Alexandra L. Phelan, S.J.D., LL.M., LL.B.

Assistant Professor

Areas of Expertise

  • Global health and climate change
  • Human rights in emerging infectious disease outbreaks
  • International law and global health policy
  • International Health Regulations
  • Pathogen and data sharing

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Dr. Alexandra Phelan works on pandemic and outbreak preparedness and response, as a globally recognized expert on both public health and international law. She works at the intersection of these fields on the global law and governance of infectious diseases and the impact of global change events on health, including planetary health issues such as biodiversity and climate change.

Dr. Phelan advises international organizations and governments around the world, including the WHO, Gavi, World Bank, and IDLO, on both public health and legal responses to outbreaks, epidemics, and pandemics, including COVID-19, Ebola, Zika, and influenza. Her research also includes the negotiation of new legal instruments, such as the proposed Pandemic Treaty, Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdictions treaty and UNFCCC protocols, as well as reform of the International Health Regulations, Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, and Nagoya Protocol. Dr Phelan works on both naturally and non-naturally occurring biological threats, including biosecurity issues involving the Biological Weapons Convention and the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism.

Dr. Phelan is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Global Health Science & Security, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. She holds an S.J.D. in international infectious disease law from Georgetown University Law Center, an LL.M. specializing in international law from the Australian National University, and a double degree B.Biomed.Sc./LL.B. and Dip.Lang.(Mandarin Chinese) from Monash University.

Prior to moving to the United States, she worked as a solicitor at a corporate law firm and is admitted to practice as a barrister and solicitor to the Supreme Court of Victoria and High Court of Australia.