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The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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November 2010 - Vol. 5, No. 11

Top Stories

Dr. Frank BlechaDr. Frank Blecha: Immunologist of the Year

The AAVI designates Dr. Frank Blecha as its top veterinary immunologist for 2010.
Why was he chosen?

Dr. Justin Kastner authors new textbook

CVM professor writes and directs Frontier group for help on articles on ensuring food and agriculture security in an era of globalization.
What topics are covered?

CVM welcomes 2010 Early Admit Scholars

A new group of students have qualified for early admission into the CVM.
See who they are

Trick or Treat? Pets and kids dress up for Halloween

Fond farewells: Sang Yi and Hank Sunnenberg

Find us on Facebook

Regular features

Dr. Gwi-Moon SeoUnder the Microscope
Meet Dr. Gwi-Moon Seo, Senior Scientist, Anatomy & Physiology

Check it Out at the Library
PubMed undergoes changes

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues

Hard copy version of Lifelines (printable)
Note: File is in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.
Some documents are in PDF format.
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Support the College of Veterinary Medicine
Click the link to make a gift at our online giving page.

Dr. Frank Blecha: Veterinary Immunologist of the Year

Despite making what are arguably some of the biggest advancements in research on the animal immune system, Dr. Frank Blecha puts his students' success before his own.

Now his former students have helped Dr. Blecha, a Kansas State University distinguished professor of immunophysiology, interim associate dean for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and head of the department of anatomy and physiology, earn national recognition for his contributions to veterinary immunology.

On Dec. 6 in Chicago, Ill., Dr. Blecha will be formally recognized by the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists as the 2010 Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist of the Year. His former students nominated him for the honor, one of the highest in the field.

"It's really surprising that he hasn't received this award before now, as, in my mind, he's the most qualified person in his field," said Dr. Jishu Shi, associate professor of anatomy and physiology at K-State. "His work was really some of the first in certain areas, and I think he single-handedly increased our understanding of innate immunology in domestic animals."


Dr. Frank Blecha
Dr. Frank Blecha has 36 years of experience in veterinary
immunology, in addition to being the department head for
Anatomy & Physiology and interim associate dean for
research in the CVM. He is also a University Distinguished
Professor at K-State.

Dr. Shi, a former graduate student of Dr. Blecha's, spearheaded the nomination campaign, which consisted of letters of support and a list of Dr. Blecha's achievements.

Since beginning his work in veterinary immunology nearly 36 years ago, Dr. Blecha has authored 139 refereed journals, 24 book chapters and more than 200 abstracts; contributed to four university patents; raised more than $9 million in funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, among others; and made more than 100 invited presentations at regional, national and international conferences.

Teaching, and even immunology, weren't areas Dr. Blecha originally considered pursuing.

"Besides serving in the Army, the only thing I had ever done was rodeo and school. I wasn't sure I would be accepted into graduate school because my grades weren't all that great," he said. "Instead of buckling down, I spent the last two years of school rodeoing and not going to class."

As luck would have it, Dr. Blecha was accepted into grad school, where he became involved in a project on the immune system in animals. This chance study led to him earning a doctorate in the field. Soon after, Dr. Blecha, his wife and sons moved to Manhattan, and he began working at K-State in 1981.

Since then he's investigated the capabilities of cytokines and antimicrobial peptides, and has worked with interferons. His greatest work, though, has been that with his students, he said.

Dr. Blecha keeps a file with each of his former postdoctoral and graduate students' contact information and career paths. Some have gone on to teach at universities, others are CEOs of their own companies, and one works for the USDA and another for Pfizer Incorporated. They keep in contact and consider Dr. Blecha a friend.

That's part of what makes this award so special, Dr. Blecha said.

"Only one person from around the world is selected each year. To have been nominated by those students I've worked so closely with, I feel quite humbled by it," he said.

"When I came to K-State I didn't take graduate students right away because in my mind it's a great responsibility. It's basically like having a family," Dr. Blecha said. "I wanted to make sure I had things established, had a program going, and knew what I was doing. In looking at where my former students are now, I guess I did OK."

Although his graduate work ended in 1996, Dr. Shi still seeks advice from Dr. Blecha.

"Dr. Blecha is a friend as much as a mentor. I've turned to him for advice with each new step I take in my career. He's an excellent scientist, and has always been there when his students needed him," Dr. Shi said. "When it comes to working with my students, I'm trying to mimic half of what he did for all of us."


Dr. Justin Kastner authors new textbook

Dr. Justin KastnerThis fall is the "write" time for Dr. Justin Kastner, assistant professor of food safety and security in the veterinary college. He recently authored a book on international trade security issues facing the agriculture and food sector, and he is working on another title to be announced in December.

While technically he is the editor for these two projects, he has done plenty of writing as well. “Food and Agriculture Security: An Historical, Multidisciplinary Approach” (Publishers: ABC-CLIO) examines the food system in its entirety, discusses threats to food and agriculture security in America and abroad, and covers trade policy issues and U.S.-specific regulations affecting the food supply chain security. Emerging models of cross-border cooperation in food and agriculture security are also described.

“With our constant concern about threats to homeland security, ensuring the security of our nation's food supply is a top priority,” Dr. Kastner Dr. Kastner's new textbooksaid. “Food and Agriculture Security — a stated priority research area of the Department of Homeland Security — concerns the safety, security, and ongoing operation of the agricultural and food system in a global society that values both trade and security.”

The October 2009 issue of Lifelines featured a story about the Frontier program of which Dr. Kastner is co-director. Participants in this program helped author chapters on food security, trade policy and historical studies of border security.

According to the publisher’s website, the book covers an under-published topic that warrants more attention and awareness given current vulnerability and the potentially catastrophic results. Dr. Kastner said,“For the Frontier participants, this was an excellent opportunity to research these issues, particularly from a multidisciplinary perspective. As a textbook, we hope to advance students' appreciation for both public-private partnerships and international collaboration to ensure food and agriculture security.”

“Food and Agriculture Security: An Historical, Multidisciplinary Approach” is on file in the Veterinary Medical Library and is available for purchase online at www.



CVM welcomes its newest class of Early Admit Scholars

The new class of Early Admit Scholars
Since it was established in 1999, the Early Admission Scholars program has recruited the best and brightest undergraduate students who want to study veterinary medicine. After acceptance into the program and completion of 64 hours of preprofessional requirements, the scholars are guaranteed admission into the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Successful candidates in the Early Admission Scholars program must maintain a 3.4 grade point average during completion of the preprofessional requirements. Each student must also take the GRE test. By their third year of undergraduate studies, the scholars may petition for enrollment in the first year of the DVM degree program.

The College of Veterinary Medicine assigns each scholar a faculty mentor and student mentor to stimulate career and academic development and to provide orientation and access to college activities. The preveterinary students attend regular meetings during the academic year to develop a sense of community and share their progress.

Above is this year's class of students. Top row, from left: Kaitlin Foley, Hillary Henslee, Tanner Slead, Annika Sundby and Hallie Patton. Middle row: Joanna Wilson, Katrina Neiman, Hillary Martin, Shelby Langtry and Stephanie Skinner. Bottom row: Madeline Anderson, Catalina Perdomo, Erica Hamman, Amber Smith and Marcella Steele. Not pictured: Hillary Schartz and Amanda Schneider.



Centennial Plaza bricks ad


Trick or Treat? Pets and kids dress up for Halloween

Jackson, the Burger King
Have it your way, Jackson dressed as the “Burger King.” (Submitted by Ashley Talley, third-year student.)
Joshua Brusk
Joshua, the littlest cowboy at 8 months, rounds up a jack-o'-lantern. (Submitted by Amy Brusk, grant manager.)
Susan Hazelbaker, Sally Dreher and Joanna Berg
A native-American, a pretend Robyn Dreher and a menacing skeleton, each played by Susan Hazelbaker, Sally Dreher and Joanna Berg from Health Care.
Chico the Yellow Sub
Chico masquerades as a yellow submarine. (Submitted by Stacey Burdick, first-year student.)
Rylee Jo Thomas
Rylee Jo Thomas, 4 months old, is all set for some trick or treating. (Submitted by Leann Thomas, veterinary technician.)
Nothing is bugging Checkers, this feline took on the role as a ladybug for the Halloween season. (Submitted by Rebecca Molina, fourth-year student.)
Emma the pig
Emma, dressed as a pig, has a treat on her snout. What will be her trick? (Submitted by Elizabeth Thompson, second-year student)
Austin Naber
Austin Naber, 1 years old, finds plenty of treats in his basket. (Picture taken by Kenneth Rodriguez, husband of ophthalmology technician Yaritxa Quinones-Rodriguez. Submitted by Dr. Rachel Allbaugh.)
Kealan Schroeder and Rob Reves
Is that Zach Galifianakis from "The Hangover" and Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent or is it CVM staffers Kealan Schroeder and Rob Reves? We'll never tell.
Sophia Bernal
Sophia, 7 months old, is surrounded by pumpkins. (Submitted by Morgan Bernal, fourth-year student.)
Bruno and Scooter
Bruno (a 2 month old Rottweiler puppy) was a KSU football player and Scooter (a 9 month old dachshund) wears a fur coat. (Submitted by Julie Vitt, first-year student)
Gwyneth, Francis and Luther
Gwyneth, 6, Francis, 5, and Luther, 3. (Submitted by Carson Abrams, second-year student )
CVM kids
The gang is all here. First row (left to right):  Evelyn Linden, Jacob Anderson, Kaylee Klimek and Owen Miesner. Second row: Ann Beard and BreAnn Miesner. Third row: John Anderson and Vanessa Klimek. (Submitted by Dr. Lane Anderson.)
Snow leopard at Sunset Zoo
The snow leopard at the Sunset Zoo gets in the mood for Halloween (Submitted by Linda Watson, second-year student.)

Bonus: Carving your pet's likeness onto a pumpkin

Dog number 1
Dog No. 2
(Submitted by Dr. DesChene Brochtrup, second-year radiology resident.)

Jack-o'-Lantern No. 1

Jack-o'-Lantern No. 2

Submitted at the CVM Facebook page

This is a Weimaraner, Kasper. He is a client of Dr. Tammy Swartz, DVM 1999, and Dr. Laura Lawrenz, DVM 2009. (Submitted by Toyann Buckland.)



Harry Winston Taylor
Harry Winston Taylor, a pug that is a client of Dr. Donald Dinges, DVM 1981, in Leawood.(Submitted by Linda Taylor.)


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Fond farewells: Sang Yi and Hank Sunnenberg

Sang Yi and Hank Sunnenberg
The CVM Facilities department said its fond farewells to two longtime employees: Sang Yi and Henry "Hank" Sunnenberg. Sang retires after 31 years of service; Hank retires after 30 years with the CVM. Congratulations to these two!




Under the Microscope

Dr. Gwi-Moon Seo, Senior Scientist, Anatomy & Physiology

Dr. Gwi-Moon SeoHometown: Haenam, South Korea

Family Information: My wife, Heesun; Son, Heesu, 7 years old; Son, Heewon, 5 years old; and daughter, Dahee, 2 years old.

Pets: I had two fish, but unfortunately they died a week ago.

Where’s the farthest you have traveled from Manhattan? Utah

What’s your best Halloween memory? Two years ago, my friends gathered together. We went trick-or-treating together. This was my first time trick-or-treating with my kids and friends.

What movie best describes your life and why? "The Shawshank Redemption." Because the main character never gives up on his life. He shows that dreams can really come true.

What do you enjoy most about working at the veterinary college? I have met a lot of good people.

Who is someone you look up to? My parents: my dad and my mom.


Check it Out at the Library

PubMed undergoes changes

by Carol Elmore

Carol Elmore

PubMed ( has been undergoing some changes within the last year. Recently several of us from the Veterinary Medical Library attended a class in Wichita on PubMed conducted by staff from the National Library of Medicine where we learned about some of the database’s enhancements.

The limits page, which is available from a link above the search box on all PubMed pages including the PubMed homepage, has undergone some changes. Previously the limit selections were only available on the advanced search page. Also a “Limits Activated” message will now be displayed above the results summary line on search results and under the search box on the homepage and advanced search page. The limits can be changed or removed by clicking on the change or remove link in the message. The functionality of the limits hasn’t changed but some additional dates and search field tags have been added to provide additional options.

Another change to PubMed is that a link to “clipboard” has been added to the PubMed home page under PubMed Tools. This shows when a user has added items to the PubMed clipboard. Previously this was only shown on the search results page.

Another PubMed enhancement is to add book chapter citations to search results. Although this is very limited currently, plans are to increase the number of available citations. The related articles link that currently shows related journal articles will be changed to related citations to accommodate the addition of book chapter citations.
Another change to the database is that when sending an e-mail of citations in the abstract format, users can now include or exclude the MeSH headings by checking or unchecking a checkbox that appears when the abstract format is selected in the send options. If the box is not check the default setting will be in place and no headings will be sent.

Structured abstracts is a new format for abstract displays that adds section labels such as background, objective, methods, results and conclusions. The purpose of this is to make the abstracts easier and quicker to read. Next month’s column will discuss changes to the “My NCBI” option that many of our readers have started using and enjoying. Remember if you need help in learning more about PubMed options and features, don’t hesitate to contact one of the library staff members who will be happy to assist you in your searching needs.

Please visit the Veterinary Medical Library Web site: for help on this and other subjects.


News Ticker

Gina Besenyi, Dr. Andrew T. Kaczynski, Melissa Bopp, and Pamela Wittman, from the Master of Public Health program, participated in the Kansas Public Health Association poster contest held in Topeka on Sept. 29 and 30. The group was selected as one of the winners with their poster titled “Gender and Age Differences in Motivators and Barriers for Active Commuting.”

Ms. Luella Katz, Everest, Kan., has made a generous contribution to the College of Veterinary Medicine to establish the Ms. Luella Katz Veterinary Medicine Scholarship. She was inspired by her local veterinarian Dr. John Andres, DVM 1977, and the care her animals received from him.The two recipients of the scholarship will be students enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine at K-State, with first preference going to students from Brown County, Kan. In the event that there are no eligible students from Brown County, students from Nemaha, Jackson, Atchison, Jefferson or Doniphan Counties in Kansas may also be considered.

Dr. Benjamin Wileman, a 2010 doctoral graduate, was the winner of the Bovine Practitioners Conference 2010 Graduate Research competition.

Dr. Hans Coetzee presented nine hours of continuing education credit at the CanWest Veterinary Meeting in Victoria, British Columbia, on Oct. 3 and 4. His topic was “Evidence-based medicine for the bovine practitioner.” He also spoke at the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association’s 99th Annual Meeting & 37th Mid-America Veterinary Conference in Louisville on Oct. 8 on pain assessment and management in food animals.

Dr. Amy Rankin presented a couple of different seminar topics at the ACVO meeting from Oct. 6-9 in San Diego. Her topics were “Abstract - Drug Inhibition of paracentesis induced blood-aqueous barrier breakdown in cats quantified by laser flaremetry lecture for general practitioners” and “Update in Feline Ophthalmology.”

Dr. James W. Carpenter presented seven lectures on zoological medicine and coordinated two 4.5-hr laboratories on imaging of non-traditional/zoo animals at the International Conference on Zoological Medicine, Buin Zoological Park, Santiago, Chile, on Oct. 7-10. The conference attracted more than 140 participants from four countries. In addition, he also gave a presentation, “Opportunities in Exotic Animal, Wildlife, and Zoo Animal Medicine ... and What it Takes to Get there,” to students at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Andres Bello University in Santiago. Dr. Carpenter said, “As is true in North America, there is an incredible interest in exotic pet, wildlife, and zoo animal medicine by both Latin American clinicians and veterinary students.”

Dr. Greg Grauer spoke at the Veterinarmy Medical Association in the Indianapolis area on Oct. 13 and 14. His topic was, “Modulating progression of chronic kidney disease: ACE inhibitors and beyond.” Dr. Grauer also spoke at the Penn Vet Seminar Series in Lancaster, Pa., on Oct. 16 and 17. Topics: “A case-based approach to the azotemic patient,” “Chronic kidney disease: A tale of two cats,” “What’s the big deal about proteinuria and hypertension in dogs and cats with CKD?” and “Urine leakage and urine retention disorders.”

Dr. Susan Nelson spoke at the Kansas State Animal Response Team (KSSART) Second Annual Conference in Wichita on Oct. 8 and 9. Her topic was “Companion Animal First Aid (Dogs/Cats).”

Dr. David Anderson presented in Litchfield, Ohio, on Oct. 9 at the Magical Farms Annual Alpaca Auction and Educational Event. The topic was “Cria health and management.” He presented in Seattle on Oct. 21-23 at the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Annual Symposium, on “Food Animal Surgery Special Sessions - Minimally Invasive Surgery of Camelids.


Dr. Mike Apley recently went to Moscow, Russia, with a team of swine industry representatives to visit food safety laboratories and learn about their testing methods for drug residues, microbial contaminants and genetically modified organisms. The trip finished with a visit to the director of the Russian Federation Veterinary Phytosanitary Service (VPSS), which is an agency with responsibilities representing parts of what our FDA and USDA would be doing. Findings from this trip will influence production procedures in the United States related to products that will be exported to the Russian Federation.

Dr. Mike Apley in Red Square in Moscow, Russia.
Dr. Mike Apley visits Red Square in Moscow.

Donna Rogers, microbiologist in the DM/P Department is volunteering in the 2010 United Way campaign: "Live United: K-state Cares About our Neighbors," which is under way through Dec. 10. Each year K-Staters from across campus partner with the United Way of Riley County to support community members in need. This year's goal is to double the participation rate and raise $200,000.Donations to the K-State United Way Campaign go to numerous organizations, including American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, Catholic Charities, Crisis Center, Girl Scouts, Housing and Credit Counseling, Kansas Legal Services, Manhattan Day Care, Manhattan Emergency Shelter, RSVP, Salvation Army, Shepherd's Crossing and Sunflower CASA.

Envelopes with a pledge form are given out in whatever manner a volunteer chooses. On the pledge form is a list of options individuals can choose from to make a contribution. They are Payroll Deduction(which is highly recommended by the committee); Bill Me; Credit Card; Check or Cash.

There are weekly drawings throughout the campaign which ends Dec. 10. In order to be eligible, return your envelope with the pledge card back to Donna, and she will turn it in to the United Way office on campus. Below is a list of campaign prizes to be given away throughout the campaign. Although a contribution is encouraged, it is not necessary in order to be entered into the drawings.

* Two tickets to the McCain performance of Cantus
* Reserved parking stall for the spring 2011 semester
* 16" x 20" frame with custom mat
* Paid day off
* Recreational Services pass
* Two golf passes to Colbert Hills
* Basketball signed by Coach Frank Martin
* Football signed by Coach Bill Snyder
* Lunch with Athletic Director John Currie
* Four passes to the Bluemont Buffet
* 100 coupons for 2-for-1 bowling
* Sampler box of Clif Bars
* Two $15 iTune cards
* Epson printer
* Four UPC movie passes


CVM receives Veterinary Scholars check at American Royal

The American Royal presented a check for $7,500 to K-State for the Veterinary Scholars program in October. From left to right: Rick Norden, American Royal director and Fairbank Scales president, Greg Maday, chairman of the board of directors, CVM Dean Ralph Richardson, and Larry Moore, KMBC-TV (ABC) news anchor.

Veterinary Scholars Check at American Royal

In for the long run

Congratulations to Dr. Charles Dodd, Ph.D. student in food science. He recently ran in the Heartland Spirit of the Prairie 100 Mile run.

"I did the 50 mile run in 2008, and that gave me a taste of the experience beyond the marathon distance," Dr. Dodd said. "I tried the 100 in 2009 and failed, dropping out at mile 75. Thanks to God carrying me through, and a couple of wonderful pacers, I was able to finish this year (21 hours and 2 minutes). My wife, Lisa, paced me for 14 miles and a friend, Clay Zapletal, for 43 miles."


Dr. Charles Dodd and his wife, Lisa.
Dr. Charles Dodd runs along side his wife, Lisa, who was helping him pace during a 100-mile run through the Flint Hills near Cassoday, Kan.



Calendar of events

Nov. 18: Swine Industry Day, K-State Alumni Center

DM/P Seminar Series, Thursday, 4:00 p.m., Mara Conference Center

Nov. 11: Dr. Kee Jun Kim, University of Kansas Medical Center

Nov. 18: Dr. Samantha Wisely, Division of Biology, KSU

Nov. 25: Thanksgiving Holiday

Dec. 2: Dr. Amit Kumar, DM/P, KSU

Dec. 9: Dr. Saugata Datta, Department of Geology, KSU

Dec. 16: Dr. O. Shawn Cupp, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth, Kan.


New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Jinhua Li - A&P
Dr. Yonghai Li - A&P
Marisha Eck - KSVDL
Susan Hazelbaker - VMTH
Robert Moya - VMTH

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Dorris Merrill - DM/P
Cathy Nuzum - CaTS


Lifelines is published each month by the Development and Alumni Affairs Office at the College of Veterinary Medicine.
The editors are Joe Montgomery,, and Dana Avery,