BioThreat Preparedness

Lead: Ellen Carlin

Principal, Carlin Communications

Ellen Carlin, DVM, is a veterinarian whose professional expertise centers on the fusion of diverse but related interests in the life sciences, medicine, and homeland security. As principal of Carlin Communications, she provides government relations and scientific writing and editing capabilities. In 2013, she completed a fellowship with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine. Before that, she was a senior professional staff member with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security. She also has worked or volunteered as a small animal clinical veterinarian for organizations including the Washington Animal Rescue League and the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and continues to volunteer time toward animal welfare initiatives.


Gerald W Parker, DVM, PhD, MS

Vice President, Public Health Preparedness and Response, Texas A&M Health Science Center

Gerald W. Parker, Jr., D.V.M., Ph.D., M.S., joined Texas A&M Health Science Center in November 2013 as vice president for Public Health Preparedness and Response, and principal investigator for the Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing. Before that, he served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Chemical and Biological Defense. He previously served as the principal deputy assistant secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a position he assumed in 2005. He also served at the Department of Homeland Security (April 2004-July 2005).  He was a 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, and awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service in 2013. Before his selection into the Senior Executive Service, he held a variety of positions during his 26-year (1977-2004) military career in the U.S. Army, including: assistant deputy for research and development; director for the Medical Chemical and Biological Defense Research Program; deputy director for the Combat Casualty Research Program at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command; and commander and deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.


Jeff Runge, M.D.

Managing Member, Vigilant LLC

Jeff Runge, M.D., is a managing member of Vigilant, LLC, a health-protection management firm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and a principal at The Chertoff Group in Washington, D.C. He has been an emergency medicine physician for 30 years, currently serving as an adjunct professor of emergency medicine at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In 2001, he accepted President George W. Bush’s nomination to become the administrator of the National Highway Safety Administration and, in September 2005, he moved to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish the position of chief medical officer. During his tenure, he founded the Office of Health Affairs at DHS, with the additional responsibility for the Department’s biodefense and medical readiness programs as well as providing support to the secretary and the DHS components on all medical and public health issues.


Maureen Sullivan

Supervisor, Emergency Preparedness and Response Laboratory Unit, Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory (MN-PHL)

Maureen Sullivan is the supervisor of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Laboratory Unit at the Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory (MN-PHL), where she has held a variety of positions over the past 20 years. In addition, she is the laboratory bioterrorism coordinator for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Public Health Preparedness Grant and coordinates activities within the BioWatch Program. Nationally, she is the past chair and current member of the Association of Public Health Laboratory (APHL) Public Health Preparedness and Response Committee. She has worked on a variety of subcommittees dealing with emergency preparedness, including the development of performance measures, defining surge capacity, developing a guidance document handling unknown environmental samples, and defining sentinel laboratory partnerships and outreach. In addition, she has worked with the Department of Homeland Security and other PHL’s to develop a Quality Assurance Program Plan for the BioWatch Program.


Mike Wernicke

Vice President, Commercial Development & Operations at Emergent BioSolutions Inc.

Mike Wernicke joined Emergent BioSolutions Inc. in 2009 and serves as vice president of commercial development and operations. Before joining Emergent, he gained more than 15 years of experience in commercial bio/pharmaceutical sales with progressively increasing levels of leadership and responsibility. His commercial sales leadership experience spans from startups to large multinational biopharmaceutical companies. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., with a BS in computer science, he served more than six years of active duty as a U.S. Army aviation officer, including leading combat aviation missions during the first Gulf War and subsequent operations in both Southern and Northern Iraq.


Thomas K. Zink, M.D.

Associate Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health (BioSecurity & Disaster Preparedness)

Thomas K. Zink, M.D., is an associate professor of environmental and occupational health in the Institute for Biosecurity at Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice. He graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine. He is a health-system quality specialist, an accomplished healthcare policy strategist, and an innovative researcher focusing on immunization as a means to promote community resilience through enhanced preparedness and protection of emergency services personnel. A retired Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, he is the founding director of Project EQUIPP (Equal Immunization Policies & Practices) – a grassroots organization that has been a catalyst in the formulation of new, U.S. national guidelines that support the pre-event, anthrax vaccination of U.S. civilian emergency responders.