I am pleased to announce the appointment of Heather Simmons, DVM, MSVPH, as director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases, IIAD, effective March 1.
Dr. Simmons has been serving as the associate director of IIAD for several years now and was part of IIAD since its inception in 2004. She has been part of forming and charting the course of the institute at every step of the way in its mission to advance capacity development and to deliver translational, research-driven solutions in the ever-changing world of animal health, known and developing zoonotic diseases and transboundary diseases through a One Health approach.
In addition to her work with IIAD, Dr. Simmons has been upholding AgriLife’s dedication to advancing animal health and welfare, both here in Texas and across the country, in her previous role as associate department head and Extension program leader with the AgriLife Extension Veterinary Medicine.
While IIAD serves Texas, it also looks beyond the borders of Texas and the U.S. because the infectious diseases that threaten animal agriculture and agricultural economies know no borders.
I also want to take a moment to thank Dr. Elsa Murano, Director of The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and President Emerita, who has served as interim director. She was the natural choice to temporarily lead IIAD, given the complementary missions of IIAD and the Borlaug Institute, which both seek to improve the health of people and animals through agricultural science. During her time leading IIAD, Dr. Murano has helped hone the institute’s vision and mission.
Dr. Simmons will continue to develop IIAD’s capacity development, education and research portfolio and broaden AgriLife’s reach through collaborative partnerships with our college, Extension Veterinary Medicine and The Texas A&M University System, not to mention IIAD’s federal, industry and international partnerships with groups like the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. cattle industry at large and World Organization for Animal Health.
I am pleased with the trajectory of IIAD and am excited for Dr. Simmons’ leadership. She will direct IIAD into a bright future and continue to expand our partnerships and collaboration on animal health at home and internationally. Please join me in congratulating her.
Patrick J. Stover, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor, Texas A&M AgriLife
Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Research