Retired veterninary medical officer Charles W. Beard will be among four scientists inducted into the Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame for significant achievements over his career. ARS is the chief scientific research agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The inductees--Beard, microbiologist Nelson A. Cox, chemist Sigmund Schwimmer, and plant scientist Tien C. Tso--will receive plaques to commemorate their achievements during a ceremony tonight at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington. Permanent plaques will be on display at the ARS’ National Visitor Center in Beltsville, Md., where the physical ARS Science Hall of Fame is located.
The ARS Science Hall of Fame, begun in 1986, has recognized agency researchers for outstanding career achievements in agricultural science. Inductees are nominated by their peers for making major contributions to agricultural research. The scientists must be retired or eligible for retirement to receive the honor.
Charles Beard came to ARS in 1965 at the Southeast Poultry Laboratory in Athens, Ga., serving as its director for 21 years. During his 28-year career at ARS, Beard developed the test for the detection of avian influenza antibodies in serum and egg yolk. This test was widely used during the 1983-84 avian influenza eradication program in Virginia and Pennsylvania and is still relied upon as the primary laboratory procedure for the monitoring of avian influenza in poultry at veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the U.S. and the National Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza in Ames, Iowa. This test was adopted and is still used worldwide as the definitive test in certifying poultry and poultry products as originating from influenza-free flocks. He was a member of the team that conceived and developed the filtered air-positive pressure system for the housing of specific pathogen-free poultry. FAPP houses are used worldwide for that purpose.
Beard has conducted experimental studies and published on a wide variety of poultry disease subjects including serology, vaccines, pathogenesis, and disease containment. He was the first to demonstrate that not all H7 avian influenza viruses were highly pathogenic. This finding ultimately resulted in a redefinition of the term “fowl plague.”
After leaving ARS, Beard joined the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association as its vice president for research and technology until 2004. USPOULTRY is a national organization dedicated to the growth, progress, and welfare of the poultry industry and all of its individual and corporate interests. Beard received the Workhorse of the Year Award and the Lamplighter Award from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and the Congressional Excalibur Award for Excellence.