Research Professor, Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy
In August 2016, Dr. Sharma will be inducted into the American Association of Avian Pathologists Hall of Honor. In 2013, in Nantes, France, he was inducted into the World Veterinary Poultry Association Hall of Honor, one of 52 inductees selected world-wide. He is the past president of the American Association of Avian Pathologists, a professional organization with about 800 veterinary members from 65 countries. From 2003 to 2013, he served as Editor-in-Chief of Avian Diseases, an international peer-reviewed scientific journal published quarterly.
Dr. Sharma has made notable research contributions to the field of avian health and disease control. He is sought after as a key-note speaker and has presented 136 invited lectures and scientific papers in 36 countries. During his 45-year professional career, he promoted technology transfer of scientific discoveries originating in his laboratory. He holds five U.S. and one international patents.
While working as a research scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, he discovered the in ovo vaccination system for disease control in poultry. This pioneering technology has revolutionized health management in commercial poultry. Dr. Sharma worked tenaciously to ensure successful transfer of this technology to practical use. The in ovo vaccination delivery system, automated by machines developed by private entrepreneurs, is being used to immunize over 90% of the 10 billion broilers produced annually in the U.S.A. Major hatcheries practice in ovo vaccination as a standard protocol for health management of commercial chicken flocks in over 38 countries, covering six continents. This technology transfer reduces the cost of poultry products at the grocery store.
Dr. Sharma edited the poultry section of the Merck Veterinary Manual, used as a desk reference by practicing veterinarians worldwide. He edited the book, Avian Cellular Immunology and wrote a major section in the book, Handbook of Vertebrate Immunology. Dr. Sharma published 198 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 75 proceedings articles and 225 abstracts. He has received international, national and institutional awards for his contributions to avian medicine. These include the Upjohn Achievement Award, Pfizer Excellence in Poultry Research Award, Calnek Applied Poultry Research Achievement award, Avian Diseases Editor’s Award and the University of Minnesota’s Mark of Excellence and the Recognition of Excellence Awards.
When the University of Minnesota established the first Endowed Chair dedicated to avian medicine in the U.S., Dr. Sharma was appointed to this prestigious Chair which he occupied for 20 years. In 2009, he was named Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN. The same year, he joined the Biodesign Institute at the Arizona State University and, as Principal Investigator, initiated an international project aimed at increasing the performance of backyard poultry flocks in rural Uganda. The overall objective is to improve the quality of life for small-holder farmers in Africa.
Dr. Sharma received his veterinary medicine degree from the Punjab University, India and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Davis. After four years of post-doctoral training at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, he served for 18 years as veterinary scientist at the Avian Diseases and Oncology Laboratory of USDA, East Lansing, Michigan.