Leadership Team

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 a number of new vaccines and point-of-care diagnostics for NIAID Category A-C potential agents of bioterrorism and emerging infections.

Sherry L. Haller, PhD is the Associate Director of the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases and is charged with oversight of all administrative aspects of the multiple large center grants housed in the CBEID. These grants and contracts address current research needs including the development of novel vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics against biothreat agents and emerging infectious diseases. These include Ebola, Marburg, and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, SARS-CoV-2, ehrlichiosis, and rickettsial diseases. Dr. Haller’s research background is in the molecular biology of the innate immune response to poxvirus infection as well as the host pathology and vector biology of mosquito borne viruses including chikungunya, Mayaro, and Zika virus. She also has key grantsmanship expertise and experience in research development at UTMB assisting faculty members with over 300 research grants and contracts since 2018.