Skip to main content

People

The Schubot Center brings together a diverse group of faculty members and staff from several different departments and colleges at Texas A&M University. This interdisciplinary team is enriched by input from a select group of adjunct professors from across the United States and the world.

Dr. Sarah Hamer

Dr. Sarah Hamer

Director of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center

Dr. Sarah Hamer is a disease ecologist and veterinarian with a research program in the ecology and epidemiology of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases of wildlife. She studies wild migratory birds to learn more about the maintenance of ticks and tick-borne pathogens across the landscape. Additionally, she leads a collaborative effort toward the conservation of the endangered whooping crane, for which she and her team are characterizing the parasites in wild whoopers on their wintering ground on the Texas Gulf Coast. Dr. Hamer’s team is also evaluating different populations of sandhill cranes as a surrogate species for understanding threats to whooping crane health.

Directory

Dr. Don Brightsmith

Dr. Don Brightsmith

Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and Director of the Tambopata Macaw Project

Tambopata_Macaw_Project_logo

Don Brightsmith is a tropical ecologist and conservation biologist who works on a variety of topics in parrot conservation, health and welfare. He is the director of the Tambopata Macaw Project, a long term research and monitoring program which studies ecology, reproduction, nutrition, health, management, and conservation of wild macaws and parrots in the lowlands of southeastern Peru. He is also engaged in studies on avian nutrition and problems associated with the illegal trade in wild birds.

Directory

Dr. Norman Dronen

Dr. Norman Dronen

Professor, Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Dr. Dronen is a parasitologist whose specialty includes helminth (worm) parasites of wild and captive birds. He had identified many new and significant parasites in birds. He is currently investigating the life-cycle of air-sac flukes that are killing captive birds in some zoos.

Directory

Dr. Jill Heatley

Dr. Jill Heatley

Associate Professor of Exotic Animal Health in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Dr. Heatley is an avian clinician. She has diverse interests in the area of avian health and is especially interested in avian clinical pathology. Dr. Heatley is the leader of our oil-spill response team and is heavily engaged in training emergency personnel in the proper care and treatment of oiled birds. She is actively engaged in studies on the response of birds to toxic components in oil spills. She is also past-president of the Texas Horned Lizard Society.

Directory

Dr. Sharman Hoppes

Dr. Sharman Hoppes

Clinical Associate Professor of Exotic Animal Health in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

Dr. Hoppes is an avian clinician whose primary research interest is in the diagnosis and treatment of Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD).

Directory

Dr. Jeffrey Musser

Dr. Jeffrey Musser

Clinical Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology

Dr. Musser is a veterinarian with a primary interest in pharmacokinetics. He is especially interested in the pharmacokinetics of antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs in exotic birds. He is currently investigating a number of different drugs that may be of assistance in treating birds suffering from diseases caused by Avian Bornaviruses.

Directory

Dr. Jane Packard

Dr. Jane Packard

Associate Professor, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences

Dr. Packard is an ethologist, who encourages veterinarians and practitioners to view behavior at the interface between physiology and the environment.  She is an advocate for providing high-impact learning experiences for students, personally having been inspired as an undergraduate intern studying goose behavior under the Nobel Prize winning researcher, Dr. Konrad Lorenz.  Her emphasis is on understanding the animal in its natural environment, and using such insights in stewardship of biodiversity.

Dr. Susan Payne

Dr. Susan Payne

Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology

Dr. Payne is a molecular virologist with an interest in Avian Bornavirus, the causal agent of PDD. She has investigated the epidemiology of this infection especially in waterfowl, ducks, geese and swans. She also studies endogenous ABV in ground squirrels.

Directory

Dr. Terje Raudsepp

Dr. Terje Raudsepp

Associate Professor of Veterinary Integrated Biosciences

Dr. Raudsepp is a cytogeneticist. She and her collegue, Dr. Chowdhary, were the first to characterize the genetic basis of chondrodystrophy in California Condors. She is now engaged in examining the cytogenetics of the large macaws and relating this to their genomes.

Directory

Dr. Christopher Seabury

Dr. Christopher Seabury

Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathobiology

Dr. Seabury is a geneticist and bioinformaticist. He has taken the lead in determining the complete genome of the scarlet macaw and other bird species. His other interest include the genomics of selected mammals, especially cattle and deer.

Directory

Dr. Guan Zhu

Dr. Guan Zhu

Professor of Veterinary Parasitology

Dr. Zhu has specialized in the molecular biology of protozoan parasites, especially Cryptosporidium and Eimeria. He has discovered new species of these parasites in cockatiels.

Directory

Dr. Guo Jianhua

Dr. Jianhua Guo

Associate Research Scientist, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Guo is our major laboratory scientist who among other things performs diagnostic PCR tests, analyzes viral genomes, performs serology and produces experimental vaccines. He is a key member of the research team.

Directory

Debra Turner

Debra Turner

Senior Research Associate, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Ms. Turner is Dr. Tizard’s principal assistant and manager of the Avian Health Complex.  She runs the aviary and supervises all our student workers.   She is also responsible for the smooth running of our laboratories, for training staff, and ensuring that we comply with the numerous rules and regulations that govern our activities.

Directory

Patty Vychopen

Patty Vychopen

Lead Office Assistant, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Ms. Vychopen is responsible for the smooth running of our office, in addition to many other departmental responsibilities.

Dr. Natalie Antinoff

Dr. Natalie Antinoff

Exotic Avian Practitioner, Gulf Coast Avian and Exotics

Houston, Texas

Directory

Dr. Janice Boyd

Dr. Janice Boyd

Adjunct Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

Janice Boyd is an aviculturist and parrot conservationist who for 40 years worked as a physical oceanographer. After that career she started a second one working with colleagues at the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center. She has one of the largest domestic breeding collections in the US of Great Green Macaws (Ara ambiguus), which is available for avicultural and genetics research. She works with Donald Brightsmith and the Tambopata Macaw Project on satellite tracking of macaw movements, comparisons between wild and domestically held macaws and parrots, and various parrot conservation issues in the US and Latin America.

Directory

Dr. Scott Echols

Dr. Scott Echols

Exotic Avian Practitioner and Consultant

Salt Lake City, Utah

Directory

Barbara Heidenreich

Barbara Heidenreich

Avian Behavioral Consultant

Austin, Texas

Directory

Dr. David Phalen

Dr. David Phalen

Director, Wildlife Health and Conservation Clinic, Professor of Wildlife Medicine

University of Sydney, Camden, NSW, Australia

Directory

Dr. Darrel Styles

Dr. Darrel Styles

Senior Staff Veterinarian, USDA/APHIS

Riverdale, Maryland

Directory

Jeann Leale

Jeann Leal de Araujo

Graduate Student

Graduate Student investigating the pathogenesis of Proventricular Dilatation disease.
Constance Woodman

Constance Woodman

Graduate Student

Constance is an animal behaviorist. Working under Dr. Donald Brightsmith, her PhD research focuses on inducing wild behaviors in endangered, captive raised parrots, so they can be released into the wild.

Elise Voltura

Elise Voltura

Graduate Student

Elise is a graduate student who is studying Avian Behavior under the supervision of Dr. Donald Brightsmith.
Samir Hameed

Samer Hameed

Graduate Student

Dr. Hameed is developing a new vaccine against Avian Bornaviruses and PDD.  Dr. Hameed is working under the supervision of Dr. Susan Payne.

Directory

Paulina Escandon

Paulina Escandon

Graduate Student

Paulina is developing new rapid diagnostic tests for Avian bornaviruses and PDD.

Directory