Amy Hafez, Ph.D.

ACS Congressional Fellow, 2019-2020


Amy Hafez earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology from Duke University where she investigated the intersect of viral infections and human cancers under the direction of Dr. Micah Luftig. Her research focused on the early stages of Epstein-Barr virus infection, which is linked to the development of various lymphomas and gastric cancer.

As a graduate student, Amy was selected to receive the Viral Oncology Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, as well as the Viral Oncology Award and the Duke Chairman’s Meritorious Award for research-related travel.

While at Duke, Amy worked with the Duke Initiative for Science and Society as a contributor to the Duke SciPol legislative tracking website writing policy briefs on science-related policies.

She served as the Director of Advocacy on the Graduate and Professional Student Council and received the Community Citizenship Award for her advocacy efforts on behalf of the graduate and professional student population at Duke.

After graduate school, Amy directed her experience in cancer research toward studying the establishment of tobacco-related cancers. She investigated the role of nicotine in cancer progression mechanisms as a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.

Amy earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Salisbury University and a Master of Science in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. 

Fellowship Focus

As a Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy:

  • Worked on the health policy portfolio covering a broad range of issues, including health care, health disparities and health equity, and the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
  • Staffed Senator Smith at a Senate HELP hearing on the rising youth vaping epidemic. 
  • Worked with health equity stakeholders to draft legislation addressing social determinants of health. 


This fellowship experience has been an amazing opportunity to learn how scientists can be involved in working with Members of Congress and their staffers to develop evidence-based policies and legislation. While it has been a challenging year, I have learned first-hand how to navigate sensitive issues during a public health emergency and how to establish a strategic action plan under an emergency situation.” 


Find Amy on LinkedIn