Explore. Prepare.

Protect the Future.

About Us

Since 2015, B.Next has focused on stimulating the defense against infectious disease epidemics by demonstrating the power of new and emerging technologies to rapidly detect and quench outbreaks. Our work supports In-Q-Tel’s (IQT) mission of accelerating the development and delivery of cutting-edge technologies to U.S. intelligence and defense agencies that keep our nation safe.

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Tara O’Toole, M.D.

Executive Vice President & Senior Fellow

Joining In-Q-Tel in 2014, Dr. O’Toole established and leads the company’s B.Next initiative, which is focused on biotechnologies in response to epidemic outbreaks. Prior to joining B.Next, Tara served as Under Secretary for Science and Technology at the Department of Homeland Security. Previously, she was the CEO and Director of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), an independent organization dedicated to improving the country’s resilience to major biological threats. Dr. O’Toole is internationally known for her work on biosecurity and on health and safety issues related to the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. Her publications in the biodefense field include contagious disease epidemics; biodefense research and development strategies; and hospital preparedness.

Dr. O’Toole holds a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, an M.D. from George Washington University, and a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University. She completed internal medicine residency training at Yale University and a fellowship in Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Johns Hopkins University.

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Kevin O’Connell, Ph.D.

Vice President

Kevin is responsible for the vetting and oversight of IQT’s investments in the life sciences. His responsibilities include understanding customers’ needs in synthetic biology, biological sample preparation, purification and analysis, and matching them to the best technology emerging from the venture-backed biotech start-up community. He also covers technologies related to biometrics and physiological monitoring, and maintains technology architectures covering these areas.

Dr. O’Connell’s 30-year career began in applications of molecular microbiology to problems in agriculture, and progressed to R&D projects in biological defense. Dr. O’Connell was a scientist and principal investigator with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center for 10 years, where he focused on pathogen detection and genetic characterization. He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and other publications, and has edited a book on biological defense. He is a co-inventor on eight patents in the areas of soil remediation and microbial DNA sequence detection.

Dr. O’Connell holds a bachelor’s degree in life sciences from MIT, and a master’s degree and doctorate in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Dylan George, Ph.D.

Vice President

Dylan provides strategic science and technical vision to strengthen capacity within the United States to counter biological threats, specifically those from infectious disease epidemics whether natural, accidental, or intentional. Prior to joining B.Next, Dr. George worked for Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), as a Senior Advisor for Biological Threat Defense. Among other responsibilities at OSTP, Dr. George provided technical expertise and interagency coordination supporting the response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Dr. George also worked in the Department of Health and Human Services within the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority where he led a team that developed analytical approaches to assess risks from emerging infectious diseases and other mass casualty events.  Prior to this, Dr. George worked within the Department of Defense on quantitatively anticipating and assessing infectious disease risks that would impact mission readiness and force health protection.

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Dan Hanfling, M.D.          

Vice President

Dr. Dan Hanfling serves as a Vice President on the technical staff at IQT as part of the B.Next team. Dr. Hanfling is a board-certified emergency physician practicing at Inova Fairfax Hospital, northern Virginia’s Level I trauma center and serves as a Medical Team Manager for Virginia Task Force One, a FEMA- and USAID-sanctioned international urban search and rescue team. Dr. Hanfling has been involved in the responses to international and domestic disaster events, including the Izmit, Turkey, earthquake in 1999; the attack on the Pentagon in September 2001; Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005; Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008; the response to the Port au Prince, Haiti, earthquake in January 2010; the Nepal earthquake in 2015; and arrived to support the response to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico just ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Maria. He also was integrally involved in the management of the response to the anthrax bioterror mailings in fall 2001, when two cases of inhalational anthrax were successfully diagnosed and treated at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Luciana Borio, M.D.

Vice President

Luciana (Lu) specializes in biodefense, emerging infectious diseases, medical product development, and complex public health emergencies. Dr. Borio earned her M.D. from George Washington University and completed fellowships in infectious diseases and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins and the National Institutes of Health. Prior to joining IQT, Dr. Borio served in senior positions at the FDA and the National Security Council.

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Joe Buccina

Director of Intelligence Community Support and B.Next Operations

Joe serves as the B.Next lead for customer engagement, team operations, and bioinformatics. Prior to joining B.Next, Joe was a Program Manager for IQT’s biotech portfolio and a range of other technology areas where he worked with startup companies to deliver enhanced products that drove mission impact for the intelligence and defense communities.

For five years prior to IQT, Buccina was a consultant for PRTM and PwC, where he worked on biodefense and national security projects for the federal government, along with operations and strategic projects for life sciences companies.  He also has experience working at a biosurveillance startup company.

Buccina holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a bachelor’s degree from Williams College. He is currently pursuing a master’s in Bioinformatics from Johns Hopkins University.

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JJ Ben-Joseph

Member of Technical Staff

JJ has an interdisciplinary role that includes providing technical advisory services, developing systems architectures, executing technical due diligence on systems and people, writing technical briefs, and maintaining a deep understanding of mission spaces throughout the intelligence community.  He is especially committed to advancing the application of artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to advance the interests of biosecurity.

Prior to joining IQT, Ben-Joseph worked for the Department of Defense working on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence projects. He was one of the earliest internal developers and evangelists for a machine learning technique called Deep Learning. Additionally, he led a large cross-organization machine learning collaboration group. Before working in cybersecurity, Ben-Joseph co-founded a technology startup focused on developing multimodal biometrics.

Ben-Joseph holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Contact Us

Like what you see? Have ideas or want to learn more? Developing a technology that has application to epidemic detection and management? Want to get involved? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, we would love to hear from you.

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