Prior to joining BASE₂BIO, Dr. Afonso was the Lead Scientist for Newcastle Disease at the USDA Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Georgia, from 2005 until 2019. He holds a Ph.D. in Genetics, Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln with post-doctoral training at Yale University and at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center of the USDA. At Plum Island, he developed analysis and sequencing strategies for large viral genomes leading to the first complete genomic sequencing and analysis of key avian pathogens such as Canarypox, Fowl pox, Herpesvirus of Turkey and Marek Disease Viruses, among others. More recently, he has been involved in conducting evolutionary and epidemiological studies on Newcastle disease virus while developing new diagnostic tools. He has conducted extensive work on the development of long read and short read next generation diagnostics tools for the genetic characterization of avian viral and bacterial pathogens. Dr. Afonso’s research has been supported by extramural grants from the Gates Foundation, the US Department of State, USDA-AFRI and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) among others, and his research contributions have been cited over 10,000 times. In addition to his position as senior scientist at BASE2BIO, he currently serves as an adjunct graduate faculty at the Veterinary Sciences Department of the University of Georgia.