COLLEGE STATION – The National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense at Texas A&M University announced today that Melissa Hefferin Berquist has become assistant director.
Berquist comes to the center from the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she served as a senior analyst and program coordinator for the agency’s Office of University Programs specifically managing the FAZD Center and related department’s Science and Technology Centers of Excellence.
Her primary responsibilities will include assisting the center’s director, Dr. Tammy Beckham, with the executive operations. She will provide scientific leadership, ensure overall strategic continuity, facilitate communication with stakeholders, and synchronize and coordinate the center’s efforts related to strategic management, budget, regulatory compliance and efficiency.
“As the FAZD Center continues to grow, it is vital that we attract people with the talent and energy to sustain that growth,” Beckham said. “Dr. Berquist brings a great deal of skill, insight and vitality to our team and will prove a significant asset to us in her role as assistant director.”
A 2001 graduate of Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering, Berquist earned her doctorate in molecular medicine/molecular and cellular biology from the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine in 2008.
Berquist then served for almost three years at BAI, Inc., a professional services company in Alexandria, Va., first as a senior bio-surety analyst and then as a senior analyst and program coordinator. While at BAI, she worked with biodefense research sponsored by the homeland security department.