Dr. Saskia Popescu

Senior Fellow, Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons

Dr. Saskia Popescu is a Senior Fellow at the Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons (The Nolan Center), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks. Previously, she was a non-resident Fellow at the Nolan Center, where she provided insight on pandemic response and global health security. Dr. Popescu is also an Assistant Professor of Biodefense within the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and an Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology within the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. Her work and research has focused on global health security, the intersection of politics and government on biopreparedness, and outbreak response. Previously, Dr. Popescu worked as an epidemiologist and infection preventionist at Netflix and within healthcare, where she developed and supported COVID-19 response and infectious disease preparedness. 

Her experiences in biopreparedness and infection prevention have provided her with a unique capacity to support frontline response and larger policy initiatives that address existing roadblocks. She has supported several research initiatives as a subject matter expert including efforts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Infection Control Strengthening (NICS) grant, serves as an external expert for the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), and supports the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security as a non-resident affiliate. She has served as a consultant with the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19 infection prevention and is a member of the Scientists Working Group on Biological and Chemical Security within the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Dr. Popescu has worked extensively in public health response and furthering its role within the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), serving as a signatory of the NGO statements and member of working groups. She has also served as a chair and member of committees within the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), including the Workshop on the Utility, Feasibility, Security, and Ethics of Verifiable COVID-19 Credentials for International Travel and the Committee on Data Needs to Monitor Evolution of SARS-CoV-2, National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Dr. Popescu holds a doctorate in biodefense with a specialization in international security studies from George Mason University, a master’s degree in public health focused on infectious disease epidemiology from the University of Arizona, a master of arts in international security studies from the University of Arizona, and is certified in infection prevention. She was chosen as a Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) in 2017 and was a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship for the Biodefense Program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.