Members of the Scientific Advisory Council

Dr. Terry Sharrer

Former Curator of Health Sciences of the National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution

With a PhD in history from the University of Maryland, and a long career at the National Museum of American History, where he interviewed more than two dozen Nobel laureates, collaborated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health,  and built the premier museum collection of molecular medicine. He would say that life is full of surprises.  After retiring from the Smithsonian, he worked on medical innovation for the Inova Health System and Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and may still have a last act to play with researchers who hope to grow transplantable, artificial organs.  A life of surprises, indeed.

Mrs. Lorie Karnath

Co-Founder of The Explorers Museum

Avid explorer, adventurer, and author who has canvased the globe in search of answers to elusive questions. Most recently served three terms as the 37th president of The Explorers Club—only the second woman in the club’s 108-year history to be elected.

Dr. Emanuel Petricoin

University Professor for the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University and Co-Director Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine

Dr. Petricoin co-leads the Center of Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) with Dr. Lance Liotta. The CAPMM team’s mission is to conduct research on mechanisms of disease related to protein structure and function, and to translate the findings to patient benefit though early stage disease diagnoses, prevention, personalized precision medicine, and the discovery of novel therapies. The scientists of the Center comprise a multidisciplinary team of physicians, molecular biologists, medical technology experts, bioengineer, nanotechnology experts, and biochemists. The CAPMM team invents new technology to address questions in medical science that could not be answered in the past. We use our novel technologies to conduct research on disease mechanisms. The CAPMM has invented, developed, published, and patented transformative technologies and research discoveries in medical fields under the Center mission.

Dr. Robin Felder

Professor of Pathology for the University of Virginia

Dr. Felder has focused his research in pathogenesis of essential hypertension and salt sensitivity – We employ a multidimensional approach to the study of high blood pressure including the molecular genetics, biochemical techniques, in-vitro, and in-vivo studies in humans. Through the use of in vivo pharmacologic experiments we have demonstrated that a defect in an intracellular enzyme results in the inability to normally excrete sodium, thus leading to elevated blood pressure. Our studies extend to the use of human subjects in the Clinical Research Center to determine the effect of pharmacologic intervention in normal and pathologic states.

Dr. Peter Hotez

Dean of National School of Tropical Medicine for Baylor College of Medicine, Professor in Department of Pediatrics of Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Co-Head for the Section of Pediatric Tropical Medicine, and Health Policy Scholar

Current projects include, Human Hookworm VaccineDevelopment of a vaccine for the more than 400 million people suffering from hookworm infection in the world today. Vaccine currently in phase 1 clinical trials in Brazil and Gabon. Dr. Hotez’s second project is Schistosomiasis Vaccine Schistosomiasis afflicts over 200 million people around the globe and is the deadliest disease among the seven most prevalent NTDs, killing an estimated 280,000 people annually. Our vaccine is entering phase 1 clinical trials.

Dr. Michael Blaese

Dr. Blaese was the American Geneticist noted for his innovative work in gene therapy and applied genomics. In the early 1980s Blaese and his colleagues hit upon the idea that defective genes could be changed, and subsequently devised a strategy to deliver engineered viruses to correct such defective genes. In 1990 the team had their first success when they treated a young girl with adenosine deaminase (ADA). This breakthrough led them to apply the same principles of gene therapy to other metabolic disorders and cancer.

Dr. Jendai Robinson

Dr. Jendai Robinson, originally from Elizabeth, New Jersey, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Virginia State University and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Robinson has completed several internships, many of which with NASA and has published a number of peer-reviewed publications. She is more than just “JenDaChemist” or Dr. Robinson although being a female-minority in the hard sciences is nothing to talk light of. More specifically, as a first-generation student she was able to complete her Ph.D. at just 26 years old. After applying for and being awarded a NASA Harriet G. Jenkins Fellowship in the first year of her graduate studies, she was able to secure over $100,000 in grant funding allowing her to graduate from her Ph.D. program without loan financing. She is currently a Staff Fellow Chemist at the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Jose Marie Griffiths

President at Dakota State University

Dr. Griffiths has spent over 30 years in research, teaching, public service, corporate leadership, economic development, and higher education administration. She has used her knowledge and expertise in computational science and technology to advance projects and endeavors across all of these fields. She has conducted ground-breaking work in meta-data and return-on-investment analysis of “big data” information systems, including multiple approaches to cost-benefit assessment; the influences of the digital revolution on the conduct of research, technology transfer, and economic development; and developing and implementing innovative and successful models for higher education/government/corporate multi-disciplinary partnerships and collaborations.

Dr. Mabel Purkerson

Mabel Louise Purkerson graduated from Erskine College with a bachelor’s degree and earned her medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston. She completed a pediatric residency and a fellowship in pediatric metabolism at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Purkerson’s research focus was renal physiology, notably kidney pathophysiology and pathophysiology of acute and chronic renal failure utilizing experimental models of renal disease. Purkerson was appointed to the Washington University faculty as an instructor of pediatrics. Following an advanced trainee-ship in the renal division of the Department of Medicine, she was appointed instructor of medicine and advanced to assistant professor of medicine. Purkerson was chief of nephrology on the Washington University Medical Service at John Cochran Veterans Administration Medical Center. She served as associate professor and professor of medicine before becoming professor emerita. Her administrative appointments at Washington University School of Medicine included associate dean for curriculum and associate dean for academic projects. In 1976, Purkerson became the first woman to serve on the dean’s staff in the School of Medicine. For more than 40 years, Mabel Louise Purkerson contributed to the university as a clinician, teacher, investigator and administrator.

Donald Johnson

Founding Director of the Institute for Human Origins, Arizona State University

Dr. Johanson is the Virginia M Ullman Chair in Human Origins in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the Founding Director of the Institute of Human Origins. For the past 30 years, he has conducted field and laboratory research in paleoanthropology. Most notably, he discovered the 3.18 million year old hominid skeleton popularly known as “Lucy.” Through grants from the National Science Foundation, the L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, and the National Geographic Society, Johanson has carried out field research in Ethiopia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Tanzania. He is an Honorary Board Member of the Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of many other professional organizations and recipient of several international prizes and awards. In 1975, Johanson was appointed curator of physical anthropology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and, beginning in 1976, developed a laboratory of physical anthropology that attracted scholars from all over the world. He has written, among other books, the widely read “Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind” (with Maitland Edey), 1991, and numerous scientific and popular articles. In 1994, he co-wrote “Ancestors: In Search of Human Origins” and narrated a companion NOVA television series seen by more than 100 million people worldwide. Most recently, he published “From Lucy to Language” (with Blake Edgar, principal photography by David Brill), 1996. Johanson is a frequent lecturer at university and other forums in the United States and abroad.

Michael Khor

Director of Talent Recruitment and Biometric Analysis, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore

Professor Michael Khor obtained his B Sc (Hons) and PhD degrees from Monash University, Australia. He worked as an Experimental Scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Melbourne before joining the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 1989. He has held a number of academic, research and administrative appointments, such as Director of Research; Director, Research Support Office; Deputy Director, Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMA), Singapore Office; Director (Projects) at the National Research Foundation (NRF); Associate Provost (Research), President’s Office, NTU; Director, NTU Venture; and currently Director of Research Support Office and Bibliometrics Analysis.

David Micklos

Founding Director of DNA Learning Center

As an undergraduate, Micklos tudied ornithology and vertebrate ecology. His senior project on the migration of the myrtle warbler introduced him to chi-square analysis. When it dawned on him that these pursuits were avocations rather than job descriptions, he tried his hand at teaching. As a masters-degree student, he wrote a thesis on “The Social Constraints of Public Relations Science Writers.” One of the thesis reviewers was a head-hunter, who added him to the list of candidates for a new position in public affairs and development at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He had never heard of the Laboratory, but, of course, heard of its leader, who had also been interested in birds, and began the job in 1982. In 1985, he began to train high school teachers to clone genes, and started the DNA Learning Center in 1988. In 1990, his book DNA Science was published, and won the Charles A. Dana Award, which impressed even me. Now he has a unique job that draws together his hybrid experiences in the worlds of biology, journalism, education, and the social sciences. He doesn’t watch birds too often any more, but he still has his spotting scope.

Alfred McLaren

PhD, Captain of the US Navy (retired). Former Nuclear Attack Submarine Officer and Professor at the University of Colorado

Eighty-four-year-old Captain Alfred S. McLaren, USN (Ret.), Ph.D., is the Indiana Jones of the sea—a veritable Captain Nemo more at home in the depths of the ocean than he is landlocked at 8,000 feet where he lives in the mountains between Boulder and Nederland.A former nuclear attack submarine officer and the veteran of more than 20 Cold War submarine operations, he and his crew of the USS Seadragon completed the first submerged transit of the Northwest Passage, during which time they played the first baseball game at the North Pole, according to his book Silent and Unseen: On Patrol in Three Cold War Attack Submarines (U.S. Naval Institute Press, 2015). Later, as commander of the USS Queenfish, he led a North Pole expedition that completed the first under ice survey of the entire Siberian Continental Shelf. Now at an age when most retired Navy veterans are content to hang up their life jackets, McLaren, a former research and teaching professor at the University of Colorado, is “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead,” planning a variety of new projects. He’s currently working on a third book covering his command of the USS Queenfish from 1969 to 1973, and another book about his expeditions to the Titanic and the German battleship the Bismarck.