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.
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.
Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and Director of the Tambopata Macaw Project
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Exotic Avian Practitioner, Gulf Coast Avian and Exotics
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.
Exotic Avian Practitioner and Consultant
Salt Lake City, Utah
Avian Behavioral Consultant
Dr. David Phalen
Director, Wildlife Health and Conservation Clinic, Professor of Wildlife Medicine
University of Sydney, Camden, NSW, Australia
Dr. Darrel Styles
Senior Staff Veterinarian, USDA/APHIS
Graduate Student investigating the pathogenesis of Proventricular Dilatation disease.
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 is a graduate student who is studying Avian Behavior under the supervision of Dr. Donald Brightsmith.
Dr. Hameed is developing a new vaccine against Avian Bornaviruses and PDD. Dr. Hameed is working under the supervision of Dr. Susan Payne.
Paulina is developing new rapid diagnostic tests for Avian bornaviruses and PDD.