Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Sarah Hamer is a veterinary ecologist specializing in wildlife and zoonotic disease ecology and epidemiology. Her research originates at the intersection of ecology, epidemiology, and conservation, and encompasses diverse taxa (bacteria, ticks, mosquitoes, birds, mice, dogs, humans, and more). Given the emergence of pathogens shared by humans and animals, this is an important time to utilize multidisciplinary tools to improve human, animal, and ecosystem health. She also is an expert in the ecology and epidemiology of zoonotic disease (diseases that can pass between humans and animals), including in avian health research. She and her team have studied kissing bugs, which can transmit the parasite that causes Chagas disease, a malady that can lead to acute or chronic heart disease or death in humans, pets, and wildlife. Acute heart disease is severe and has a sudden onset, while chronic heart disease develops over a long period of time. There is a significant human health burden of Chagas disease in Central and South America and Mexico, where medical doctors are generally aware of the risk of disease. There is far less awareness for the disease in the U.S., despite estimates of over 300,000 infected people in the country. Her avian studies include a characterization of infectious health threats to the endangered whooping crane and a study of avian migration as a mechanism for expanding the geographic ranges of vectors and pathogens. She also has collaborated with the Schubot Center for Avian Health at Texas A&M in sequencing the genome and transcriptome of whooping and Sandhill cranes, in an effort to enhance the birds’ conservation efforts. In 2018, Hamer was appointed the Richard Schubot Endowed Chair and director of the Schubot Center for Avian Health. Already an associate professor in VIBS, this role includes a joint appointment in VTPB. Her leadership position gives her a chance to assist researchers and students in reaching their academic goals, while also expanding on the current scholarship at the center. She has taught at Texas A&M since 2012, during which time she has served as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling more than $2 million from agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Homeland Security, and the Centers for Disease Control, among others. She is associate professor the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and Richard Schubot Endowed Chair and director of the Schubot Center for Avian Health at Texas A&M. Hamer earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a doctorate in fisheries & wildlife and ecology from Michigan State University, and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in natural resources and environmental sciences degrees from the University of Illinois. She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and has an associate wildlife biologist certification from The Wildlife Society.