Dean’s Seminar Series: The Rapid Decline in Adolescent Mental Health in the 21st Century: The Rapid Decline in Adolescent Mental Health in the 21st Century: Magnitude, Causes, and Public Health Implications @ Peterson Hall 1912/1913
Jan 27 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Speaker: Katherine M. Keyes,  Ph.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Co-Director, Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program
Mailman School of Public Health,  Columbia University

Abstract: Recorded suicide among adolescent girls has tripled in the past decade, and suicide among adolescent boys had doubled. These increases underlie concomitant increases in hospitalized suicide attempts. Additionally, increases in three independent, national-representative survey data sources of US adolescents have documented unprecedented increases in suicidal thoughts and reported attempts, major depressive episodes, depressive symptoms, loneliness, and low self-esteem, with all increases occurring since 2012.  Across these data sources, increases are faster among girls than boys. The consistency of findings across data sources, outcomes, self-report and administrative records, indicates that these increases are likely not due to methodological artifact, requiring strong epidemiological studies that elucidate causes of the increases, reasons for gender differences, and identification of groups within gender that are at higher risk. Existing evidence has tested the hypothesis that use of digital technology underlies these increases, but to date the strongest evidence suggests a limited and nuanced role of new technologies in predicting depression and self-harm. Additional research has pointed to broader sociological trends in the experience of adolescence within a fractured political and precarious economic environment, indicating that research progress that is cross-disciplinary and engages a broad range of scholars will propel recommendations for intervention and prevention forward.

Bio: Katherine M. Keyes is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and Co-Director of the Psychiatric Epidemiology Training Program. Katherine’s research focuses on life course epidemiology with particular attention to psychiatric disorders, including examination of fetal origins of child and adult health, long-term outcomes of adverse childhood environments, and cross-generational cohort effects on substance use, mental health, and chronic disease.  She is particularly interested in the development of epidemiological theory to measure and elucidate the drivers of population health.  Dr. Keyes is an expert in methodological issues in age-period-cohort effect estimation, and her empirical work in age-period-cohort effect has examined a range of outcomes including obesity, perinatal outcomes, substance use disorders, and psychological distress.  She is the author of more than 170 peer-reviewed publications as well as two textbooks published by Oxford University Press with co-author Sandro Galea: “Epidemiology Matters: A New Introduction to Methodological Foundation” and “Population Health Science”.  By matter of background, Dr. Keyes has earned Ph.D. and M.P.H. degrees from Columbia University, and a B.A. and B.S. from the University of Minnesota.

Arlington Forward 20:20 Series – “Two Kinds of Minds: Rethinking Human-Machine Partnerships” @ Van Metre Hall (formerly Founders Hall)
Jan 27 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Part of the Arlington Forward 20:20 Series, which explores the many ways innovation and technology impact how we live, work, learn, and play, this event delves into the mission of Mason’s Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnership.

Hosted by Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnership.

CASBBI Seminar: Computational Neuroscience and Neurodevelopmental Disorders @ The Krasnow Institute, Room 229
Jan 31 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Speaker: Gabriela Rosenblau, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, The George Washington University

Bio: Dr. Gabriela Rosenblau is an assistant professor of cognitive neuroscience in the Department of Psychology at George Washington University (GWU) and is also affiliated with the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute at GWU.
Dr. Rosenblau received her Ph.D. from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, and was a postdoctoral fellow with Kevin Pelphrey at Yale University before becoming a faculty member at GWU.

Computational Neuroscience and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Dr. Rosenblau’s Lab website

More details coming soon!

CASBBI Seminar: George Mason University’s Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) Coordinating and Translation Center @ The Krasnow Institute, Room 229
Feb 7 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Speaker: Faye Taxman, Ph.D., University Professor, George Mason University

Bio: Faye S Taxman, Ph.D. is a University Professor in the Criminology, Law and Society Program at George Mason University. Dr. Taxman is recognized for her work in the development of the seamless systems of care models that link the criminal justice with other service delivery systems, as well as reengineering probation and parole supervision services, and organizational change models. She conducted a multi-level organizational survey of the correctional and drug treatment systems to examine the utilization of evidence-based practice in correctional and drug treatment settings and the factors that affect the adoption of science based processes and interventions. She has several studies that examine the efficacy of various models of technology transfer and processes to integrate treatment and supervision. In one study, she explores the use of contingency management and incentive systems for drug-involved offenders.

Her work focuses on the development of seamless systems-of-care models that link the criminal justice system with other health and other service delivery systems, reengineering probation and parole supervision services, and implementation science. She has conducted experiments to examine different processes to improve treatment access and retention, assess new models of probation supervision consistent with RNR frameworks, and develop and test new interventions. She has active “laboratories” with numerous agencies including Virginia Department of Corrections, Alameda County Probation Department (CA), Hidalgo County Community Corrections Department (TX), North Carolina Department of Corrections, and Delaware Department of Corrections. The translational RNR Simulation Tool ( was developed to assist agencies to increase uptake of evidence-based treatments and practices. Her practice engaged research collaborations that are rich mechanisms and expedite the lab-to-field efforts. This has led to over 200 publications.

More details coming soon!

Arlington Forward 20:20 Series: Robots vs. Humans? Developing Collaborative Robotics to Enhance Human Potential @ Van Metre Hall,Auditorium, Room 134
Feb 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Maurice Kugler

Bio: Dr. Maurice D. Kugler is Professor of Public Policy in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, with research expertise on the role of new technologies in boosting economic growth and labor productivity (aka endogenous growth theory). His work encompasses analyses of productivity growth, global labor markets, foreign direct investment, global value chains, human capital formation, international trade, and international migration.


Hosted by Center for Advancing Human-Machine Partnership.

Dean’s Seminar Series: Integrated Nutrition Approach to Improving Personal, Population, and Planetary Health @ Peterson Hall 1912/1913
Feb 17 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Speaker: Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.  Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Chair, Department of Nutrition
Director of Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center Epidemiology & Genetic Core
Co-Director, Program in Obesity Epidemiology and Prevention,  Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Abstract: The global chronic disease burden and the food production system’s enormous environmental impact are two pressing threats to personal, population and planetary health. Fortunately, dietary modifications can alleviate both of these threats. Healthful plant-based dietary patterns have been associated with lower risks of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Precision nutrition can provide insight into the mechanisms behind these associations by assessing individual characteristics such as the metabolome, genome and microbiome. While precision nutrition has future potential to provide personalized diets for disease prevention, the field is still developing and thus must be balanced with public health nutrition strategies. In addition to their health benefits, plant-based diets have less environmental impact than animal-based diets. Producing animal products, especially meat, is more energy-intensive than producing plant products. Shifting global dietary patterns towards diets higher in plant-based foods and lower in meat would likely have significant personal, population and planetary health benefits.

Bio: Dr. Hu also serves as Director, Boston Nutrition and Obesity Research Center Epidemiology and Genetics Core, a Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Hu is an epidemiologist and an expert in the areas of dietary and lifestyle determinants of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. He is the principal investigator for the diabetes component of the Nurses’ Health Study. Dr. Hu has served as an academic leader in a variety of roles, including on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Obesity Guidelines Expert Panel and the IOM Committee on Preventing the Global Epidemic of Cardiovascular Disease.

Galileo’s Science Café: Keeping our soldiers safe: Understanding, Treating, and Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury @ Hylton Performing Arts Center
Feb 18 @ 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Emanuel Petricoin III (George Mason University) and Dr. Dara Dickstein (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)

Keeping our soldiers safe: Understanding, Treating, and Preventing Traumatic Brain Injury 

Bio: Dr. Emanuel F. Petricoin received his PhD in microbiology from the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a University Professor and the Co-Director of the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine (CAPMM) at George Mason University. The focus of CAPMM is the invention and use of proteomics technologies for personalized therapy, molecular diagnostics, and biomarker discovery. Dr. Petricoin is also the Chief Science Officer and co-founder of Perthera, Inc., a leading precision medicine company that empowers all cancer patients and oncologists globally with the most comprehensive molecular profiling and data analytics process. In addition, he is co-founder of Ceres Nanosciences, Inc., which develops tools for diagnostics and precision medicine applications; Theranostics Health, Inc.; and the Human Proteomic Organization (HUPO). Dr. Petricoin has authored/co-authored nearly 400 peer-reviewed publications and more than 45 book chapters. He is a senior editor for Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention and on the editorial board of JCO Precision OncologyProteomicsBiomedical MicrodevicesProteomics-Clinical Applications, Proteomics-Protocols, Molecular, and Carcinogenesis, Journal of Personalized Medicine. Dr. Petricoin is also a co-inventor on 40 filed and published patents.

Bio: Dr. Dickstein is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her educational background is in molecular genetics and immunology. Her PhD work was focused on the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis and utilized transgenic animal models along with various biochemical and anatomical techniques. Dr. Dickstein continued in the field of AD in her postdoctoral fellowship, exploring the structural changes in neurons and synapses with disease progression. Currently, Dr. Dickstein’s research is directed towards the study of selective neuronal vulnerability in ageing, dementia, and other neurodegenerative disorders using classical neuropathological as well as modern quantitative methods. Dr. Dickstein has established much national and international collaboration, and has become an expert in the techniques of intracellular injections, fluorescence quantification, confocal and electron microscopy. Dr. Dickstein is a co-PL in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mount Sinai and a member of the Computational Neurobiology and Imaging Center (CNIC) at Mount Sinai. As a member of CNIC, she has contributed to the creation of an automated quantitative software tool (NeuronStudio) that enables accurate 3D analysis of individual neurons in the brain at very high resolution.


What do we know about the Chernobyl disaster? @ Merten Hall (formerly University Hall), 1201
Feb 20 @ 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

Speaker: Professor Kate Brown

MIT Professor of Science, Technology, and Society Kate Brown will discuss Chernobyl in her talk titled “The Great Chernobyl Acceleration.”

What do we know about the Chernobyl disaster? Working through Soviet archives, Brown encountered many contradictory accounts of the catastrophe and its effects. Local doctors reported “a public health disaster” among people exposed to Chernobyl fallout. International experts refuted that claim. Realizing that though people and archives lie, trees probably don’t, Brown turned to scientists—biologists, foresters, physicians, and physicists—to help her understand the ecology of the greater Chernobyl territories. She learned that contaminants saturated local eco-systems long before the Chernobyl accident and continued long after the 1986 event. Brown argues that to call Chernobyl an “accident” is to sweep aside the decades of radiation exposure that rained down on the globe during the period of nuclear testing. Instead of a one-off accident, Brown argues that Chernobyl was a point of acceleration on a timeline of radioactive contamination that continues to this day.

Hosted by Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, and the Global Affairs Program.

CASBBI Seminar: Rob Cressman, Ph.D. @ The Krasnow Institute, Room 229
Feb 21 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Speaker: John Robert Cressman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Physics, George Mason University

Bio: John Robert Cressman’s research has focused on investigating dynamical structures in driven systems with a specific interest in their role in the functions of the brain. Transient but long-lived correlated dynamics underlie innumerable biological processes, from the lifecycle of an organism to conscious thought and social behavior. Transient dynamical structures are also the hallmark of a number of natural phenomena, including tornadoes, hurricanes, gyres, and von Karman vortex streets, simple fluid systems that can support coherent structures.


More details coming soon!

Dean’s Seminar Series – Precision Discovery of Neuroimaging Biomarkers for Parkinson’s Disease @ Peterson Hall 1912/1913
Mar 2 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Speaker: F. DuBois Bowman, Ph.D., M.S., Professor and Dean, School of Public Health,  University of Michigan

Abstract: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a complex neurodegenerative disorder that manifests through hallmark motor symptoms, often accompanied by a range of non-motor symptoms.  There is a putative delay between the onset of the neurodegenerative process, marked by the death of dopamine-producing cells, and the onset of motor symptoms, creating an urgent need to develop biomarkers that may yield early PD detection. Neuroimaging offers a non-invasive approach to examine the utility of a vast number of functional and structural brain characteristics as biomarkers.  We present a statistical framework for analyzing neuroimaging data from multiple modalities to determine features that reliably distinguish PD patients from healthy control subjects. This pursuit involves precision discovery from ultra-high dimensional data.  Our approach builds on the statistical learning procedure elastic net, performing regularization and variable selection, while introducing additional criteria centering on parsimony and reproducibility.  We apply our methods to data from two studies of PD.  We demonstrate high accuracy, assessed via cross-validation, and identify brain regions in the basal ganglia and outer cortex that are implicated in the neurodegenerative PD process.

Bio: Dr. Bowman is the Dean of the School of Public Health. He earned a B.S. degree in mathematics from Morehouse College, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He earned a master’s in biostatistics from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in biostatistics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Bowman’s areas of study include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, and substance addiction. His research has helped to reveal brain patterns that reflect disruption from psychiatric diseases, detect biomarkers for neurological diseases, and determine more individualized therapeutic treatments. Additionally, his work seeks to determine threats to brain health from environmental exposures and to optimize brain health in aging populations.