Who We Are
CFA’s leadership team has a wide array of leadership experience in outbreak analytics, epidemiological analysis, risk communication, and much more. Meet our leaders below.
Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, serves as the director of science in CDC’s Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA). Dr. Lipsitch received his BA from Yale University and DPhil from the University of Oxford. Dr. Lipsitch is seconded to CDC from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he is professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. He is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease transmission modeling and has been a leading scientific authority in scientific research and public communication during the COVID-19 pandemic. His COVID-19 research has been in areas including the ethics of human challenge COVID-19 studies, transmission dynamics, basic epidemiology, clinical severity and sequelae, vaccine allocation, vaccine effectiveness, and equity. That work builds on his earlier research focus, which included antimicrobial resistance, epidemiologic methods, mathematical modeling of infectious disease transmission, bacterial and human population genetics and evolution, and molecular genetics of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection and immunity. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Microbiology and the National Academy of Medicine.
Dylan George, PhD, is the director of operations for the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CFA is building world class data and analytics capabilities to guide interventions in public health emergencies and pandemics.
Before joining CDC, Dr. George was a vice president at Ginkgo Bioworks, where he helped develop improved real-time infectious disease monitoring capabilities and analytics for pandemic response. Before Ginkgo, Dr. George was a vice president at In-Q-Tel (IQT), where he vetted life science, healthcare deals, and developed science and technical strategy to strengthen capacity within the United States to counter biological threats from infectious disease.
Recently, Dr. George served on the Biden-Harris transition team working on national security policy for the COVID-19 response, and on the agency review team for the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. George served Dr. John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as senior policy advisor for biological threat defense. Among other responsibilities at OSTP, Dr. George provided technical expertise and interagency coordination supporting the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. During 2013–2014, Dr. George worked in the Department of Health and Human Services within the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, where he led a team that developed analytical approaches to assess risks from emerging infectious diseases and other mass casualty events. During 2009–2013, Dr. George worked within the Department of Defense on anticipating and assessing infectious disease risks that would affect mission readiness and force health protection. Dr. George worked at the National Science Foundation within the divisions of Biological Infrastructure and Environmental Biology. While at the National Science Foundation, Dr. George also supported the National Ecological Observatory Network and the Ecology of Infectious Diseases program.
Dr. George received his PhD from Colorado State University and focused on quantitative analytical approaches for considering how clinically severe pathogens (e.g., Yersinia pestis, rabies) persist within wildlife populations.
Jason Asher, PhD, is the director for the Predict Division in the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA). Dr. Asher has a distinguished career in mathematical modeling, conceptualizing, and constructing novel methods for forecasting and evaluating mitigations during federal emergency responses to a variety of disease outbreaks. There are multiple modeling tools in use today at CDC and the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) that are based on initial protypes developed by Dr. Asher.
For the past 10 years, Dr. Asher has worked for Leidos supporting the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in ASPR. In this role, he led a team responsible for executing a variety of quantitative tasks supporting emergency response outbreaks. During the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, Dr. Asher developed novel methods for forecasting disease incidence to help inform BARDA leadership about the potential impact of disease trends on the power of planned trials for vaccines and therapeutics. Dr. Asher produced multiple modeling analyses that helped inform strategy for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and the Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Stockpile. He also developed models to inform stockpiling decisions for pre-pandemic influenza vaccines including for H3N2v and H7N9 as well as strategic analyses for optimizing stockpile design. During the 2015-16 Zika virus epidemic, Dr. Asher worked with CDC to develop estimates of the potential treatment needs for Guillain-Barre Syndrome and the burden of microcephaly in Puerto Rico. He estimated needs for testing resources for screening of imported and locally acquired infection in response to National Security Council requests and developed methods for synthesizing multiple data sources to estimate the incidence of infection.
Since January 2020, Dr. Asher’s team has been devoted nearly full-time to the COVID-19 pandemic response. He collaborated with CDC to define standard modeling parameters and assumptions that were used early in the pandemic to scope the potential scale of impact in the United States. These assumptions were updated regularly, distributed to the interagency, and posted publicly to help provide a common basis for analyses and to support transparency of communication. Additionally, his team rapidly modified an agent-based modeling system that he designed to consider the spread of pandemic influenza and adapted it to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. This model was flexible and considered very detailed behavioral interventions as well as the impact of medical countermeasures. For the past two years Dr. Asher’s team has been using this model to produce long-range scenario-based projections of disease incidence in the United States. These projections have informed planned procurements for key supplies and resources such as N95s, ventilators, and therapeutics.
Dr. Asher holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Dartmouth College, a Master of Science degree and a PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles.