Meet the Scientists

The staff scientists at the OAR oversee the research across the HIV Research Priority areas. The NIH response to the HIV pandemic requires a multi-Institute and multidisciplinary research program. OAR scientists assist in the coordination of this program by working to enhance NIH-wide collaboration and coordination, minimize duplication, and ensure that research dollars are being invested effectively and across the NIH Institutes and Centers conducting HIV/AIDS research.

Learn more about each scientist and his or her role within OAR.

Meet the Scientists
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Stacy Carrington-Lawrence, Ph.D., who joined the OAR in 2007, oversees the Develop Next-Generation HIV Therapies and Cross-Cutting Areas priorities. She serves as the executive secretary for the NIH AIDS Executive Committee, which is composed of senior representatives from more than 20 Institutes, Centers, and Offices with HIV research in their portfolios. This group is responsible for helping to set the priorities and agenda for NIH research related to HIV and AIDS. Prior to joining OAR, Dr. Carrington-Lawrence completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institute and then served in the NIH Office of Science Policy, where she worked on public-private partnerships. 
Colleen Choi, Ph.D., joined the OAR in October 2018. Dr. Choi is responsible for examining and evaluating the impact and outcomes of OAR-funded projects as a health science policy analyst and member of the data analytics team. She is a methodologist and specializes in the social sciences, program evaluation, and data analytics. Prior to joining the OAR, Dr. Choi worked for the NIH Office of Program Evaluation and Performance (OPEP, now the Office of Evaluation, Performance and Reporting). As a health research evaluator for OPEP, she served as the lead evaluator for a variety of programs, managed the congressionally mandated NIH Evaluation Set-Aside Program, and facilitated the reporting of the Government Performance and Results Act on behalf of the NIH. Dr. Choi obtained her B.A. in Sociology, M.S. in Family Studies, and Ph.D. in Human Development.

Brenda Fredericksen, Ph.D., joined the OAR as a health scientist administrator in 2018. Dr. Fredericksen previously served as an interdisciplinary scientist administrator at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, where she worked on the development of vaccines for the influenza and the Zika viruses. Dr. Fredericksen has served as a scientific review officer in the AIDS Research Review Branch within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Prior to joining the federal government, she was an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, where she developed an active research program examining the cell-intrinsic innate immune response for viral pathogens and collaborated with academic and industrial partners on the development of broad-spectrum antiviral agents for use against emerging pathogens and biothreats of viral origins.

Dr. Fredericksen received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Tennessee Health Services Center in Memphis and completed her postdoctoral research with Dr. Michael Gale at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Paul Gaist, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Paul Gaist, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the OAR in 1992 as a health scientist administrator. He leads the Behavioral and Social Sciences Research and Reduce the Incidence of HIV research priorities at the OAR. In addition, his responsibilities include implementation science, and program planning. Before joining the OAR, Dr. Gaist was the Deputy Director of HIV/AIDS at the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, a former agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to that, he was an intramural scientist and researcher in the Psychobiology Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health. He has also served as Senior Science Advisor to the Director, Office of National AIDS Policy, Executive Office of the President.

Dr. Gaist received his Ph.D. in Behavioral Science Research and Health Education, as well as his M.P.H. in Health Policy and Management, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He also holds degrees in Psychology and Physiology from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Mary Glenshaw, Ph.D, M.P.H.

CAPT Mary Glenshaw, Ph.D., M.P.H., joined the OAR in 2019. Dr. Glenshaw brings global health and epidemiology expertise to the Office from 13 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where she served the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in various capacities in Southern Africa. She served as Associate Director for Science for CDC South Africa for five years, providing strategic direction and leadership of a coordinated and impactful science portfolio to accelerate progress toward HIV epidemic control. In addition to building capacity for PEPFAR stakeholders and the South African government to produce evidence for decision-making, she also led a $50 million investment in the national community health worker program to accelerate progress toward HIV epidemic control.

Dr. Glenshaw is a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service and previously served as the CDC Botswana Prevention Branch Chief and the lead of the PEPFAR Alcohol/HIV Initiative in Namibia. Her training includes the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) postdoctoral fellowship in applied epidemiology, a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management, and an M.P.H. in International Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as a BS in clinical Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. As a native Washingtonian, Mary is excited to be back in the U.S. and part of the NIH.

Jay Radke, Ph.D.

Jay Radke, Ph.D., joined the OAR in June 2018 and is responsible for providing leadership and technical guidance to the OAR scientific group as the supervisory health scientist administrator. Previously, he was a scientific review officer in the AIDS Review Branch of the Scientific Review Program at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Radke holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology and Computer Science and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Montana State University. Prior to joining the NIH in 2011, he was an associate professor and principal investigator in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Montana State University.

Paul Sato, M.D.

Paul Sato, M.D., M.P.H., joined the OAR in 2013 as a medical officer and oversees the Research Toward an HIV Cure priority area. Previously, Dr. Sato was a medical officer in the Maternal Adolescent and Pediatric Research Branch of the Therapeutics Research Program in the Division of AIDS (DAIDS) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where his work focused on vaccine research, prevention of HIV/AIDS among adolescents, and treatment strategy clinical trials in children. He also has worked in the DAIDS Vaccine Research Program, the U.S. Department of Defense Center for Deployment Health Research, and the World Health Organization’s Global Program on AIDS.

Dr. Sato is a Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Yvette Edghill Spano

Yvette Edghill Spano, Ph.D., joined the OAR as a health scientist administrator/policy planning and evaluation lead in June 2018. She joined the OAR from the Division of AIDS in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she served as the Assistant Director of Operations of the Vaccine Research Program (VRP). Dr. Edghill Spano works with OAR leadership, as well as with scientific and budget staff, to develop and coordinate high-level documents such as the NIH Strategic Plan for HIV and HIV-Related Research, Congressional Budget Justification, and Professional Budget Justification. She has actively participated as a member of the OAR Cost-Sharing Task Force and Data Analysis team. 

Dr. Edghill Spano earned her B.S. from Caldwell University and a Ph.D. in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology from Rutgers University/University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She completed her postdoctoral research training at the University of Washington and the NIH, focusing on vaccine development and mucosal immunology for HIV in humans and the simian immunodeficiency virus nonhuman primate model, respectively. Dr. Edghill Spano joined VRP to streamline processes, implement teams, and oversee a host of other activities, including contracts, budget, and program management.

Natalie Tomitch, M.P.H., M.B.A.

Natalie Tomitch, M.P.H., M.B.A., joined the OAR as a health scientist administrator in December 2005 and currently oversees the HIV-Associated Comorbidities, Coinfections, and Complications research priority at the OAR. This research priority seeks to identify, prevent, and treat concurrent conditions in people with HIV across the lifespan. She also manages NIH international initiatives and the portfolio of Training, Infrastructure, and Capacity Building. Ms. Tomitch joined the OAR after serving in the Division of International Relations at NIH’s Fogarty International Center. She has worked as a health educator and honed her international expertise at what is now called the Office of Global Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and she has worked widely across the nonprofit sector. 

Ms. Tomitch received her M.P.H. with a focus on Nutritional Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.B.A. in International Business from Pepperdine University.

This page last reviewed on August 20, 2019