Melissa is the Health Security Policy Advisor at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. They bring years of experience working on and around Capitol Hill, most recently serving as Legislative Fellow to Representative Anna G. Eshoo in the US House of Representatives, where they specialized in technology issues, including risks posed by biotechnology. Their most recent projects include investigating the feasibility of mandatory gene synthesis screening legislation and the dual-use biosecurity risks posed by open-source artificial intelligence (AI) model releases. Previously, they served as Law Clerk for the House Oversight Committee and as an intern for Representative Kweisi Mfume. In addition to experience on the Hill, Melissa has worked in the executive branch, for a technology trade association, and on a successful Senate election campaign. They are an alum of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) fellowship.
Melissa graduated from The George Washington University Law School, where they specialized in administrative law and legislation with a national security focus. While in law school, they studied the First Amendment implications of governmental restriction of biological information hazards. Melissa also was a Davies Jackson Scholar at the University of Cambridge and graduated summa cum laude from Bucknell University. In their spare time, Melissa organizes several monthly emerging technology and national security events, including a monthly biosecurity meetup in Washington, DC.