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Michelle Colby

National Program Leader
Dr. Michelle M. Colby serves as the National Program Leader for Animal Biosecurity in the Division of Animal Systems at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).  She provides leadership for veterinary and animal biosecurity programs including the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program, the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and Tactical Sciences for Agricultural Biosecurity.

Michelle has served in various policy and research coordination roles prior to her time at NIFA, including  two years as the Chief of the National Security Division in USDA’s Office of Homeland Security where she provided guidance and direction for national security programs related to homeland security, agroterrorism, biodefense, disaster response and recovery, and efforts to coordinate national-level homeland security policy initiatives.  From 2009-2017, Michelle served as the Branch Chief for Agricultural Defense in the Chemical and Biological Defense Division (CBD) of DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate where she directed all of  CBD’s research and development efforts related to agricultural defense, including programs in foreign animal disease modeling and advanced development of veterinary countermeasures.  Before joining DHS in 2009, she  served as the Assistant Director for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures in the Homeland and National Security Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where she managed all of OSTP’s work on coordinating research and development on countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.  She began her career at OSTP as a AAAS/NTI Global Security Fellow in October of 2003. 

Michelle completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the Maryland campus of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VRMCVM), as well as a M.S. in Epidemiology and three-year applied veterinary epidemiology residency program.  Dr. Colby’s research focused on the use of Geographic Information System databases in the management of infectious diseases of livestock and poultry.  She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from VRMCVM and a B.S. degree in Animal Science from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.

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