I was trained as a medical microbiologist in the laboratories of Dr. Donald Woods at the University of Calgary and Dr. Paul Keim at Northern Arizona University for a total of 9 years before becoming an independent researcher. I have studied various aspects of melioidosis and glanders, from diagnostics to therapeutic and vaccine developments. I have learned “One Health”, a collaborative multidisciplinary approach to improve health outcomes by recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, and ecosystems. The One Health paradigm has been used in most of my studies to better understand the public health and biodefense aspects of both diseases. Most of my publications are with a particular focus on population genetics, genomics, and pathogenesis. These focused areas require extensive knowledge about the pathogens and the genetic databases. I was among a few researchers who published most of B. pseudomallei and B. mallei genomes through GenBank, the NIH genetic sequence database. Being an expert in these fields, I was frequently asked to provide insights on the pathogens’ genetics and genomics, and to be included as a co-author on the manuscripts.
After joining the College of Veterinary Medicine at UF in October 2014, I have begun studying the veterinary aspects of both diseases. Since both B. pseudomallei and B. mallei are classified as Tier 1 biothreat agents that require special permits and biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) containment for research in the US, my research is of interest to, and funded by, the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. I believe that my areas of specialization have provided a unique contribution to UF’s portfolio.
- Burkholderia mallei (Glanders) vaccine development
- Burkholderia pseudomallei – genotype classification, effective treatment and early diagnosis of Melioidosis and its impact on Southeast Asia
- Molecular genetics and biology of pathogenic bacteria and their drug resistance