Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service

Scientist Professional Advisory Committee

2017 Derek Dunn Memorial Senior Scientist Officer of the Year

CDR James Kenney


CDR James Kenney serves as Chief, Laboratories of Microbiology, In-vivo Testing and Standards, Division of Biological Standards & Quality Control, U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In this role, CDR Kenney has had significant impact on the development of regulations and guidelines for biological methods. He led multiple agency initiatives and operations which are essential for world-wide public health and inter-agency quality improvements. He chaired over 150 Biological License Applications (BLA) Supplement Review Committees, was appointed to 156 BLA and 323 BLA supplement review committees, and mentored scientific staff on over 130 BLAs and 190 BLA supplements reviews.  He assured over 75,000 drug production lots (approximately 8.5 Billion doses) were safe and effective before released to the market.  He implemented the first FDA/Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) microbiological testing laboratories with National ISO 17025 Accreditation, ensuring external stakeholders the FDA has the same quality assurance testing requirements it enforces for licensed drug product manufacturers.  His independent leadership and initiative was also reflected in many improvements to CBER’s Standards Production and Distribution operations that increased its scope, efficiency and effectiveness by addressing deficiencies, adding quality oversight, and streamlining internal and external stakeholder’s use in their drug production processes. In addition, his contributions have improved CBER’s global image and secured the FDA’s place as the main World Health Organization Essential Regulatory Laboratory for worldwide influenza reagent production.  CDR Kenney has served as Principal Investigator for 12 on-going FDA In-vivo Animal Test Study Protocols, used to calibrate CBER Standards and has participated in 13 oral and poster presentations at international, national, professional, public health, and inter-agency meetings.  CDR Kenney also deployed with the USPHS Ebola Response, deployed 13 times with the Regional Incident Response Coordination Team - National Capital Region, served as Deputy Team Commander for RIST-NCR team, and served as Officer in Charge for 3 RIST-NCR deployments, and assisted ASPR's Office of Emergency Management's Division of Planning in writing the HHS 2014 Support Plan for an Ebola Virus Disease Incident Occurring in the U.S.

 Please join me in congratulating CDR James Kenney, the 2017 Senior Scientist Officer of the Year.

2017 Shalon M. Irving Memorial Junior Scientist Officer of the Year

LCDR John Pesce


LCDR John Pesce serves as Product Development Project Manager for the Parasitology and International Programs Branch of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health. LCDR Pesce has shown impressive initiative and leadership qualities within NIH, and has been personally responsible for significant contributions to the fields of vaccine and therapeutic development targeting malaria and other parasitic diseases.  LCDR Pesce successfully managed 20 preclinical development projects valued at over $20 million and was involved in the coordination of 4 clinical trials with an estimated value of $7.2 million. He successfully completed the transition of the PIPB Malaria Vaccine Production and Support Services contract.  LCDR Pesce far exceeded performance level expected as a Production Development Project Manager, completing 11 Task Orders and exercising 27 Contract Options.  This equated to more than double the performance of his peers over the same time period.  LCDR Pesce voluntarily developed and provided division wide instruction on ShareNote, a program that synergistically integrates the use of Microsoft SharePoint and OneNote.  This program facilitates knowledge transfer among collaborative teams and provides a mechanism for retention of corporate knowledge.  LCDR Pesce also assumed an important role as the coordinator for the PIPB Vaccine Development Section (VDS) and the Translational Science Team (TST), which are multidisciplinary teams within PIPB responsible for the strategic development, and planning of PIPB based research efforts to combat global parasitic pathogens.  The products being developed by his portfolio are playing an integral role in the global strategy to reduce transmission and eventually eliminate malaria and other parasitic pathogens as a global threat.  LCDR Pesce has also served as a member of the Tier 1-Rapid Deployment Force 2 team since 2012 and participated in deployments for Hurricane Sandy, the Unaccompanied Children’s Mission, and numerous NSSE events, and was the only Junior Scientist Officer to be chosen as a member of Team 1 of the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU) for the 2014 Ebola response in Liberia.

 Please join me in congratulating LCDR John Pesce, the 2017 Junior Scientist Officer of the Year.

2017 Scientist Responder of the Year

LCDR Leigh Ann Miller


LCDR Leigh Ann Miller currently serves as Emergency Public Health Epidemiologist, Emergency Response and Recovery Branch, Division of Global Health Protection, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control. LCDR Miller has exhibited outstanding leadership contributions to emergency responses at the state, national, and international levels.  Among her many accomplishments, LCDR Miller has served as an EIS Officer in Maine, where she led or participated in over 10 state-level investigations of infectious disease clusters and outbreaks.  In her current position, LCDR Miller was one of the founding members of CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team and has led training of over 300 Tier 3 surge responders.  Internationally, LCDR Miller has contributed to the workforce development action package of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) by training 39 public health officials from 4 GHSA focus countries – Burkina-Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Uganda – as well as Ghana and Malawi in Rapid Response Team skills.  She also co-developed Rapid Response Team curriculum for an additional 73 public health officials from 11 other countries.  LCDR Miller provided facilitation support with World Health Organization colleagues for a virtual Knowledge Network for over 200 Rapid Response Team members in Africa and the Middle East and served as a lead facilitator for a week-long virtual discussion on rapid assessment techniques in emergency settings.  LCDR Miller deployed three times, for a total of 90 days, to Sierra Leone for the Ebola Virus Disease response.  During the course of these deployments, she served as an Epidemiology Team Lead, Health Promotions Lead, and helped develop the National Communication Strategy for EVD for the Ministry of Health and partner agencies.  She has also collaborated with the World Health Organization in Jordan to implement early warning surveillance of over 150,000 refugees, which resulted in changes to the national infectious disease surveillance system for training refugees.  LCDR Miller is also a member of Mental Health Team-5. 

 Please join me in congratulating LCDR Leigh Ann Miller, the 2017 Scientist Responder of the Year.

2017 Scientist Mentor of the Year

CDR Robin Toblin


CDR Robin Toblin currently serves as Branch Chief, Research Transition Office, and Deputy Director, Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Department of Defense. CDR Toblin has served as a mentor for over 18 months and coordinated bi-monthly mentorship calls with her mentee during that time, providing feedback and guidance on multiple issue related professional development.  After hours of thorough review of her mentee’s performance evaluations, promotion materials, and CV, CDR Toblin assisted in the development of structured, multi-year plan to help her mentee develop leadership skills and increase engagement in professional activities.  CDR Toblin’s mentee credits her support as contributing to her successful promotion to O-4, as well as selection as a voting member of American Indian Alaskan Native Commissioned Officer Advisory Committee.  CDR Toblin’s mentee also credits her guidance and feedback as key to their selection for a highly competitive American Psychological   Association, Division 39, early career scholarship.

 Please join me in congratulating CDR Robin Toblin, the 2017 Scientist Mentor of the Year.

Page Last Modified on 11/13/2017

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