Animal disease researchers honored

CRWAD meeting dedicated to veterinary microbiologist Maheswaran
Published on March 01, 2011
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Some 500 people attended the 91st annual meeting of The Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, Dec. 5-7, 2010, in Chicago. 

The meeting was dedicated to Dr. Sam Maheswaran, professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

After receiving his BVSc degree from the University of Ceylon in 1960, Dr. Maheswaran earned a doctorate from the University of Minnesota before accepting a postdoctoral fellowship with the Department of Microbiology at the University of Manitoba Medical School. 

Dr. Maheswaran
Dr. Sam Maheswaran

His fellowship completed, Dr. Maheswaran joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1969 to begin a teaching and research career at the university spanning more than 40 years.

At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Maheswaran studied the biology of bacterial species belonging to the family Pasteurellaceae. Most of his research endeavors focused on Mannheimia haemolytica.

In 1980 Dr. Maheswaran's laboratory pioneered the use of the cell culture medium RPMI 1640 to grow M haemolytica, which produced copious amounts of cytotoxin when grown in this medium. His notable contributions to M haemolytica research include coining the word "leukotoxin" for the exotoxic cytotoxin and using a well-characterized, reproducible experimental model of the disease in calves to show that leukotoxin was the most important contributor to the lung lesions associated with bovine respiratory disease.

Dr. Maheswaran's laboratory was the first to isolate Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae from the pneumonic lungs of dead pigs in Minnesota in the 1970s. His laboratory also pioneered the use of a modified-live vaccine administered in the drinking water to protect commercial turkeys against avian cholera.

Life membership in CRWAD was awarded to Dr. Frederick M. Enright, Baton Rouge, La., and Edwin C. Hahn, PhD, Urbana, Ill.

Officers of CRWAD for 2011 are Dr. Laura Hungerford, Baltimore, president; Dr. Donald L. Reynolds, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, vice president; and Robert P. Ellis, PhD, Fort Collins, Colo., executive director.

AVEPM awards  

The Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine named Dr. Preben W. Willeberg as recipient of the 2010 Calvin W. Schwabe Award. Dr. Willeberg holds academic positions at the universities of Copenhagen and Denmark and is a senior veterinary global health specialist with the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. 

Dr. Willeberg earned his DVM degree from the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen in 1967. He joined the faculty at the university as an associate professor in 1974 and was promoted to professor of state veterinary medicine and epidemiology in 1985.

While chief veterinary officer for Denmark from 1999-2007, Dr. Willeberg was responsible for managing outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, exotic Newcastle disease, and highly pathogenic avian influenza. He is a diplomate and founding member of the European College of Veterinary Public Health.

Recipients of the AVEPM student awards were as follows: Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics category, oral—Stephane Guillossou, Kansas State University, for "Estimates of diagnostic test sensitivities and specificities: what confidence do we really have?" and Timothy Boyer, University of Minnesota, for "Measurement of low-quantity antibiotic resistance genes in agricultural samples: a hierarchical model for analysis of left-censored qPCR data." Food and Environmental Safety, oral—Wayne Muraoka, Iowa State University, for "Genotypic and phenotypic evidence for L-fucose utilization by Campylobacter jejuni" and Raghavendra Amachawadi, Kansas State University, for "Molecular characterization of vancomycin-resistant and vancomycin-susceptible Enterococcus faecium isolated from a semi-closed and integrated agri-food system." Poster—Jose Pantoja, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for "Factors associated with coliform count in unpasteurized milk."

The Mark Gearhart Memorial Award was presented by the AVEPM to Katie Steneroden of Colorado State University for "Zoonotic disease awareness in animal shelter workers and volunteers and the effect of training."  

AAVI awards

The American Association of Veterinary Immunologists' Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award was presented to Frank Blecha, PhD, of Manhattan, Kan. Dr. Blecha is a university distinguished professor at Kansas State University, where he is also the associate dean for research and head of the Department of Anatomy and Physiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. His research is focused on the interrelationship of immunology and physiology and regulatory mechanisms involved in innate immunity. Dr. Blecha's studies on the immune system have been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Agriculture, and American Heart Association. He has served on several USDA and NIH study sections and advisory panels and has held leadership positions in national and international organizations.  

Recipients of the AAVI student awards are as follows: First place, oral—Neeta Jain, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for "Brucella outer membrane vesicles-polaxamer mixture as a vaccine for B melitensis in a mouse model." Second place, oral—John C. Schwartz, University of Minnesota, for "Differential expression of the porcine heavy chain immunoglobulin repertoire following porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection." Third place, oral—Sanjukta Majumder, University of Connecticut, for "Up-regulation of inflammatory mediators and pro-apoptotic genes during Mycoplasma gallisepticum infection." First place, poster—Mini Bharathan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for "Monocytes: the precursors of inflammatory dendritic cells in Staphylococcus aureus infection." Second place, poster—Susana Flores-Villalva, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, for "Mycobacterial immunodominant antigens ESAT6 and CFP10 improve tuberculin skin test specificity in cattle naturally infected." Third place, poster—Sue Morarie, South Dakota State University, for "Fetal immunological effects and liver tolerance following persistent bovine viral diarrhea virus infection."

ACVM awards 

The American College of Veterinary Microbiologists named Dr. Frederick A. Murphy of Davis, Calif., the Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist for 2010. Dr. Murphy is a pathology professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He previously was dean of the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he has served as director of both the Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases and National Center for Infectious Diseases. Dr. Murphy is a member of the Institute of Medicine as well as the German National Academy of Sciences. 
The ACVM student awards were presented to the following recipients: Don Kahn Award—Christa K. Irwin, Iowa State University, for "Influenza antibody detection in experimentally inoculated swine over time using a commercially available nucleoprotein ELISA." In vitro category—Dubraska V. Diaz-Campos, Auburn University, for "Microbiological and molecular characterization of coagulase positive Staphylococcus species isolated from canine clinical specimens." Molecular category—Edward A. Kabera, Michigan State University, for "MAP suppression of caspase activity in infected primary bovine macrophages." In vivo category—Phil Gauger, Iowa State University, for "Enhanced pneumonia with pandemic 2009 A/H1N1 swine influenza virus in pigs vaccinated with an inactivated δ-cluster H1N2 vaccine." Poster—Amanda Beaudoin, University of Minnesota, for "Prevalence of antibodies to avian influenza viruses and risk factors for exposure in Thai free-grazing duck flocks."

Other awards 

The Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine student award was presented to Alex Betancourt, Gluck Equine Research Center, for "The effect of anthelmintics on proinflammatory cytokine responses in treated horses." 

The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists' student award was presented to Ryan Stoffel, University of Missouri-Columbia, for "Utilization of a peptide based enzyme linked immunosorbant assay for the detection of bovine anti-E chaffeensis antibodies."

The NC-1041 Enteric Diseases (North Central Committee for Research on Enteric Diseases of Swine and Cattle) student awards were presented to the following recipients: First place, oral—Wei Zhou, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, for "Functional cloning of novel antibiotic resistance genes in chicken gut microflora." Second place, oral—Dong-Kyu Lee, Kyungpook National University, for "Development of reverse genetics with a full-length infectious cDNA of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus." Poster—Elena Gart, Kansas State University, for "Citrobacter rodentium causes structural and functional alterations in conditionally immortalized Ptk6 colonic epithelial cells."

The Biosafety and Biosecurity Awards, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute and the Joseph J. Garbarino Foundation, were presented to the following students: First place—Brandy Burgess, Colorado State University, for "Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus spp in commercial pigs used in veterinary student training." Second place—Cristina Venegas-Vargas, Michigan State University, for "Evaluating porcine circovirus type 2 control in vaccinated herds: are sentinels needed?" Poster—Matt Allerson, University of Minnesota, for "Application of alternative methods of body temperature measurement in swine."