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Members & Staff

The Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (TBDWG) has 14 members, including the Chair and Vice-Chair. The Chair and Vice-Chair oversee the TBDWG and conduct all of its meetings.

John N. Aucott, M.D. (Chair)


Associate Professor, Division of Rheumatology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center



Dr. Aucott is an Associate Professor in the Division of Rheumatology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an attending physician at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has three decades of academic and clinical experience in infectious disease and is renowned for his expertise in translational research on Lyme disease and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. In addition to his work as a practitioner and an educator, Dr. Aucott is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center, where he leads a major research program focusing on both the acute and chronic manifestations of Lyme disease.

Dr. Aucott has been awarded numerous research grants from federal agencies and private organizations, and has more than 20 peer-reviewed publications on tick-borne diseases. For his pioneering work in the field, Dr. Aucott received both the 2015 Lauren F. Brooks Hope Award from the Global Lyme Alliance and the 2015 Research Achievement Award from the National Capital Lyme Disease Association.

In His Own Words:  “My hope is to accomplish many of the goals set out in the 2010 Institute of Medicine report that called for a reframing and refocusing of research with the goal of generating new ways to reduce the burden of tick-borne diseases. Specifically, improved diagnostic testing for both acute disease and response to therapy, and the identification of markers for those who have persistent symptoms will be key factors in this shift. I believe that high-quality science could emerge as a mediating common ground to reduce the polarity between groups, and to refocus on areas of agreement and opportunity for the creation of better care and treatment paradigms going forward.”

Kristen Honey, Ph.D., P.M.P. (Vice-Chair)


Innovator in Residence, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services;
Senior Research Scholar, Stanford University
Member, Stanford University Lyme Disease Working Group


Dr. Honey serves as Innovator in Residence for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Chief Technology Officer. In this role, she fosters public-private collaborations, like the HHS Office of the CTO open innovation X-accelerators, and champions open data, open science, crowdsourcing, citizen science, prizes, challenges, and innovative partnerships. Dr. Honey serves as a Federal member of the Tick Borne Disease Working Group because she is on assignment from Stanford University to the Federal government under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. More information can be found here: Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

Prior to joining HHS, Dr. Honey served as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Federal Chief Information Officer in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Executive Office of the President. She also served as a Policy Advisor to the U.S. CTO in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Her OMB and OSTP portfolios included IT modernization, Open Data, My Data (e.g., Blue Button health data interoperability), the Data Cabinet (data science), and data-driven innovations―especially innovative public-private collaborations and citizen engagement. Dr. Honey advocates for data-driven, interdisciplinary solutions to help address complex health challenges like the opioid crisis, mental health, and complex infectious diseases including Lyme disease.

Hailing from Maine, Dr. Honey earned her Ph.D. at Stanford University in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in the Environment and Resources, School of Earth Sciences, while simultaneously earning a Ph.D. minor in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University. She holds an M.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a B.A. in Human Biology with Honors from Stanford University.

In Her Own Words:

“I am a late-stage Lyme disease survivor who has been on the patient side and fallen between the cracks of a broken medical system. Overcoming Lyme disease with coinfections was the most difficult challenge —by far—that I’ve ever faced in my life. Fortunately, I lived to tell my story; not everyone is so lucky. Through this Working Group, I aim to help others and do my best to pay it forward.

As Vice Chair, I encourage the Working Group to follow emerging science and data, regardless of where they lead—advocating for evidence-based over eminence-based medicine. I will be open to everything, vested in nothing—only seeking truths. This Working Group is opportunity for diverse groups to come together for shared purpose: advance science, relieve suffering, and save lives. PhD scientists and MD clinicians will work with patients and patient advocates as equals to co-create solutions and harness emerging technologies for tick-borne diseases. We will embrace diverse disciplines/perspectives with humility, open mindedness, and positive intent to change today’s status quo. Together, we will rise above historical ‘Lyme Wars’ and past divisions to accelerate scientific progress and improve patient outcomes. Now is our time to unite for major systems change.

Wendy Adams, M.B.A.


Research Grant Director, Bay Area Lyme (BAL) Foundation




Ms. Adams is the Research Grant Director for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and a founding board member of the Lyme Disease Biobank, an initiative to collect well-characterized Lyme disease samples to facilitate research on Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. She also conceived of and instituted BAL’s Emerging Leader Award, which aims to foster a new generation of research by funding early career scientists who are working on Lyme disease diagnostic and therapeutic research.

Ms. Adams previously served as Chief Business Officer at Full Spectrum Genetics, Inc., an antibody-engineering company pursuing programs in immuno-oncology and autoimmune disease. She is also a fully recovered Lyme patient whose personal experience inspired her to actively pursue a cure for tick-borne diseases.

In Her Own Words: “Tick-borne disease diagnosis and treatment have not progressed with the same speed as other diseases like cancer and diabetes. We are still using drugs from the 1960s and a test from the 1980s. Physicians want nothing more than to diagnose and treat people appropriately, but with insensitive tests and ineffective drugs, their toolkit is limited. In the near term, I believe the linchpin of sound tick-borne disease policy is a sensitive, specific test for early B. burgdorferi infection. Giving doctors that tool, in and of itself, could stem the tide of patients who go on to experience chronic symptoms.”

Charles Benjamin (Ben) Beard, Ph.D.


Deputy Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Associate Editor, Emerging Infectious Diseases



Dr. Beard earned a B.S. in 1980 at Auburn University, a M.S. in 1983 at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. in 1987 at the University of Florida. He was a post-doctoral fellow and associate research scientist at the Yale University School of Medicine from 1987 to 1991. In 1991, he joined CDC’s Division of Parasitic Diseases, where he served as Chief of the Vector Genetics Section from 1999 to 2003. In 2003, he moved to CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in Fort Collins, CO to become Chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch. In this capacity, he coordinated CDC’s programs on Lyme borreliosis, tick-borne relapsing fever, Bartonella, plague, and tularemia. During his tenure at CDC, Dr. Beard has worked in the prevention of vector-borne diseases, both in the domestic and global arenas. In addition to his work as Chief of the Bacterial Diseases Branch, in 2011 Dr. Beard was appointed as the Associate Director for Climate Change in CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, where he coordinated CDC’s efforts to mitigate the potential impact of climate variability and disruption on infectious diseases in humans. In 2017, he was appointed as the Acting Deputy Director of CDC’s Division of Vector-Borne Diseases. He has published over 125 scientific papers, books, and book chapters collectively, and has served on a variety of committees and panels both inside and outside of CDC, including working groups or advisory panels for the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the American Meteorological Society. He is an Associate Editor for Emerging Infectious Diseases and past president of the Society for Vector Ecology and served as Deputy Incident Manager for CDC’s Zika virus outbreak response.

Captain Scott Cooper, P.A., M.M.S.

Photo of Captain Scott Cooper


Senior Technical Advisor and Lead Officer for Medicare Hospital Health and Safety Regulations
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



Captain Cooper is a physician assistant (PA) officer in the United States Public Health Service (USPHS). Since 2003, he has been assigned to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where he is the senior technical advisor and the lead officer responsible for the Medicare health and safety regulations for the nation’s nearly 5,000 hospitals. During this time, he has been responsible for the publication of numerous national hospital rules aimed at improving patient safety and care, but which still allow hospitals the flexibility to employ evidence-based “best practices” in their efforts to provide higher quality patient care at a reasonable cost.

In 2013, Captain Cooper completed a long-term special assignment to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands where he served as the first compliance officer and special advisor for the Commonwealth’s only hospital, which was struggling to address significant patient safety and quality of care issues. Additionally, Captain Cooper has over a decade of experience responding to various public health emergencies throughout the nation; most recently, he was part of the USPHS response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas and prior to that he served as the mission chief for a team that responded to a suicide epidemic on an Indian reservation in South Dakota in 2015.

In addition to being stationed with the Federal Bureau of Prisons early in his public health career, Captain Cooper also has extensive clinical experience working with patients in private sector hospitals, primarily in the specialty of cardiac surgery, with over 20 years of experience as a PA. He graduated from the Emory University School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program in 1996 with a Master of Medical Science degree.

In His Own Words: “Through my work at CMS, I have had the opportunity to become involved in many issues surrounding infection prevention and control. Part of that work has been looking at the potential use of antimicrobial stewardship programs to combat antimicrobial resistance and its dangers to public health. My participation in the federal steering committees for both the HHS Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections and the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria has made me keenly aware of the need for medical science and government to address emerging and growing infectious disease threats, including those where organisms have developed resistance to drugs that were once effective against them.

I believe that a coordinated and evidence-based approach to Tick-Borne Disease (TBD) will be an important part of these larger efforts. I am encouraged by the fact that the TBD Working Group has been established and believe that it is needed to address this specific area of infectious disease and public health. Since there appear to be areas of disagreement over tick-borne disease research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, sequelae, etc., a working group focused on tick-borne disease is a crucial first step toward finding ways to effectively and safely care for patients living with tick-borne disease now and to eliminate the threat of living with TBD for those in the future.”

Dennis M. Dixon, Ph.D.


Chief, Bacteriology and Mycology Branch
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



Dr. Dixon is Chief of the Bacteriology and Mycology Branch, NIAID, NIH. He serves on numerous advisory panels on dangerous pathogens such as Select Agents and Dual Use Research and also antimicrobial resistance, including the Trans-Atlantic Task Force on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) and the Presidential Advisory Committee for Combatting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (PACCARB). He also serves on the Joint Oversight Committee for the Combatting Antibacterial Resistance Accelerator (CARB-X). His doctorate in microbiology is from the Medical College of Virginia. He held academic positions at Loyola College in Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical School and Albany Medical College. He was a Visiting Scientist at Hoffman LaRoche, Switzerland, and was Director for the Mycology Reference Laboratory, New York State Department of Health. He is a member of the American Academy of Microbiology. His areas of expertise and leadership oversight in addition to the preceding policy issues are: all fungal diseases of humans and many bacterial infections in humans including Lyme disease, other zoonotic diseases including biodefense pathogens, and most “hospital acquired” bacterial pathogens.

Richard Horowitz, M.D.


Medical Director, Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center (HVHAC)




Dr. Horowitz has over 30 years’ experience in medicine as a board-certified internist. He has treated over 12,000 patients with tick-borne diseases, and he is past president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Educational Foundation. He co-authored peer-reviewed Lyme guidelines, and has trained over 100 healthcare providers in diagnosing and caring for patients with treatment-resistant tick-borne disorders. He is also the author of two best-selling books on Lyme disease, Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease (2013) and How Can I Get Better? An Action Plan for Treating Resistant Lyme and Chronic Disease (2017). These books incorporate recent scientific advances and explain in detail how healthcare providers can effectively diagnose and treat resistant illness.

He was a member of the World Health Organization’s Ad Hoc Committee for Health Equity, which engaged in work to help improve Lyme diagnostics and treatment, and he has served as a consultant to governmental agencies around the world, including those in China, Australia, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He assisted members of Congress with drafting portions of the 21st Century Cures Act, which created the Federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, and has actively worked with local, state, and federal representatives over the past 30 years to improve the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne disorders.

In His Own Words: “I anticipate that by serving on the Federal Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, I can provide solutions for improving the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases, and recommend a new paradigm to prevent, diagnose, and treat chronic illness. My expectation for the group is that we will work together in a productive manner to solve some of the most difficult healthcare challenges facing the American people.”

Captain Estella Jones, D.V.M.

Captain Estella Jones photo


Deputy Director
Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats
Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



Captain Jones is the Deputy Director of the Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats in the Office of the Commissioner at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She currently serves as Chairperson for the NIAID Integrated Research Facility Animal Care and Use Committee at Fort Detrick and represents the FDA on the National Interagency Confederation for Biological Research (NICBR) Fort Detrick Interagency Coordinating Committee (FDICC). She previously worked at the World Health Organization at the Institute for Primate Research in Nairobi, Kenya and held a faculty appointment in Comparative Medicine and Anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Captain Jones served at the National Institutes of Health for 10 years and at the FDA for 14 years. She has also served as Director of Workforce Policy in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for HHS, working with DoD’s Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and the Pentagon. She concurrently serves on the White House Subcommittee for Disaster Reduction, which advises the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Lise E. Nigrovic, M.D., M.P.H.


Director, Population Health Sciences and Health Services Research Center
of the Institutional Centers for Clinical and Translational Research, Boston Children’s Hospital;
Chair, Pediatric Emergency Medicine Collaborative Research Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics



Dr. Nigrovic is an attending physician in pediatric emergency medicine at Boston Children's Hospital, where she provides care for acutely ill and injured children, including those with tick-borne infections. She also directs the hospital-wide Population Health Sciences and Health Services Research Center of the Institutional Centers for Clinical and Translational Research, and serves as the current chair of the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Collaborative Research Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Recognizing both the limitations in current Lyme disease diagnostics as well as the relative underrepresentation of children in clinical studies of tick-borne infections, Dr. Nigrovic founded and directs Pedi Lyme Net, a six-center pediatric clinical research network with an associated Pediatric Lyme Disease Biobank. The network’s primary goal is to evaluate new approaches to Lyme disease in children. To date, it has enrolled more than 1,200 children.

Dr. Nigrovic has received grant funding from Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Catalyst, the Milton Foundation, the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control, and has published widely on pediatric Lyme disease. She speaks nationally and internationally about the evaluation and treatment of acute Lyme disease in children, and she is an active member of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) Lyme disease guideline panel and chairs the geography section.

In Her Own Words: “Approximately half of the new cases of Lyme disease occur in children who spend disproportionately more time outside. However, available serologic assays for Lyme disease have been tested primarily with adults. Clinicians need to make initial management decisions before results of Lyme disease testing are available, so we need better diagnostic tools to predict the risk of Lyme disease in children.”

Allen L. Richards, Ph.D.


Director, Rickettsial Diseases Research Program
Naval Medical Research Center
U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)




Dr. Richards has more than 25 years of experience in studying rickettsiae and rickettsial diseases with extensive experience in developing and evaluating O. tsutsugamushi vaccine candidates, diagnostics, genomics, and biology in Leptrombidium mites, and murine and non-human primate models of scrub typhus, and surveillance studies throughout the world including tick-, mite-, flea-, louse-, and mosquito-borne rickettsiae. He began his work in the field of rickettsiology at the Naval Medical Research Institute (NMRI) in 1989. Subsequently, he worked at the Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2 in Jakarta where he was in charge of the immunology department and the rickettsial diseases research program. He is now heads the DoD’s Rickettsial Diseases Research Program at the Naval Medical Research Center, where he is involved in research on rickettsial epidemiology, pathogenesis, and immunology as well as in the development and evaluation of rickettsial diagnostic assays and vaccine candidates.

In His Own Words: “Tick-borne diseases are an expanding set of diseases that are of concern worldwide as well as in the U.S. and to our military. It is essential that we work together to ensure that appropriate diagnostics, surveillance, and mitigation processes are utilize and develop to lessen the impact of TBD. Hopefully, within the 6-year period of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group, we will have transitioned from individual diagnostic assays to TBD panels or syndromic panels that will allow for the efficient, sensitive and specific diagnosis of tick-borne disease. Moreover, studies in host-pathogen-vector interaction will allow us to more specifically interfere with disease transfer at the pathogen and vector level. Last, vaccines will hopefully be developed to one or more tick-borne disease during the 6-year period.”

Robert Sabatino

Robert Sabatino


Founder and Executive Director of Lyme Society Inc.




Mr. Sabatino is the Founder and Executive Director of Lyme Society Inc., the New York State affiliate partner of Lyme Disease Association. As a patient and advocate he contributes a unique perspective to legislation, education, and awareness. As a patient his focus is on the life and struggles of patients and treatments in society today. He retired from the New York City Police Department, where he specialized in Drug Enforcement, Addiction Services, Community Outreach and Domestic Violence Awareness. He is a founding member of the Staten Island patients support group and is an active member of Rolling Thunder New York Chapter 2, an awareness and support organization for veterans.

"In his own words" Being a chronic late stage Lyme disease fighter with co-infections, I personally get the side of the patient. It is very hard sometimes to see thru current situations, but I see a positive shift in our community. All sides are coming to the table to listen, research and make a change in this country.

Vanila M. Singh, M.D., M.A.C.M.


Chief Medical Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services




Dr. Singh is the Chief Medical Officer for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She serves as the primary medical advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Health on the development and implementation of HHS-wide public health policy recommendations. She is also a clinical associate professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Singh is board-certified in both anesthesiology and pain medicine, and she specializes in treating patients with complex chronic pain issues. Her practice focuses on regional anesthesia with a specialty in advanced ultrasound-guided procedures for pain management and anesthesia medicine.

She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a bachelor of science degree in both molecular and cell biology and economics. She earned her medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Dr. Singh completed her internal medicine internship at Yale University School of Medicine and her anesthesiology residency and pain medicine fellowship at Cornell-Weill New York Hospital, which included training at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the Hospital for Special Surgery. She earned a master’s degree in academic medicine through the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in 2016.

Patricia V. Smith


President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc.




Ms. Smith is in her 20th year as president of the national nonprofit Lyme Disease Association (LDA), and a member and former officer of the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society. Under her leadership, the LDA helped to endow the Columbia University Lyme & Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center, which opened in 2007. In 2016, she was appointed to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Programmatic Panel for the Tick-Borne Disease Research Program. She is also a member of the Food & Drug Administration's Pesticide Environment Stewardship Program (PESP) Partnership to prevent tick exposure, and the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Institute of North America’s Tick IPM Working Group, a public-private partnership to eradicate tick-borne diseases.

Ms. Smith has helped secure passage of state and federal bills for Lyme research and physicians’ right to treat, and worked with members of Congress to develop the 21st Century Cures Act. She has worked to increase research funding for tick-borne diseases—leading to the award of more than 100 research grants and findings that have been published in 42 scientific journals. She has also organized 18 continuing medical education conferences on Lyme disease for doctors and researchers, and developed materials that have been distributed to more than 2.5 million people, including: an ABCs of Lyme Disease pamphlet for parents and educators; the LymeR Primer brochure, which has information on 20 U.S. tick-borne diseases; the Tick Mark bookmark; and Tick Awareness cards.

In Her Own Words: “I have a diverse background on tick-borne diseases, which includes being the parent of two children with Lyme disease, and devoting more than three decades to educating the public, policy makers, businesses, and schools about tick-borne diseases. My work has been informed by the TBD experiences of my own family and people I’ve met across the nation, and this has given me a perspective on what patients really experience—both with tick-borne diseases and with the healthcare system that has not always been friendly to Lyme patients. Currently, there are tremendous gaps in research in all areas, but, in particular, in diagnosis, treatment, and controlling tick vectors. It has been my life’s work as a non-scientist to close those gaps for people living with tick-borne diseases.”

Robert Smith, M.D., M.P.H.


Director and Co-Founder, Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory, Main Medical Center Research Institute;
Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Maine Medical Center




Dr. Smith is Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Maine Medical Center, and Director and Co-founder of the Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute. He has also served as Medical Director of the HIV care program at Maine Medical Center since its inception in 1992.  In 2009, he served as Chair of the external review panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Lyme disease program, and, in 2011, as an Invited Reviewer for the Institute of Medicine’s workshop report Critical Needs and Gaps in the Understanding, Prevention, and Resolution of Lyme and other Tick-borne Diseases. He is an author of more than 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on tick-borne diseases, and has conducted more than 20 grant-supported studies of ticks and the diseases they transmit. His recent research includes investigations into the determinants of emergence of tick-transmitted diseases, the clinical spectrum of newly recognized infections, and interventions to lower human risk.

Alternate Federal Representatives

David A. Leiby, Ph.D. (FDA)

photo of David Leiby


Chief, Product Review Branch
Division of Emerging & Transfusion-Transmitted Diseases
Office of Blood Research & Review
Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research
Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Leiby is currently the Chief of the Product Review Branch (CBER/OBRR) at the Food and Drug Administration.  Prior to 2015, he was affiliated with the American Red Cross, where he was the Head of the Transmissible Diseases Department at the Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences in Rockville, Maryland.  Throughout his career Dr. Leiby's research has focused on parasitic infections, most notably the impact of Chagas’ disease, tick-borne pathogens and malaria in blood donors.  In 2017, he organized and directed a workshop on Emerging Tick-Borne Diseases and Blood Safety held on the NIH campus.  Dr.  Leiby has published over 90 refereed papers and book chapters and is frequently invited both nationally and internationally to speak at meetings and institutions.  Dr. Leiby received a B.S. in Biology from Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, a M.S. in Biology from Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Zoology from the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.  He was a National Research Council, Postdoctoral Resident Research Associate in the Cellular Immunology Department at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C. Dr. Leiby also is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Microbiology and Tropical Medicine at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Samuel S. Perdue, Ph.D. (NIH)

Sam Perdue, NIH alternate for Tick-Borne Disease Working Group


Section Chief, Basic Sciences and Program Officer, Rickettsial and Related Diseases
Bacteriology and Mycology Branch, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Dr. Perdue is chief of the Basic Sciences Section within the Bacteriology and Mycology Branch, NIAID, NIH. This section comprises program officials who oversee NIAID extramural research funding in Lyme disease, other bacterial zoonoses, hospital infections, antibacterial resistance, medical mycology and biodefense. Dr. Perdue also serves as NIAID’s program officer for rickettsial and related diseases, where he has primary responsibility for the institute’s grants on Rickettsia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, Bartonella and Coxiella species, among others. During nearly 20 years of commitment to tick-borne diseases research, he has served as a subject matter expert for numerous advisory panels and working groups.

Dr. Perdue’s interest in tick-borne diseases spans pathogen, human and vector biology. He received his M.S. in biology from Virginia Commonwealth University, studying insect physiology, and his Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Virginia.

Susanna N. Visser, Dr.P.H., M.S. (CDC)

photo of susanna visser


Associate Director for Policy, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services



During CDC’s 2016-2017 Zika Emergency Response, Dr. Visser served as Partnerships Lead for the Partnerships Team within the Policy and Partnerships Unit. Before her deployment to the level-1 Emergency Response, Dr. Visser served as Lead Epidemiologist of CDC’s Child Development Studies Team for over a decade in which she specialized in the direction of multi-site community-based studies of mental and behavioral disorders of children. Dr. Visser received her Doctorate in Public Health and Master of Science in Epidemiology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She led an agency initiative to improve the treatment of behavioral disorders in young children, using policy-based and evidence-based intervention methods. She served as the committee epidemiologist for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ 2006-2016 ADHD diagnostic and treatment guidelines committee. She has content area expertise in the policy and epidemiology of externalizing disorders and best practices for the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Her technical expertise includes the design and analysis of population-based epidemiological studies of neurobehavioral and mental health conditions. Lead author publications include research related to generating population-based estimates of ADHD, rates of medication treatment among youth with ADHD, and factors associated with ADHD medication treatment. She has served as the Principal Investigator of community-based epidemiologic studies of mental disorders of childhood, a national follow-back survey of children with ADHD and Tourette syndrome, and has participated in several federal, longitudinal research projects investigating developmental outcomes of youth with physical and social risk factors. She received the 2014 Maternal Child Health Epidemiology Young Professionals Achievement Award from the Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology.

Designated Federal Officers

Efforts of the Working Group are managed and supported by the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) and the Alternate DFO. These individuals are not voting members of the Working Group.

James J. Berger, M.S., M.T. (ASCP), S.B.B.


Designated Federal Officer, Tick-Borne Disease Working Group
Senior Blood and Tissue Policy Advisor
Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


James Berger is the Senior Blood and Tissue Policy Advisor to HHS Assistant Secretary of Health in the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy, as well as the DFO of the Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability. He is also the HHS representative to the International Hemovigilance Network and to the AABB Interorganizational Task Force on Domestic Disasters and Acts of Terrorism, which ensures that blood and tissue products are available and delivered to areas that need support.

Before joining HHS, Mr. Berger was a National Enforcement Officer with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where he was in charge of ensuring that VA laboratories met all regulatory and accrediting requirements. Mr. Berger was Chief of the U.S. Air Force Blood Program before he retired in 1998, after 25 years of service.
Mr. Berger has a master’s degree in both immunohematology and applied biology from Ohio’s Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Alabama’s Troy State University.

B. Kaye Hayes, M.P.A.

Headshot of B. Kaye Hayes


Alternate Designated Federal Officer, Tick-Borne Disease Working Group
Deputy Director
Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Kaye Hayes has been the Executive Director and DFO for the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS since 2012. Before her appointment with PACHA, Ms. Hayes served as the Acting Deputy Director and Senior Advisor for Policy for the Office on Women's Health (OWH) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Among her responsibilities at OWH were the formula¬tion of budget, performance, and policy initiatives for the office, as well as management improvement and strategic planning. Prior to joining the OWH staff, Ms. Hayes served as Special Assistant to then-Assistant Secretary for Health and Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher. She also has worked as the Extramural Community Liaison for the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Ms. Hayes received a bachelor's degree in rhetoric and communication studies from the University of Virginia and a master's degree in public administration from Georgia State University, with a concentration in strategic management and human resource management. While in graduate school, she was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow and completed her 2-year assignment at CDC, National AIDS Information and Education Program.



Content created by Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy
Content last reviewed on May 21, 2018