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CDC Influenza Division

Office of the Director and Branch Chief Bios

Daniel B. Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H. Daniel B. Jernigan, M.D., M.P.H., is the Director of the Influenza Division in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) at CDC. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Jernigan served as Deputy Director of the Influenza Division from 2006 to 2014. He is a captain in the United States Public Health Service, and serves as the Senior Medical Officer and Senior Public Health Service officer for the Influenza Division. As Director, he is responsible for oversight and direction of approximately 320 staff members working to reduce the global burden of disease and death due to seasonal, animal-associated, and pandemic influenza.

Dr. Jernigan received an undergraduate degree from Duke University, a Doctor of Medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, and a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and has completed an additional residency in Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Jernigan joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1994, working in the Respiratory Diseases Branch on the prevention and control of bacterial respiratory pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumonia, Group A Streptococcus, and Legionella. In 1996, he began serving on assignment from NCIRD to the Washington State Health Department as a medical epidemiologist and coordinator of national initiatives to improve surveillance for emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Jernigan became the chief of the Epidemiology Section for CDC’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) in 2001. In that role, he supervised numerous investigations and initiatives to characterize various hospital-acquired, device-associated, and antimicrobial-resistant pathogen issues. In 2006, Dr. Jernigan joined the Influenza Division as Deputy Director.

Dr. Jernigan has authored peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on various emerging infectious diseases topics, and has supervised outbreak investigations of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections associated with emerging and antimicrobial-resistant pathogens. He has led epidemiology and surveillance teams for national and international responses, including bioterrorism-related anthrax, the emergence of West Nile virus, SARS, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza, the Ebola response and public health management following natural disasters. During the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, Dr. Jernigan served as the CDC lead for all domestic and international epidemiology and laboratory activities for the U.S. government’s response. In 2015, Dr. Jernigan served as the Incident Commander for the CDC’s global Ebola response.

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Jacqueline Katz, Ph.D. Jacqueline Katz, Ph.D. currently serves as the acting deputy director of the Influenza Division. Dr. Katz earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology and Biochemistry and her Doctoral degree in Microbiology from the University of Melbourne, Australia. After completing her postdoctoral training in influenza virology, she worked as an assistant member of the Department of Virology and Molecular Biology at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Katz joined the CDC in 1992 as chief of the Immunology and Viral Pathogenesis Section in the Influenza Branch within the Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases.

Dr. Katz was appointed chief of the Immunology and Pathogenesis Branch of the CDC’s Influenza Division in 2006. Under her leadership, the Branch conducted research on the pathogenesis, immunity and transmission of seasonal and pandemic and novel influenza viruses and received three Charles C. Shepard Science Awards for excellence in laboratory methods publications.

During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, Dr. Katz and her team conducted serologic studies, provided laboratory support for seroepidemiologic investigations and supplied technical support to public health partners. Using existing models systems, her team studied the properties of virulence (disease severity) and transmissibility of pandemic 2009 H1N1 viruses in comparison to seasonal viruses. This research provided a platform for the ongoing assessment of multiple preventive and treatment strategies against pandemic 2009 H1N1 infection.

In addition to her role at the CDC, Dr. Katz has an adjunct appointment at Atlanta’s Emory University in the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, and is an adjunct member of the graduate faculty in the Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis Program of the Laney Graduate School, Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. She also serves as an associate editor for the International Society for Influenza and Other Respiratory Virus Diseases and is a deputy co-chair of the International Society of Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses (isirv). Dr. Katz’s work is documented in more than 128 peer-reviewed research articles, reviews and book chapters. In late 2014 Dr. Katz was named the director of the Atlanta World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza. At the same time, she became acting deputy director for the Influenza Division. She served as acting director intermittently during 2014-2015.

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Joseph Bresee, M.D. Joseph Bresee, M.D., FAAP, is currently the chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch. Dr. Bresee is a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service. The EPB branch is responsible for conducting influenza surveillance, working to understand influenza disease burden, helping to derive appropriate vaccine and antiviral use policies to prevent seasonal influenza, detecting and preventing avian influenza and pandemic influenza, and providing technical expertise to global public health partners. He has led the Branch since 2005. He also serves as co-Director of the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction, based at the Task Force for Global Health, which seeks to accelerate the use of flu vaccines in low and middle-income countries through developing public-private partnerships.

Dr. Bresee trained at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and then completed his Pediatric Residency at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Bresee joined CDC in 1993 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer in the Influenza Branch. From 1995 to 2005, Dr. Bresee first served as a staff epidemiologist and medical officer, specializing in viral gastrointestinal infections and respiratory infections. Subsequently, he was promoted to Epidemiology Team Lead. His research and public health activities focused on rotavirus disease and rotavirus vaccines, and he worked to ensure that rotavirus vaccines were available for children in both the U.S. as well as those living in developing countries.

Dr. Bresee has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and textbook chapters.

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Terrence M. Tumpey, Ph.D. Terrence M. Tumpey, Ph.D., serves as the acting chief of the Immunology and Pathogenesis Branch of the CDC’s Influenza Division. The Immunology and Pathogenesis Branch is internationally renowned for their research on the pathogenesis, immunity and transmission of seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses, specifically in the area of human infection with novel influenza viruses of animal origin. The Branch also provides laboratory support for sero-epidemiological investigations of influenza infections in humans.

Dr. Tumpey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of Minnesota and his Ph.D. in Microbiology/Immunology from the University of South Alabama School Of Medicine in Mobile, Alabama. He was a recipient of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Postdoctoral Fellowship award and conducted his postdoctoral training in the Influenza Branch. He later served the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a Microbiologist at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Georgia. Dr. Tumpey rejoined the CDC in 2003 and became the Team Leader of Pathogenesis, a position that required him to supervise eight Microbiologists.

Dr. Tumpey’s interests lie in elucidating the molecular determinants of virulence and transmission of influenza viruses, including pandemic influenza subtypes. He also contributes to the evaluation of influenza vaccines in a pre-clinical setting. In addition to his role at the CDC, Dr. Tumpey has an adjunct appointment at Atlanta’s Emory University in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. His research on pathogenesis and immunity during the last 28 years is documented in over 200 total peer-reviewed publications. In 2006, he was honored with the Lancet Award for the top scientific paper of 2005 presented by Lancet. He also received the 2006 and 2008 Charles C. Shepard Awards for Outstanding Research Papers. In 2007, Dr. Tumpey was inducted into the University of Minnesota, Duluth Academy of Science and Engineering and he received the Distinguished Alumni Award presented by the University of South Alabama.

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Dr. David Wentworth Dr. David Wentworth currently serves as Chief of the Virology, Surveillance, and Diagnosis Branch (VSDB) of the CDC Influenza Division. Dr. Wentworth received a B.S. in Poultry Science, an M.S. in Veterinary Medicine, and a Ph.D. in Virology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he specialized in the study of influenza viruses. He studied coronaviruses as a postdoctoral fellow, and later as an Instructor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver.

As Chief of VSDB, Dr. Wentworth leads the Influenza Division’s efforts to improve global influenza virus control, prevention, pandemic preparedness and response. VSDB’s work involves conducting comprehensive antigenic, phenotypic, genetic, and evolutionary characterization of human and animal influenza viruses. Additionally, VSDB’s influenza virus efforts include risk assessment of novel viruses, antiviral sensitivity testing, developing diagnostic tests and reagents for national and international use, and training laboratories to perform viral testing in support of the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System. The data generated and analyzed by VSDB is used to guide vaccine virus selection and the branch generates candidate vaccine viruses for the production of vaccines by manufacturers.

Prior to joining CDC in 2014, Dr. Wentworth was Director of Viral Programs at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) from 2011 to 2014. His studies focused on interspecies transmission, pathogenesis, viral evolution and vaccine development using a variety of approaches. He directed an NIH/NIAID sponsored viral genome sequencing center at JCVI and also led many other viral genomics projects, including rotavirus, paramyxovirus and filovirus. Dr. Wentworth was the Director of the Influenza Virus and Coronavirus Pathogenesis laboratory at the Wadsworth Center, NYSDOH, and an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York-Albany from 2002 to 2011, where his laboratory studied interspecies transmission of influenza viruses and SARS-Coronavirus, genomic technologies, and experimental vaccine approaches. 

He has conducted virological research since 1990 and published over 90 papers and book chapters. His studies have focused on understanding viral evolution, zoonosis, improving molecular virology techniques, identifying molecular determinants that affect the transmission or pathogenesis of viruses, genomics, and combining this information with various bioinformatics approaches to improve vaccines and/or therapeutics to combat these pathogens.

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Ruben Donis, Ph.D. Ruben Donis, Ph.D., serves as the Associate Director for Policy, Evaluation and Preparedness for the CDC’s Influenza Division. Before this position, Dr. Donis was chief of the former Molecular Virology and Vaccines Branch in the division.

Dr. Donis earned his Veterinary Medicine diploma from the University of Buenos Aires and his Ph.D. in Virology from Cornell University. He completed his postdoctoral work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he specialized in influenza molecular virology. Prior to joining CDC in 2003, Dr. Donis served on the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he participated in the leadership of the UNL Center for Biotechnology, and conducted research on influenza and flavivirus molecular biology.

At CDC, Dr. Donis oversees risk assessment studies that analyze structural and functional properties of emerging influenza viruses, including genome reassortment and virus-receptor interactions. His group monitors the evolution and pandemic potential of animal influenza viruses and develops candidate genetically engineered influenza viruses for vaccine production. Dr. Donis has more than 20 years of research experience with influenza virus molecular biology and virus-host interactions. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of microbiology at Emory University.

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