Dr. Garry Adams, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, received the American Veterinary Medical Association Lifetime of Excellence in Research Award during the organization’s annual convention on Aug. 7 in San Diego.
The award is based on Dr. Adams’ achievements in research and the impact of his career on the veterinary and biomedical profession.
Dr. Adams is a principal investigator and a former theme leader in Biological Systems with the FAZD Center.
“This award is certainly a humbling honor,” Dr. Adams said. “For me, this profession has offered unlimited opportunity to really invest and discover all new approaches to old problems. It is really the profession that I am indebted to for my career.”
Dr. Adams’ career began 44 years ago when he became an assistant professor with the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M. Upon completion of his residency and Doctor of Philosophy in Veterinary Pathology, Dr. Adams led the Rockefeller Foundation and USAID sponsored research team in Columbia, South America, developing diagnostic assays and vaccines for bovine anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and trypanosomiasis.
Dr. Adams returned to Texas A&M to teach pathology and continue his infectious disease research as a professor, then serving as associate dean for research at .
“My role as an administrator was really to encourage both new and mature scientists to rekindle their passion to conduct research,” Dr. Adams said. “I wanted to create an environment of discovery and creativity that would be contagious for students.”
For more than 30 years the research findings of his team have been implemented to improve the scientific basis of two of the largest animal health regulatory programs in the United States: brucellosis and tuberculosis. His research emphasis is the host-pathogen interface, genetic basis of natural disease resistance, molecular pathogenesis of intracellular bacterial pathogens, and the development of vaccines and diagnostic tests against zoonotic diseases.
“I really enjoy working in collaborative team research. I think that offers us the optimal expertise to focus on complex scientific questions,” Dr. Adams said.
His leadership role in the profession allowed him to provide expert testimony to the United States, House Committee for Homeland Defense while serving on the National Institutes of Health, Biodefense & Emerging Diseases, Blue Ribbon Committee for Category B and C Pathogens, and the National Academy of Science Standing Committee for the Department of Defense Transformational Medical Technologies.
Dr. Adams’ most recent role is leading the development and implementation of biodefense and emerging disease research initiatives.
He also served as a as member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Research from 2004-2010, as commissioner for the Texas Forensic Science Commission from 2006-2012, and currently serves on the AVMA Council on Education.
In addition to his research and more than 235 original scientific publications in refereed journals, his passion is the education of students in the profession. He chaired or co-chaired 54 Doctor of Philosophy graduate students’ advisory committees and served on 78 other Master of Science and doctoral graduate student advisory committees.
“The most important accomplishment for my career is the legacy that I will leave behind through my students. They will go on to solve problems of the future and take up scientific issues important to both animal and human health issues. The undergraduates, graduates, veterinary students, residents, and post-doctoral fellows reflect the work of all who have conducted research with me.”
Dr. Adams’ongoing research is on salmonellosis, brucellosis, Johne’s Disease, Rift Valley fever, and African Swine fever.
“In my students, I see the future of the profession and those who will replace the current faculty, so I’m passionate about preserving the future of the profession based on these research findings,” he said.