COLLEGE STATION, TX – Dr. Garry Adams of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) has been named to the National Research Council’s Biodefense Standing Committee for the Department of Defense. This committee is charged with overseeing the science performed on behalf of homeland security by analyzing and reviewing current, ongoing biodefense research and making recommendations for new science.
“The veterinary profession brings a rich background and experience in the role of animals in public health,” said Adams. “Many of the emerging diseases today are zoonotic, meaning they affect both humans and animals, and then there are threats from diseases that are still unknown or could even be engineered. My role with this committee will be to help with the understanding of biothreats and the creation of new and novel biodefense mechanisms.”
In addition to his role on the National Research Council’s Biodefense Committee, Adams has also been named as the new Associate Dean for Homeland Security at the Texas A&M CVM, the first associate deanship dedicated to homeland security housed within a school of veterinary medicine.
Adams, as were the other members of the NRC committee, was selected for his expertise in in the biological sciences. The committee mandate of serving as a point of integration and convergence for research and transitioning the results into application will enable him to open doors and build relationships that will benefit Texas A&M researchers through his new associate deanship.
“We are going to be working in the realm of ‘discovery science’,” said Adams. “Our goals will be to work with scientists and researchers around the world, building collaborations, resulting in the development of the next generation of surveillance, recovery, and mitigation tools for biodefense and homeland security. As one of few veterinarians on the committee, I hope to bring a different perspective in public health and biosecurity to the discussion for us to be able to make a broader and more complete analysis of our biodefense efforts.”
The main focus for Adams in his new position at the CVM will be to integrate the CVM faculty internally and with colleagues from the Texas A&M University colleges of science, agriculture, engineering, and public policy and the Texas A&M Health Science Center to formulate an integrated approach for biodefense and homeland security.
“Across the spectrum of Texas A&M University and the health science center, there is already a great deal of work underway through federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security National Center of Excellence for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, the National Institutes of Health Western Regional Center of Excellence, and five Department of Energy National Laboratories,” said Adams. “We can act as a conduit, coordinating and supporting a network between researchers at Texas A&M, federal agencies, and other scientists around the world, hereby making a significant impact on the discovery of novel approaches to homeland security against infectious agents and toxins.”
Adams also wants to address the need for human resource development through educational program development in the homeland security arena as emerging threats continuously change society’s ability to respond.
“This is a unique opportunity,” said Adams, “to interconnect people across multiple scientific disciplines, to expand horizons for the veterinary profession, and to begin developing science-based policy by which decisions can be made for animal and human health in our society.”
Adams will also be working to support the new Integrated Center for Homeland Security (ICHS) at Texas A&M. The ICHS is led by Dr. David McIntyre and has been approved to offer a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Initially, Adams will work with CVM faculty to develop the biological course structure for these degree programs within the CVM and across the university in the ICHS.
“Dr. Garry Adams has a wealth of experience in research and scientific collaborations,” said Dr. H. Richard Adams, dean of veterinary medicine. “His background and expertise in infection biology, as well as his ability to establish relationships with both governmental agencies and academic institutions, will serve to solidify the lead role that Texas A&M University is already playing in homeland security. It is an honor for Texas A&M to have him accept this new role within the college of veterinary medicine.”