure Development Program and the Advanced Development and Manufacturing Initiative. He served on numerous committees and advisory roles to DoD, HHS, and has made briefings to various House and Senate Committees, Intelligence Community Programs, Executive Office Committees, and the National Security Council. Dr. Hardham's personal decorations include The Joint Service Commendation Medal (awarded by Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates), Navy Commendation Award, Navy Achievement Medal (six awards), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (Bronze M), and Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal. He received a B.S. in Microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Charles Chiu
University of California, San Francisco

Charles Chiu, M.D./Ph.D., is an assistant professor in Laboratory Medicine and Medicine, Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is also the director of UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center at China Basin and associate director of the UCSF Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. Dr. Chiu is an expert in the emerging field of viral metagenomics, and his research is focused on the development of microarray and deep sequencing technologies for viral pathogen discovery and clinical diagnostics. He is also the principal investigator on an R01 grant from the NIH on blood bank pathogen screening, California Discovery, UC-MEXUS, and National Research Fund for Tickborne Diseases grants on the microbial epidemiology of encephalitis, diarrhea, and Lyme disease, a QB3 Rogers Family Foundation Award in translational diagnostics, and a UCSF-Abbott Viral Discovery Award. Dr. Chiu has more than 30 patents and peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and ongoing collaborations with research groups and public health agencies worldwide, including Abbott Diagnostics, Inc., Global Viral Forecasting, the United States Centers for Disease Control, the American Red Cross, and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.