The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agriculture Research Service (ARS) today announced the hiring of Dr. Alfonso Clavijo as the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility’s first permanent director. Dr. Clavijo brings international experience in animal research and diagnostic work that will help the new, state-of-the-art facility achieve its goal of protecting U.S. agriculture and consumers through cutting-edge research and development of vaccines and countermeasurers.
As a member of the of U.S. House Agriculture Committee and representative for NBAF’s new home in Manhattan, Kan., U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. has remained at the forefront of the construction of NBAF, championing the facility’s role as a leader in animal disease research.
“This facility is instrumental in protecting our livestock, our economy, and our food security,” Dr. Marshall said. “I am excited to welcome Dr. Clavijo to Manhattan as he begins his tenure with the USDA and leadership of the nation’s premier agriculture research facility. Dr. Clavijo and NBAF must continue to receive the USDA’s fullest support to be utilized to its greatest extent.”
Prior to his appointment at NBAF, Clavijo served as Laboratory Executive Director of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Centres for Animal Disease, which operates laboratories in Winnipeg and Lethbridge. As Director, Clavijo oversaw the administration of diagnostic services, related technology development and research to detect and prevent transboundary, emerging, and zoonotic animal diseases.
He also directed the management of biosafety level (BSL) 2-4 facilities that allow for the contained study of pathogens that cause foreign animal diseases, including foot-and-mouth, African swine fever, classical swine fever, and highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Under Clavijo’s leadership, CFIA’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Diseases in Winnipeg was named by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as reference center for emerging and zoonotic pathogens.
Clavijo earned a doctorate degree in Veterinary Microbiology / Virology while attending the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, from June 1990 to March 1995 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from National University in Bogota, Columbia, 1986.
The Agricultural Research Service is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar invested in agricultural research results in $20 of economic impact.