AMD Days 2023 Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies

Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH,
Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH, is the Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. She is one of the nation’s top health leaders with experience leading large and complex organizations, and a proven track-record protecting Americans’ health and safety.

Dr. Cohen is an internal medicine physician and led the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, where she was lauded for her outstanding leadership during the COVID crisis, focusing on equity, data accountability, and transparent communication. She also transformed the North Carolina Medicaid program, through the state’s Medicaid expansion and her focus on “whole person health” with the launch of the country’s first statewide coordination platform, NCCARE360.

Dr. Cohen received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, her Doctor of Medicine from the Yale School of Medicine, and her Master’s in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Daniel Jernigan, MD, MPH
Director, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases

Daniel Jernigan, MD, MPH, is the director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases. Before accepting this position with NCEZID, Dr. Jernigan was CDC’s deputy director for public health science and surveillance, working at the intersection of public health, healthcare, and health IT to advance agency-wide science, surveillance, and data priorities and strategies. Dr. Jernigan previously served as the director of the Influenza Division in CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). Prior to his appointment as director, he was the Influenza Division’s deputy director from 2006 to 2014.

Dr. Jernigan joined the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service in 1994 and worked in the Respiratory Diseases Branch on the prevention and control of bacterial respiratory pathogens. In 1996, he began serving on assignment from CDC 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 in 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.

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. Upon completing 23 years of service in 2019, Dr. Jernigan retired from the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service as a Captain.

Duncan MacCannell, PhD, MBT,
Director, Office of Advanced Molecular Detection

Duncan MacCannell, PhD, MBT, is director of the Office of Advanced Molecular Detection (OAMD) at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID). Since the late 2000s, he has championed the role of emerging next-generation sequencing technologies to transform infectious disease public health, and this work helped establish the Advanced Molecular Detection (AMD) Program in 2014. Since 2014, Dr. MacCannell has guided the program’s development as OAMD’s chief science officer, the position he held before accepting the role as director in September 2022. He has been recognized with an Arthur S. Flemming Award, a CSELS Honor Award, an HHS Innovates Award Secretary’s Pick, and an NCEZID Director’s Award. Dr. MacCannell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from McGill University and a Master of Biomedical Technology degree from the University of Calgary, where he also earned his Doctor of Philosophy in infectious diseases in 2006. The same year, Dr. MacCannell began a research fellowship at CDC’s PulseNet, and he has served the agency ever since.

Elizabeth Neuhaus, PhD
Senior Advisor, Office of Advanced Molecular Detection

Elizabeth Neuhaus, PhD, joined the Office of Advanced Molecular Detection in 2019 as a Senior Advisor. She works alongside fellow OAMD colleagues to assess advances in biotechnology, information technology and data science. Dr. Neuhaus is currently leading a development team building a national bioinformatics platform that will allow CDC and public health laboratories to share raw and analyzed next-generation sequencing data. Prior to her current role, Dr. Neuhaus served as the Associate Director for Informatics of the Influenza Division where she provided program management and oversight for a variety of division-wide informatics projects and initiatives including “big data” integration, bioinformatics and LIMS. As one of the first bioinformaticians at CDC, she pioneered the application of a nescient field to public health, managing the computing infrastructure to support nucleotide sequence analysis and providing technical support as well as training to CDC scientists. Dr. Neuhaus received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.​


Meagan Burns, MPH
Senior Informatics Epidemiologist, Massachusetts Department of Public Health​

Meagan Burns is the Senior Informatics Epidemiologist for pathogen genomics and molecular epidemiology in the Division of Surveillance, Analytics, and Informatics, within in the Bureau of Infectious Disease and Laboratory Sciences at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She leads integration of genomic data into MA’s infectious disease surveillance system and works to expand utilization of genomic epidemiology and implement forecasting for infectious disease surveillance. She also co-chairs the Advanced Molecular Detection Workgroup for the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Meagan obtained her MPH in Epidemiology from Boston University, and a BS in Genomics and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University.​


Kelsey Florek, PhD
Wisconsin Public Health Laboratory

Dr. Kelsey Florek, PhD, MPH is a Senior Genomics and Data Scientist at the Wisconsin State Laboratory. Borne out of a love for data Dr. Florek specializes in cloud based solutions to solve complex genomic and biological questions. Dr. Florek's work aims to democratize access to data analytics and enhance the application of data in public health. This effort has included projects such as the StaPH-B Docker Repository, the StaPH-B Toolkit, the WSLH Data Portal, and Easy Genomics. To further the advancement bioinformatics in public health Dr. Florek works closely with the Association of Public Health Laboratories, the CDC, and public health partners to develop pathways towards enhancing the public health workforce and improving access to data insights. In her spare time Dr. Florek enjoys creative ventures such as watercolor painting, photography, and board games along with active hobbies like backpacking and roller skating.