Saskia Popescu

Photo of Saskia Popescu
Titles and Organizations

Assistant Professor

Contact Information


Saskia Popescu is a term assistant professor in the biodefense program within the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. 

She received her PhD in biodefense from the Schar School in 2019; a master’s in public health with a focus on infectious disease epidemiology and a master’s of arts in international security studies from the University of Arizona. While completing her PhD, Popescu served as a student ambassador for the Global Health Security Agenda Ministerial Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, and has served as a signatory on the NGO statement for the Biological Weapons Convention. During her epidemiology graduate studies, she was a recipient of the Frontier Interdisciplinary eXperience (FIX) HS-STEM Career Development Grant in Food Defense through the National Center for Food Protection and Defensed.

Popescu is an Alumni Fellow of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security. She currently serves as a member of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Coronavirus Taskforce and is a member of the Committee on Data Needs to Monitor Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 within the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

Prior to joining Mason, Popescu worked as infection prevention epidemiologist in several large health care systems, working to enhance readiness and biopreparedness. More recently, she created and disseminated a gap analysis for a six-hospital system to establish vulnerabilities for high-consequence diseases, helping to guide the creation of a high-consequence disease initiative to enhance readiness at the healthcare level. This work aided in rapid and coordinated responses to COVID-19. Her assessment and leadership regarding health care biopreparedness efforts has resulted in several peer-reviewed literature. She is certified in infection prevention (CIC), hospital preparedness through FEMA’s NIMS, and pandemic preparedness from the DHS Center for Domestic Preparedness.

Popescu's research addresses gaps within global health security, biodefense, health care biopreparedness, and the integration of antimicrobial resistance into global health security initiatives. She also serves as an adjunct professor in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health epidemiology and biostatistics program at the University of Arizona.

Areas of Research

  • Biodefense
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Healthcare Preparedness and Response
  • Global Health Security
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health