Meet Our Leadership Team

Director, Office of Science and CDC Chief Science Officer *Acting

Paul Muntner, PhD, MHS

Dr. Paul Muntner, PhD is the Acting Director of CDC’s Office of Science. In this capacity, Dr. Muntner is critical to helping ensure OS advances its strategic and programmatic priorities to support the agency’s science.

Prior to joining CDC, Dr. Muntner was a Professor and Associate Dean for Research, and the former Director of the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Also, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he served as the Co-director of the Pharmacoepidemiology and Economics Research Unit and the Hypertension Research Center. From 2000 to 2007, Dr. Muntner served as an Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. From 2007 to 2009, he served as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Dr. Muntner led the NIH-funded Jackson Heart Study Hypertension Working Group and was a member of the Antihypertensive Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) steering committee. From 2015 to 2020, Dr. Muntner served as the Director of an American Heart Association-funded Strategically Focused Research Network hypertension center, and he led the Statistical Core for the American Heart Association’s Health Equity Research Network to Prevent Hypertension and the Training Core for the American Heart Association’s Health Equity Research Network to Prevent Maternal Morbidity and Mortality. From 2015 to 2018, he was Vice Chair of the Statistics Committee for the American Heart Association, he chaired the 2019 American Heart Association Scientific Statement on Blood Pressure Measurement, and he was a member of the group developing the 2017 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults.

Dr. Muntner’s research has been published in JAMA, The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Circulation, and has been featured on CNN and in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Dr. Muntner received his doctorate in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in 2001. He also holds a master of health science degree in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Deputy Director for Science, CDC Scientific Integrity Official, and CDC Research Integrity Officer
Joanne Cono, MD, ScD

Joanne Cono, MD, ScM

Dr. Joanne Cono, MD, ScM, is the Office of Science Deputy Director for Science, CDC Scientific Integrity Official, and CDC Research Integrity Officer.

Dr. Cono has served in numerous leadership positions at CDC including Director of the OS Office of Science Quality; Senior Science Advisor in the Office of Infectious Diseases; Associate Director of Science (ADS) in the former Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response; ADS in the Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance of the former National Immunization Program; and Director of CDC’s Clinician Communication Program. As Senior Medical Officer in the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program, National Center for Infectious Diseases, she helped lead CDC’s smallpox preparedness and vaccination activities and the epidemiological team for CDC’s response to the 2003 US mpox outbreak. Dr. Cono served as Senior Advisor for Science and Global Health in the Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases and has completed numerous international assignments and consultancies. She has participated in numerous agencywide emergency responses including anthrax, hurricanes, earthquakes, the H1N1 influenza pandemic, Zika, Ebola, and COVID-19.

A board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Cono earned her medical degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and completed her residency training at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She completed a fellowship in Community Pediatrics and Child Advocacy at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a genetic epidemiology fellowship at CDC. Dr. Cono has a Master of Science degree in Vaccine Science and International Health from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, and specialty training in mediation, facilitation, negotiation, global diplomacy, and public engagement. Dr. Cono practiced pediatrics in the homeless shelter system of New York City (The New York Children’s Health Project) and at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She was a visiting faculty member at the University of Tartu in Estonia, where she taught pediatrics and epidemiology.

Deputy Director for Strategy and Implementation
Locola Hayes

Locola Hayes, MBA

Locola Hayes, MBA, is the Office of Science Deputy Director for Strategy and Implementation. In this role, Hayes serves as principal advisor to the OS Director on issues concerning health protection and health equity goals management, strategic planning, evaluation, policy, legislation.  She is responsible for spearheading strategy, goals and ensuring that the alignment of goals and resource allocations, and measuring, reporting, and improving performance on strategic priorities through leadership of cross-cutting office initiatives.

During her tenure at CDC, Hayes has worked in various aspects of program management including strategy, management and operations, policy, and performance. Most recently, she served as the Management Official for the Office of Science, providing day to day oversight and management of budget, staffing, and other operational aspects of the office. Prior to joining the Office of Science, she was the Deputy Director for the Program Performance and Evaluation Office in CDC’s Office of the Associate Director for Policy and Strategy. She has also worked in a number of key roles including Risk Management Lead, Senior Public Health Advisor for Health Systems Reconstruction, and Deputy Director for the Ebola Affected Country Office in the CDC Center for Global Health’s Division of Global Health Protection. Hayes also served as the International Task Force Deputy during the 2014 Ebola response and as Special Projects Lead and Performance Management Lead in the Office of the Associate Director for Program (now the Office of Policy, Performance, and Evaluation).

Management Official
Rosa Herrera

Aaron Aranas, MPH, MBA

Aaron Aranas, MPH, MBA, is the Office of Science Management Official. In this role, Aranas directs Office of Science management and operations efforts including leading the development and execution of the OS budget, managing OS extramural funding, overseeing OS recruitment and staffing actions, and providing leadership on other logistical/administrative processes.

Previously, Aaron served as the Deputy Management Officer in the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP), and in numerous epidemiologist positions in the Center for Global Health (CGH), the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (CSELS), and the National Immunization Program (NIP). Prior to joining CDC, he worked as a Senior Analyst and Programmer in the pharmaceutical and health care industries.

Aaron holds a Master’s degree in business administration from Georgia State University, a Master’s degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University.

Associate Director for Communications *Acting

Ian Branam

Ian Branam, MA is the Office of Science Associate Director for Communications (Acting). During his time at CDC, Ian has led various communication functions ranging from media relations to emergency response to campaign planning and development.

Ian joins the OS team from the Office of Science Dissemination where he has served as the communications team lead for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series. As the communications lead for MMWR, Ian has overseen the strategic dissemination of scientific findings published in MMWR, which generates half of the media attention for all CDC-authored science. Under his leadership, the MMWR communications team has played a pivotal role in communicating about critical scientific developments during the COVID-19 pandemic while also spearheading novel approaches to communicate about scientific findings.

Prior to joining MMWR, Ian worked in CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), where he oversaw CDC’s HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention campaign. As the lead for CDC’s HPV vaccination campaign, he played a critical role in expanding health care professional outreach to include nurses and medical assistants and developing a series of peer-to-peer educational products. He also possesses extensive media outreach experience from his time serving as a press officer in NCIRD where he supported proactive and reactive media strategies for the Center.

Ian is a graduate of the University of Georgia with bachelor’s degrees in history and psychology and a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication with a focus on health and medical journalism. Ian and his team have received numerous awards at CDC, including the CSELS Honors Awards for Integrity in Communications and Plain Writing Act and the Health Literacy HERO Award.

Associate Director for Policy *Acting
Maryam Daneshvar

Schabbethai S. Senesie, MPH

Schabbethai S. Senesie, MPH is the Office of Science Associate Director for Policy (Acting). Schabbethai is a Health Scientist in the Office of the Director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In her previous role, Schabbethai worked on the OS Strategy and Implementation team to generate and disseminate meaningful metrics that highlight the Office of Science’s accomplishments and programmatic activities, while identifying opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in science delivery and integrity. Additionally, Schabbethai serves as the lead coordinator for CDC’s CORE Health Equity Science and Intervention Strategy, an agency-wide initiative that aims to integrate health equity into CDC’s science, interventions, partnerships, and workforce.

Schabbethai previously served as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Division of Global Health Protection supporting the strategic planning, management, and implementation of division-wide initiatives. Prior to this role, she was an epidemiologist in the Division of Global Health Protection in the Center for Global Health, supporting the implementation of activities in CDC Country Offices under the Global Health Security Agenda. Before her conversion to federal service, Schabbethai was an Oak Ridge Science and Education Fellow in the 2014 Ebola Response, the Ebola Affected Countries Office, and a Rollins Earn & Learn Student in the Emergency Recovery and Response Branch on the Health Systems Recovery Team (now defunct) in the CDC Center for Global Health.

Schabbethai has extensive experience in project management, program implementation, and data science. She holds a Master of Public Health from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Health Service Administration from the University of Central Florida, and an Associate of Arts in Psychology from Miami Dade College.

Senior Advisor for Technology Transfer, Innovation, and Extramural Research
Juliana Cyril

Juliana Cyril, MPH, PhD

Juliana Cyril, MPH, PhD, is Senior Advisor for Innovation and Extramural Research within CDC’s Office of Science. Dr. Cyril oversees the agency’s technology transfer portfolio, advises on innovation activities to accelerate public health science to action, and provides oversight and coordination of extramural research, Extramural Research Program Offices (ERPOs), functions, and associated policies and practices.

Prior to this, Dr. Cyril was the Director of the Office of Technology and Innovation within CDC’s Office of Science. Dr. Cyril was responsible for planning, managing, and evaluating the programs of the Office of Technology and Innovation. As a senior member of the Office of Science (OS) management team, Dr. Cyril participated in developing OS program policy and objectives, short and long-term goals, program strategies, and operating policies. Her office was responsible for providing leadership and expertise to promote and optimize the timely transfer of knowledge, innovation, and technology into products, devices and procedures that improve public health.

Dr. Cyril joined CDC in 2000 as a Health Scientist in the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center for Environmental Health. In 2004, she joined the newly formed Office of Public Health Research (OPHR) in OS. Two years later, she became Associate Director Policy and Peer Review responsible for developing and promoting extramural research policies and practices across CDC. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing $20 million in research awards and was critical to CDC’s successful institutionalization of the Extramural Research Program Offices. In 2010, Dr. Cyril became the Deputy Director of the Office of Science Quality in OS responsible for managing office operations and acting as an advisor for extramural research throughout the agency. Two years later, Dr. Cyril assumed the role of Director of the Office of Technology and Innovation.

Dr. Cyril earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to pursuing graduate studies, she worked for two years as a Research Associate in the Institute for Health and Aging at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Cyril earned her Master’s degree from the University of Washington in 1996 and a Doctoral degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in 2001.

Director of the Office of Public Health Ethics and Regulations (OPHER)
Maryam Daneshvar

Maryam Daneshvar, PhD

Maryam Daneshvar, PhD, MS, is the Director of the Office of Public Health Ethics and Regulations in CDC’s Office of Science. Dr. Daneshvar is responsible for planning, managing, and evaluating the programs within OPHER, ensuring CDC science and research activities comply with scientific regulatory and ethical practices.

Dr. Daneshvar previously served as Associate Director for Science of the Division of Laboratory Programs, Standards, and Services in the Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services (now part of the CDC’s Office of Laboratory Science and Safety). She has held other key leadership positions including CDC Reports Clearance Officer and Chief of the Information Collection Review Office in the Office of Science.

Dr. Daneshvar joined CDC in 1982 as a research chemist in the National Center for Infectious Diseases (). Over her 24-year tenure as a laboratory scientist, Dr. Daneshvar continued to specialize in advanced techniques for the identification of unusual and emerging bacterial pathogens. She authored or coauthored more than 100 publications including peer-reviewed scientific papers, CDC publications, a book, book chapters, and scientific meeting abstracts.

Dr. Daneshvar has received multiple CDC awards and the HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service. She has also received one of the most distinguished honors in the community of microbiologists – having an organism named in her honor. Kaistella daneshvariae, a novel bacterial organism, was named in honor of Maryam Daneshvar for her many contributions to the description and characterization of strains from CDC’s collection of clinical bacterial isolates.

Dr. Daneshvar holds a Doctorate degree in analytical chemistry and a Master of Science degree in clinical chemistry from Georgia State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Georgia.

Director of the Office of Scientific Evidence and Recommendations (OSER)

Amy Lansky, PhD, MPH

Amy Lansky, PhD, MPH, is Director of the Office of Scientific Evidence and Recommendations (OSER) within CDC’s Office of Science. In this role, Dr. Lansky oversees the Community Guide Program and the Guidelines and Recommendations Team, which provides agency-wide support for the development of high-quality guidelines and recommendations. As director of the Community Guide Program, she oversees the prioritization, production, and communication of evidence-based systematic reviews on the effectiveness and economics of public health programs, services, and other interventions. This includes supporting the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF), disseminating CPSTF recommendations and findings, and building and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Since joining CDC in 1991, Dr. Lansky’s achievements have included developing and evaluating behavioral interventions for HIV prevention, conducting epidemiologic research to inform HIV prevention programs and policy development, and designing and implementing surveillance systems. She served as deputy director for surveillance, epidemiology, and laboratory science in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC from 2008-2014. From 2015-2017 she served as director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy and as senior policy advisor in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Dr. Lansky has published more than 80 papers in peer-reviewed journals and CDC’s flagship publication, MMWR, about issues such as population size estimates for groups at risk for HIV, sampling methods for reaching populations at high-risk, and uptake of HIV prevention guidelines.

Dr. Lansky holds Doctoral and Master’s degrees in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Swarthmore College.

Director of the Office of Science Dissemination (OSD)
Julie Fishman

Charlotte Kent, PhD, MPH

Dr. Charlotte K. Kent, PhD, MPH, is the director of the Office of Science Dissemination (OSD) within CDC’s Office of Science. Dr. Kent is also Editor-in-Chief, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series, where she has applied her skills and experience in leadership roles for the “voice of CDC” since 2014. She has 30 years of experience directing the development, implementation, and evaluation of surveillance, epidemiologic, and health services research, and in managing public health programs at the local and federal level, including internationally. Her broad-based public health experience includes both infectious disease and chronic disease prevention and control.

During 2011‒2014, Dr. Kent served as Chief, Research, Surveillance, and Evaluation Branch, Division of Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention and Health Promotion where she supervised the design of complex evaluation studies and managed contracts and cooperative agreements valued between $35‒$42 million each year. She joined CDC during 2007, as the Chief, Health Services Research and Evaluation Branch, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention where she focused on increasing research relevance and mentoring of students from under-represented populations. Dr. Kent’s previous experience includes serving as Chief, Epidemiology Unit, STD Prevention and Control Services at the San Francisco Department of Public Health for 15 years. During 1990-1991, she was the Director of the AIDS Epidemiology Unit for the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health in Bern, Switzerland.

Dr. Kent received her Doctorate in Epidemiology and her Master’s in public health in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California Berkeley, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Amherst College. She has authored more than 115 published papers. The average citation per published paper is 59.0, with a high impact as measured by an h-index of 41. She and her teams have received numerous awards at CDC, including the CDC Director’s Award for Public Health Impact; the CDC & ATSDR Honor Award for Excellence in Quantitative Sciences; the Kaafee Billah Memorial Award, Honoring Excellence in Economic Research; and the Charles C. Shepard Science Award.

Director of the Office of Science Quality and Library Services (OSQLS)
Maryam Daneshvar

Bao-Ping Zhu, MD, PhD, MS

Dr. Bao-Ping Zhu, MD, PhD, MS is the Director of the Office of Science Quality and Library Services in CDC’s Office of Science.

Dr. Bao-Ping Zhu is a medical epidemiologist with extensive domestic and international experience in public health. He first joined CDC as an EIS officer in 1996 and since that time, has held multiple scientific leadership positions with CDC, state health departments, and other public health organizations. Prior to his most recent position as Director of Quality Performance Management and Research Programs at the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, Dr. Zhu served as Resident Advisor for CDC’s Advanced Field Epidemiology Training Programs in Uganda, Turkey, and China. He has also served as the Missouri State Epidemiologist, CDC State Assignee in Michigan, and a Principal Research Scientist for the Battelle Memorial Institute.

Dr. Zhu has conducted extensive epidemiologic research on infectious diseases, chronic diseases, cancer, maternal and child health, environmental and occupational health, food intoxication, tobacco use, and neglected tropical diseases. He has authored more than 140 scientific publications.

Dr. Zhu received his medical degree from Anhui Medical University in China, Doctorate in epidemiology from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Master of Science degree in biostatistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and post-doctoral research training in epidemiology and biostatistics at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in France. He has received numerous awards for his research and service, including the CDC Director’s Award for Excellence in Epidemiology and Public Health Response, the William H. Foege Award, the Jeffrey P. Koplan Award, and the Young Professional of the Year Award by the American Public Health Association/MCH Section.