Capabilities Statement

CAGE: 7CME8
DUNS: 07-970-5404
EIN: 47-2891426
Woman-Owned Small Business
NAICS: 541700, 541600

Technical POC:

Theresa Gallagher, PhD, PMP
4071 Childress Road
Christiansburg, VA 24073
(m) +1 443 320 3424

Richard Obiso, PhD, PMP
4071 Childress Road
Christiansburg, VA 24073
(m) +1 540 838 1118

Date: 07/01/2017

STATEMENT OF CAPABILITES

Avila Scientific LLC is a small business located in the New River Valley that specializes in developing and managing multi-collaborative research groups made up of academic institutions, the US Department of Defense, and scientifically developing countries. Our management team provides technical consultation and administration of a broad range of research activities including product development and validation, public health surveillance, biological decontamination, and low-impact agricultural treatments. The principals of Avila Scientific have worked within the BTRP/CBEP (Biological Threat Reduction Program/Cooperative Biological Engagement Program) for the past ten years as sub-contractors under various CTRICs and BTRICs in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

In addition, we have consulted on activities in Germany, Iraq, Tajikistan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. We are staffed by a uniquely qualified team of scientists, with expertise ranging from biotechnology and project management to microbiology and research and business management. Avila is a small, agile company with a broad network base of subject matter experts who possess the skills to engage in all operational and physical environments and conditions.

Past Performance : Avila has partnered with CBEP for the last ten years. We have worked successfully with integrating contractors in the following capacities:

  • Bechtel: BTRP Cooperative Biological Research Management Lead; Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan (2007 – 2010)
  • CH2M Hill: CBEP Cooperative Biological Research Management Lead
    • Armenia (2011 – 2015)
    • Georgia (2010 – present)
  • CRDF: Technical advisor to DTRA, Georgia (2011 – present)
  • The Geneva Foundation: Ebola diagnostic support, Guinea (2015)
  • The Henry M. Jackson Foundation: Technical writing, and research and diagnostic assay support
    • Azerbaijan (CONUS-based, 2010 – 2011)
    • Iraq, Kenya, and Turkey (2014 – 2015)
  • Joint University Partnership (JUP): CONUS-based CBEP diagnostic assay support (2009 – 2011)
  • MRI Global: BTRP TADR SOP support (2006 – 2008)

Differentiators : Avila is a small, dynamic group of research-based and network-minded professionals who can engage with scientists and researchers in DTRA partner countries to realize a shared vision. For the past decade, the Avila team has built on the strengths of existing in-country research programs to advance strategic research initiatives and create sustainable research networks and partnerships. We specialize in connecting local experts in partner countries with diverse research groups/specialists across the globe, uniting a critical mass of expertise to build scientific frameworks from the ground up.

Avila identifies qualified academic and governmental subject matter experts (SMEs) who will work with in-country collaborators to successfully implement large-scale, multidisciplinary research efforts in spite of limited funds and traditionally fragmented (stove-piped) groups. We have developed unique ways to increase the capacity of research networks to influence intra- and inter-national research, and have spent the last several years establishing sustainable international research partnerships.

PERFORMANCE APPROACHES

Avila’s extensive experience enables us to identify, establish, and maintain a pool of robust domestic and international resources from governments and academia. This pool comprises visiting scientists, qualified mentors and trainers, research collaborators, and subject matter experts who help to support the cost-effective advancement of scientific knowledge through cooperative research activities.

Project Coordination : Avila has a long history of operating within CBEP to provide consistent and cohesive technical and administrative leadership, program management, and oversight for cooperative biological research activities. Over the past decade, we have successfully managed an average of ten projects a year, concurrently, in multiple countries. We have applied our institutional knowledge and experience to implement projects in diverse and challenging environments such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Visiting Scientists and Scientific Mentors : Avila’s past performance underscores our ability to successfully identify appropriate, qualified visiting scientists and scientific mentors (VS/SMs) to support the advancement of scientific knowledge in CBEP partner countries. We have successfully engaged with domestic and international academic and government VS/SMs from multiple disciplines, including veterinary medicine, human medicine, epidemiology, public health, microbiology, and molecular biology. We have experience in providing VS/SMs who can engage in-country for up to a year at a time.

Qualified Trainers : Since inception, Avila has successfully coordinated and implemented USG-based training programs on over 30 CBR and TAP projects. Avila maintains extensive ongoing relationships with institutions such as Battelle, Louisiana State University, MRI Global, and Virginia Tech. In addition, we have a long history of cooperation with WRAIR, USAMRIID, and NMRC. These connections allow Avila to identify and provide qualified trainers who can support an array of CBEP missions; alongside these and other partners, Avila can implement trainer/training initiatives, develop new training materials, and review or modify existing materials.

Avila’s training support encompasses a range of disciplines, including veterinary sciences, human clinical sciences, laboratory diagnostics, bioinformatics, epidemiology, GIS, biosafety and biosecurity, bio-surveillance, field sampling, vector surveillance, and emergent disease and outbreak response activities. We also have experience in setting up Quality Management Systems and implementing and certifying ISO standards.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) : At Avila, we believe that building sustainable relationships is just as important as providing technical knowledge. To that end, our approach is to assemble small, fluid groups of research-based and network-minded SMEs to provide technical support and mentorship to local scientists as they gain skills in and understanding of standard research practices in relevant disciplines.

Research Collaborators : Avila has a proven track record of identifying and engaging appropriate collaborators to support CBEP-sponsored research activities. We seek out collaborators who are not only respected leaders in their disciplines, but who are also self-starters with a strong desire to engage in-country scientists in hands-on, roll-up-the-sleeves work. Avila’s research collaborators serve as both technical resources and mentors to facilitate the development of research projects with partner country stakeholders.

Research Activity Projects : Avila specializes in developing and implementing hypothesis-driven research projects, and we have honed these skills over many years of work on BTRP/CBEP projects. Our approaches to developing research projects with in-country scientists include:

  • Reviewing the strengths of research groups and institutes within a country, and identifying key networking opportunities for development.
  • Identifying past data, research, and collaborations that may be suitable for peer-reviewed publication, and working with researchers to publish their past research or use it as the basis for seeking funding through DTRA and other funding agencies.
  • Creating a national plan for expanding research capacity among established researchers and developing partnerships in an international environment. Where possible, in-country research hubs are leveraged to form networks and cross-links, and to introduce and foster new local and international relationships with the goal of creating a sustainable research environment for both experienced and beginning scientists.
  • Creating a country science plan that fully utilizes existing networks, builds new networks, and identifies untapped opportunities for individual researchers or research programs. The country science plan is both a road map and a science-based “business plan” for creating sustainable, research-led infrastructure.
  • Engaging and mentoring the core members of in-country research programs in the best practices for publishing research; using proof-of-concept data to seek funding; applying for funding from diverse sources; managing research projects; connecting with research networks; and finding and developing new opportunities.

Grant Writing Mentoring : Avila’s grant writing mentorship program is designed to assist in-country scientists as they submit proposals for competitive research solicitations. This includes support in developing white papers; preparing, editing, and submitting proposals; developing accurate direct and indirect cost projections; identifying and articulating scientific hypotheses; framing research data; and reviewing and responding to proposal evaluations and recommendations to the extent possible within the period of performance.

Participants are competitively chosen for this program. Once selected, Avila engages them in weekly mentoring sessions that include teaching modules and specific feedback on progress achieved. Briefly, the program comprises three phases, with on-site mentoring activities between each phase. The focus for Phase I is pre-proposal activities. Topics include administrative tasks required for proposal submission; identification of relevant research topics, appropriate funding agencies, and potential collaborators; quad chart development; rough order-of-magnitude estimates; and writing and submitting white papers. Phase II of the program examines strategies for writing a full proposal and developing a budget. We discuss the factors that make a proposal successful; how to create a project schedule; and how to develop a budget, including direct and indirect cost estimates. Phase III of the program focuses on writing a full proposal, and outlines the steps that follow development of a full proposal and budget. Specifically, we discuss editing and peer-review, the proposal submission process, how to respond to reviewer feedback, and post-award management.

Manuscript Preparation Services : A large part of conducting scientific research and establishing an international research reputation hinges on publication of results. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues in partner nations have no incentive to publish, and do not receive merit raises, promotions, or bonuses as a result of scientific productivity. Regrettably, this means that many research- and protocol-based publications are never developed because the in-country researchers are not motivated to do so. Our goal is not only to help them understand that publication of data makes science grow, but also to ensure that research results are captured and published.

Avila provides mentorship to drive publications from research fellowships and CBR and TAP projects by guiding in-country scientists as they set up lab notebooks and write up their research results. Our publication manager facilitates communication between all project members and interacts with collaborating researchers through e-mail and video conferences. In-person meetings are optional, and, when possible, we travel to neutral countries to work with the scientists directly. In this manner, the publication manager helps mentor scientists while simultaneously capturing important metrics for funding agencies.

Conference Support : Professional conferences provide invaluable opportunities for scientists to develop lasting regional and international domestic relationships, which in turn help to sustain research programs in engaged countries. Avila has supported scientist participation at conferences in numerous countries for over a decade, with an emphasis on the development of abstracts, posters, and other presentations.

In response to an initial call for abstracts, the in-country scientists develop first-draft submissions. Through an iterative process, Avila communicates with the authors by e-mail or video conference to refine the content, identify gaps in data, and correct grammatical and structural errors, resulting in a final abstract, poster, or presentation that has both author and institute approval. In addition, Avila scientists attend conferences with the in-country scientists to help with presentation of materials and to facilitate networking.