Meet Our Staff
- Dr. Kavita Berger, Scientist
- Dr. Jennifer Corbin, Scientist
- Ms. Jessica Drum, Associate
- Dr. Margaret Rush, Senior Scientist
- COL RET Robert Stephan, Executive Director
- Mr. Ken Stroech, Senior Advisor
- Ms. Louise Sumner, Scientist
Senior Analytical Staff:
- Mr. Tim Adams, Health Physicist
- Dr. Jamie Barnabei, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Andrew Burnham, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Anna Dixon, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Craig Hooper, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Froggi (Shawn) Jackson, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Mark Kazmierczak, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Carissa Meyer, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Glen Noble, Senior Analyst
- Dr. Ryan Ritterson, Senior Analyst
- Mr. Stephen Tarnacki, Program Manager
- Dr. Gautham Venugopalan, Senior Analyst
Dr. Rocco Casagrande
Rocco Casagrande is a founder and current Managing Director of Gryphon Scientific. He holds a BA in chemistry and biology from Cornell University and a PhD in experimental biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From December 2002 to March 2003, Rocco worked as a United Nations biological weapons inspector in Iraq, where he participated in more than 50 inspections and acted as the chief of the U.N. biological analysis laboratory. In a prior post, Rocco led a team of biologists and engineers at Surface Logix, a Boston-based biotechnology firm, to develop and test real-time detectors for biological agents. In his most recent position, he led the homeland security practice at Abt Associates, one of the nation’s largest public policy research and consulting firms. He has published numerous articles on biological defense and has consulted on chemical and biological warfare and defense for several congressional offices and government agencies.
Ms. Joan Mullen
Joan Mullen is a founder and current Managing Partner of Gryphon Scientific. With an undergraduate degree in economics, Joan interrupted her law school plans to take a job at Abt Associates, then a young firm designed by Clark Abt to bring the analytic techniques of the defense industry into civilian public policy decision-making. Over the next 35 years, she held almost every position in the organization, ultimately heading all of the firm’s domestic public policy practices. Under her leadership, domestic research and consulting nearly doubled, moving to $100 million in 2001. Joan launched many new practice areas, including a group devoted to law and criminal justice issues, behavioral health, clinical trials and epidemiology, and homeland security. Throughout most of her tenure at Abt Associates, she continued to manage projects and to publish on issues related to sentencing and incarceration. Joan now leads many of Gryphon’s strategic planning and workforce development projects for biomedical, environmental, and human service organizations.
Dr. Kavita Berger
Kavita M. Berger joined Gryphon Scientific in 2015. Her focus areas are biotechnology, security, health security, and science policy. Kavita’s work addresses biological and chemical defense issues through active involvement of the scientific and security communities, international science engagement, and evaluation of multidisciplinary science and technologies. She has experience in: evaluating policy initiatives and produced policy and program option papers; developing educational case studies through which scientists can learn about how to analyze risk in their own research; designing and administering table top exercises to promote greater knowledge of how risks and threats are addressed in the scientific and law enforcement communities and to identify potential gaps in the system; and conducting technology evaluations in which she developed risk and benefit scenarios and risk assessment frameworks. She has developed innovative programs to promote trust and communication between the FBI and the academic science community in the United States, and to encourage cooperation between U.S. and Middle Eastern and North African scientists. In 2012, Kavita worked with the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues for seven months. There, she was the staff lead on the Commission’s evaluation of the ethical issues associated with pediatric medical countermeasures research. Immediately prior to joining Gryphon Scientific, Kavita spent nine years at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy. Kavita conducted her post-doctoral research at the Emory Vaccine Center where she conducted pre-clinical research and development of HIV and smallpox vaccines. Kavita received her Ph.D. in genetics and molecular biology at Emory University and B.S. in molecular genetics at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Jennifer Corbin
Since joining Gryphon Scientific in 2007, Jennifer has supported the federal government by providing evidence-based analysis in public health, biodefense and science policy. As a Scientist with the company, she has lead projects in health effects modeling, literature review, and risk analysis for several federal agencies including the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Her primary focus is currently on biological and radiological medical countermeasure modeling. Prior to joining Gryphon, Jennifer worked as a Recruiting Editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Iowa State University and earned her PhD in biomedical science through the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at New York University School of Medicine.
Ms. Jessica Drum
Jessica Drum, an Associate at Gryphon Scientific, has several years of analytical experience reviewing and assessing policy related to international security and nonproliferation. Jessica holds an MA in International Policy Studies with a Certificate in Nonproliferation from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. While at the Monterey Institute, she worked at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies as a Research Assistant evaluating critical open source literature on developments in Egypt’s nuclear and missile programs for publication. She also authored a paper for the Nuclear Threat Initiative titled: “Vying for Influence: Saudi Arabia’s Reaction to Iran’s Advancing Nuclear Program.” Following completion of her graduate work, Jessica went on to serve as a Nonproliferation Graduate Fellow with the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) International Nonproliferation and Export Control Office. She concentrated on their Middle East portfolio, coordinating export control outreach and trainings with technical experts from the National labs, foreign governments and domestic partners. Prior to earning her MA, she studied Arabic for a year at the American University in Cairo. She also holds a BA from Colorado State University in Political Science.
Dr. Margaret Rush
Margaret Rush joined Gryphon Scientific after graduating with a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Harvard University. She leads projects in three practice areas: public health, food safety and agricultural emergency preparedness, to provide support to clients across the Federal government, including NIH, FDA, CDC, USDA, FEMA and DHS. Margaret leverages a diverse set of skills to support her clients, including mathematical modeling, technical writing and project management. Many of Margaret’s projects call upon her expertise in collecting, managing and analyzing large data sets, which she began developing as a graduate student performing high throughput screens and has continued to develop on multiple projects at Gryphon. Margaret also provides support for stakeholder outreach projects, especially to support consensus building around new policies and technologies. In addition to her technical responsibilities at Gryphon, Margaret is active in business development and is currently pursing opportunities in agricultural emergency preparedness, food safety, scientific database management and public health.
COL RET Robert Stephan
Colonel Bob Stephan (USAF, Retired) is the Executive Director at Gryphon Scientific. Prior to joining Gryphon, Colonel Stephan served as the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity, he was responsible for the Department’s efforts to catalog our critical infrastructures and key resources, develop the National Infrastructure Protection Plan and coordinate risk-based strategies and protective measures to secure our infrastructures from terrorist attack, as well as enable their timely restoration in the aftermath of natural disasters and other emergencies. His specific areas of focus included the following critical sectors: Transportation (including ports and maritime facilities), Communications, Energy, Dams, Information Technology, Critical Manufacturing, Chemical, Nuclear, Water, Banking and Finance, Food and Agriculture, Commercial Facilities, Government Facilities, Emergency Services, and Monuments and Icons. His efforts also included extensive partnership building and facilitating risk analysis, contingency/resiliency planning, risk mitigation, special security event and emergency response planning across a wide array of Federal, State, and local government, private sector, and international security partners. With the initial activation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, Colonel Stephan served as Special Assistant to the Secretary and Director of the Secretary’s Headquarters Operational Integration Staff. In this capacity, he was responsible for a wide range of activities that included headquarters-level interaction in the areas of strategic and operational planning, core mission integration, domestic incident management, and training and exercises. He also directed the Interagency Incident Management Group, integrating Department and interagency capabilities in response to domestic threats and incidents, and led the development of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and National Response Plan (NRP). Colonel Stephan held a variety of key operational and command positions in the joint special operations community during a 24-year Air Force career. During Operation Desert Storm, he deployed to Saudi Arabia as a joint battlestaff planner and mission commander supporting Joint Special Operations Task Force strategic interdiction operations in Iraq. As a commander of two Air Force Special Tactics Squadrons, Colonel Stephan organized, trained, and equipped forces for contingency operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Croatia, Liberia, Colombia, and Kosovo.
Mr. Ken Stroech
Ken Stroech is a Senior Advisor and Project Manager at Gryphon Scientific with over 40 years of leadership, program management and subject matter expertise in homeland security, critical infrastructure protection and emergency management. Mr. Stroech has managed numerous high-profile, organizational, strategic and operational planning initiatives at the regional and national levels. He has extensive senior level experience in leading the start-up and management of several organizational components at the Department of Homeland Security, the White House Office of Homeland Security, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Prior to retiring from federal service, Mr. Stroech served in various senior leadership positions including the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security, the Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs at the White House Office of Homeland Security, and the Deputy Emergency coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Ms. Louise Sumner
Louise Sumner, a Scientist, joined the Gryphon Scientific team in 2009. Louise has supported federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority on a range of modeling and analysis projects. Louise’s work focuses on modeling the efficacy of medical countermeasures against biological threat agents, algorithm development for digital disease detection, and evidence-based risk assessments. Louise currently serves as a co-principal investigator on a project for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she provides support for the ChemDB HIV, Opportunistic Infection and Tuberculosis Therapeutics Database. Louise holds a BS in Biology from the University of Virginia.
Mr. Tim Adams
Tim Adams, M.S., is a Health Physicist at Gryphon Scientific. He holds a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.S. in Radiation Health Physics from Oregon State University. Tim has served as the nuclear and radiation subject matter expert for several projects at Gryphon Scientific, most notably FEMA’s IND Incident & Exercise Planner. On this project, he helped to clarify the effects of an IND, the consequences of these effects, and resulting differences in the priorities of the local and federal response. During his tenure at Gryphon Scientific, Tim has also developed and analyzed models of both prompt and fallout radiation from nuclear weapons, risk of radiation injury from ingestion of radionuclides, efficacy of medical countermeasures (MCMs), and radiation hazards from RDDs and REDs.
Dr. Jamie Barnabei
Jamie Barnabei, a Senior Analyst at Gryphon Scientific, is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and holds a MPH with emphasis in epidemiology from the University of Georgia. She holds her Certificate in International Veterinary Medicine and worked abroad throughout Latin America thanks to her fluency in Spanish and functionality in Portuguese. She holds a BS in Animal and Nutritional Science from West Virginia University. Prior to joining Gryphon, Dr. Barnabei completed a post-doctoral fellowship in laboratory animal medicine with The Mannheimer Foundation, Inc., where she focused on clinical, surgical, and behavioral care of nonhuman primates, practicing from both individual and colony health perspectives. Jamie’s interests lie in strengthening the public health and agricultural infrastructure of the United States through the study of emerging infectious and zoonotic diseases as they pertain to human and animal health. At Gryphon, Jamie is working in biodefense, public health, and disaster/emergency preparedness.
Dr. Andrew Burnham
Andrew Burnham joined Gryphon Scientific as a Senior Analyst with a background in infectious diseases. His work focuses on providing scientific expertise for analysis of human and animal surveillance data for influenza projects. Andrew previously completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he worked on understanding the mechanisms of antiviral resistance of influenza viruses. His research primarily focused on influenza B virus. He has also worked with H5N1 and emerging H7N9 influenza A viruses in ABSL3+ high containment environments. His research was supported by NIH-funded Centers of Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS). Andrew earned his Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from Indiana University. For his graduate research, he investigated host factors required for replication of arthropod-borne viruses in mammalian and insect host systems. Andrew earned his undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Anna Dixon
Anna Dixon joined Gryphon Scientific as a Senior Analyst in 2015. She focuses on applying computational methods and modern software engineering to domain science problems including data analysis and modeling. Her projects at Gryphon include developing methods to extract and utilize USDA Census of Agriculture data to inform human disease prediction and the development of decision support tools for FEMA. Prior to joining Gryphon, Anna completed a PhD in electrical engineering at University of Washington. Her research focused on the optimization of circuits and system design to achieve low-power biomedical instrumentation garnering her both an Intel/SRCEA graduate fellowship and the 2015 IEEE CAS best paper award.
Dr. Craig Hooper
Dr. Craig Hooper’s focus is on national security, global disaster response, disease surveillance systems, defense procurement and critical infrastructure protection. After receiving a Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Disease from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Hooper spent the last decade studying complex or emerging national security challenges. Before joining Gryphon, he served as an executive at Austal USA, supporting the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) Programs with the US Navy and U.S. Department of Defense. He has taught at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy (University of California–Berkeley) and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. Dr. Hooper served as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Scientist-in-Residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. An active writer and commentator on national security issues and naval procurement, Craig has bi-lines in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings and beyond.
Dr. Froggi (Shawn) Jackson
As a Senior Analyst, Froggi (Shawn) Jackson brings a unique fusion of experience in environmental and biomedical sciences to Gryphon Scientific. Froggi earned a PhD in virology from Harvard University studying HIV vaccine immunology in animal models. She also holds a BS in Biology from Duke University and an MA in Biology from Boston University. These studies focused on marine biology and included time at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC, and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. During her postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Maryland Baltimore and the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology, Froggi studied anti-viral immunology in fish, with emphasis on viruses important to the aquaculture industry, as well as evolutionary aspects of immune cell function in frogs and sharks. Her work was supported by a Kirschstein NRSA award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIH/NIGMS) and involved both benchtop and bioinformatics-based research. Froggi also served as a Public Policy Fellow for the American Association of Immunologists and taught college-level introductory biology. Upon leaving academia, she led the development of technical approaches to assessing biomedical innovations for chemical and biological defense in support of the Department of Defense.
Dr. Mark Kazmierczak
As a Senior Analyst, Mark Kazmierczak brings to Gryphon Scientific experience in food safety and microbiology. Mark earned a PhD in microbiology from Cornell University studying gene expression and virulence of the food borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. He then worked at Harvard Medical School researching the human microbiota and its interactions with the immune system. Immediately prior to joining Gryphon, Mark was a Commissioner’s Fellow at the Food and Drug Administration in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. While there, he developed a rapid molecular assay to identify strains of Salmonella, a leading cause of food-borne disease. As a fellow, he also studied policies and regulations of the FDA. At Gryphon Scientific, Mark is analyzing strategies for a food contamination detection system for the Department of Homeland Security.
Dr. Carissa Meyer
Carissa Meyer, a Senior Analyst at Gryphon Scientific, holds a PhD in Biochemistry from Stanford University and a BA in Chemistry from Harvard University. Prior to joining Gryphon, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, where she studied mechanisms used by the foodborne pathogen Salmonella to invade intestinal epithelial cells and evade host defenses to cause disease. Her research was supported by a Ruth L. Kirschstein fellowship from NIH. She was also an active member of the UVA Postdoctoral Association and organized several career development events for postdocs across campus. As a graduate student, Carissa pursued collaborative research in the area of chromatin biology, with a focus on specialized chromatin domains that regulate genome segregation during cell division. At Gryphon, Carissa leads projects in the areas of infectious disease, including risk analysis and assessment of outbreak prevention and response policies, and evaluation of emerging diagnostic technologies.
Dr. Glen Noble
As Senior Analyst, Glen Noble brings to Gryphon Scientific ten years experience in medicinal chemistry and ten years experience in chemical database management. Glen holds a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry and a BS in Pharmacy from the University of Illinois. After earning his PhD, Glen was recruited to work on developing novel organic synthetic methods at the University of Florida as a Postdoctoral. He received a fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University to work on the development of novel organic compounds as radiotracers useful for mapping receptors by Positron Emission Tomography. The University of Missouri offered him a postdoctoral to develop novel peptidomimetic radiopharmaceuticals. Glen was introduced to chemical database management at Eli Lilly and he refined his skills as registrar at GlaxoSmithKline. Before joining Gryphon Scientific, Glen was providing scientific support for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s Anti-HIV/OI/TB database (ChemDB), a chemical structure-based database containing quantitative biological information on compounds tested against HIV and related opportunistic pathogens. Since joining Gryphon, Glen is using his medicinal chemistry and database management skills to assist Dr. Rush and her team in the development of the chemical and biological information contained in ChemDB.
Dr. Ryan Ritterson
Dr. Ryan Ritterson is a Senior Analyst focused on computational and statistical modeling. At Gryphon, he developed biosafety and biosecurity risk models for Gryphon’s Risk and Benefit Analysis for Gain of Function Research, and has contributed to statistical models of emerging infectious and zoonotic disease risk. He also has interests in synthetic biology technology development and responsible innovation policy, and contributed to scientific landscape analyses as part of a strategic funding plan for a research institution. Prior to joining Gryphon, he worked as scientific research staff in a protein engineering and design lab, combining computational and experimental approaches to build light-inducible cell-cell adhesion proteins and novel protein-based biosensors. During that tenure, Ryan was a Synthetic Biology LEAP policy fellow, and was an active member of both the NSF-supported Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center and a founding member of the Synthetic Biology Practices Working Group. He holds a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of California, San Francisco, and an undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Computational Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
Mr. Stephen Tarnacki
Stephen Tarnacki joined Gryphon Scientific in 2013. He has over 20 years’ experience in CBRNE consequence management integrated technical and logistical support activities. He is currently the on-site Program Manager for a support contract with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency CBRNE Response and Hazardous Devices Divisions. In this capacity he manages all technical and logistical aspects of the CBRNE Response Division. He provides oversight for development, delivery, and documentation of a training and exercise program that measures and monitors CBRNE responder proficiency. He also has extensive knowledge of various types of CBRNE protection and detection equipment and is well versed in preventative maintenance, troubleshooting/repairs, life cycle management, cradle to grave accountability management, and sustainment budget forecasting. Stephen supported the National Guard Civil Support Teams as a CBRNE response equipment specialist, with responsibility for CBRNE COTS equipment procurement using e-commerce systems and conducting operational tests and repairs of CBRNE equipment. He also provided subject matter expertise in assisting in the development of a forward area support team that was designed to provide deployed logistics support to any Civil Support Team in the United States within 24 hours. Stephen honorably served in the US Army Chemical Corps for 10 years with various roles and responsibilities associated with technical and logistical aspects of CBRNE response.
Dr. Gautham Venugopalan
Gautham Venugopalan is a bioengineer who joined Gryphon Scientific after a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the U.S. Department of State. At State, he advised on U.S. science and technology foreign policy, covering topics such as open data and national security research and development. He also led efforts to identify and develop international cooperation opportunities for the U.S. research community, particularly in Southeast Asia. In graduate school, Gautham designed light microscopes and instruments to study the physics of developmental and cancer biology, with a focus on long-timescale, 3D multicellular behaviors. He has also worked in biomedical device and automotive manufacturing, and is a co-founder of Future Scientist, and international design education nonprofit. Gautham has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley/San Francisco Joint Program.