IIAD Staff

Interim Director

Elsa Murano, PhD

Associate Director

Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH

Assistant Director

Jessica Cargill, MPH

Assistant Director

Rachel Whisenant

Program Manager

Justin Buenger, MIA

Program Director

Sarah Caffey, MPH

Program Manager

Miguel Gonzalez, MIA

Program Specialist

Sarah Manning

Veterinarian

Jimmy Tickel, DVM

Interim Director

Elsa Murano, PhD

Associate Director

Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH

Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH, serves as IIAD’s associate director and assists the Director in the executive operation of the Institute. She provides scientific leadership for all day-to-day project management oversight, works in close concert with the project directors/management and provides direct supervision to employees. Simmons also oversees ad-hoc project teams, coordinates development and submission of associated proposals and budgets, works closely with the Director to ensure overall strategic continuity and, along with the Director, is responsible for facilitating ongoing communication with stakeholders in partner universities, agencies and private industry.

In her previous role at IIAD, Simmons served as Education and Outreach Theme Leader, overseeing a multi-million dollar education and extension portfolio, and building a program portfolio which continues to span K-12, graduate and professional training globally. Simmons has co-developed and implemented six research and extension programs. Internationally, she has provided training to veterinarians worldwide in over 20 countries. She has also authored two textbooks, 15 online courses and 36 Extension training manuals.

Simmons is a member of the United States Animal Health Association and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association. She serves on the OIE ad hoc Working Group for Veterinary Para-professionals.

Assistant Director

Jessica Cargill, MPH

Jessica Cargill, MPH, serves as assistant director for Evaluation and Portfolio Management. Cargill works across the Institute to develop and implement evaluation strategies, implement research to improve unit-wide performance, and direct evaluation activities operating across multiple thrust areas. Her program evaluation duties include developing evaluation plans, designing data collection instruments, and collecting and analyzing data. In addition, she works with staff to link project-, portfolio-, and unit-level activities to the Institute’s strategic plan and develop methods for tracking and monitoring strategic objectives. Cargill holds a Masters of Public Health from the Texas A&M Health Science Center, School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Texas A&M University.

Email:jessica.cargill@ag.tamu.edu

Phone:979-458-2390

Assistant Director

Rachel Whisenant

Rachel Whisenant serves as chief of staff for the Institute, where she works closely with the Director in managing day-to-day office activities, including oversight of administrative staff and directing logistical activities to promote program success and the Director’s strategic vision. She also oversees the coordination, logistical planning and implementation of IIAD events and manages special projects.

Whisenant holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and has served at IIAD since 2009. She brings extensive experience and training in project and organizational management, executive level support and financial management.

As chief of staff at IIAD, Whisenant also:

  • Facilitates external communication with project partners, including international, federal, state, and industry officials.
  • Assists in monitoring agency compliance with rules and procedures.
  • Recommends and assists in implementing changes to enhance and strengthen existing programs.
  • Coordinates strategic and responsive requests for programmatic information.
  • Maintains and oversees filing systems and protocols for project management task lists and databases.

 

Program Manager

Justin Buenger, MIA

Justin Buenger, MIA, has joined the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD) as a program coordinator effective September 12, 2018. Buenger will be working with the Institute’s Frontline In Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Program (ISAVET) team to support projects in Africa.

As program coordinator, Buenger will work closely with the ISAVET Program Technical Lead, Dr. David Castellan, DVM, MPVM, ACPVM, in developing and implementing the ISAVET program in East, Central, and West Africa. He will coordinate training activities, facilitate communications with the ISAVET team and international stakeholders, monitor budgets, prepare program reports and presentations, maintain
databases, and assist in logistical implementation.

Previously, Buenger has worked on projects in Ghana, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo supporting public health and entrepreneurship. Buenger holds a Bachelor of Science in University Studies with a focus on biomedical sciences from Texas A&M University and a Master of International Affairs from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Email:Justin.Buenger@ag.tamu.edu

Phone:979-845-8487

Program Director

Sarah Caffey, MPH

Sarah Caffey, MPH, serves as a Program Director for the Institute, leading the development, implementation, and management of the Preparedness and Response thrust area. Caffey works closely with the IIAD leadership team to support day-to-day operations, assist with planning, and direct logistical activities in support of the Institute’s strategic initiatives. She also advises leadership on new strategic opportunities and implements plans to drive growth and support change.

Program Manager

Miguel Gonzalez, MIA

Miguel Gonzalez. MIA, serves as program manager at IIAD, managing and overseeing the planning, development and implementation or projects and programs within the Institutes international portfolio. He prepares and monitors budgets, implements timelines, develops portfolio objectives.

Gonzalez came to IIAD in July 2016 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, where he served as an international agricultural programs specialist. There, he managed food safety technical assistance and trade facilitation programs in Bangladesh, Colombia, North Africa, South America, the Caribbean and Central America.

Gonzalez holds a Bachelor of Science in public administration with a minor in Spanish from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and a Masters of International Affairs from the Texas A&M University Bush School of Government and Public Service. He is also a certified Project Management Professional®.

Email:miguel.gonzalez@ag.tamu.edu

Phone:979-458-2388

Program Specialist

Sarah Manning

Manning serves as a program specialist at the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD) to facilitate enhancement of programs across the institute assisting with program development, management, and implementation. Manning’s focus areas include: monitoring and evaluation, curriculum development, marketing and communications, graphic design, and social media management. Manning holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science (with a concentration in Animal Industries and a minor in Business) from Tarleton State University.

 

Veterinarian

Jimmy Tickel, DVM

Jimmy Tickel, DVM is a veterinarian at the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), serving as a livestock emergency management subject matter resource for the Institute. Tickels’ expertise is specifically sought after for issues related to emergency management on a national and international level.

As an IIAD veterinarian, Tickel overseas and is involved with three projects focused on emergency preparedness. He serves as a technical expert on the FAO Good Emergency Management Practices (GEMP) Technical Working Group. GEMP TWG members serve as international subject matter experts to assist countries in planning and preparation for animal health emergencies. Tickel is also working on a gaming simulation funded by the Department of Homeland Security for critical infrastructure emergency preparedness.

In September 2018, Tickel retired and ended his 28 years of service to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where he had served as the NE Regional Veterinarian for Emergency Programs Division since. Tickel is also CEO of JLT Consulting LLC. Over the years, he has had the pleasure of training/presenting on Transboundary Animal Disease and Disaster Response/Preparedness in 42 states. Tickel holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (summa cum laude) from North Carolina State University.


Senior IIAD Fellows

Diagnostics

Barbara Martin

Epidemiology

David Castellan, DVM, MPVM, ACPVM, ACPV

Animal Health Economics

Jonathan Rushton

Transboundary Animal Diseases

Subash Morzaria, BVSc, MSc, PhD, CIBiol, MRCVS

Diagnostics

Barbara Martin

Barbara has over 35 year’s experience bringing diverse groups of stakeholders together to facilitate the development and implementation of programs and policies related to preparedness, emergency response, and laboratory management. As a United States Department of Agriculture employee, she coordinated the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and developed and implemented the policies necessary to ensure adequate diagnostic capacity and capability to address foreign animal diseases and newly emerging diseases, including bioterrorist events. She led the implementation of national, standardized surveillance for high priority diseases including the first active surveillance program for a foreign animal disease (classical swine fever) as well as for emerging public health concerns (pandemic H1N1).

Barbara’s diagnostic laboratory operations and management experience includes national and international laboratory reviews to assess diagnostic capabilities and the development of plans to address associated gaps. She has established national and international training related to quality management systems, and she has extensive experience in development of policies and processes for validation, deployment, and use of diagnostic technologies and associated proficiency testing programs.

 

Barbara currently works with OIE on laboratory sustainability with the objectives to promote evidence-based laboratory biosafety and biosecurity, to foster strategic decision making for national laboratories’ resources, and to promote the implementation of OIE International Standards in the veterinary laboratory setting. She is collaborating with APHL, CDC, eCDC, FAO, OIE, and WHO to develop the One Health focused Global Laboratory Leadership Program. As the Executive Director of the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Barbara works to improve animal health, human health, and One Health by facilitating the availability of quality laboratory testing provided by veterinary diagnostic laboratories around the world.

Epidemiology

David Castellan, DVM, MPVM, ACPVM, ACPV

David Castellan works as an International Veterinary Epidemiology Consultant. He was previously employed as Veterinary Epidemiologist with the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, Texas A&M University and as Senior Veterinary Epidemiologist, FAO ECTAD, Region of Asia and Pacific. In Asia he was engaged in supporting the development of regional epidemiology capacity, including the Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians (FETPV) training centers in Thailand, China and Indonesia as well as delivering FETPV training programs in Southeast and South Asia countries.  He holds the degrees: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Guelph; Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Poultry Medicine Residency, University of California, Davis; and is board certified with the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.  Additional professional contributions in Canada, USA, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, include the development and delivery of: 1) country contingency plans for avian influenza; 2) an avian influenza vaccination planning tool; 3) an epidemiology mapping tool; 4) the Tripartite Joint Risk Assessment Methodology; and 5) outbreak investigations, surveillance and field research studies in developed and developing countries.  Dr. Castellan led the development of Frontline In Service Applied Veterinary Epidemiology Training (ISAVET) in Africa.  His work focuses on evidence-based decision-making using applied epidemiology at the human-animal-environmental interface within a One Health approach. Dr. Castellan is the recipient of awards related to the prevention and control of avian influenza and virulent Newcastle disease as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association Global Veterinary Service Award (2020).

Animal Health Economics

Jonathan Rushton

Jonathan Rushton is an agricultural economist who specialises in the economics of animal health and food systems. His principal research interests are the: Global Burden of Animal Diseases (GBADs) where he directs a global programme with OIE (https://animalhealthmetrics.org); economics of antimicrobial use and resistance in livestock; and assessment of the multidimensionality of food quality and public health. He has recently completed studies on the economics of antimicrobial use in livestock in SE Asia for FAO and the economics of new livestock vaccines for the EU funded SAPHIR project and is currently involved in research on antimicrobial use in livestock in Vietnam (VIPARC), India (DARPI) and the EU (ROADMAP). He is working with IIAD on the economic dimensions of sustainable laboratory systems, a project funded by OIE. Jonathan embraces One Health approaches in the search for solutions to society’s health problems.

Jonathan is professor of animal health and food systems economics at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, leads a University Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Food Systems (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/centre-for-sustainable-food-systems/) and is part of the N8 Agrifood programme (http://www.n8research.org.uk). He is also adjunct Professor in the School of Behavioural, Cognitive & Social Sciences of the University of New England, Australia and president of the International Society for Economics and Social Sciences of Animal Health (http://www.isessah.com). In 2020 he became a Senior IIAD Fellow in Epidemiology at Texas A&M.

Transboundary Animal Diseases

Subash Morzaria, BVSc, MSc, PhD, CIBiol, MRCVS

Dr. Subhash Morzaria is a veterinarian with over 35 years of international experience in animal health, high impact zoonotic and non-zoonotic diseases, and livestock development. He has worked for several national and international organisations in Africa, UK and Asia and held senior research and managerial positions in various institutions that include the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) of the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the International Laboratory for Research on Animal Diseases (ILRAD) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) of the Consultative Group on Agriculture (CGIAR), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.  In Africa, his worked focused on addressing a range of animal disease problems focusing on the improvement and commercialisation of existing technologies and development of novel vaccines against a range of vector-borne pathogens using immuno-molecular approaches. In Asia he has been involved in developing a number of regional and international strategies for prevention and control of avian influenza and other major transboundary animal diseases (TADs) including FMD and CSF, Including the development and promotion of One Health concepts. From 2015-2018, as the Senior Animal Health Adviser to the Animal Health Programme of FAO based in Rome, he led the USAID-funded Emerging Pandemic Threats Programme. He has authored over 200 scientific papers in international refereed journals and has supervised a number of PhD students in the Africa, UK and Asia. He is also Adjunct Professor at University of Murdoch, Perth, Australia, and serves or has served as a member of scientific advisory committees of a number institutions/organizations including GALVMED, EcoHealth Alliance, Institute of Infectious Animal Diseases of the Texas A&M University, and PREDICT-2 Programme of the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, and South African Centre for Infectious Diseases Surveillance (SACIDS) One Health Foundation.