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USDA National Bio and Agro-Defense facility names new director


October 9, 2019
By Manure Manager

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Dr. Alfonso Clavijo has been appointed as director of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research and diagnostic facility designed to protect against the threat and potential impact of serious animal diseases.

ARS partners with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to operate NBAF. The facility is currently under construction by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with commissioning scheduled for completion in 2021.

Clavijo, who starts October 13, will play a key role in ensuring the smooth transition of responsibility from DHS to USDA once the 574,000 square-foot facility becomes fully operational in 2023.

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’s leadership also earned him Canada’s 2018 President’s National Award in “Leadership in People Management.” This prestigious honor cited Clavijo’s exemplary people-management skills and his demonstration of excellence in advancing CFIA goals, values and ethics as a human resources manager.

Clavijo has held leadership or advisory positions at CFIA laboratories, as well as Kansas State University, Texas A&M University, the Pan American Health Organization, and National University in Bogota, Colombia.

Clavijo has published numerous scientific works and continues to serve as an adjunct professor or advisor at affiliate organizations.


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