She also serves as co-theme leader for Biological Systems.
Dr. Beckham became director of the National Center for Foreign Animal Disease and Zoonotic Disease Defense in September 2010 after serving as its interim director for six months.
She maintains her role as director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL). Dr. Beckham provides leadership for TVMDL’s four locations, comprising two full-service laboratories, in College Station and Amarillo, and two poultry laboratories, in Center and Gonzales. Dr. Beckham leads one of the highest volume animal diagnostic labs in the country, as TVMDL receives approximately 200,000 submissions and runs approximately 1.2 million tests per year.
Prior to being selected as director of TVMDL, Dr. Beckham served as director of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, a part of USDA’s Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York. Her responsibilities included managing the diagnosis of animal diseases, overseeing diagnostic test development for a nationwide animal health diagnostic system, and coordinating efforts with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and other entities.
Dr. Beckham is a magna cum laude graduate of Auburn University, where she earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1998. She also holds a doctorate in biomedical science from Auburn, received in 2001, while she served as a captain in the U.S. Army. She served at the Army’s Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., where she helped develop improved techniques for detecting deadly pathogens such as Ebola and Marburg viruses. Dr. Beckham is recognized as an international expert in the diagnosis of foreign animal diseases. She routinely acts as a subject matter expert at international meetings and maintains productive partnerships with international scientists and world reference laboratories.
Dr. Beckham serves on many committees, including the Institutional Biological Safety Committee for Texas A&M University, the Joint AAVLD/USAHA Special Committee on the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine Executive Committee and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network Directors Committee. She also serves as an adjunct professor in the department of veterinary pathobiology at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Beckham is a member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA). She has authored numerous published studies, including those appearing in Journal of Virology, Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Journal of Comparative Pathology and Laboratory Investigation, among others.