Mary Young, M.D.
Former Principal Investigator, Georgetown University Medical Center – WIHS (retired)

I was the Principal Investigator of the Washington DC Metropolitan Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) and a member of the DC developmental CFAR where I assisted investigators transitioning to HIV research. I was a site investigator for the Georgetown University AIDS Clinical Trials Unit and was site PI on the past study of the HPV vaccine in HIV-infected women. I have been involved in all of the major substudies of the WIHS and I was the site investigator for the WIHS related RO-1 clinical trial, Pharmacology for Hazardous Drinking in HIV-infected Women. I have experience both in clinical trials and in observational cohort studies. Additionally, as former Chair of the Georgetown IRB, I brought expertise in issues related to the protection of human subjects and of regulatory issues related to the conduct of research. In my capacity at WIHS, I oversaw a research team of epidemiologists and biostatisticians to support affiliated proposals.

Seble Kassaye, M.D.
Principal Investigator, Georgetown University Medical Center – MWCCS/STAR
Phone: 202-444-0086 

I am trained in Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology.  I serve as the principal investigator at the DC MWCCS, with our main goal being to expand knowledge about the effect of HIV on women.  This transcends from the basic science and pathogenesis of HIV infection to co-morbidities, metabolic and cardiovascular complications, and long-term treatment outcomes.  As HIV is a disease that is closely woven into the social and psychological states of those it affects, we also have a strong interest on the neurocognitive effects of HIV, as well the effect of social and structural dimensions of health and health care status on HIV-related outcomes.  With the recent advances that highlight the importance of antiretrovirals not only for treatment but for prevention, we now have included HIV transmission dynamics in our research portfolio, from the molecular epidemiology of transmission and acquisition to the behavioral elements that contribute to long term viral suppression and use of antiretrovirals for prevention. Through our continued relationship with our cohort of women, we strive to continue the legacy of our former Principal Investigator, Dr. Mary Young, to further our mission towards improved HIV treatment and prevention strategies to benefit women and their families.

Lakshmi Goparaju, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center
Project Director, Georgetown University Medical Center – MWCCS/STAR

Phone: 202-784-2687

I have a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Syracuse University, and an M.Phil. in social Medicine and Community Health from Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. My research expertise has focused on qualitative methods and mixed methods. My research interests include HIV risk behaviors, sexuality, reproductive health, and gender. I have conducted research fieldwork in the US, India, Ghana, and Nigeria. I am currently analyzing qualitative data on treatment trajectories among HIV+ women, providers’ perspectives about HIV treatment over the years. Previously, in MWCCS (former WIHS), I have conducted research on knowledge, acceptance, and use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP); aging with HIV, disclosure of HIV status, perspectives on men-on-down-low, and alcohol consumption. Prior to coming to Georgetown University, I have worked with international public health organizations in program planning, monitoring & evaluation of programs, and capacity building in gender, reproductive health, and HIV prevention. Further, since 2004, I have been the Project Director of WIHS/MWCCS. 

Michael Plankey, Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Medicine 

Phone: 202-784-2607

I am a clinical infectious disease epidemiologist and Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center. I am a senior Co-I am a clinical infectious disease epidemiologist and Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. I am a senior Co-Investigator for Baltimore-Washington, DC sites of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study/Women’s Interagency HIV Study Combined Cohort Study. My research expertise is focused on the methodological approaches to analyze complex longitudinal data related to: (1) evaluation of behavioral, immunological and virological factors associated with hearing and vestibular dysfunction among HIV-infected compared to HIV-uninfected men and women; (2) the evaluation of psychosocial and behavioral vulnerabilities and resiliencies related to HIV health outcomes among sexual minority and race/ethnicity minority men and women; and (3) investigation of trajectories of polypharmacy, viral suppression, and substance use among HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men and women.

Daniel Merenstein, M.D.
Co-Principal Investigator, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Medicine
Director of Research Programs

Phone: 202-687-2745

I am a Professor with tenure in Family Medicine at Georgetown University, where I also direct Family Medicine research. I have a secondary appointment in the undergraduate Department of Human Science, in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. I teach two undergraduate classes, a research capstone and a seminar class on evaluating evidence-based medical decisions. I have been funded by the NIH, USDA, Foundations and Industry. The primary goal of my research is to provide answers to common clinical questions that lack evidence and improve patient care. I am a clinical trialist who has recruited over 1,700 participants for 10 probiotic trials since 2006. I am an expert on probiotics, antibiotic stewardship in outpatient settings and also conducts HIV research in a large women’s cohort. As part of this research, I have conducted microbiome research using HIV + and – women recruited from the WIHS. They evaluated the steady state of candida colonization of the oral and vaginal mucosa, finding that the percentage of participants that were positive for Candida species from both the oral and vaginal mucosa was higher in the HIV + than in the healthy control. I have extensive experience with following adverse events, supervising research personnel, overseeing large budgets, complying with regulatory issues, and many other aspects of conducting a high-quality study.

Amanda Blair Spence, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Medical Center, Department of Medicine

Phone: 202-444-0086
Email: (new window)

I am an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine. My training is in clinical infectious disease and internal medicine. My research interests are focused on the HIV care continuum, comorbid disorders in persons living with HIV, and women living with HIV.

Deanna Ware, M.P.H.

Phone: 202-687-7286 

I received my MPH in Biostatistics and Epidemiology in 2011. I have been working at Georgetown MWCCS as a Biostatistician under the direction of Dr. Michael Plankey since 2015. My primary responsibilities include statistical analysis, data management, and the preparation of reports, research abstracts, and peer-reviewed manuscripts.  I also help coordinate sub-studies and all IRB-related tasks.