Beckham has served as the FAZD Center’s interim director since March. She will continue to serve as director at Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL). Before joining TVMDL in 2008, she
worked for the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Agriculture at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.
“We are fortunate and excited to have a candidate with Dr. Beckham’s reputation, education and experience to lead the FAZD Center,” Hussey said. “Her relationships within industry and government, her experience at Plum Island, and her knowledge of emerging and zoonotic diseases are invaluable assets.”
First led by Dr. Neville Clarke, FAZD was founded in April 2004 as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence. The FAZD Center performs research and develops products to defend the nation from high-consequence foreign animal and emerging/zoonotic diseases. The center leverages the resources of 12 major universities and nine Minority Serving Institutions.
DHS recently renewed the FAZD Center as a Center of Excellence through 2016. The FAZD Center currently co-leads the DHS zoonotic and animal disease program with the Kansas State University’s Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD).
In addition to her role at the FAZD Center, Beckham will serve as director of the Institute for Countermeasures against Agricultural Bioterrorism (ICAB), a collaboration of Texas AgriLife Research, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, TVMDL, and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. ICAB’s mission is to organize and enhance research, extension and service programs dealing with biological agents that could be used against U.S. agriculture and food supply.
Prior to being selected as director of TVMDL, Beckham served as director of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. Her responsibilities included managing the diagnosis of animal diseases, overseeing diagnostic test development for a nationwide animal health diagnostic system, and coordinating efforts with DHS, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and other entities.
Beckham is a magna cum laude graduate of Auburn University, where she earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1998. She also holds a doctorate in biomedical science from Auburn, received in 2001 while she served as a captain in the U.S. Army. She served at the Army’s Medical
Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., where she helped develop improved techniques for detecting deadly pathogens such as Ebola and Marburg viruses. Beckham is recognized as an international expert in the diagnosis of foreign animal diseases. She routinely acts as a subject matter expert at international meetings and maintains productive partnerships with international scientists and world reference laboratories.
Beckham serves on numerous committees, including the Institutional Biological Safety Committee for Texas A&M University, the Joint AAVLD/USAHA Special Committee on the National Animal Health
Laboratory Network (NAHLN), and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine Executive Committee. She is vice chair of the Foreign and Emerging Disease Committee for the U.S. Animal Health
Association (USAHA). She also serves as an adjunct professor in the department of veterinary pathobiology at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
Beckham is a member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). She has authored numerous published studies,
including those appearing in Journal of Virology, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Laboratory Investigation, among others.
Links to online content
About the FAZD Center
The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD Center) performs research and develops products to defend the nation from high-consequence foreign animal and emerging/zoonotic diseases. Founded in April 2004 as a DHS Center of Excellence, the FAZD Center leverages the resources of 12 major universities and nine Minority Serving Institutions. The FAZD Center is headquartered at Texas A&M University. Visit the FAZD Center’s web site at fazd.tamu.edu .