ProfNet Experts Available on Super Bowl Ads, Drug Epidemic, Zika Virus, More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Feb 05, 2016, 12:30 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Feb. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:


  • Zika Virus
  • The Zika Virus and Its Spread
  • The Microbiology of the Zika Virus and Preventing Its Spread
  • Eating Disorders and Body Image
  • The Nation's Drug Epidemic and the Presidential Election
  • Integrated Communication Strategy for Super Bowl Ads
  • Google's Artificial Intelligence Program, AlphaGo
  • Wedding Guest Fashion Tips
  • Aliens, History, Religion and 'The X-Files'
  • Verbal Confidence for Women
  • Is Love at First Sight and Falling in Love a Mental Disorder?


  • Video Editor/Production Assistant – WMTW-TV (ME)
  • Digital Bureau Chief – (TX)
  • Weekend PM Anchor/Reporter – WFLD-TV (MA)


  • Upcoming Twitter Chat: Skills Journalism Students Need to Learn
  • How to Edit a Simple Video in Five Easy Steps
  • Blog Profiles: Beauty & Style Blogs


Zika Virus
Thomas Voss, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Discovery Biology and Senior Director, Infectious Disease Research
SRI Biosciences
"Recent recognition of the potential role of Zika infection in microcephaly among babies born to mothers that had Zika infection highlights the need for more intensive focus on 'special populations' that may be particularly vulnerable to negative outcomes from emerging infectious diseases, such as those with underlying disease or special health status such as pregnancy. The rapid expansion of Zika virus-infected mosquitos, and the frequent travel of people and products into and out of endemic areas, significantly heightens the need for increased surveillance, diagnostics and vaccines for Zika and other, related viruses to protect these special populations."
Dr. Voss is a world-renowned thought leader in infectious disease research, and has deep expertise in virology, immunology, biodefense, and vaccine and antiviral development. His team at SRI Biosciences has already begun directing their expertise and unique tools toward the evaluation of treatments, vaccines, and diagnostics against Zika virus. From 1998 to 2005, Dr. Voss served as vice president of the Homeland Security and Emerging Infectious Disease Division at Southern Research Institute. His postdoctoral training in viral pathogenesis was completed in the Special Pathogens Branch of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He can discuss the process involved in identifying diagnostics, vaccines and treatments when starting with an emerging threat such as Zika, including what resources are required, what are the steps, and what timeline we can expect.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Michele Parisi,

The Zika Virus and Its Spread
Rik Heller
Chairman and Founder
Freshloc Technologies and Wello Inc.
"Fever screening is a more important capability than ever in times like these. In addition, humidity monitoring could make a difference."
Heller can discuss the Zika virus and its spread, including how hospitals and public food services can prevent infectious disease, and how temperature monitoring helped prevent the spread of Ebola virus in Dallas.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Jeannie Lewis,

The Microbiology of the Zika Virus and Preventing Its Spread
Jonathan Lawson, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
Collin College
"Based on the microbiology of this infectious disease, there are ways to impact the spread with proactive measures."
Dr. Lawson has been a professor of biology in the Division of Math and Natural Sciences at Collin County Community College District, Spring Creek Campus, in Plano, Texas, since 2007. He also serves as an Advisor for Wello Inc. In 1998, Dr. Lawson received a B.S. in biology and minor in biochemistry from Baylor University, Waco, Texas; in 2006, he received a Ph.D. in molecular microbiology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He is an authority in core molecular biology techniques.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Jeannie Lewis,

Eating Disorders and Body Image
Lisa Lilenfeld, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Psychology
American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University
"Eating disorders can be devastating conditions with the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. We now know much about the genetic, biological and psychosocial factors that increase one's risk for developing an eating disorder. We also have effective treatments for most eating disorders but, unfortunately, very few individuals receive these treatments."
February is Love your Body Month, and Eating Disorders Awareness Week occurs at the end of the month.  Dr. Lilenfeld can speak about risk, prevention and treatment of eating disorders, as well as body image issues more generally. She is a licensed psychologist in Virginia.  Alongside her full-time academic post, she has had a private practice specializing in the treatment of eating disorders in adults and adolescents for the past 20 years. She has more than 40 publications and more than 100 national and international presentations in the area of eating disorders. She is the immediate past-president of the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research Policy and Action, as well as an elected Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders and an elected Member of the Eating Disorders Research Society.  She has been interviewed by various television (e.g., ABC news, FOX news) and newspapers (e.g., USA Today, WebMD) regarding her eating disorders work.  She is passionate about training future clinical psychologists in the evidence-based treatment of eating disorders.
Contact: Mandy Wilson,

The Nation's Drug Epidemic and the Presidential Election
Deni Carise, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer
Recovery Centers of America
Drug addiction, particularly opiate and heroin addiction, is increasingly prominent in this year's presidential race. From familial addiction stories to billion-dollar proposed policies, all candidates from both parties are talking about the nation's drug epidemic and the thousands of American lives lost each year. Dr. Carise can speak to each candidate's proposed solution for helping end our national drug crisis, and offer opinions on which might be most effective: "All candidates should have a plan for combatting the nation's drug epidemic. I agree with Hillary Clinton, who said, 'We have to move away from treating the use of drugs as a crime, and instead move it to where it belongs, as a health issue. And we need to divert more people from the criminal justice system into drug courts, into treatment, and recovery.' And with Chris Christie, who said, 'If we give people the tools and support they need to overcome this disease [of addiction] and if we choose to free people from the stigma of addiction and recognize this is the public health challenge it truly is, we can help people to reclaim their lives. We can find the true measure of our compassion.'"
Based in Philadelphia, Dr. Carise is a clinical psychologist and adjunct clinical professor at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, books and chapters, and is a consultant, trainer and advisor for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Contact: Kristen Hayes,

Integrated Communication Strategy for Super Bowl Ads
Johnny V. Sparks
Associate Professor of Advertising
Central Michigan University
"The owned and earned media promote the ad -- before, during and after its airing," he said. "The Super Bowl audience has long included the ad-focused viewers, but the actual role of the ad airing during the Super Bowl in the modern integrated marketing communication context is continuously evolving. True success depends on generating engagement with the ad through owned media and earned news coverage."
Sparks can speak about integrated communication strategy in relation to the Super Bowl. He researches the influence of strategic communication's content and structure on human emotion and cognition. His entire analysis is available at
Contact: Rachel Esterline Perkins,

Google's Artificial Intelligence Program, AlphaGo
Andrew Okun
American Go Association
In January, Google's artificial intelligence program, AlphaGo, beat the European Go champion five games to zero. Okun can discuss what AI means for the future of the game and our future: "Within the Go community, we fear the success of AI will rob the game of some of its mystique and with it, some of our pride in the remarkable capacity of the human mind. At the same time, though, there is the hope that AI will give us new moves, new training methods, new tools to promote the game, a new perspective on the game generally. I think these same mixed feelings will come to every human endeavor as computers get more powerful. Will a doctor feel useless when a machine is a better diagnostician or relieved that a patient has been saved? Maybe both at the same time. Will a pilot feel useless when a damaged plane is landed without her help?"
ProfNet Profile:

Wedding Guest Fashion Tips
Emilia Valle
Fashion Director
The Art Institute of Houston
"The bride is not the only one who gets stressed about finding the right dress to wear on the big day -- guests struggle with what to wear and what is appropriate for the occasion as well. Where is the venue? It is outdoors or indoors? Location can play a key part in what is appropriate, as a wedding guest, to wear for the occasion. The time of the day is also crucial, as some looks might seem inappropriate for the venue or time of day. Always look for clues in the invitation. If the venue and the hour are more formal, then a more formal dress is called for. Whatever you do, do not wear white to a wedding. And don't forget about footwear. Wear comfortable shoes, as you might be standing for long periods of time or dancing the night away."
February is National Wedding Month, and Valle can share her tips for wedding guests that will help them look stylish no matter the time of day or location of the wedding. She can also speak to a variety of fashion-related topics, including fashion design, fashion marketing and merchandising, pattern making, product development, and accessory design, among others.
Contact: Mandy Wilson,

Aliens, History, Religion and 'The X-Files'
Joseph Packer
Assistant Professor
Central Michigan University
"Most people think that it's important one way or another whether alien life exists. If there is no alien life, we have a special place in the universe. We have a purpose. It's a component of some major religions, like Scientology. Mormonism has a big component about aliens. Raëlism, which is a big UFO-based religion primarily based in Europe, is another example. There also are connections with Nazism in the early UFO movement that few people know about."
Packer, communication faculty member and author of "Alien Life and Human Purpose: A Rhetorical Examination Through History," is available to speak about the way major historical figures connect their arguments for the absence of alien life, or "unity," to their philosophical, religious, and ethical agendas -- giving a unique, historical perspective to the scenes you might see during this season's "The X-Files."
Contact: Rachel Esterline Perkins,

Verbal Confidence for Women
Jennifer S. Wilkov
Speak Up Women, LLC
"It takes a lot of courage for one person to speak up to another person, company, group or team. Somewhere along the way, we lost our ability and natural instincts cultivated from birth to use our words and talk about what we want, who we are, what we believe, and what questions we have about what we see, hear and experience. Many of us have lost our abilities to truly connect, truly be known, and be heard. It concerns me that our society has allowed these voices inside us to be silenced. It's time for each of us to speak up in our lives so we can truly live the lives we have imagined."
A TEDx speaker, best-selling author and radio show host, Wilkov can discuss verbal confidence for women in their professional and personal lives, as well as judicial misconduct.
Contact: Jennefer Witter,

Is Love at First Sight and Falling in Love a Mental Disorder?
Dr. Frieda Birnbaum
Research Psychologist, Psychoanalyst
"People who tend to habitually 'fall in love' with others -- jumping a like a bee from flower to flower -- likely have addictive personalities, and falling in love is like a drug to them. When the brain experiences the emotions and joy that comes with falling in love, it releases a lot of feel-good chemicals throughout the body. For some, falling and being in love can be as powerful as having a full-blown addiction to a heavy narcotic. People who tend to habitually fall in love are likely desperately trying to fall in love with themselves. By passionately seeking external stimuli (another human being) to attain a feeling of internal bliss, they can miss discovering what they should loving about themselves. They may also being experiencing co-dependency or 'relationship addiction.' One of the reasons why people who tend to fall in love so easily get their hearts broken so easily is that co-dependency creates unhealthy mental balance in relationships. This unbalance can collapse rather quickly, especially if one of the partners experiences even a slight personal growth. However, some instances of 'love at first sight' can be mentally healthy, especially if it happens at a low frequency. People who are mentally healthy tend to be a bit more reserved when it comes to wearing their heart on their sleeve. Love at first sight has led to countless happy marriages that have stood the test of time."
Based in the New York metro area, Dr. Birnbaum is author of "What Price Power: An In-Depth Study of the Professional Woman in a Relationship." She's an expert on depression, women's issues, and attaining happiness.
Contact: Ryan McCormick,


Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Video Editor/Production Assistant – WMTW-TV (ME)
  • Digital Bureau Chief – (TX)
  • Weekend PM Anchor/Reporter – WFLD-TV (MA)


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