David H. Walker, MD, Carmage and Martha Walls Distinguished University Chair in Tropical Diseases and Professor in the Department of Pathology, is executive director of the CBEID. Dr. Walker has a long and distinguished career as an independent NIH-funded scientist. His research on rickettsial and ehrlichial molecular microbiology, immunity, pathology, pathogenesis, clinical pathophysiology, epidemiology, and diagnosis has included important contributions to elucidating the protective immune mechanisms against rickettsiae and ehrlichiae, the discovery and characterization of agents of emerging infectious diseases, description of new diseases, and contributions to the descriptions of the pathology of Lassa fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, boutonneuse fever, and human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis. His investigation of the 1979 outbreak of anthrax in Sverdlovsk, Russia revealed it to have been inhalational anthrax. His field research projects and training of international scientists have ranged from China, Inner Mongolia, Sicily, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Slovenia, and Japan to Cameroon. Dr. Walker served as the Principal Investigator of the Western Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (WRCE) from 2003 to 2014. This $105 million NIH grant supported research to develop an number of new vaccines and point-of-care diagnostics for NIAID Category A-C agents.
The Associate Director for the CBEID is Kimberly Schuenke, PhD. Dr. Schuenke is charged with promoting the activities of infectious disease researchers on campus. As a Certified Research Administrator, Dr. Schuenke manages several multi-project grants whose goals are to develop novel vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics against biothreat agents and emerging infectious diseases. These include Ebola, Marburg, and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, ehrlichioses, and rickettsial diseases. She has a longstanding interest in enhancing STEM education, and was a co-investigator on an NIH/NIAID-funded science education grant that developed an interactive, web-based adventure series to engage middle-school students in problem-solving activities in infectious diseases.