Richard S. Bennett, Ph.D., Associate Science Supervisor/Study Implementer
Dr. Bennett is the associate science supervisor/study implementer with Battelle supporting the IRF at the National Interagency Biodefense Campus at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. With 15 years of virology experience with both veterinary and human pathogens, his research produced two patented vaccines. Prior to joining the IRF, Dr. Bennett served as a principal investigator with the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, where he conducted biodefense research on viruses requiring biosafety level (BSL)-2 through -4 containment. He has conducted both field and laboratory research with a number of high-consequence pathogens, including Ebola and Marburg viruses. Most recently, he aided the current Ebola virus disease outbreak response, supported by NIAID, by performing Ebola virus diagnostics in Liberia. Dr. Bennett’s project management training, combined with his virology experience, provide the IRF with a unique science management perspective.
Julie Dyall, Ph.D., Virologist
Julie Dyall, Ph.D., is managing consultant at Tunnell Government Services, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, and senior virologist (contractor) at the IRF. Dr. Dyall has academic, industry, and government experience in the area of antiviral drug discovery, virus diagnostics, and gene therapy. Noted successes include development of discovery programs for viral therapeutics for high-consequence pathogens including agents with bioterrorism potential. Her academic work was devoted to the development of lentiviral vectors for transduction of dendritic cells for gene therapy (M. Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) and studying the mechanism of site-specific integration of adeno-associated virus (AAV) to determine the requirements for the design of efficient and safe AAV vectors (Cornell). At a small biotech company, Apath LLC, she developed high-throughput screening platforms for the drug discovery of antivirals to treat infections with respiratory syncytial virus, Ebola virus, and influenza virus.
At the IRF, drug screening efforts are targeted toward novel emerging viruses such as Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus. Her most recent work current work at the IRF explores the value of in vivo imaging modalities such as PET and CT for studying infectious diseases, including viral pathogenesis, evaluation of therapies, and diagnostics.
Michael Holbrook, Ph.D., High-Containment Supervisor
Dr. Holbrook is a senior scientist at the IRF and also serves as the high-containment supervisor with responsibility for overseeing all research activities within the Biosafety Leve (BSL)l-4 facility. Dr. Holbrook is the former director of the Shope BSL-4 laboratory and the emerging and high-risk pathogens core at the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and was an associate professor in the department of pathology. Dr. Holbrook has been working in the field of arbovirology since 1998 and with BSL-4 pathogens since 2003. Dr. Holbrook is considered a worldwide expert in tickborne flaviviruses and has developed significant expertise with all human pathogenic flaviviruses, particularly yellow fever virus. Dr. Holbrook has also developed practical expertise with most BSL-4 pathogens, with experience working with Nipah and Hendra viruses, filoviruses, Rift Valley fever virus, and highly pathogenic arenaviruses. Dr. Holbrook’s work has included the development of diagnostic agents as well as the testing of a number of different vaccines and chemotherapeutic agents against BSL-3 and BSL-4 viruses, in addition to extensive research experience in viral pathogenesis, viral immunology, viral protein expression and characterization, viral structure, and molecular virology. Dr. Holbrook has served as principal investigator, co-investigator, and consultant on a number of National Institutes of Health-supported grants and contracts.
Jens H. Kuhn, M.D./Ph.D., Ph.D., M.S., Lead Virologist
Jens H. Kuhn, M.D./Ph.D., Ph.D., M.S., is a principal at Tunnell Government Services (TGS), Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, tasked as the lead virologist (contractor) at the IRF. He is also TGS team leader for all IRF-Frederick TGS contractors. Dr. Kuhn specializes in highly virulent viral pathogens. He is the author of Filoviruses: A Compendium of 40 Years of Epidemiological, Clinical, and Laboratory Studies (Vienna: Springer, 2008) and co-author of The Soviet Biological Weapons Program – A History(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2012) and has studied and worked in Germany, Italy, Malta, Russia, South Africa, and South Korea. In the United States, he rotated through or worked at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; the Arthropod-Borne Infectious Disease Laboratory (AIDL) in Fort Collins, Colorado; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia; and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Maryland. Dr. Kuhn was the first western scientist with permission to work in the former Soviet biological warfare facility SRCVB "Vector" in Siberia, Russia, within the U.S. Department of Defense Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program.
Dr. Kuhn was a contributor to the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland’s Controlling Dangerous Pathogens Project and a member of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation’s CBW Scientist Working Group. He is currently chairing the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Filoviridae andMononegavirales Study Groups and is a subject-matter expert for the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) for all mononegaviruses; is a member of the editorial boards of Applied Biosafety - Journal of the American Biological Safety Association, Archives of Virology, BioMed Research International, Journal of Bioterrorism and Biodefense, PLoS One, PLoS Pathogens, Viruses, Virologica Sinica, Voprosy Virusologii, and World Journal of Virology; was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ committee on animal models for assessing countermeasures to bioterrorism agents; and is continuously involved with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the U.S. Department of State bioengagement efforts in the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) region, Turkey, and the Newly Independent States. Dr. Kuhn can be found on LinkedIn.