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Biosecurity Research Institute

BRI Advisory Board

Members of the BRI Advisory Board are Dr. Guy Palmer, Dr, Jan Sargeant, and Dr. Alfonso Torres. The role of the Advisory Board is to provide national and international perspectives on research opportunities being presented by the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility location in Manhattan. The Board will help facilitate efforts to launch early NBAF related research in the BRI during construction and transition of NBAF along with strategic inputs toward long-term collaboration of research programs.

Guy Palmer, DVM, PhD

Guy PalmerDr. Guy Palmer is the Creighton Chair and Director of the Washington State University School for Global Animal Health and the Regents Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Palmer's goal is to improve the control of animal diseases with direct impact on human health and well-being. Within this focus, he has led collaborative infectious diseases research programs in southern and eastern Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, where he currently directs a multi-institutional research effort studying genetic change in microbial pathogens and the risk for shifts in disease pattern and emergence.

Dr. Palmer is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and currently serves the Board on Global Health within the Institute of Medicine. He also serves an adviser to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust in the U.K., the International Science Foundation, and for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Palmer received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University and his PhD from Washington State University; he is board-certified in anatomic pathology.

Jan Sargeant, DVM, MS, PhD

Jan SargeantDr. Jan Sargeant is the Director of the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Sargeant has performed research in areas of agri-food public health, policy research in microbial food safety, perception of risk of gastrointestinal illnesses, food and water safety, and the role of veterinary medicine in public health. She is currently developing a research agenda focused on policy and outcome evaluation issues in the prevention of zoonotic disease.

Dr. Sargeant received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph) and practiced as a food animal veterinarian for four years. She then obtained a M.Sc. and PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Guelph. She has served on the faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University.

Alfonso Torres, DVM, MS, PhD

Alfonso TorresDr. Alfonso Torres is the Associate Dean for Public Policy in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. Prior to his current position, Dr. Torres served as the Deputy Administrator for Veterinary Services of USDA APHIS and US Chief Veterinary Officer and delegate to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Dr. Torres was the Director of the USDA's Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island, New York from 1996 to 1999, following three years as chief of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory there. Prior to his service at USDA, Dr, Torres held academic positions at the National University of Colombia, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Cornell University. Between academic experiences, Dr. Torres also worked in research and development and marketing of veterinary biologics and diagnostics with two large multinational corporations.

A native of Bogotá Colombia, Dr. Torres holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the National University of Colombia. He also has earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary pathology from the University of Nebraska, and a PhD in medical microbiology, with a specialty in virology, from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.  Dr. Torres teaches and lectures on Transboundary and Emerging Animal Diseases and conducts training courses for US veterinary students and foreign veterinarians in collaboration with the USDA.