Investigator Profiles

Mary Young, M.D.
Principal Investigator, WIHS
Director, Clinical Core, and Georgetown University Institutional Representative, DC D-CFAR
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center
Director, HIV Women's Program, Georgetown University

Phone: 202-444-0086 

I am the Principal Investigator of the Washington DC Metropolitan Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and a member of the DC developmental CFAR where I actively assist investigators transitioning to HIV research. I am a site investigator for the Georgetown University AIDS Clinical Trials Unit and was site PI on the recent study of the HPV vaccine in HIV infected women. I have been involved in all of the major substudies of the WIHS and I was the site investigator for the WIHS related RO-1 clinical trial, Pharmacology for Hazardous Drinking in HIV-infected Women. I have experience both in clinical trials and in observational cohort studies. Additionally as former Chair of the Georgetown IRB, I bring expertise in issues related to the protection of human subjects and of regulatory issues related to the conduct of research. In my capacity at WIHS, I oversee a research team of epidemiologists and biostatisticians who support affiliated proposals.


Jose Bordon, M.D., Ph.D., AAHIVS
Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center
Physician, Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Providence Hospital

Phone: 202-269-7747 

I am an Infectious Diseases and HIV Specialist at Providence Hospital working on helping my local community affected by the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics. For many years my research interests have focused on HIV infection, hepatitis C and other infectious complications. I have been working on translation research studies related to immune reconstitution of gamma-delta T cells in HIV-infected individuals who are on antiretroviral therapy as well as host response of HIV infected individuals and other projects related to individuals with HIV infections and hepatitis C.

Richard Calderone, Ph.D., M.S.
Chair and Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Microbiology & Immunology

Phone: 202-687-1513


My laboratory focuses on the two most common fungal pathogens of immunocompromised patients - Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. We use molecular biological and biochemical approaches to identify new targets on these fungi that can be exploited in drug discovery. Supported by an NIH-NIAID grant, I performed anti-fungal drug discovery with a medicinal chemist to evaluate their in vitro inhibitory activity against a panel of fungal pathogens. Four of those compounds are now in patent. My research interests also include genomic mining of mitochondria to identify fungal-specific genes specific to electron transport chain complex I. Our observations may point to the use of anti-mitochondrial complex I compounds that synergize with standard azole therapies. I am interested in the colonization by Candida species of the oral and vaginal mucosa among WIHS participants.

Priscilla Dass-Brailsford, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry, Chair, International Psychology, The Chicago school of Professional Psychology in Washington DC

Phone: 202-687-7490

I am a psychologist with trauma expertise who has worked in low-income urban communities for over 15 years. Many of these communities are affected by multiple traumas that include HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, community violence and interpersonal violence. My research with the WIHS study aims to improve highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) adherence in women with HIV and co-morbid depression and trauma. Previous research has found that depression and psychosocial factors associated with depression and trauma (e.g. isolation and lack of social support) contribute to poor medication adherence. Besides this study, I have several other ongoing research studies related to HIV/AIDS: understanding decision-making around maternal disclosure of HIV, developing an intervention for women living with HIV/AIDS who have histories of trauma and addictions and investigating the traumatic life histories of women living with HIV. 

Mimi Ghosh, Ph.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor, George Washington University, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Phone: 202-994-5740

My research investigates how menopause affects the innate immune system in the female reproductive tract, altering susceptibility of postmenopausal women to HIV. This involves characterizing innate anti-HIV activity and determining the levels of protective anti-HIV innate immune factors as well as pro-inflammatory HIV enhancing immune factors in the genital secretions of postmenopausal women compared to those found in premenopausal women. Results of this study may prove highly relevant given that more women than men are being affected by HIV and the population of HIV-positive postmenopausal women are on the rise.

Radoslav Goldman, Ph.D., M.S.
Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Oncology

Phone: 202-687-9868


My laboratory studies progression of HCV, HBV, and HIV viral infections to hepatocellular carcinoma and effects of genomic variants on protein glycosylation in prostate cancer. We have established novel mass spectrometric methods for quantification of protein glycoforms and methods for quantification of the peptides in complex biological matrices. These methods are used for molecular characterization of the disease processes. I am also directing the Proteomic section of the Proteomic & Metabolomic Shared Resource at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University.

Lakshmi Goparaju, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center
Project Director, Women's Interagency HIV Study, Georgetown University Medical Center

Phone: 202-784-2687

I have a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University, and an M.Phil. in social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. My research expertise has focused on qualitative methods and mixed methods. My research interests include HIV risk behaviors, sexuality, reproductive health and gender. I have conducted research in the US, India, Ghana and Nigeria. I have also worked with international public health organizations in program planning, monitoring & evaluation of programs and capacity building in gender. In WIHS, I have conducted research on women’s perspectives on men-on-down-low, aging with HIV, disclosure of HIV status, and alcohol consumption. I am currently looking at the use, knowledge and acceptance of biomedical technologies Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and Treatment as Prevention (TasP) for prevention of HIV infection among women.

Xiong Jiang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Neuroscience 

Phone: 202-687-0686


The majority of my past and current research has made use of three advanced MRI techniques: fMRI rapid adaptation (fMRI-RA), local regional heterogeneity (Hcorr), and multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA). Although I perform research on subject areas outside of the HIV/AIDS realm, I use WHIS study data in conjunction with these imaging techniques in my own lab. Two ongoing projects include (1) a DC D-CFAR funded study in which fMRI-RA techniques are being used to develop optimal experimental design for conducting fMRI-RA studies on people with HIV-infection and to study the change in neuronal selectivity in HIV-infected middle-aged adults, and (2) a NCRR funded project in which MVPA and DCM are being used to investigate the neural dysfunction of executive function. In collaboration with WIHS researchers, I am investigating the neuropathological change in middle-aged men and women with HIV-infection, as well as the neural basis of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) in the context of aging.

  Fatah Kashanchi, Ph.D.
  Director of Research, NCBID, School of Systems Biology, George   Mason University 

  Phone: 703-993-9160 


My laboratory is focused on defining transcriptional and chromatin mediated regulation of HIV and HTLV-1 infected cells.  Our studies have resulted in novel concepts regarding promoter-bound proteins that regulate all events of mRNA biogenesis (including capping, elongation, termination, poly A addition, splicing), nuclear-cytoplasmic transport, and activation of nonsense mRNA degradation. Among biothreat agents, the Kashanchi lab is interested in Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and Venuzueln Equine Encepalitis virus (VEEV) replication in vitro and in vivo and defining crucial host-pathogen interactions that are imperative to pathogenesis.

Seble Kassaye, M.D., M.S.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Infectious Diseases 

Phone: 202-444-0086


I am a co-investigator at the DC WIHS, clinical Infectious Diseases physician, and epidemiologist who trained at Stanford University. Having grown up in Ethiopia during the early years of the HIV epidemic, I have a strong interest in improving access to high quality care for those with limited resources. A particular interest of mine is in HIV during pregnancy, and in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, an area that I focused on while at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Recently, I joined Georgetown University while continuing to provide HIV clinical services within the community. My plan is to study the molecular epidemiology of HIV; HIV drug resistance; and HIV/HCV co-infection to further our mission towards improved HIV treatment and prevention strategies for women and their families.

Janice Krupnick, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical Center
Director, Trauma and Loss Program, Georgetown University Medical Center

Phone: 202-687-1496


I serve as co-principal investigator and therapist for a pilot study that is adapting Interpersonal Psychotherapy as a telephone-based mental health intervention for women in the Washington, DC WIHS who have HIV infection and major depressive disorder. The aim of the study is to adapt an evidence-based treatment for depression specifically for urban women who experience multiple stressors and have low social support in addition to depression and HIV infection. I am examining whether the intervention positively impacts mood and interpersonal functioning, as well as assessing whether a mental health intervention delivered via telephone, helps with adherence to HAART medication.

Chenglong Liu, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center

Phone: 202-784-2610


I am an HIV/AIDS epidemiologist, and have been working with 2 large HIV/AIDS cohorts since I studied as a Ph.D. student: MACS and WIHS. While at University of California Los Angeles, I used data from the Multicenter AIDS cohort study (MACS) to examine genetic determinants for resistance to HIV infection among MSM. During my work at Johns Hopkins University as a postdoctoral researcher, I used data from both MACS and WIHS to examine impacts of HIV infection and HAART use on quality of life of HIV infected individuals. Since joining Georgetown University, I have been using WIHS data to conduct a variety of independent studies, including research on serosorting sexual behavior, genetics, neuroscience, HIV treatment effectiveness assessment, drug interaction and complementary and alternative medicine. My secondary role in WIHS includes collaboration with external investigators to help them make use of WIHS data and secure funds. Some of these efforts include studying the effect of HIV infection on neurotrophin levels, examining neurocognitive function of WIHS women using fMRI technique, and analyzing effects of HIV infection on microvascular dysfunction.

Daniel Merenstein, M.D.
Associate Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Medicine
Director of Research Programs

Phone: 202-687-2745

The primary goal of my research is to provide answers to common clinical questions that lack evidence and improve patient care. As a natural extension of my clinical training in family practice, my research portfolio is varied. I conducted what is believed to be the first adult primary care clinical trial in acute rhinosinusitis in the United States. I have also conducted studies on overusage of diagnostic tests and examined ways to decrease antibiotic usage. I am currently conducting a U01 AT003600-01A1 that required collaborative work with the FDA for over a year to acquire investigational new drug (IND) approval. My lab has also lead six other RCTs in the last 6 years, enrolling and retaining over 1,400 participants. I have also lead microbiome research using HIV + and – women recruited from the WIHS. We evaluated the steady state of candida colonization of the oral and vaginal mucosa, finding that the percentage of participants that were positive for Candida species from both the oral and vaginal mucosa was higher in the HIV + than in the healthy control. I have extensive experience with following adverse events, supervising research personnel, overseeing large budgets, complying with regulatory issues and many other aspects of conducting a high quality study. I have been working with the WIHS databases for the last seven years, with a concentration on complementary and alternative modalities and the impact family plays on HIV.

Italo Mocchetti, Ph.D.
Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center
Vice Chair of Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center

Phone: 202-687-1197


My research investigates mechanisms of HIV neurotoxicity with an end-goal to develop new adjunctive therapies to prevent or reduce HIV-mediated neuronal injury. This project involves determining the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the neurotoxic effect of HIV and the viral protein gp120 in the WIHS cohort. Additionally, we are testing the effect of HIV on the BDNF neurotrophin. This is an area of high relevance for human neurological diseases because lack of BDNF is a risk factor for developing neurological alterations. Other past research projects includes several NIH-funded grants that developed animal models of HIV dementia, and other pathologies relevant to human chronic diseases.

  Joanne Michelle Ocampo, M.S. 
Research Specialist, Georgetown University, Office of the Senior Vice President for Research 

   Phone: 202-687-4092


I am currently an infectious disease research specialist for Georgetown University’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. In my current position, I provide administrative, technical and analytical support to interdisciplinary and multi-sectoral research projects working alongside public health departments, academic institutions, and other Georgetown University partners. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Magna cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University, and with a Master of Science in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases from Georgetown University. My previous experience includes laboratory work for Oslo University Hospital’s Hormone laboratory in Norway and a graduate research internship at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in the United States. My present research with the Washington DC Metropolitan Area Women’s Interagency HIV Study focuses on understanding HIV as a dynamic and complex individual and population-level health challenge. More specifically, I am examining long-term engagement in care patterns in the HIV care continuum using structural, biographical and clinical variables affecting HIV RNA suppression over time. 

Michael Plankey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Medicine 

Phone: 202-784-2607


I am an infectious disease epidemiologist in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center. I am the Co-Investigator for Baltimore-Washington, DC site of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Washington, DC Consortium of the WIHS at Georgetown University. I serve as the sole primary investigator funded by both cohorts. My research expertise has focused on the methodological approaches to analyze complex longitudinal data related to:  (1) evaluation of behavioral, immunological and virological risk factors for hearing and balance loss among HIV-infected compared to HIV-uninfected men and women; (2) investigation of transient elastography and serum markers to determine the progression of liver disease among HIV/HCV mono-infected and co-infected men and women; (3) the syndemic production of social, psychological and behavioral risk factors and HIV health outcomes among sexual minority and race/ethnicity minority men and women; and (4) the intersection of recreational drug and prescription drug use for pain management among HIV-infected men and women.

Paul Poppen, M.D.
Co-Director, Behavioral Science, Prevention, and Biostatistics Core, DC D-CFAR
Chair and Thelma Hunt Professor of Psychology, George Washington University 

Phone: 202-994-6324


In the past decade, much of my research has focused on gender, culture, and health, especially relevant to HIV/AIDS. I have been especially interested in how individuals perceive the risk of their own behavior, and whether that perception of risk influences change in behavior or the adoption of safer behaviors. I am currently on the Executive Committee of the GW HIV/AIDS Institute, and am a co-director of the Behavioral Science, Public Health, and Biostatistics Core of the DC D-CFAR, 2010-2015. Some of my current and previous projects include (1) HIV Prevalence, Sexual Behavior, and Attitudes toward Circumcision among Colombian MSM, (2) Contextual Factors on Sexual Risk among Latino MSM and (3) Disclosure of HIV Status among Latino Gay Men. I am collaborating with WIHS on a research study on Disclosure of HIV status to Family and Friends: Impact on Health outcomes.

Dan Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Research Associate Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center

Phone: 202-687-0887


For the past 2 years, I have served as co-investigator studying microvascular function in WIHS women to explore menopause microvascular dysfunction in the female HIV/AIDS population. This entails obtaining preliminary data on perivascular adipose tissue function in human microvessels and studying the underlying molecular mechanisms causing alterations in vascular functions of isolated gluteal vessels from participants. My previous research includes: (1) observing impaired microvascular function in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), (2) investigating the roles of nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the microvasculature of hypertensive models, (3) developing a technique using fluorescent dye to detect the superoxide and NO activity in living microvessels from rodent models of hypertension, and (4) developing the method for gene transfection into isolated cultured arterioles allowing investigation of the role selected genes play on systemic arteriolar resistance and afferent arteriolar function.

Christopher Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Georgetown University Medical Center
Director, Center for Hypertension, Kidney, and Vascular Research, Georgetown University Medical Center

Phone: 202-444-9183

I am a clinician and researcher trained in medicine, nephrology, renal physiology and clinical pharmacology. Through Program Project Grant 7 R01 and Training Grant T-32, I was able to develop a strong renal physiology program within the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Georgetown University. Aside from my clinical practice, I have much experience in clinical investigation, publishing 42 clinical / translational studies on human subjects and leading 8 clinical trials. I am the director of the Hypertension, Kidney and Vascular Research Center at Georgetown University that serves a dual purpose: (1) to promote the PPG within the institution and (2) to raise philanthropic support for this subject matter. I have collaboratively engaged in an ARRA grant and a CFAR grant for the WIHS project, both of which aimed to obtain preliminary results on subdermal microvessels in women with HIV/AIDS.

Maria Cecilia Zea, Ph.D.
Director, Latino Health Resource Center
Co-Director, Behavioral Science, Prevention, and Biostatistics Core, DC D-CFAR
Professor of Psychology, George Washington University

Phone: 202-994-6321

I am actively involved in the HIV/AIDS research community through my participation in the District of Columbia Developmental Center for AIDS Research (DC D-CFAR) and the GW Latino Health Research Center (LHRC). My primary research interests are behavioral aspects of HIV/AIDS among men of color. Previous research has included an NIMH-funded project on disclosure of HIV status among Latino gay men, an NICHD-funded project on contextual factors of sexual risk among Latino MSM, and an NICHD-funded R01 that examines HIV prevalence, sexual risk, and attitudes towards circumcision among Colombian MSM (with Paul Poppen, Carol A. Reisen, and Fernanda Bianchi).   I am collaborating with WIHS on a research study on Disclosure of HIV status to Family and Friends: Impact on Health outcomes.