The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense (FAZD Center) performs research and develops products to defend the nation from high-consequence foreign animal and zoonotic diseases. Founded in April 2004 as a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Center of Excellence (COE), the FAZD Center leverages the resources of multiple major universities, Minority Serving Institutions, national laboratories, and partners in state and federal government.
The FAZD Center focuses on research, education and outreach to prevent, detect, mitigate and recover from exotic animal, emerging, and/or zoonotic (transmissible between animals and humans) diseases, which may be introduced intentionally or through natural processes.
At least 60 percent of all human pathogens are zoonotic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and 75 percent of recently emerging infectious diseases that affect humans are of animal origin. The most dangerous of these animal diseases pose catastrophic risks to human health, livestock health and the national agricultural economy, which provides about 13 percent of all U.S. jobs as well as $1 trillion in annual U.S. economic activity.
The FAZD Center champions the One Health concept with its research on the high-consequence diseases that are transmissible between animals and humans, and through its partnerships with the CDC and the One Health program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
The FAZD Center is headquartered at Texas A&M University, the nation’s sixth-largest university by enrollment. The FAZD Center was renewed as a co-lead with the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University in 2010, and the DHS cooperative agreement extends through 2016.
The FAZD Center is a multi-institutional organization with partners in 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, the nations of Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uganda and the United Kingdom, plus laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). The center’s portfolio is also closely aligned with the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, USDA-APHIS, USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDAARS), agricultural and allied industries, the private sector, bio-pharmaceutical companies, additional federal agencies, national laboratories, and other DHS Centers of Excellence.
The FAZD Center engages customers throughout all phases of product development. Center customers are involved in project selection, development and transition to operation or delivery. The center maintains effective liaisons with partner organizations and conducts or participates in joint planning sessions with customers. The strategic linkages that are enabled through the DHS S&T Chem-Bio Division are shown in the chart below.
The FAZD Center’s team of scientists conducts cutting-edge, inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary research across three areas of concentration:
- Biological Systems – Vaccines, screening tools, diagnostic assays, and universal sample preparation/preservation platforms help meet the goals of early detection, diagnosis, prevention, response and recovery.
- Information and Analysis Systems – Data-sharing products to support emergency management, biosurveillance, and business continuity.
- Education and Outreach – Graduate programs, early responder training, K-12 education, and stakeholder workshops to provide the next generation workforce for agriculture, public health, and homeland security.