Our Team

Scientific Advisors

Dr. Billy Hargis

Director Poultry Health Laboratory and Sustainable Poultry Health Chair, University of Arkansas

Dr. Hargis received his undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota (B.S. 1980), his Master of Science Training at the University of Georgia (Poultry Science, 1983) and his D.V.M and Ph.D. training at the University of Minnesota (Ph.D. 1987).


From 1987 – 2000, Dr. Hargis was a faculty member in the Departments of Veterinary Pathobiology and Poultry Science, Texas A&M University, where he was promoted through the ranks of Assistant Professor to Professor. In 2006, Dr. Hargis was named the Sustainable Poultry Health Chair, an endowed position funded by the Tyson Family with a match from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.

Dr. Hargis joined the Center of Excellence in Poultry Science on September 1, 2000, as Professor and Director of the Poultry Health Research Laboratory. Dr. Hargis, a diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians, teaches in the undergraduate and graduate poultry science program. He has an active research program in the area of poultry health and ante mortem food safety intervention with interests in poultry immunology and endocrinology.

Dr. Hargis has advised or co-advised more than 50 M.S. and Ph.D. students and has published numerous manuscripts and book chapters relating to food safety, poultry health and poultry physiology. His laboratory has been recognized by several awards including the Carrington Laboratories Research Award (1991), the Poultry Science Association Research Award (1993), USDA Certificate of Merit for Scientific Leadership (1994), the Texas Veterinary Medical Association Faculty Research Award (1994), the National Broiler Council Research Award (1998), the Texas A&M University Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Research (2000), and the Poultry Science Association Award for Achievement in Poultry Science (2001).


Dr. Hargis leads the University’s vaccine research team.

Dr. Lisa R. Bielke

Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Sciences, OARDC , Ohio State University

Dr. Lisa Bielke has a Ph.D. in poultry microbiology, health, and antibiotic alternatives from the University of Arkansas. After a post-doctoral research program developing technologies for detection of foodborne pathogens and intervention strategies to reduce microbial contamination in fresh foods, she moved to the University of Arkansas in 2011. There she was a Research Assistant Professor at the Poultry Health Laboratory, Department of Poultry Science. In 2016 she took up a position at Ohio State University as Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences, OARDC.


The primary focus of her current research is poultry health with emphasis on enteric diseases and ante mortem control of food pathogens, which includes development of recombinant vaccine technologies, probiotics selection, and development of tools and assays for assessment of gastrointestinal inflammation.


Research collaborations include an international collaboration with the Armed Forces Research Institute for Medical Sciences in Bangkok, Thailand in an effort to transfer recombinant vaccine technologies to human health aspects. Additionally, she has collaborations within the University of Arkansas and other institutions including Texas A&M University and Pacific Vet Group.


Dr. Bielke served as president of the Southern Conference on Avian Diseases, is presently a member of the Board of Trustees for the Poultry Science Association Foundation, and was awarded the Poultry Science Association Early Achievement Award and the Arkansas Biosciences Institute Early Investigator Award.


During her career as a scientist, she has participated in publication of three book chapters, 27 journal articles, and 10 published proceedings, as well as over 30 abstracts that have been presented at scientific conferences and multiple invited presentations.

Dr. Luc Berhmam

Senior Scientific Advisor

Dr. Luc Berghman received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the Catholic University of Leuven (KULeuven), Belgium, in 1988. He received a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in Poultry Science and Veterinary Pathobiology at Texas A&M University in 1998 and was promoted with tenure in 2005. Dr. Berghman teaches a graduate course in Experimental Immunology and recently developed a new course in Vaccinology.


A vital part of his program consists of advising and training of graduate students towards an MS or PhD, and developing new course content relevant to the latest findings. Dr. Berghman’s research focuses on the avian immune response, more specifically antigen presentation, and innovative immunochemical vaccine concepts, such as antibody-guided vaccines, to protect poultry flocks from infectious disease. His research culminated in 5 patents jointly licensed from TAMU and the University of Arkansas of which he is inventor or co-inventor.


Dr. Berghman authored and co-authored 123 peer-reviewed research publications, 3 book chapters, and delivered 136 presentations at national and international conferences. He has served as Associate Editor of the Poultry Science Journal for 10 years. Dr. Berghman received over $2.9 million in research funding during his tenure at TAMU. He was awarded the Zoetis Fundamental Science Award in 2016.


Texas A&M University, Poultry Science and Veterinary Pathobiology; Faculty of Biotechnology, Faculty Member

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