Melissa Hefferin Berquist, Ph.D., has served as the Institute’s director since March 2017. As director, she oversees the executive operations of the center – providing scientific leadership, ensuring overall strategic continuity, facilitating communication with stakeholders, and synchronizing and coordinating the Institute’s efforts related to strategic management, budget, regulatory compliance, and efficiency.
Berquist previously served as IIAD’s associate director for six years and joined IIAD following almost three years at BAI, Inc. – a professional services company in Alexandria, Va., first as a senior biosurety analyst and then as a senior analyst and program coordinator. While at BAI, she worked with biodefense research sponsored by the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where she served in a contract support role for the DHS Office of University Programs, specifically managing IIAD and related DHS Science and Technology Centers of Excellence.
A graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, Berquist earned her doctorate in molecular medicine/molecular and cellular biology from the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine.