research team


research program




UC Davis

zhou Huaijun Zhou, PhD, Director/Principal Investigator  -- Dr. Zhou with assistance from Dr. Terra Kelly (Program Manager) is responsible for activity coordination, planning, work-plan development, program reporting, overall program monitoring and evaluation, and coordination and representation of the program with USAID and other stakeholders. The Program Director, working closely with the Partner Coordinators (listed below), will be responsible for ensuring good practices with regard to gender issues and ensuring the proper environmental practices are followed at the four universities where experiments will be conducted. As a Principal Investigator and UC Davis Coordinator, Dr. Zhou is also responsible for overseeing the overall program research, experimental design and technical aspects of genomics application and data analysis. He will also coordinate all of challenge work at UCD including experiment design, phenotype measurement, high-density SNP genotyping, RNA-Seq analysis. Dr. Zhou is Professor, Chancellor’s Fellow, Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis. He has been trained in Immunogenetics, Functional Genomics, and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Dr. Zhou has been working on avian breeding and genetics for past 25 years, especially in genetic disease resistance to bacterial (Campylobacter and Salmonella) and virus (Newcastle disease and avian influenza virus) infection in chickens. His research program has been funded by USDA, NIH, USAID, and world leading poultry breeding industry in studying genetic resistance to bacterial and virus infection in the chicken using the cutting-edge genomics technologies. Dr. Zhou is a recognized expert nationally and internationally in the field of avian immunogenetics and functional genomics with many invited talks at international conferences and universities. He has won several prestigious awards including Evonik Degussa Award for Achievement in Poultry Science, Hy-Line International Research Award, Poultry Science Association Early Achievement Award in Research, Outstanding Oversea Scholar from China National Science Foundation. Dr. Zhou has published more than 87 peer-reviewed papers and booked chapters in avian genetics and disease resistance.        

Description: TerraTerra Kelly, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACZM, Program Manager – Dr. Kelly works with the Director to implement research, capacity enhancing, and outreach activities for the program.  In addition, she oversees research aimed at developing a model to distribute chickens with enhanced disease resistance to smallholder producers in Africa. Dr. Kelly is a veterinarian and epidemiologist at the One Health Institute in the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Her research focuses on diverse health issues affecting animals and people and their shared environment in the U.S. and abroad. She has managed a number of multidisciplinary projects involving government, academic, and private organizations in the U.S., Asia, and Africa. Dr. Kelly is active in international research and capacity enhancing programs designed to improve our understanding of disease dynamics at the animal-human-environmental interface and developing strategies for minimizing disease risk with the goal of improving animal and human health and food security. She currently leads activities for the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Program PREDICT 2 project in Ghana and contributes to the project’s surveillance and capacity building efforts. Dr. Kelly was also the lead on a USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Adapting Livestock Systems to Climate Change project in Nepal, which was developed to identify risk factors for zoonotic disease transmission among smallholder buffalo farmers. Additionally, she has assisted with establishment of a health monitoring program for chimpanzees in Uganda where she conducted trainings for a network of regional wildlife professionals. Dr. Kelly has also worked in collaboration with state and federal agencies on a variety of projects including research to enhance wildlife disease surveillance and to investigate the epidemiology of influenza A viruses in wild birds in California.

gallardoRodrigo Gallardo, DVM, PhD, ACPV -- Dr. Gallardo is responsible for the NDV replication, titration, preparation and use. Tear and blood collection technique, procedures, and processing of these samples using ELISA and qRT-PCR techniques. Dr. Rodrigo Gallardo is an Assistant Professor in Avian Medicine, University of California, Davis. He is a poultry veterinarian with experience in poultry production, feeding, management, medicine, and diseases. He has a DVM degree from the University of Chile and a PhD from Auburn University in avian molecular virology. He is also board certified from the American College of Poultry Veterinarians (ACPV). He worked for several years in a layer breeder facility (representing HyLine international) in charge of breeding, laying, feed mill and hatchery. He has worked with Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) closely as an assistant veterinarian in Horizonte and Centrovet diagnostic laboratories (in Chile) using serological and virological methods for detection of viral diseases affecting the Chilean poultry industry including NDV surveillance. He has also been involved in manufacturing NDV biological products both live and inactivated. Those products were commercialized in the Chilean market with great success. In terms of research he has worked characterizing the immune response of ostriches against NDV inactivated vaccines. He has worked since he enrolled the PhD program at Auburn University in 2008 in RNA viruses. He is highly qualified in working with RNA viral poultry pathogens not only using the conventional virological and serological techniques but also using molecular biology. He has investigated very virulent infectious Bursal Disease virus immunology and immunosuppression, and its effect over the immune response against endemic Infectious Bronchitis Virus strains in California. He is also currently investigating the effect of diatoms as adyuvants for vaccines in commercial poultry. His research interests are immunosuppressive and respiratory diseases and their interaction in poultry. 

bunnDavid Bunn, PhD -- Dr. Bunn has managed programs and projects in the private and public sectors, at the state and international level. While based at the One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine he has managed international research, extension and capacity building projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nepal during the last five years. He co-developed and managed the Global Livestock CRSP- and USAID- sponsored Avian Flu School Program (AFS), 2006-2009. AFS conducted training and capacity building activities in eight African countries for personnel from twenty countries. He co-designed and managed the GLCRSP Poultry Health for Development Project (PHD) coordinating the research and training team, involving scientists and ministry extension staff and veterinarians from seven countries in East and West Africa. As part of the poultry health project he coordinated village-level intervention strategy research in Tanzania and training activities in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. As part of the AFS & PHD programs, Dr. Bunn managed 14 avian flu and poultry health workshops for veterinarians and agricultural extension staff, public health staff, district-level officials, and village communities in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Ghana, Senegal, and Benin. Since 2010, Dr. Bunn has also served as Training Coordinator for the USAID PREDICT Program that is conducting zoonotic pathogen surveillance among wildlife populations in 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

kebreabErmias Kebreab, PhD – He serves as advisor of the research and outreach of the program in Africa. Dr. Kebreab, originally from sub-Saharan Africa, is a Professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair in Sustainable Animal Agriculture, University of California, Davis. He has 15 years of experience working for institutions in Africa, Europe, Canada and USA. He has managed projects and continues to be actively involved in development projects in Africa (Ghana), South America (Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Brazil) and Asia (Thailand and Vietnam). His work is focused on research and teaching related to nutrition modeling, sustainable animal production and adaptation (and mitigation) to climate change and variability.

Laura LovgrenLaura Lovgren, Program Coordinator, has served in program support roles at UC Davis since 2007. Before joining the International Programs Office in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, she worked in several campus departments including the Campus Data Center, Plant Sciences, Student Housing. Before coming to UC Davis, Laura worked in corporate marketing for a large civil engineering firm in Novato, CA, and was the office manager for a real estate agent in Vacaville, CA. She was also the assistant field office manager for a large job construction site, working for DPR Construction during the expansion of the Genentech Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Facility in Vacaville. 

Iowa State University  

lamontSusan J. Lamont, PhD -- Dr. Lamont coordinates the work conducted at ISU, and is the program lead: maintaining unique inbred lines of chickens to generate chicks for experiments conducted at ISU and UCD, conducting NDV-challenge experiments at ISU and collecting physiological measurements and biological samples from the experiments, isolating high-quality mRNA and gDNA from samples, transcriptomic and high-density SNP data generation, statistical and bioinformatic analysis of transcriptomic data, and training of personnel technical procedures in Ghana, Tanzania, and at ISU; and produces reports and manuscripts. Dr. Lamont has over three decades of research experience on genetics, genomics, immunology and disease resistance in chickens, with most of the focus on elucidating the genetic control of innate resistance to disease. She has experience in all aspects of the research program, including pathogen challenges and genomic analyses, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers. Additionally, Dr. Lamont has extensive administrative and project management experience, having served as Program Director of the Midwest Poultry Research Consortium, Assistant Director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, and Head of the Department of Animal Science at ISU.

dekkdersJack Dekkers, PhD -- Dr. Dekkers will conduct the quantitative genetic and genome-wide association analyses, analyses to choose SNPs to include on the low-density SNP panel, and development of strategies for implementation of results in the field. He will also contribute to the writing of reports and manuscripts. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Dekkers has established himself as an international research leader in animal breeding and genetics. His research focuses on the integration of molecular and quantitative genetics to advance genetic improvement of livestock. He also has an outstanding reputation in education and has given post-graduate courses in Australia, Canada, and Europe. During his career, Dekkers has established and conducted highly productive research programs in a number of key areas in animal breeding and genetics. Although most of his current research focuses on pigs, he has also conducted extensive research on the use of high-density SNP panels and genomic selection in chickens.

Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania  

muhairwa Amandus Pachificus Muhairwa, BVM, PhD - Dr. Muhairwa leads the program research at Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro, Tanzania. He has nearly twenty years of experience researching animal diseases in Tanzania. He has studied and supervised a number of projects dealing with control of poultry diseases in both commercial and local free ranging chickens in Tanzania.

msoffePeter Msoffe, BVM, MVSc, PhD -- Dr. Msoffe is co-investigator for the research at Sokoine University of Agriculture, in Morogoro, Tanzania. He has investigated phenotypes, including immunocompetence and natural disease resistance in local chicken ecotypes of Tanzania.  He has used microsatellite markers to establish the genetic relatedness of the local chickens in Tanzania. His research has indicated that the local chicken ecotypes in Tanzania that appeared phenotypically different were also genetically diverse. Using this knowledge he tested the potential of the local birds being resistant against Newcastle disease using ND vaccine. Dr. Msoffe has also researched genetics of disease resistance. Owing to his previous endeavors he will combine his knowledge in poultry diseases and immunogenetics to tackle the current research program.  

University of Ghana  

kayangBoniface Baboreka Kayang, PhD -- Dr. Kayang is responsible for overall experiment design, sample collection and all aspects of laboratory analyses in Ghana. He is a molecular geneticist with a keen interest in the conservation and sustainable use of indigenous animal genetic resources. In the past 14 years, he has developed and utilized microsatellite markers in the genetic analyses of poultry species, producing the first microsatellite linkage map of Japanese quail. From 2005-2007 he led the Ghanaian research team in a DURAS (French Government) sponsored project to characterize local chickens in the West African sub-region. As a JSPS Research Fellow (2007-2009), he carried out further research work on genetic analyses of indigenous animals in Ghana. He has been the Ghanaian coordinator of a JSPS sponsored project on the conservation and sustainable use of wildlife in Ghana (2010-2013). He supervised a graduate student to develop microsatellite markers for guinea fowl using “next generation” sequencing technology and is presently a member of the supervisory committee for a PhD student characterizing local guinea fowls in Ghana. He is the immediate past Head of Department of Animal Science, University of Ghana (January 2010 – July 2013).

naazieAugustine Naazie, PhD -- Dr. Naazie is co-investigator for the research program at the University of Ghana, managing the project facilities and birds and supervising labor implementing the experiments. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Livestock and Poultry Research Centre (LIPREC), University of Ghana. He is a quantitative geneticist with research focus on the conservation of domestic animal, especially local poultry, genetic resources (characterization, improvement and use of these resources) and also in production systems, their analyses, modeling and evaluation in terms of sustainability. He has worked in multi-disciplinary teams at the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) Moist Savanna Program, then located at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan (1995 – 1997). His research focused on developing sustainable crop-livestock systems. He was a collaborator in the DURAS (French Government) sponsored sub-regional project on characterization of local chickens in the West African sub-region (2005-2007). He is currently a member of the supervisory committees for two PhD candidates characterizing Ghanaian local guinea fowls. He is currently executing a project to select local chickens for improved performance at the farmers’ level.  

George AningGeorge Aning, DVM, PhD -- Dr. Aning guides animal challenge experiments with NDV, collection of tear samples and laboratory work, namely isolation of DNA and RNA and real-time PCR. He has conducted research comparing heat-stable and conventional NDV vaccines in their efficacy in protecting commercial and local chicken. He has also supervised research in developing vaccination strategies against Infectious Bursal Disease in Ghana. He has worked as Principal Research Scientist in poultry and livestock disease prevention (1992-2002) and was Director of Animal Research Institute, Ghana (2003-2006). He is currently Acting Dean of the University of Ghana School of Veterinary Medicine.

University of Delaware  

CarlCarl Schmidt, PhD -- Dr. Schmidt has been working in the areas of bioinformatics and transcriptome analysis for the past seven years.  He is PI on a USDA award to study and improve the response of chickens to heat stress. In this context, Dr. Schmidt’s laboratory has prepared and analyzed over 400 chicken transcriptome libraries along with developing the databases and web resources necessary for sharing this data with collaborators. In addition, he is active in development of Birdbase, a web resource for avian genomics, GallusReactome, a database of chicken metabolic and signaling pathways, along with eGIFT, a web based gene-centric text-mining tool to facilitate understanding of high throughput genomics experiments. He has trained students and collected chicken samples in Uganda in an ongoing study to understand the selective pressures on backyard flocks in Africa.