Pandemic & Biosecurity Policy Program
Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs
Director of the Pandemic & Biosecurity Policy Program
Dr. Gerald Parker is a Senior Fellow for the Pandemic and Biosecurity Policy Programs at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs, Bush School of Government and Public Service; Associate Dean for Global One Health, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine; and Strategic Advisor for the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Dr. Parker also serves on several advisory boards, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine standing committee on Health Threats and Workforce Resilience; the FEMA National Advisory Council; the Homeland Security Science and Technology Advisory Committee; the Biodefense Blue Ribbon Panel; and the Texas Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response.
Prior to his appointment to Texas A&M University, Dr. Parker held technical to executive leadership positions throughout thirty-six years of public service as a recognized defense and civilian interagency leader in biodefense, high consequence emerging infectious diseases, global health security, and all-hazards public health/medical preparedness. This includes coordinating federal medical and public health responses to Hurricanes Katrina through Alex, the 2009 Pandemic, and the Haiti earthquake. Dr. Parker’s service includes more than twenty-six years on active duty, leading medical research and development programs and organizations. He is a former Commander and Deputy Commander, US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Dr. Parker held senior executive-level positions at the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Defense (DOD), including serving as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at HHS and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense at DOD.
Dr. Parker is a 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award and a 2013 recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Meritorious Civilian Service. Dr. Parker graduated from Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Christine Crudo Blackburn
Deputy Director of the Pandemic & Biosecurity Policy Program
Dr. Christine Crudo Blackburn currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Pandemic and Biosecurity Program at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, conducting research on various aspects of pandemic disease policy and control. She teaches at the Bush School and at the Texas A&M School of Public Health.
Dr. Blackburn received her PhD in 2015 from Washington State University as part of the Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program. This program requires specialization in a minimum of three fields. Dr. Blackburn chose political science, communication, and veterinary clinical sciences/global animal health. For her doctoral work, she constructed a mathematical model that allows for quantified policy and communication inputs to determine how different disease intervention policies and communication strategies impact the spread of a disease outbreak. Following the completion of her doctoral degree, Dr. Blackburn worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Field Disease Investigation Unit in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. During this appointment, she worked on a variety of projects, including seasonal prevalence of E. coli in dairy and beef cattle, health differences from feeding dairy calves milk replacer versus real milk, and the impact of Bifidobacterium on the health development of dairy calves.
Dr. Glen Laine is Regent’s Professor, Vice President for Research Emeritus, and Director of the Michael E. DeBakey Institute for Comparative Cardiovascular Science and Biomedical Devices at Texas A&M University. He is holder of the Wiseman-Lewie-Worth Endowed Chair in Cardiology. Dr. Laine served in the United States Army from 1967 through 1969. He began his academic career as a microbiologist working with various infectious agents. He expanded his graduate education into biophysics and biomedical engineering, applying first principles to human and animal medicine.
Dr. Laine spent a decade in a clinical department of anesthesiology and critical care medicine in the Texas Medical Center before returning to Texas A&M, where he assumed the role of Department Head of Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology for approximately twenty years. He spent the past four years as the Vice President for Research at Texas A&M, leading unprecedented growth in research expenditures to just under one billion dollars per year. As Vice President, he initiated the design and construction of the Biosafety Level-3 AG biocontainment facility. This facility will accommodate the chronic study of high consequence zoonotic diseases in large animals along with the vectors responsible for transmission of disease to animals and humans. As Director of the DeBakey Institute for the past eighteen years, he has published extensively in the medical and biomedical engineering literature on fluid resuscitation and edema formation in trauma patients. Dr. Laine’s diverse background led him to a significant interest in potential pandemics resulting from either intentional (bioterrorism) or accidental release of microorganisms genetically modified, utilizing techniques common to synthetic biology, including the policies needed to ensure appropriate preparation, response, and recovery in a resilient society.
Associate Research Scientist
Dr. Leslie Ruyle is an Associate Research Scientist and serves as the Scowcroft Institute’s Assistant Director. She is an ecologist working across disciplines to create innovative solutions for conservation, conflict, and development. She holds a PhD in Ecology from the University of Georgia, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa, and has managed university-based initiatives for NSF and USAID. Having lived in four countries and traveled to over 80 countries in her career, she has broad experience in international applied conservation and research including stints at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute-Panama, Honduran Coral Reef Foundation, Applied Biodiversity Science Program, Earthwatch, and the Center on Conflict and Development. Her work has been recognized with the UN’s Equator Prize Initiative and Dean’s Award for Interdisciplinary teams. Currently, she is building a program in DRC focused on supporting entrepreneurship in regions of conflict, conservation concern, and limited connectivity (EC3). She leads an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students on “The Boom and Bust Economics of Ebola in Beni, DRC”.
Student Simulation Facilitator
Jason Moats, PhD is the Associate Division Director for the Emergency Services Training Institute / Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service. He currently oversees four programs with a combined annual budget of more than 19 million dollars. He has been with TEEX since 2002. TEEX , a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized, first-responder training, homeland security exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond. As Program Director he is responsible for the emergency medical services, public health and incident management Homeland Security National Training Programs training and technical assistance programs based in the Emergency Operations Training Center.
Dr. Moats has nearly three decades of experience in of emergency services. He has served as a firefighter for departments in Kentucky, Florida, and Indiana, as well as an Emergency Medical Technician in Indiana, Florida and San Diego County (CA). He has been decorated for valor on two occasions while serving as a firefighter/EMT. He has also served in the United States Navy as a hospital corpsman where he served aboard ships as well as in hospitals as an EMT.
In 2000, Dr. Moats became the Hazardous Materials Training Officer and the SARA Title III Program Officer for the State of Kentucky’s Division of Emergency Management. Jason managed the state’s hazardous materials training program and built partnerships between response agencies throughout Kentucky. He is currently adjunct faculty for the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Bush School at Texas A&M University.
He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in Educational Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree in Workforce Education & Development from Southern Illinois University. Jason is the author of “Agroterrorism, A Guide for First Responders”. He has had articles published on a variety of topics involving training and development, technology acceptance, crisis management, and the work of scholar-practitioners. He also has published a chapter in the Handbook of Innovative Technology Integration in Higher Education. He is the past Proceedings Editor (2015) and Conference Program Chair (2016 & 2017) for the Academy of Human Resource Development’s (AHRD) International Research Conference in the Americas. He is currently a member of the Academy of Human Resource Development’s Board of Directors. He is a faculty fellow with the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center and a research fellow with the Bush School of Government and Public Service’s Institute for Science Technology, and Public Policy, both of which are at Texas A&M University.