June, 2017 Featured SME

HDIAC Featured SME: June, 2017


HDIAC has an extensive Subject Matter Expert (SME) network. These experts are leaders in their fields and assist HDIAC on products and services. HDIAC features experts in each focus area on a rotating basis in the following focus areas:

Alternative Energy

Maria Soledad Peresin, Ph.D.

Dr. Maria Soledad Peresin earned her Bachelor’s degree in analytical chemistry in 2007 from Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Argentina, with a focus on pulp and paper chemistry. In 2011, she obtained her Ph.D. in Forest Biomaterials from North Carolina State University. She joined the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University in August 2016 and appointed as assistant professor in Bioenergy and Bioproducts. In 2014, Dr. Peresin was awarded the personal 3-year post-doctoral research grant from the Academy of Finland to start building her career as an independent researcher. Her focus is on the development of new value-added materials based on renewable biomass, with a strong emphasis on nanocellulose. Her research interests also include biopolymers and analytical chemistry, nanocomposites, nanotechnology and materials, polymers and surface science.

The impact of her research is well documented with 27 publications, 5 book chapters and over 50 presentations in international conferences. Dr. Peresin now acts as Member at large at the Cellulose and Renewable materials division of the American Chemical Society. She is also a member of the Junior Excecutive Committee of the European Polysaccharides Network of Excellence, and Chair of the Finnish Section of the Royal Society of Chemistry.


Ben Bavarian, Ph.D.

Dr. Ben Bavarian is one of the pioneers and industry-leading authority in the field of Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) and Biometric Identification with more than 24 years of management leadership in the industry build up, turn-arounds, IPO, merger and acquisition, and innovations. Dr. Bavarian’s industry achievement spans direct leadership in more than $6 billion in projects in the biometrics identification industry. His most recent achievements include the development of the next generation biometric border entry and exit technology for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and a comprehensive national security and border control system for 12 countries with full interoperability under the contact from the U.S. Department of State– Diplomatic Security/Anti-Terrorist-Assistant program.


 Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Defense

Andrew “Boomer” Smith, Ph.D.

Dr. Andrew “Boomer” Smith serves as a Senior Adviser to the Strategic Analysis Executive Directorate of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence in Abu Dhabi, UAE. This role involves working with UAE colleagues to develop a world-class strategic analysis function to support national security policy making, including armed forces contributions to homeland security.



 Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP)

Kyle Pfeiffer

Kyle Pfeiffer, works within Argonne National Laboratory’s Risk and Infrastructure Sciences Center within the Global Security Sciences Division. He supports several sponsors through the design, development and implementation of novel analytic approaches to assess research questions in emergency preparedness, critical infrastructure protection, dependency analysis and homeland security software development. His research is geared toward addressing national-, regional-, and local-level risk and resilience issues. This includes examining risk and its associated components, interdependencies and strategies to enhance homeland security. His expertise is in building collaborative teams (namely public-private partnerships) to examine complex problems in homeland security.


 Cultural Studies

Melonie Richey

Melonie Richey is a Deputy Director within Camber Corporation’s National Intelligence Center based in Northern Virginia. In her current role, she runs a variety of analytic contracts for USG customers in addition to being the lead analyst on a contract focused on Anticipatory Intelligence. She is also an adjunct instructor within Mercyhurst University’s Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science where she teaches Intelligence Communications and is working to develop a course on analytic methods and the application of network science to intelligence questions.

Her areas of research include open source data collection, network science and network analysis, geospatial modeling, and intelligence pedagogy. Ms. Richey holds a Master of Science degree in Intelligence Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and forensic acoustics. Her work has been published in journals such as Intelligence and National Security, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, the Encyclopedia for U.S. Intelligence, and other online sites such as E-International Relations, the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center, and the Sources and Methods blog.

 Homeland Defense and Security

Claire Metelits, Ph.D.

Claire Metelits received her PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University. She has taught at several universities and has worked as an advisor to US Army TRADOC and US Africa Command. Her research focuses on security issues in sub-Saharan Africa as well as other areas of the world. She is the author of Inside Insurgency (2009) and co-editor of Democratic Contestation on the Margins (2015). Her forthcoming book is Security in Africa: A Critical Approach to Western Indicators of Threat. She is also the author of several peer-reviewed articles and various reports. She teaches in the School of International Service at American University.



Thomas M. Dreier, Ph.D.

Dr. Dreier has been an independent BioDefense consultant (Bugs and Toxins, LLC) for the past nine years. He has advised the industrial community and the U.S. government in the areas of Medical Countermeasures against Biothreat Agents and the Assessment of Biothreat Agents.

He is able to provide his clients with extensive experience concerning Biothreat agents, government contracting and regulatory affairs. He has assisted organizations in focusing their research and development efforts directed toward the application of innovative biological methods and techniques to address medical BioDefense problems. His expertise includes work with biological threat agents, such as Ebola, ricin, C. botulinum, VEE, and anthrax; management and conduct of work in a BSL-3 laboratory; biosafety; and large program management. Dr. Dreier has more than 40 years of experience in clinical microbiology, basic research, program management, laboratory management, and regulatory affairs. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1995 with extensive experience in the Medical Biological Defense Research Program.

 Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Mike Matthews

Mr. Mike Matthews works for FEMA as an operational planner. He facilitates workgroups, leads planning teams and develops federal operational disaster plans based on White House direction, Congressional Laws and local hazards/risks, while blending them with federal response and recovery capabilities. He develops situation analyses and operational concepts to support immediate response and long term recovery. Deploying nationwide in two hours, he leads teams tasked with information gathering, analysis, and situational awareness reporting to senior leadership in disaster operations. Mr. Matthews also volunteers his time to local non-profit agencies to develop continuity and disaster plans.