Expo Speaker Biographies

Diane Robinson Knapp

Diane received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in human nutrition and education from Cornell University.  She worked for 25 years as a Registered Dietitian in clinical dietetics and food services at several hospitals in New York and California, including Children’s Hospital, Oakland, where she served as director of clinical nutrition.

In 1994, Ms. Knapp moved with her family to Baltimore County, Maryland and took on the roles of sheep farmer and volunteer.  Among her volunteer leadership activities, she served as president of the Greater Baltimore Youth Orchestra, overseeing their travels to Japan, Estonia, Russia, Austria and the Czech Republic. 

In 2007, she moved to Washington, D.C. with her husband Steven Knapp when he became president of the George Washington University.  Her many activities at GW have included serving on the university’s Sustainability Task Force and chairing its Urban Food Task Force

She and Dr. Knapp have two adult children and reside with their dog Ruffles at the F Street House, where they share a commitment to maintaining the historic Foggy Bottom Campus property as a centerpiece for dynamic university life.

Adele Ashkar, ASLA

Adele is associate professor and director of the Landscape Design Program at The George Washington University.  She has provided academic and administrative leadership, including the launch of a new master’s degree and a Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Landscapes in 2007. She guides service learning initiatives that foster outreach to the community and has initiated partnerships with area institutions, educational, municipal and non-profit. She is very active in the academic and campus initiatives towards sustainability, playing design, advisory and curricular roles on various university projects and task forces. A past president of the Potomac Chapter, American Society of Landscape Architects, Prof. Ashkar is editor of a new book, Time: Space: Landscape Architecture in the Nation’s Capital (2010). Prof. Ashkar earned a BFA in Landscape Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

Hartmut Doebel, Ph.D.

Professor Doebel is the head of the beekeeping and research team.  He started this 2-year old program with a passion for honeybees and beekeeping, which he had learned as a college student in his native Germany.  By partnering with the local restaurant, Founding Farmers, he was able to dive into further research with a focus on honeybee behavior and how diseases and pesticides affect normal bee behavior.  What started as an anchor to get students excited about biology turned into a growing research program to further the knowledge about these widespread and important pollinators.

When Professor Doebel is not working on honeybees and his bee team, he focuses on his research in teaching and learning as well as how to implement active learning techniques into his courses.

Katherine Berry

Born and raised in southern California, Katherine grew up in a historical home with an avocado grove and three honeybee hives. Her interest in science is rooted in watching the bees pollinate the avocado trees. Today, she uses that same inspiration to drive her research.

Katherine plans on obtaining a Biology degree with a double minor in Health and Wellness and Fine Art at GWU. Her research focuses on palynology, more commonly known as the study of pollen. She observes pollen forager bees by tracking, marking and collecting pollen from these special worker honey bees.  With this research, we will have a better understanding of urban beekeeping, urban bee nutrition, bee foraging statistics and local flora in the DC area. Katherine is developing a map organizing the types of flowers that the bees are pollinating and their location in DC. She analyzes the pollen by looking through a light microscope and permanently mounting the grains on microscope slides using a technique she developed herself. She is also working to further look at the structure of pollen grains by using a Scanning Electron Microscope. Katherine is currently developing a methodology for building a pollen ID key. She is also on the GW Women’s Water Polo team.

Marcy Norton, Ph.D.

Marcy writes on the cultural history of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe and its American colonies. Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World sheds fresh light on the encounter between the New World and the Old World by explaining how these American Indian goods became European commodities of mass consumption. Professor Norton has held fellowships from the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and the Davis Center of Princeton University, among others. She is currently researching cultural relativism in the seventeenth century and human-animal relationships from Columbus to Darwin.

Kim Robien, Ph.D., RD, CSO

After practicing as a clinical dietitian for more than 10 years, Kim started to find the work less fulfilling, and realized that she wanted to work in nutrition at a broader level – preventing disease rather than treating it, and helping communities rather than individuals. She decided to pursue a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle - a school where the nutrition program is housed in the School of Public Health. Her coursework and research projects at the university allowed her to explore the field of public health from many perspectives – nutrition, epidemiology, environmental health, and health services. Over the years in her doctoral program, and now the 10 years since completing her doctoral degree, she has become increasingly devoted to the field of public health nutrition. Her research focuses on nutrition in relation to cancer prevention and survivorship. She is also interested in environmental nutrition and sustainable food systems, and the extent to which exposure to pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals through food and water may contribute to risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. She and her husband are dedicated “foodies” and love cooking and exploring new foods wherever they travel.

Bill Guyton, President, World Cocoa Foundation (WCF)

Founded in 2000, the World Cocoa Foundation is an international membership organization representing more than 100 member companies across the cocoa value chain. We are committed to creating a sustainable cocoa economy by putting farmers first—promoting agricultural &environmental stewardship, and strengthening development in cocoa-growing communities. 

The President of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), Bill is an internationally-recognized expert with nearly 25 years of experience in sustainable development. He acts as a primary spokesman for the international chocolate industry on issues related to a sustainable cocoa economy and quality of life of independent family cocoa farmers.

John Forrer, Ph.D.

John is Associate Director of the GW Institute for Corporate Responsibility and an Associate Research Professor in the GW School of Business. Professor Forrer’s current research activities include privatization and public private partnerships, the economic consequences of U.S. economic sanctions and global citizenship.  He teaches courses on public private partnerships, global corporate responsibility and global governance.  Prof. Forrer manages the activities of the GW Center for the Study of Globalization, is on the  editorial board of Globalizations and co-founder of two organizations dedicated to advancing understanding of globalization: The Globalization Research Network, a university consortium funded by the U.S. Congress;  and, The Global Studies Network: a consortium of worldwide university globalization research centers and organizations committed to collaborative research and educational activities addressing globalization. Professor Forrer received his dual Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration from Miami University; his  Master in Public Administration from Syracuse University; and, his PhD.  in Public Administration from The George Washington University. 

Tony Castleman, Ph.D.

Professor Castleman is a development economist whose research focuses on nutrition programs and on the roles that respect, humiliation, and human recognition play in public health, poverty and economic development. Prior to joining George Washington University, he worked for the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA and FANTA-2) Projects at the Academy for Educational Development, most recently as Deputy Director - Field Support. At FANTA/FANTA-2, Professor Castleman provided technical assistance to USAID, governments, and implementing organizations to strengthen nutrition and food security policies and programs. He led a team of specialists working in 15 countries and globally in the areas of nutrition and HIV, management of acute malnutrition, and maternal and child health and nutrition. He has worked extensively with programs providing nutrition care to people living with HIV. Prior to FANTA, Professor Castleman was Director of an NGO in India, where he designed and managed a range of health, nutrition, education and poverty alleviation projects. He also worked for the World Bank for one year on applications of participatory methodologies to poverty programs. Professor Castleman has a Ph.D. in economics from George Washington University and a B.A. in Public Policy from Stanford University. He is fluent in Hindi. 

Michael T. Compton, MD, MPH

Dr. Compton completed medical school at the University of Virginia, and psychiatry residency, community psychiatry/public health fellowship, and preventive medicine residency at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. He is also the director of Research Initiatives in the psychiatry department. Prior to joining GWU in 2011, he was an associate professor in the School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory. His main research interests include the causes and consequences of treatment delay in first-episode psychosis, correlates of substance abuse in early-course psychotic disorders, the premorbid and prodromal phases of schizophrenia, schizotypy and psychosis-proneness in non-psychiatric samples, and the Crisis Intervention Team model of collaboration between law enforcement and mental health. His research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and a Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation grant.

Charles H. Teller, Ph.D.

Charles Teller is Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Global Health, George Washington U., and Adjunct Associate Professor of Population and Development at the Center for Population Studies, Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia, where he has been teaching/researching since 1994. Dr. Teller has been assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas (Deputy Director of the Population Research Center), sociologist-demographer for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Guatemala (INCAP), Capacity-building advisor in Graduate level Demographic Training and Research for UNFPA (in Ethiopia), and Head of the Population/Health/Nutrition Unit for the Office of International Health, US Dept. of Health and Human Services. Dr. Teller has also been the evaluation advisor for the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) and for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), both in Washington, DC, where he was their population and evaluation advisor, MEASURE and DHS project technical advisor and population fellow. In Ethiopia, he was Peace Corps Country Director (1994-95), and also coordinated Vulnerability Assessments (on food insecurity and disease) for the Research Division of the Ethiopian Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (1998-2002). He has advised the UN, USAID and the government of national food security, nutrition, disaster reduction, population, health and environment policies. Dr. Teller has carried out extensive research and evaluations in over 60 countries (working in 7 different languages), with over 150 publications, focusing on food insecurity and malnutrition, the demographic transition, health care utilization, migration and urbanization, and health and development program evaluation. He is an active tennis player in Maryland and Mid-Atlantic Regional USTA tournaments.

Uriyoan Colon-Ramos, Sc.D.

Dr. Colon-Ramos is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Global Health and the Director of the Culminating Experience for the department. As a public health nutrition researcher, Dr. Colón-Ramos understands that the future of our field lies in utilizing mixed methods and designing new approaches to examine dietary disparities from a systemic, multi-level lens in order to better inform programs and policies. 

Brian Curry

As a young man, Brian Curry spent many hours having been made to sit in the corner. The reasons were always innocent, but endless. Magician Brian Curry is one of DC’s busiest magicians. He was awarded the National Theatre’s ‘All Stars of Magic Award’ and was called “Northern Virginia’s Most Popular Magician” by the Washington Post. As “King of his own imaginary kingdom,” Brian has taken the area by storm being featured on CBS, Fox and NBC news channels. 

Zhiyong Han, Ph.D.

Dr. Zhiyong Han is an associate professor in the GW School of Medicine and &Health Sciences. His research in the past covered two areas: first, biochemical and molecular mechanisms by which various anti-cancer agents induce apoptosis (programmed cell death), differentiation, and premature senescence in cancer cells; second, investigation of the anticancer potential of several natural products and their synthetic analogues. Currently, his main interest is in the area of developing pedagogical strategies to best teach Medical Biochemistry to medical students and to teach a course to undergraduate students on the subject of biochemical and molecular mechanisms that mediate the effects of food on health and longevity. On the research interest side, he is interested in the mechanisms that control cellular growth (e.g., increase in cellular mass) of cancer cells.

Melissa Perry, Sc.D., M.H.S.

Dr. Melissa Perry is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She earned her Master of Health Science and Doctor of Science from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. She is an epidemiologist who over the past 18 years has conducted epidemiologic and preventive intervention studies targeting a number of health endpoints, including occupational injury and disease. For over a decade, Dr. Perry has been a member of the Harvard School of Public Health faculty, most recently as associate professor of Occupational Epidemiology in the Department of Environmental Health. While at Harvard, Dr. Perry's research focused on the mutagenic and hormonal effects of pesticides, on agricultural injuries and exposures, and on the role of engineering and behavioral interventions in preventing occupational injury and disease. She is collaborating on occupational health projects in South Africa, Tanzania, China, New Zealand, and Albania. She has received numerous research awards, including grants from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Perry is the author of over 80 peer-reviewed articles, as well as many commentaries, book chapters, and abstracts.

Jean Gutierrez, Ph.D.

Dr. Jean Gutierrez is an assistant professor and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Exercise Science. Concurrent with her Milken Institute School assignment, she assists Dr. Loretta DiPietro, chair of the Department of Exercise Science, with research at the USDA Food Intake and Energy Regulation Lab, where they are evaluating the blood glucose response to various physical activity protocols in older people. 


Dr. Gutierrez is also interested in how lack of physical activity, sleep loss, and high-fat/high-energy diets influence metabolism, and seeks to translate clinical and laboratory science to public health practice. As a teacher, Dr. Gutierrez looks for ways to deliver challenging content about exercise physiology, nutrition, and sports in a format that engages her students. And in her spare time, she is a competitive powerlifter who can bench press 185 pounds and dead lift 250.

Thomas Maynard, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas Maynard is an Associate Research Professor in the GWU  Department of Pharmacology and Physiology as well as Director of the GW Institute for Neuroscience Biomarkers Discovery Core. Dr. Maynard's work focuses on the role of cell-cell signaling during neural development, and how signaling is disrupted by genetic disorders that alter chromosomal dosage. He is currently examining mouse models of 22q11 deletion syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with psychiatric diseases, to identify how this genomic lesion alters development and function of cortical circuitry. Dr. Maynard is also the Director of the Biomarkers Discovery Core, a core facility that provides support for molecular and cell biological analysis of gene function in the developing and adult nervous system.

Lauren Adamo

Lauren Adamo teaches ESL and French III and is coordinator of the Internship Program for 11th and 12th grade students. Ms. Adamo recently returned to America from a year of teaching English for the French Ministry of Education in Paris, France. She is very passionate about her work as a language teacher and is excited to be a new member in the community. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in teaching and curriculum from Michigan State University. Some of her hobbies include snowboarding, cooking and traveling.

Valerie Zweig

Valerie Zweig is the Director of Conceptual Projects for the Vucurevich|Simons Advisory Group, a food and beverage consulting firm credited with the creation of the Founding Farmers series of restaurants, among many more. As one who eats for a living (and for pleasure), Valerie  is well versed in many aspects of the restaurant world: from dining trends to design trends, chefs to cooking techniques, stemware to sommeliers. 

After graduating with a BA in Print Journalism, Valerie moved to New York City to attend the Institute of Culinary Education. While pursuing the professional culinary program at ICE, she continued writing and editing at La Cucina Italiana and The Magazine of Italian Cooking & Living.

When she graduated cooking school, she moved to the world of public relations. She worked with over 50 restaurants, chefs and food brands to launch new concepts and develop their brand identities. She found a niche in promoting and marketing the hospitality industry. At VSAG, Valerie is a Project Manager on many of their development projects around the globe. She relishes research and loves nothing more than diving into the ethos of a project:  From the cuisine to the city, the stakeholders to the potential guests; all provide inspiration to create a relevant story and foundation for any project. 

Maxine Freund, Ed.D.

As a professor and Associate Dean for Research & External Relations at the George Washington University, Maxine leads the research and external relations activities at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development.