Texas A&M Receives $1.2 Million Contract from Department of Homeland Security to Create Nationwide Curriculum

Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, which shares the contract with the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, will develop a novel training curriculum.

The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have been awarded a $1.2 million contract to develop and implement a nationwide scientific business development and management educational program.

The award comes from the DHS Science and Technology Directorate which invited submission of proposals with innovative approaches to develop training programs for preparing next-generation transboundary animal disease (TAD) scientists to respond against these diseases.

Awarded proposals support preparation for the United States National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF)’s new state-of-the-art biocontainment facility, which will study emerging TAD that threaten United States animal agriculture and public health. This new facility will replace DHS’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center — the primary facility conducting TAD research in the United States — in 2022.

The funded proposal is titled “From the Bench to the Shop: Creation and Implementation of a Scientific Business Development and Management Program to Transition High Consequence Livestock Disease Research and Development Technologies for Commercialization.”

Texas A&M’s project will develop a novel training curriculum to equip next generation scientific professionals with the skill sets required to transition research discoveries (eg., vaccines or diagnostics) to the marketplace, according to Texas A&M.

The lead team includes: Principal investigator Angela Arenas, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVP, assistant professor in the CVM Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB); Co-principal investigator Rosina C. Krecek, Ph.D., visiting professor in the CVM VTPB, and interim assistant dean of One Health; and Co-principal investigator Heather Simmons DVM, education program manager.

“This is the first contract of its kind for the CVM, and no other educational program to our knowledge exists with these capabilities,” said Eleanor Green, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, Dipl. ABVP, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “High-consequence TAD threaten our livestock, wildlife and human populations, and the environment facilitates transmission of these diseases globally. TAD is a societal need, and this awarded program embraces the One Health approach through collaborative multidisciplinary teams seeking solutions. This program also dovetails into the BioCorridor Research Valley training in its commercialization of discoveries.”

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