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Kurt Zuelke

Kurt Zuelke

Director
Global Health Research Complex
Division of Research
Texas A&M University

Expertise

Infectious Disease Response Planning; Diagnostic testing and surge capacity; Biocontainment Lab Management and Operations; Animal Health and Zoonotic Diseases

The Global Health Research Complex (GHRC) is an $86 million, 102,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, nationally distinct biocontainment facility and core laboratory serving as a resource to The Texas A&M University System to combat existing and emerging diseases that pose the gravest threat to Texas public health and to the state’s $100 billion agricultural economy.

The GHRC supports and advances multi-disciplinary large animal and insect vector research, global health education, and training opportunities for faculty at Texas A&M and their partners from other academic institutions and industry around the world.

As the first GHRC executive director, Zuelke will lead the GHRC team to initiate and maintain ongoing operations; develop new faculty relationships, partnerships, and research programs at Texas A&M and other national and international institutions; and establish the GHRC and Texas A&M as a pre-eminent peer in the global community of transboundary and infectious diseases biocontainment research facilities.

Zuelke operated an independent consultancy delivering executive level strategic biosecurity, biocontainment facility management, and One Health solutions to a global clientele. Notable clients included Merrick’s OPTIC team supporting development of the business models and strategic operational plans for the US Department of Homeland Security/US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) under construction in Manhattan, Kansas, and for Texas A&M.

He was the director of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in Geelong. He led international bio-containment (BSL-2 through BSL-4) and bio-security research and diagnostic programs, facility design projects, and operations management. AAHL protects Australia’s $20 billion livestock and animal products export industries by delivering diagnostic services, global surveillance, and outbreak response support against emergency animal diseases and is one of few global facilities routinely performing BSL-4 level research and diagnostics in large animal species. As a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) International Collaborating Center for New and Emerging Diseases, AAHL is a leader in implementing One Health partnering efforts to manage emerging zoonotic infectious disease risks across Southeast Asia.

Zuelke was previously the director of the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames, Iowa. He led NADC’s strategic business reorganization and relocation into new state‐of‐the‐art facilities that support large‐scale BSL‐2, BSL‐3, and BSL‐3Ag level research in livestock and wildlife species. Zuelke co‐founded the USDA National Centers for Animal Health (NCAH), and served on the NCAH board of directors with the directors of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) and the USDA APHIS Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). The NCAH is a $28 million USDA interagency joint venture directing governance and strategic planning support for the NADC, NVSL, and CVB.

He served previously as a USDA representative to the National Science and Technology Council in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where he coordinated and led OSTP’s portfolio of interagency biotechnology, agricultural and life science programs.

Zuelke received a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Minnesota and a doctoral degree in physiology from the University of Georgia. He maintains long-standing research and science interests in comparative medicine, genomics, biotechnology, global health, and biosecurity and biocontainment engineering as they relate to biocontainment facilities and infectious zoonotic diseases.