Executive Committee Investigator Profiles

DC CFAR leadership and senior investigators have diverse backgrounds and are engaged in a variety of research activities. Learn more by reading their profiles. 

David Hardy, MD, Senior Director of Evidence-based Practices at Whitman Walker Health

Dr. David Hardy is a member of the DC CFAR Executive Committee as a representative of Whitman Walker Health. Dr. Hardy knew he wanted to be a doctor from an early age but it was a lecture during his residency in internal medicine at UCLA which led him to a career in HIV research. After attending a lecture by Dr. Michael Gottlieb - the UCLA researcher credited with first identifying AIDS - Dr. Hardy asked to do a rotation in Gottlieb's immunology lab. Under Dr. Gottlieb, Dr. Hardy studied infectious disease and immunology including research that led to the first HIV antibody tests, T cell studies, and the first clinical AZT for trials.

Virginia Kan, MD, Acting Chief of the Infectious Diseases Section at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), Professor, School of Medicine, George Washington University

Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Kan was in her last year of medical school in New York City when she saw her first case of Kaposi Sarcoma in a young man who did not fit the typical textbook description. During her residency, she saw cases of fungal infections such as cryptococcal meningitis and esophageal candidiasis that were associated with AIDS.

Michael Kharfen, Senior Deputy Director of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and TB Administration (HAHSTA), DC Department of Health

Michael Kharfen is a member of the DC CFAR Executive Committee as a representative of the DC Department of Health. His interest in HIV started in 1985 when he began hearing rumors about the bleak living conditions of AIDS patients on Rikers Island, the New York City prison complex. At the time, Kharfen was working as a community liaison for David Dinkins, the Manhattan borough president, who would later become mayor of New York City. Based on Kharfen's assessment of the conditions on Rikers, Dinkins successfully advocated to improve the conditions for the AIDS patients there.

Senior Scientist, Social and Behavioral Sciences Core: Paul Poppen, PhD

For Paul Poppen, PhD, his transition into HIV/AIDS work can largely be credited to George Washington and its faculty.

Director of the DC CFAR: Alan Greenberg, MD, MPH

As Dr. Alan E. Greenberg, MD, MPH, explains, his introduction to HIV/AIDS was a call to action. As Director of the DC CFAR and Professor and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health, Dr. Greenberg focuses much of his time and energy on advancing the careers of early- and mid-career HIV investigators in the hope that his efforts will have a multiplicative impact on fighting the epidemic.

Co-Director of the DC CFAR: Gary Simon, MD, PhD, MACP

Gary Simon, MD, PhD, MACP, is the Walter G. Ross Professor of Clinical Research, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the George Washington University. Having completed his resident training in internal medicine and infectious disease training at Tufts-New England Medical Center in 1980, Dr. Simon joined the faculty at GW. One year later, he diagnosed the first patient to be identified in Washington with this new entity, AIDS.

Co-Director of the Clinical and Population Sciences Core: Samuel Simmens, PhD, MA

For Samuel Simmens, PhD, M.A., his exploration of public health research has always been one from a quantitative point of view. With a PhD from New York University in Community and Quantitative Psychology, Dr. Simmens believes that his formal educational background combines well with his exploratory work in public health to support a wide array of multi-disciplinary research.

Co-Director of the Developmental Core: Sylvia Silver, DA

As Dr. Sylvia Silver, DA, remembers, her introduction to HIV research was serendipitous. “As a microbiologist, I was fascinated by what was being reported about this new disease and sought out fellow colleagues here at GW who were involved,” she explains. Now the Co-Director of the DC CFAR Developmental Core, Professor at the George Washington University Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine and Director of the George Washington University Biorepository, Silver explains that not only is HIV still an exciting area of research, but something that continues to fascinate her as our understanding of the virus and how it affects the human host evolves.

Co-Director of the Clinical and Population Sciences Core: Manya Magnus, PhD, MPH

As a former DC D-CFAR Pilot Award recipient, Manya Magnus, PhD, MPH, knows firsthand the importance of the translational element that the DC D-CFAR brings in connecting communities, researchers and clinicians. Now the Co-Director of the Clinical and Population Sciences Core and Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the George Washington University, Dr. Magnus feels her role in the CFAR is to facilitate this marriage.

Director of the Developmental Core: Michael Bukrinsky, MD, PhD

Director of the DC D-CFAR's Developmental Core, Michael Bukrinsky, MD, PhD, first began his career in HIV research in 1984 in Russia, when the virus was just beginning to be described. Now the Vice Chair for the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine (MITM) at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr. Bukrinsky works to develop and cultivate junior investigators to further their HIV research.

Co-Director of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Core: Maria Cecilia Zea, PhD

Maria Cecilia Zea, PhD knows that research is a culture in its own. In her new role as Co-Director of DC D-CFAR's Social and Behavioral Sciences Core, she will help translate the culture of HIV/AIDS research for aspiring investigators.

Co-Director of the Developmental Core: Anthony Wutoh, PhD, RPh

The importance of mentoring is central to Dr. Anthony K. Wutoh. As Co-Director of the Developmental Core of the DC D-CFAR and Associate Dean of the Howard University School of Pharmacy, Dr. Wutoh emphasizes the importance of the D-CFAR in providing mentoring as a service to early stage and new investigators.

Director of the Basic Sciences Core: Douglas Nixon, MD, PhD

Growing up in Cambridge, England provided a uniquely intellectual atmosphere for Douglas Nixon, MD, PhD to foster a deep interest in science.

Director of the Clinical and Population Sciences Core: Princy Kumar, MD

After Princy Kumar, MD attended medical school in India, she spent her residency in New Jersey from 1985 to 1988, where she encountered the evolving AIDS epidemic in both New Jersey and in New York.

Director of Social and Behavioral Sciences Core: Kim Blankenship, PhD

Upon moving to Washington, DC to become Chair of the Department of Sociology at American Universityand founding director of the Center on Health, Risk and Society, Kim Blankenship, PhD set her sights on making valuable contributions to a city with some of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the country.