Integrated Research Facility Leadership and Scientists

Connie Schmaljohn, Ph.D., Director of the NIAID IRF-Frederick

Credit: NIAID

Personnel at the Integrated Research Facility at Fort Detrick (IRF-Frederick) work in a collaborative manner within and between teams and with external partners and affiliates.

IRF-Frederick Leadership

Connie Schmaljohn, Ph.D.

Director and Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR)

Dr. Connie Schmaljohn was selected and became director of the NIAID IRF-Frederick in November 2019. Prior to that time, she was the senior research scientist for medical defenses against infectious disease threats for the U.S. Army and directed a research program at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID).

Dr. Schmaljohn earned a B.S. degree in microbiology from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D. in virology from Colorado State University, after which she joined USAMRIID as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow. Her subsequent positions at USAMRIID included principal investigator and chief of molecular virology. Dr. Schmaljohn’s research background is in molecular virology and molecular vaccine development. She has served as president of the International Society of Hantaviruses, chair of the American Society for Microbiology Biodefense Conference, and chair of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses Bunyaviridae Study Group. She also has served on the Interagency Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise (PHEMCE) Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers Integrated Product Team (IPT), the Board of Scientific Counselors for the NIAID Vaccine Research Center, and the Scientific Advisory Council for the Coalition of Emergency Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). She was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology (2007) and was selected as fellow of the International Society for Vaccines (2015). She received the Order of Military Merit (2002), the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States Research Award (2002), the University of Nebraska Alumni Achievement Award (2012), and the Presidential Rank Award (2017).

As director, Dr. Schmaljohn provides overall scientific leadership to the research activities of the IRF-Frederick; oversees program operations; recommends, approves, or develops new collaborative research programs to advance medical countermeasures; allocates IRF-Frederick physical and financial resources; and recommends and implements policies for the execution of multi-disciplinary research focusing on the IRF-Frederick’s unique imaging and high containment capabilities. In addition, she serves as an expert consultant and advisor both nationally and internationally on the development of novel vaccine strategies for highly pathogenic viruses.

Ian Crozier, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer and Medical Affairs Scientist (Contractor)

As chief medical officer, Dr. Crozier provides support to bridge the human clinical bedside and animal models of emerging high-threat infectious diseases. He is an infectious diseases clinician-scientist who brings extensive experience with the Ebola virus disease outbreak, including bedside work in Africa as well as ongoing clinical and research efforts in Western Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Crozier’s particular interests include the host-filoviral and host-arenaviral determinants of “success” in both acute disease and survivor clinical phenotypes, such as the interaction of viruses with immune-privileged tissues.

Sarah L. Donahue, Ph.D., M.P.H. 

Associate Director for Management and Operations

Dr. Donahue has been in her current role at the IRF-Frederick since 2021. Her career has spanned over 15 years, with extensive experience as a senior civilian leader with the U.S. Army, most recently having served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army Medical Research and Development Command at Fort Detrick, overseeing the operational management of the Army’s medical research and development organization since 2015. Prior to that, she directly supported the Army Surgeon General as the Chief, Initiatives Group, and the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, overseeing federal regulatory requirements. She obtained her doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota and master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

Travis K. Warren, Ph.D.

Operations Director (Contractor)

With over 20 years of experience conducting and leading infectious disease research, Dr. Warren’s data from nonclinical studies have contributed to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals of tecoviromat for treatment of smallpox and remdesivir for treatment of SARS-CoV-2. He specializes in animal rule regulatory model characterizations and therapeutic development for highly infectious viral pathogens. He possesses extensive expertise in managing U.S. government-funded biocontainment assets to advance public-private partnerships with focus toward advanced development of medical countermeasures.

Scientific and Technical Services

Mike Holbrook, Ph.D.

Principal Scientist and Director of Biocontainment (Contractor)

Dr. Holbrook has been working in biocontainment research for more than 20 years with recognized expertise in biocontainment facilities, resources, and research management. Dr. Holbrook has a broad research portfolio with practical research experience working with arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, filoviruses, flaviviruses, and henipaviruses. His research interests include viral pathogenesis, viral immunology, virus structure, and fundamental aspects of cell biology.

Jens H. Kuhn, M.D., Ph.D., Ph.D., M.S.

Principal Scientist and Director of Virology (Contractor)

Dr. Kuhn specializes in the molecular biology and pathogenesis of and medical countermeasure development against Risk Group 4 pathogens (in particular, arenaviruses and filoviruses), evolutionary virology and virus taxonomy, and bioweapons defense. Dr. Kuhn has published more than 235 journal articles and 70 book chapters, serves on the editorial boards of 10 journals, and has been a peer reviewer for more than 90 journals.

Marisa St. Claire, D.V.M., M.S., Diplomate ACLAM

Chief Veterinarian

Dr. St. Claire oversees the Comparative Medicine Program, including all aspects of animal care and use. She is board-certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) and has over 20 years of experience conducting infectious disease research using animal models for NIAID.

Resources for Researchers

The IRF-Frederick has following capabilities and collaborative research support opportunities available to internal (NIAID) and extramural researchers. Contact information is included, so researchers can reach out to someone to guide them through the process.

Perform a keyword search of opportunities offered by the IRF-Frederick.

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