Who we are
Nathan Wolfe is the founder and chairman of Global Viral and is active in managing GV both operationally and scientifically. Nathan is the Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University and has spent his life studying deadly viruses to detect worldwide disease pandemics before they kill millions. He is also the Founder and CEO of Metabiota, a for-profit company specializing in microbiological research, products and services.
Nathan's endeavors coordinate over 100 scientists and staff globally by spotting viruses as soon as they surface by collecting and cataloguing blood samples, surveying wild animals, scanning urban blood banks and documenting the transfer and distribution on disease. Data gleaned from a dozen field sites in Cameroon, China, Malaysia and other countries have led to the discovery of a number of previously unknown infectious agents, notably simian foamy and t-lymphotropic viruses that emerged into humans from primate reservoirs.
TIME magazine included him in the “2011 Time 100” as one of the one hundred most influential people in the world; Rolling Stone named him one of the “100 Agents of Change” in 2009; and Popular Science recognized him as one of their “Brilliant 10” in 2006. He has been honored with a Fulbright fellowship and the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Times Books published his first book, THE VIRAL STORM: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age on October 11, 2011, to rave reviews. He has over 80 scientific publications and his work has been published in or covered by Nature, Science, The New York Times, The Economist, NPR, The New Yorker and Forbes among others. He has received support totaling over $30m in grants and contracts from Google.org, the Skoll Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the US Department of Defense and others.
Founder & Chairman
Samantha has provided creative solutions to non-profits of all sizes who seek to address strategic operational gaps. She have over 20 years’ experience in operational leadership within international and domestic-based organizations including large university, NGOs and smaller nonprofit environments. Her expertise includes: strategic planning and operations, program management, needs assessment, contracts and grants negotiation and stewardship (domestic and foreign compliance, audits, assessing/mitigating financial risk, etc.), budget and fiscal oversight, leveraging resource networks, as well as building and maintaining excellent funder and donor relationships.
Chief Operating Officer
Edward 'Eddy' Rubin
Eddy joins GV after spending nearly 14 years as Director of the Joint Genome Insitute of the US Dept. of Energy in Walnut Creek. Eddy provides scientifc leadership and guidance to the many ongoing projects at Global Viral. In 2002 he assumed the directorship of the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) to lead the JGI’s involvement in the Human Genome Project (HGP). Under his leadership, the JGI completed the sequencing and analysis of human chromosomes 5, 16 and 19 (~13% of the human genome). After completion of the HGP, Dr. Rubin has led the reorientation of the JGI as a next-generation genome science center, applying genomics to studies related to bioenergy and the environment, sequencing and analyzing the genetic code of thousands of plants, fungi and microbes. In March 2016, Dr. Rubin stepped down as JGI Director. Dr. Rubin’s research has involved the development and application of computational and biological approaches for studying genomes. His early work focused on decoding the human genome. He then championed its functional exploration, harnessing sequence comparisons between species for the discovery of genes and non-coding sequences of pivotal evolutionary and biomedical importance. Other related work included sequencing and analysis of regions of the genomes of extinct cave bears and Neanderthals. More recently, he has expanded the frontiers of the new science of metagenomics, deriving important insights from his investigations of microbial communities inhabiting environments ranging from gutless ocean-dwelling worms to cow rumen. Dr. Rubin has published over 250 peer-reviewed manuscripts with more than 35 of them appearing in the journals Science andNature.
Eddy has a BA in Physics from University of California, San Diego, a MD from University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, and a PhD in Biophysics from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Science Degree from Middlebury College, University of Rochester Dean’s Award, Netherlands Heart Association Declaration of Esteem, American Heart Association Established Investigator Award and has been inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation. He is a member of the Jackson Laboratory Board of Trustees, Genome Canada Board of Directors, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Genome Institute of Singapore, and serves on the scientific advisory boards of several additional biotechnology and research institutions. He has served as a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors for the Journal Science and the editorial boards of several other journals.
Shailesh joined Global Viral after spending nearly 7 years as a scientist at Genentech, Inc., and helps manage GV's scientific projects, including the Boundaries of Life project. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, where his thesis work in Edward Marcotte's lab focused on using functional genomics methods (phylogenetic profiling, Rosetta stone fusion proteins, operon partners, etc.) to reconstruct networks of physically and functionally interacting proteins on genome-wide scales. Shailesh subsequently moved to the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and completed his postdoctoral training under the supervision of David Roos and Chris Stoeckert, focusing on biology of ampicomplexan parasites, including the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
After completing his postdoctoral research, Shailesh took up a position as scientist Genentech with joint appointments in the Departments of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and Infectious Diseases. He was responsible for building computational infrastructure to help infectious disease drug discovery, as well as for putting together a research program utilizing computational methods to facilitate infectious disease research.
Principal Systems & Software Architect
Lisa joined Global Viral after helping build key infrastructure for the Boundaries of Life initiative as part of startup Pinpoint Science. She has been designing and building complex software systems for nearly 40 years. Her experience extends from computational genomics and molecular diagnostics to financial, trading and market data applications, business intelligence and analytics, computer animation and more. As systems architect and developer at the Stanford Genome Technology Center, she built software to generate molecular probes for colon and esophageal cancer, pandemic influenza, drug-resistant TB, and human papilloma virus, and developed novel software to analyze the vaginal microbiome. Other software innovation focused on panels of multiplexed probes to identify pathogens in respiratory infections, UTIs, catheter-based infections, etc. and to characterize resistance and virulence. As VP of Engineering at Black Pearl, she led development of innovative AI business applications. Lisa led streaming wireless and data visualization development for equity trading as VP of Technology Innovation at Reuters, and led the Market Data Engineering team at their Tibco Finance Technology division in Palo Alto. Prior to that, as VP of Architecture and Strategy for Global Market Data Systems at Merrill Lynch, she was responsible for key trading floor infrastructure and applications in Tokyo and New York. Earlier in her career, Lisa pioneered groundbreaking real-time graphics, animation and digital video systems.
Senior Systems & Software Architect
Bio coming soon!
Joint Genome Institute
Kevin joins Global Viral as a Post-Doctoral Scientist working on the “Boundaries of Life” project in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute (DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories). Coming from across the pond, Kevin was awarded a prestigious research grant to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship at Imperial College London working with Dr. Joshua Edel towards developing technology for single molecule sensing. By using specialized, patent-pending techniques to concentrate DNA prior to sensing, Kevin was able to detect DNA at concentrations <5 femto-molar (funding provided by Whitaker International Programs). Prior to this, his graduate education was made possible through being awarded two grants by the National Science Foundation (the NSF IGERT fellowship and the NSF GRF) which culminated in earning advanced degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical & Biological Engineering. During his Ph.D., he focused on single molecule biophysics and nanofabrication under Dr. MinJun Kim (Professor in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics). Projects included studying single molecule protein unfolding/stretching, protein capture efficiency into nanofluidic devices, and DNA detection using graphene nanopores. Previous positions also included developing computational methods and prediction algorithms for pathological brain states using neural signals (under Dr. Karen Moxon), and assay development for Merck and Co., Inc. During the past 10 years, Kevin has published over 20 journal papers, was invited to speak at 7 international conferences, as well as made numerous presentations at conferences, workshops, seminars, and NSF project meetings. With a strong background in developing methods and technology for probing cells, viruses and single molecules with unprecedented resolution, Kevin plans to apply his knowledge to new and developing areas of science.
Scientific Program Manager
Shellie recently completed a NSF Polar Programs Research postdoctoral fellowship, where she worked at Stanford University under the guidance of professors Kevin Arrigo and Chris Francis. The postdoctoral project she conceived and completed was focused on population dynamics of eukaryotic and prokaryotic marine microbes near the West Antarctic Peninsula using molecular genetic data from samples collected during a three year time-series. Managing that project included multiple deployments to Antarctica, as well as coordinating sample collection and processing with other research groups. In addition to her recent work in Antarctica, Shellie has extensive experience conducting and managing oceanographic field work to globally diverse sites including expeditions to deep sea hydrothermal vents.
Prior to her postdoctoral fellowship, she completed her PhD at UC Santa Cruz where she used comparative genomics and molecular tools to study tropical marine nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. She also holds a BS in genetics from UC Davis, and a MS from the University of Delaware where she completed one of the earliest metagenomic studies of environmental viruses.
Board of directors
See biography in the staff section.
Founder & Chairman,
Jeremy Alberga has served at GV’s Deputy Director, where he oversaw the organization’s day-to-day operations from 2009 - 2015. He has over 10 years of managing international development projects, including 3 years living in Cameroon and 1.5 years in Botswana, where he was the Deputy Country Director for ITECH Botswana, dedicated to building clinical capacity for the care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS. Prior to working in international development, Mr. Alberga spent five years advising state governments on health policy reforms concerning insurance markets and programs aimed at reducing the uninsured. Mr. Alberga holds an MA from George Washington University and a BA from McGill University.
Cheif Operating Officer
UCSF Global Health Group
Senior Vice President,
The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Sally O’Brien leads Pew’s development efforts with donors and partner organizations.
O’Brien joined Pew in 2010 after 18 years at The Johns Hopkins University, most recently as associate dean for development and external affairs at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Before that, she was director of development at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she played a pivotal role in the successful conclusion of the school’s $500 million capital campaign. She planned the school’s 75th anniversary celebrations and was instrumental in the growth of the school’s endowment from less than $40 million in 1990 to $218 million by 2007. Her leadership resulted in the establishment of a number of innovative donor relationships that included the funding of the Procter & Gamble Fellows Program, the DeBeers Scholars program and the establishment of the Sommer Scholars to develop the next generation of public health leaders.
Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, O’Brien was a member of the British Diplomatic Service and served in London, Brussels and Washington. She advised on government policy and coordinated regular meetings of European Community foreign ministers and ambassadors. During her tenure in the Washington embassy, she was appointed a member of the Royal Victorian Order by HM The Queen for services to the Royal Family.
O’Brien grew up in England and first came to the United States as a Robert T. Jones Scholar at Emory University before moving permanently to the United States in 1987. She earned her combined undergraduate/graduate degree in art history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
She serves on the boards of Global Viral, a health organization, and Friends of Christ’s Hospital. She is a former board member of Advocates for Children and Youth and the Maryland Film Festival.
Sr. Attending Physician & Assoc. Professor of Clinical Investigation,
The Rockefeller University.
Dr. Schlesinger leads the clinical development of vaccines that target HIV and immunotherapies to treat other conditions, including cancer. Formally a member of the Steinman laboratory and now working with Michel C. Nussenzweig and Jeffrey V. Ravetch, she is interested in the clinical manipulation of the immune system’s dendritic cells to elicit immunity to diseases ranging from HIV to cancer. Although much research has been conducted in mice, the causes of human disease can differ considerably. Dr. Schlesinger is directing phase I clinical studies that employ the methods of immunology and dendritic cell biology, in which patients set the standards needed to understand diseases and treatments.
Dr. Schlesinger has been involved in the clinical trials of eight HIV vaccines and vaccine adjuvants. She is now conducting the first HIV vaccine trial based on dendritic cells, which were discovered at Rockefeller in 1973 by Ralph Steinman and his mentor, Zanvil Cohn.
In the steady state, dendritic cells capture antigens and travel to immune or lymphoid tissues, where they present to T cells, stimulating a robust immune response. But dendritic cells also play a seemingly opposite role, immune tolerance, which silences dangerous immune cells and prevents them from attacking the body’s own tissues. Working with Dr. Steinman, Dr. Schlesinger has used dendritic cells to study and design treatments that can harness the immune system, either to enhance or silence its functions, in an antigen- or disease-specific manner.
In addition to leading clinical trials, Dr. Schlesinger chairs the research education and training committee of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at The Rockefeller University Hospital. She is also codirector of the Clinical Scholars program and the Certificate in Clinical and Translational Sciences program and is a member of The Rockefeller University Institutional Review Board.
Founder & Portfolio Manager, Ironbark
Erez Kalir is the founder and portfolio manager of Ironbark Investments, a hedge fund that focuses on event-driven investment opportunities across asset classes globally.Ironbark seeks to identify industries, geographies, and companies undergoing structural transformation, where the change has been neglected or misunderstood by the market. Having identified these opportunities, Ironbark performs detailed, fundamental analysts across the capital structure to find securities that present a favorably asymmetric risk - reward and a catalyst to help unlock value. Ironbark's portfolio uses minimal or no leverage, and generally keeps a sizeable pool of its liquidity in cash to position the fund to exploit the forced selling of other market participants. The Ironbark portfolio seeks to be resilient across diverse economic environments and outcomes. Erez holds degrees from Stanford, Oxford, and Yale Universities.
Don Oppenheim spent his career managing the finances and strategies of law firms, both as a consultant and as an Executive Director. Many of the firms he worked for had either public agency or non-profit clientele.
Don earned an MBA from the University of Michigan in 1980 and prior to that a BS from UC Berkeley, 1978. The focus of his early career was the environment, working for Sierra Club Books, where he focused on a distribution agreement with Random House, and also the formation of an environmental book club banding together the memberships of many eco-focused non-profit organizations. Mr. Oppenheim lives in Berkeley , California and runs a part-time consultancy during early retirement. He also volunteers with a few select organizations, including Global Viral, focusing primarily on business issues and challenges.
Central Afirca Regional Director
Mr. Tamoufe, a biotechnology engineer, was among the first project staff in Cameroon to organize resources to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Mr Tamoufe has been Deputy Director for the Johns Hopkins Central Africa Program from 2000-2007, and prior to that had more than 10 years experience working with Family Health International of North Carolina and coordinating a range of studies investigating microbicide effectiveness (phase III) in high-risk women under FDA control, family planning delivery methods, and HIV prevention programs within general population, high-risk women, uniformed services, and youth. Since January 2008 Mr Tamoufe is the Regional Director for Global Viral Forcasting Initiative for Central Africa (GVFI).
Mr Tamoufe is certified as Clinical Research Coordinator by Barnett International, certified for Good Clinical Practice by SACRA South Africa. From 2003-2006 Mr Tamoufe was nominated by the President of Johns Hopkins University at the position of Associate at the Department of Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA. Since 2007 up to date Mr Tamoufe has been recruited at the position of Assistant Researcher at the Department of Epidemiology at the University of California at Los Angeles in USA with position located in Cameroon. He also has a Masters Degree in Public Health from the Université Henri Poincaré, Nacy 1, France.
Mr Tamoufe is an HIV prevention specialist. Since 2002 he has been coordinating military HIV prevention projects in central Africa funded by the US DoD Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Program through Johns Hopkins Central Africa Program, and is widely recognized throughout Central Africa for his innovative work with uniformed services.
Dr. Djoko has over 15 years of experience working in the field and in laboratories throughout Central Africa in various roles. He is well positioned to pinpoint the specific challenges faced by laboratories and field implementation of health related projects in developing countries and to identify pertinent solutions. Dr. Djoko has developed, strengthened and supervised laboratory infrastructure and related activities focused on understanding the distribution and diversity of a range of infectious agents (including malaria, HIV/AIDS and other STIs). He has also coordinated the field implementation of about 16 behavioral and health related studies within Central Africa. As an experienced trainer, Dr. Djoko has organized and supervised internships for about 50 biochemistry, microbiology and veterinary students. In addition he has to date provided training to over 100 laboratory technicians. He is fluent in both English and French and is a holder of a Ph.D. in Biochemistry (option: Environment and Health) from the University of Yaoundé I.
Matthew LeBreton has worked at the intersection of the fields of health, environment, conservation and wildlife ecology for the past 25 years. His work has involved engagement and inclusion of government and community in research, program development and implementation. He has coauthored around 80 scientific papers related to health and environment and a book on the Reptiles of Cameroon in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural History in Paris. In central Africa, Matthew has worked on programs funded by USAID, Google Foundation, National Science Foundation, PEPFAR, Johns Hopkins University, the World Bank, the Global Emerging Infections Surveillance network and others. Matthew is the founder and director of Mosaic which, based in Cameroon, provides technical advice, programmatic assistance and project implementation support to government, NGOs and companies throughout the region.
Col. Foe Essame
Col. Bagamboua Romain
Colonel Dr. Romain BAGAMBOULA MPASSI has been in charge of the management of health projects at the Ministry of National Defense of the Republic of Congo (RoC) for more than a decade. He has headed Scientific and Technical Research at the Central Directorate of the Armies’ Health Service and coordinates, and as such, the projects carried out in partnership with the United Nations system, the Department of Defense of the United States of America (Life Initiative/ Johns Hopkins University, DHAPP etc.) and Global Viral. As the Global Viral Country representative for RoC Since 2014, he coordinates the surveillance and prevention of zoonoses and emerging diseases (PREDICT) project in the country. He is a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Global Fund for TB, malaria and HIV / AIDS; Head of New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the Executive Office of the Central and West Africa Military Network for the fight against AIDS (REMAFOC / AIDS); Country Representative of the Central African Military Health Alliance (RESSMAC) and Secretary General of the Congolese Society for Military Medicine (SCMM). Colonel Dr. Romain BAGAMBOULA MPASSI was President of the Scientific Committee of the 9th Pan African Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) in 2010-2012.
Colonel Dr. Romain holds an MD and is a graduate of tropical and parasitic Medicine at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI - France). He is also a graduate in Sexual Reproductive Health and HIV / AIDS of the ALFRED FOURNIER Institute (Paris - France) and holds a Certificate of Special Studies [Certificate d’Etudes Spéciales) ,(CES)] of the Inter-State Center for Higher Public Health Education in Central Africa (CIESPAC).
General ADRINKAYE Allao Dounia is the Coordinator of the sectorial committee for the fight against HIV/AIDS at the Ministry of National Defense in Chad.
For 20 years, he has been supervising the Organization of the response to HIV/AIDS/STIs in the Security and armed forces in Chad. He was a member of the Global Fund against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria as representatives of the Government. He is the Army HIV Focal point and a member of the West and Central Africa military network for the fight against HIV/AIDS (REMAFOC/SIDA) and the military network for combating emerging and re-emerging Infections in Central Africa, Sao Tome and Principe.
Gen. Adrinkaye was the Deputy Director of the Health Service and Social Action of the security and Armed Forces in Chad for 07 years and the Director for 19 years. He is a graduate of the Faculty of medicine and the school of officers’ corps off Thessaloniki, Greece and holder of a certificate in applied epidemiology for senior leadership of the health and the Faculty of medicine, pharmacy and Stomatology in Bamako Mali. He also holds a University diploma in public health and Health Promotion Option in developing countries from the Henri Poincaré Faculty of medicine in Nancy France, and a University diploma of the fight against malaria in the Faculty of the Mediterranean in Marseilles in France