Researchers honor Wagner

Animal disease conference convenes in Chicago
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Dr. Wagner
Dr. William C. Wagner

An estimated 450 people attended the 93rd annual meeting of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases, Dec. 2-4, 2012, in Chicago.

The national meeting was dedicated to Dr. William C. Wagner, dean emeritus of St. Matthew’s University School of Veterinary Medicine on Grand Cayman and a prominent figure in the study of infectious and noninfectious aspects of reproductive disorders of animals. Dr. Wagner died Dec. 10, 2012, just days after receiving the CRWAD dedicatee award (see JAVMA News, Feb. 15, 2013).

In addition to being a charter diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists and winner of numerous accolades, Dr. Wagner was a member of the Study Section on Fetal Development at the National Institutes of Health and served on the AVMA Council on Education, which he chaired in 1991.

Dr. Wagner earned both his DVM degree and doctorate in physiology from Cornell University, in 1956 and 1968, respectively. Between degrees, he spent several years working as a research associate in veterinary pathology at Cornell before joining the faculty of the Veterinary Medical Research Institute at Iowa State University in 1968.

In 1977, Dr. Wagner was chosen to head the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at the University of Illinois, and in 1990 he was made associate dean of research and graduate studies at the veterinary college. Also during this time, Dr. Wagner managed the Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service competitive grants program in animal reproduction. CSREES has since been renamed the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

From 1990-1993, Dr. Wagner helped develop the CSREES competitive grants program in animal health. In 1993, he was named the agency’s leader of the Section on Animal Systems and the national program leader for veterinary medicine, positions he held until 2002.

He then accepted a position as visiting professor at The Ohio State University. There, he worked on strategic planning and research funding for the university and helped develop the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which began in 2002 under his leadership at the USDA.

In 2007, Dr. Wagner joined St. Matthew’s University as dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, serving until his retirement in 2011.

Life membership in CRWAD was awarded to Dr. Lawrence H. Arp, Boulder, Colo.

The 2013 CRWAD officers are Dr. Rodney A. Moxley, Lincoln, Neb., president; Dr. David A. Benfield, Wooster, Ohio, vice president; and Robert P. Ellis, PhD, Fort Collins, Colo., executive director.

AVEPM awards

The Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine awarded the 2012 Calvin W. Schwabe Award to Dr. Ian Dohoo, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Prince Edward Island and former director of the Centre for Veterinary Epidemiological Research at the university.

Dr. Dohoo has established a reputation as a leading international figure in veterinary epidemiology and population-based health research. He has served as president of the Canadian Association of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and has received numerous teaching and research awards.

In 2005, Dr. Dohoo was one of four veterinarians in Canada elected as an inaugural fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2008, he was awarded an honorary veterinary medical doctorate by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and in 2012, an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Guelph.

Recipients of the AVEPM student awards were as follows: Epidemiology and Animal Health Economics/Companion Animal Epidemiology category, oral—Brandy Burgess, Colorado State University, for “Risk factors for environmental contamination with Salmonella enterica in a veterinary teaching hospital” and Audrey Ruple, Colorado State University, for “Syndromic surveillance for nosocomial infections in small animal veterinary referral hospitals.” Food and Environmental Safety category, oral— Katie Smith, University of Tennessee, for “Discovery of novel alternatives to antibiotic growth promoter to protect food safety” and Sanaz Salehi, Mississippi State University, for “The role of flagella in the attachment of Salmonella enterica serovar Kentucky to broiler skin.” Poster—Joshua Ison, Texas Tech University, for “A meta-analysis of the association of Lactobacillus acidophilus NP51 administration with Escherichia coli O157 in feces and on hides of feedlot cattle.”

The Mark Gearhart Memorial Award for best manuscript in epidemiology and preventive medicine was presented to Brandy Burgess, Colorado State University, for “Nasal shedding of equine herpesvirus-1 from horses in an outbreak of equine herpes myeloencephalopathy in Western Canada.”

AAVI awards

The American Association of Veterinary Immunologists named Michael P. Murtaugh, PhD, as AAVI Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist of 2012. Dr. Murtaugh is a professor in the Department of Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

In 1980, after receiving his doctorate in entomology from The Ohio State University, Dr. Murtaugh joined the Department of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Center in Houston. Five years later, he took a molecular biologist position on the faculty at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Veterinary Pathobiology.

There, Dr. Murtaugh developed a program in molecular mechanisms of disease resistance that focused on pigs and has guided the laboratory for a quarter of a century. His laboratory became involved in molecular analysis and evolution of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, resulting in extensive basic and translational research findings that have contributed to the understanding of porcine immune responses to the PRRS virus. From 2004-2008, he was director of the USDA’s PRRS Coordinated Agricultural Project.

Dr. Murtaugh has lectured extensively on PRRS in terms of immunology, vaccinology, and diagnostic testing throughout the world. Recently, his laboratory initiated a study of the immunologic interaction of swine with porcine circoviruses.

Recipients of the AAVI student awards were as follows: First place, oral—Basavaraj Binjawadagi, The Ohio State University, for “Nanoparticle based inactivated adjuvanted porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus vaccine elicits superior cross protective immunity.” Second place, oral—Roxann Brooks, University of California-Davis, for “Development of a mouse model for delineating protective immune response(s) specific for epizootic bovine abortion.” Third place, oral—Aimee Benjamin, University of Vermont, for “Use of dermal fibroblasts to predict the innate immune response to bovine mastitis.” First place, poster—Stephanie Neal, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, for “The effect of maternal colostral immune cells on neonatal health and immune development.” Second place, poster—Anne Johnson, Virginia Tech, for “Staphylococcus aureus inhibition of dendritic cell apoptosis.” Third place, poster—Mari Lehtimaki, Virginia Tech, for “Granzyme B release is triggered by activation of bovine lymphocytes.”

ACVM awards

Dr. Leon N.D. Potgieter, former professor and head of comparative medicine at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, is the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists’ Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist of 2012.

Dr. Potgieter retired from the university in 2011 after nearly 33 years of service but not before helping establish diagnostic laboratories for the South African Agricultural Department, Oklahoma State University, and UT veterinary college. He received his veterinary degree in 1964 from Pretoria University in Onderstepoort, South Africa, and spent much of his career conducting extensive research on bovine viruses and bacteria.

Among Dr. Potgieter’s many achievements are the development of a pili-based vaccine for Mycobacterium bovis and a better understanding of the pathogenesis of various bacterial agents in bovine respiratory disease. Additionally, his research on bovine viral diarrhea virus has resulted in advances in the understanding of pathogenesis, epidemiology, diagnostic testing, and control measures for this pathogen.

Dr. Potgieter’s work was not limited to food animals. His studies led to greater insights into viral pathogens of small animals and exotic species, including herpesvirus in kestrels, distemper in raccoons, and ophidian paramyxovirus in vipers.

The ACVM student awards were presented to the following recipients: Don Kahn Award—Yan-Yan Ni, Virginia Tech, for “Attenuation of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus by molecular breeding of the virus envelope genes from genetically divergent strains.” In vitro category—Kenneth Brandenburg, University of Wisconsin, for “Inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation on a biological wound dressing.” Molecular category—Kevin Howe, Mississippi State University, for “Evaluation of invasion by nonpatho In vivo category—Heidi Pecoraro, Colorado State University, for “Genome evolution and antigenic variation of canine influenza virus H3N8 in U.S. dogs.” Poster—M.K.S. Rajput, South Dakota State University, for “Non adherent CD14 negative bovine monocyte derived dendritic lose their capacity to produce infectious bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) during its development.”

Other awards

The Society for Tropical Veterinary Medicine presented its student award to Laura Manzi, University of Rhode Island, for “Anthelmintic effect of proanthocyanidin extract of cranberry leaf powder on Haemonchus contortus and Caenorhabiditis elegans.”

The American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists presented its student award to Alejandra Betancourt, University of Kentucky, for “Evaluation of the systemic inflammatory reaction to anthelmintic treatment in ponies.”

The NC-1202 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—Xiaosai Ruan, South Dakota State University, for “Development of a modified live vaccine against enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli–associated porcine post-weaning diarrhea.” Second place, oral—Chengxian Zhang, South Dakota State University, for “Safety and immunogenicity studies of a modified heat-labile toxin (LT) and heat-stable toxin (ST) fusion protein (LTS63K/R192G/L211A-3xSTaA14Q) in a murine model” and Fabio A. Vannucci, University of Minnesota, for “Laser capture microdissection coupled with RNA-seq analysis to evaluate the transcriptional response of pigs experimentally infected with Lawsonia intracellularis.” Poster—Muhammad Soofi, Purdue University, for “Targeting Salmonella essential genes with antisense peptide nucleic acid.”

The Biosafety and Biosecurity Award, sponsored by the Animal Health Institute and the Joseph J. Garbarino Foundation, was presented to Nadia Saklou, Colorado State University, for “Environmental survival of equid herpesvirus-1.”