Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine


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The official newsletter for the faculty, staff and students of
K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine


October 2008 - Vol. 3 No. 9


Top Stories

Dr. T.G. NagarajaBig Steps in
E. coli Research

Dr. Nagaraja gets $1 million to study E. coli.
The latest in E. coli research

Vet Corps on Campus
CVM hosts Veterinary Corps Training.
See pictures from the training

Mal Hoover: Medical Illustrator
Mal Hoover recently passed the qualifying exam to become a certified medical illustrator.
Find out what's next for Mal

Exotics conference coming soon

Veterinary Career Opportunities Workshop

Mark your calendars!

Regular Features

Linda RohsUnder the Microscope:
Linda Rae Walden Rohs, VMTH business office

CVM News Ticker

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues


  Cat TownBonus logobonus stories*

Developing Scholars Program welcomes a special guest

Come out to Cat Town on game day!


Printable PDF Version of this Issue


Dr. Nagaraja gets $1 million to study E. coli

Despite years of scientific research on E. coli O157:H7, Dr. T.G. Nagaraja, professor of microbiology, says there is still much we don’t know about the food-borne, disease-causing bacterium which has been the cause of human illnesses, and in the last two years several million pounds of ground beef recalls. However, with nearly $1 million in grant funds from the USDA National Research Initiative in Food Safety, Dr. Nagaraja is hopeful that new research will lead to a better understanding of the possible connection between E. coli O157:H7 and feeding of distiller’s grain in cattle.

Distiller’s grain, a byproduct of the ethanol production process, contains the leftovers after the starch content is converted to ethanol from corn. It is used as a feed supplement for cattle, and contains higher concentrations of protein, fiber and fat than regular feed. In 2005, during an unrelated study, Dr. Nagaraja and his co-workers observed a possible link between distillers grain feeding and increased presence of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle feces. He and his team then began to investigate their observations in a series of four studies, three of which found a statistically significant link between feeding distiller’s grain and increased E. coli O157:H7 presence.

“This was a very intriguing observation, which no one else had made,” Dr. Nagaraja said. “We still don’t know much about E. coli O157:H7, so anything we do to increase knowledge about the bacterium in cattle will make us one step closer to controlling the problem.”

This major finding has prompted a whole new string of questions and possibilities concerning the presence, transmission and containment of
E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. Dr. Nagaraja’s team of researchers on the project hopes to find answers to some of these questions. The research team includes Megan Jacob, a Ph.D. student in pathobiology, Dr. David Renter, assistant professor in epidemiology, Dr. Mike Sanderson, associate professor in production animal medicine and Dr. Dan Thomson, associate professor in production animal medicine and a feedlot nutritionist.

In December 2007, Dr. Nagaraja and Dr. Dave Renter submitted a grant proposal for an in-depth study on the relationship between distiller’s grain feedings and E. coli O157:H7. The million dollar grant was awarded in June 2008. The studies will continue for the next three years, and all studies will take place in commercial feedlots under controlled experiment settings. Funds from the grant will cover the cost of the study and a graduate student scholarship.

Megan Jacob, Dr. Nagaraja’s current graduate student, is confident their research will have a positive impact. “The work we are doing will hopefully benefit the food animal industry by leading to a better understanding of the ecology of E. coli O157:H7 in its primary reservoir, resulting in a safer food supply and improved human health,” she said. “Being a part of the research process will greatly enhance my ability to succeed in my own career after graduate school.”

“The ultimate goal is to have no E. coli O157:H7 in cattle,”
Dr. Nagaraja said. “Before we can come up with an effective intervention strategy, we must know as much as possible about the organism and sources of contamination of human food supply. This study will shed more light on this important problem.”


Dr. T.G. Nagaraja
Dr. T.G. Nagaraja examines a laboratory sample. His research on E. coli O157:H7 was recognized by being awarded with a grant of nearly $1 million.

Megan Jacob
Megan Jacob, graduate student in pathobiology, has
played an integral part in recent E. coli O157:H7 research.

   CVM hosts veterinary corps training

A regional training conference for the Army Veterinary Corps was held at the CVM on Monday, Sept. 21. Here, Dr. Rex Brennan, retired Colonel, speaks to the group on meat science and food safety. The Army Veterinary Corps provides animal medicine and food safety services for all branches of the military. The conference was organized through the Veterinary Medical Continuing Education by Linda Johnson, Dr. Chuck Dodd and Capt. Amanda McGuire.




  Check it out at the Library: Mal Hoover, Medical Illustrator

Mal Hoover, a member of the Veterinary Medical Library DISC Services, recently passed the qualifying exam to become a certified medical illustrator. The certification exam is the first and most difficult step in the certification process that has been established and administered by the Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators for the Association of Medical Illustrators.

A full day was set aside at the Association’s Annual Conference for the testing. Most medical illustrators who receive certification have degrees in medical illustration, but Mal has received her skills on the job here at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

All of Mal’s hard work on the job was evidenced by her score of 91 percent on the core questions section of the exam which tested her in the areas of basic science, gross human anatomy, illustration, anatomical drawing, surgical drawing, graphic arts as well as other topics in the field.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from K-State with an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine, Mal started working at the veterinary college in 1980 working with Kay Conkwright, the college’s first full-time medical illustrator, in the Teaching Resources department of the college, which later became the Instructional Technology Center.

Mal’s two semesters in human anatomy class and work in the human cadaver lab as an undergraduate gave her opportunities to observe anatomical structures. She also spent many hours in the necropsy laboratory at the College of Veterinary Medicine observing various intricacies of animal anatomy. Over the years she perfected her illustration skills and has worked with many veterinary professors on illustration projects.

The next step for Mal will be to submit a portfolio of her work to the certification board to demonstrate her illustration abilities. Eight pieces of illustration that specifically cite the subject, viewing audience, medium used, references consulted, and other requirements will be submitted for review.

Prior to Mal’s application for certification, all other medical illustrators seeking certification have been human medical illustrators. The board will permit Mal to submit anatomical animal drawings and will have them examined by qualified veterinary anatomists. Future veterinary medical illustrators will have an easier time applying for their certification due to Mal’s certification endeavors. Once her portfolio is submitted to the board it will take about four months for the board to evaluate her illustrations.

Ethics is an important aspect of certification and Mal was required to sign a confidentiality agreement to not reveal any testing questions or specifics. Certified medical illustrators must also agree to not plagiarize any other illustrators’ work as well as comply with other practices in their code of ethics.

Mal is involved daily in many illustration projects as well as teaching computer applications in her work with the Digital Instruction, Support and Creative (DISC) Services group. Feel free to contact her for graphic design and illustration requests.

Congratulations Mal!


 Mal Hoover
Mal Hoover

Mal has passed the first requirement to becoming a certified medical illustrator.

  *bonus photo gallery

Developing Scholars Program welcomes a special guest

The Developing Scholars Program is an initiative at K-State that matches historically underrepresented students, students of color and first-generation college students in research projects with faculty members when students first come to K-State. The focus of the program is to help students develop a broad knowledge base, obtain experience in their chosen fields, increase diversity across campus and improve student retention.

Recently, the CVM hosted a DSP meeting with special guest
Dr. Christine Jenkins, director of academic affairs at Hill's Pet Nutrition. Hills is a major sponsor of the program.

Jose Valles, junior in pre-veterinary medicine tells about
his project on educational modules for feedlot workers.


Dr. Christine Jenkins (center), director of academic affairs at Hill's Pet Nutrition, listens to Dr. Mark Weiss, professor in Anatomy & Physiology, explain how he learns new things through his involvement with students in the Developing Scholars Program. Dr. Jenkins is a small animal veterinary internist by training.

Elizabeth Trevino, sophomore in pre-optometry and microbiology, talks about her plans for the future.

  *bonus feature

Cat Town

Come to Cat Town! Get all the details on the website: http://www.vet.ksu.edu/depts/alumni/cattown.htm


Exotics conference coming soon

K-State CVM students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the 15th Mid-Western Exotic Animal Medicine Conference scheduled for Nov. 1-2, 2008. The conference will provide an update on the medicine, diagnostic techniques, and surgical procedures used in companion birds, reptiles, rabbits, and other small exotic mammals. An optional wet lab on clinical and surgical techniques in reptiles, an interactive master class on behavior of small mammals, and a “behind the scenes” tour of the Sunset Zoo will be offered.

Guest conference speakers include Dr. Doug Mader, Marathon (Fla.) Veterinary Clinic; Dr. Teresa Bradley-Bays, Belton, Mo.; and Dr. Connie Ketz-Riley, Oklahoma State University.

K-State conference speakers include Drs. James W. Carpenter, Gary West and Judilee Marrow. K-State CVM Students, Faculty and Staff registration form and conference schedule can be found at:


Come to the VMCE office, 1 Trotter Hall, if you have questions and to register.


  Veterinary Career Opportunities Workshop

Oct. 31 - Nov. 1, 2008 at the Clarion Hotel

This workshop will enhance your job seeking techniques. You will have the opportunity to meet with practitioners who are looking for students interested in mixed animal practice. The workshop will:

• Enhance interview skills.

• Provide a clear understanding of job expectations from attending practitioners.

• Provide networking opportunities and a forum for meeting interested potential employers.

Schedule for Students

Friday, Oct. 31:
• 4:30 Interview skills for students
• 5:00 Reception/dinner, expectation panels, interview skit

Saturday, Nov. 1:
• 8:00 Student interview preparation
• 8:30 Continental breakfast
• 9:00 Speed interviews
• 12:00 Conclusions/Lunch

There is no cost for CVM students to attend, but you DO need to pre-register by noon, Thursday, Oct. 30. You will need to provide a resume with your registration so we can have it copied and ready for the speed interview sessions on Saturday.

For a printable registration form, visit http://www.vet.ksu.edu/CE/pdf/2008/Brochure_2008VCOW.pdf. Return form to the CE office, 1 Trotter Hall.


  Mark your calendars!

• December 5: 2nd Annual Conference for Llama and Alpaca Owners

• December 12: Small Ruminant Conference


  Under the Microscope: Linda Rae Walden Rohs, VMTH Business Office

Linda Rohs

Place of birth: Binghamton, N.Y.

Family information:
I have a son, Frederick, and three grandchildren: Devon, Lilian and Finnegan

Border Collie: Max; 3 Cats: Callie, Willow and Pippin; Guinea Pig: Poppy; and an aquarium of fish. 

beaker graphicFavorite thing about fall:
The colors and the cooler temps

What do you enjoy most about your job? 
Interacting with staff, clinicians, veterinary students and public. Being helpful!

Life theme song:
A Picture of God's Grace and Mercy in Human Form.

Something not many people know about you:
I grew up on a dairy farm in New York and showed Holstein Cattle. My roommate and I were the first women accepted into the dairy animal husbandry program at Cobleskill Ag and Tech.

If money were no object, what would you do with your life?
I would open a no-kill (except for humane reasons) animal sanctuary and spend more time with my grandchildren.



CVM News Ticker

Presenters and speakers Professional Highlights

Dr. Greg Gauer spoke Sept. 20-23 at the American Association of Feline Practitioners Meeting in Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. David Anderson spoke Sept. 24-27 at the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) in Charlotte, N.C., on the topics of troponin, biosecurity, pain/stress and standards of surgery.

Dr. Hans Coetzee also spoke at the AABP meeting on the topic of measuring and managing pain associated with bovine castration.  


Congratulations to the Veterinary Medical Continuing Education! Their program, VetBytes, was selected to receive the 2008 Great Plains Regional, Non-Credit Program Award. The VetBytes program is coordinated by Linda Johnson, Marci Ritter and Kent Nelson.

Dr. Kathleen Hanlon was recently featured in a podcast spotlight on the World Rabies Day initiative. The podcast can be heard at www.petliferadio.com. On the right side of the page under “Shows,” click “The Pet Doctor,” and scroll to the podcast titled “World Rabies Day.”

Dr. Doug Powell has been quoted extensively in Canadian television, radio and print on a listeriosis outbreak in deli meats which has killed 18 and sickened more than 60 in August and September. He warned customers, especially pregnant women and the elderly, about the hazards of refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods.

Dr. Powell was also widely quoted on the FDA’s approval of irradiation for spinach and iceberg lettuce, saying irradiation was an additional tool that can help reduce the threat of foodborne illness, and should be made available at retail so customers can choose.

Personal notes

Brenda Mayberry has a new member of her extended family. Her cousin Andrea gave birth Sept. 12 to Brady Arman Lee Lantz, 7 lbs. 12 oz.


  New Arrivals

Taryn Oliver - VMTH
Justyne Hughes - VMTH
Kathleen Emig - VMTH
Kristin Miller - VMTH
Dr. Katherine Stenske - Clinical Sciences
Dr. Heather Towle - Clinical Sciences
Theresa Boatman - VDL
Sara McCawley - VDL
Let Wang - A&P

  Recent Departures

Feng Pan - DM/P
Theresa Boatman - VDL
Dr. Safiqul Chowdury - DM/P


Lifelines is published each month by the Development and Alumni Office at the College of Veterinary Medicine

Editors are Joe Montgomery and Amy Jo Coltrane, jmontgom@vet.k-state.eduajwright@vet.k-state.edu

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