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Kansas State University


The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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April 2011 - Vol. 6, No. 4

Top Stories

Nicholas CrosslandFrom Plum Island to NBAF

Dual degree program offers students research opportunity.
Watch Nicholas Crossland tell about his trip

Dog days of spring

Running the annual Dog-N-Jog.
See the highlights from this year.

CVM plans Human-Animal Bond Fair

New event is added to Open House line-up with special speakers.
Plan to join us!

Dr. Thomson receives alumni award from Texas Tech

MPH program recognizes outstanding participants

Biosecurity Research Institute to be open at Open House

Equine Field Service to Equifest

Kansas names Dr. Nagaraja one of state's top scientists

Regular features

Susie LarsonUnder the Microscope
Susie Larson, Graphic Design Specialist, Veterinary Medical Library

Check it Out at the Library
Good search queries at PubMed

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues

Hard copy version of Lifelines (printable)
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From Plum Island to NBAF

Dual degree program offers students research opportunity

An East Coast trip has helped a K-State student explore research connections between the university, the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.

Nicholas Crossland is a second-year student in veterinary medicine and a graduate student in biomedical sciences from Overland Park. He recently spent two days touring Plum Island to look at performing a virology graduate project there as part of a dual-degree program with the CVM. The trip was rewarding, Nicholas said, and helped him understand how a high-profile federal laboratory works.

See a full video below about Nicholas' experience as produced by K-State News Services.

Nicholas Crossland studies in Dr. Bob Rowland's lab.
Second-year student Nicholas Crossland recently earned a trip to Plum Island as part of a dual-degree program with the CVM.

News Video from the K-State YouTube Channel. Click the play button below to see the story.



Dog days of spring: Running the annual Dog-N-Jog

Fun and exercise were the “running” themes of a recent event at K-State. The College of Veterinary Medicine hosted its 16th annual Dog-N-Jog on Saturday, April 2, bringing together dogs and their owners to run a race for a “pet” charity.

Veterinary students from the class of 2012 organized this year’s race.

"First of all, it’s a fundraising opportunity for the third-year class to help pay for graduation fees and board exams," said Janelle Scott, third-year student and race co-organizer. "Some of the proceeds go to KSDS, which is a service dog organization in Washington, Kan. — it helps train guide dogs and service dogs."

Registration for the race began at eight a.m. and the teaching-hospital parking lot was quickly filled with runners and dogs of all shapes and sizes. See our full report in the Lifelines news video below.


Runners participate in Dog-N-Jog
Dog-N-Jog allowed people a chance to run a race with their dogs. This year there were 245 entries before the race started. This number does not include the entries that were turned in on the day of the race.

Video produced by Joseph Chapes and Kent Nelson, technology coordinators from
Veterinary Medical Continuing Education.


CVM will host first Human-Animal Bond Fair April 16

“The Human-Animal Bond Fair during our annual open house will be an opportunity to explore how animals enrich our lives on a daily basis. Whether or not you currently own a pet, please plan now to join us in celebrating our relationships with our nonhuman family members at our first annual Human-Animal Bond Fair. We are looking forward to seeing you during Open House.”

– Dr. Ronnie Elmore, DVM, MS, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Admissions and Diversity

Location: Mara Conference Center, 4th floor, Trotter Hall

Human-Animal Bond Fair Events Schedule

10:00 a.m.: Fair Opens - Exhibits and booths run till noon

Canine Companions for Independence
Presidents and their Family Pets
Dr. Kipp Van Camp, author
Veterinary Medical Library
Pet Tribute
Kansas Search and Rescue Dogs
Manhattan Kennel Club
All-Star Agility
Canine Freestyle
Reading Education Assistance Dogs
4-H Dog Care and Training Action Team

Presentations and speakers

10:15: “Always Allie”

Dr. Kipp A. Van Camp
President and CEO of Midwest Education and Development, Midway Radiology Institute and Rejuvenate Medical Spa in Topeka.

10:35: “All I wanted was a puppy; raising puppies for service.”

Dr. Patricia A. Payne DVM, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Diagnostic Medicine Pathobiology
College of Veterinary Medicine

10:55: “The Life and Times of Jeb, the Facility Dog.”

Debra M. Sellers, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
School of Family Studies and Human Services
College of Human Ecology
Kansas State University

11:15: “Sam, a horse and a family.”

Dr. Jim Coffman, DVM, MS
Provost/Professor Emeritus
Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine

11:45: “The Human-Animal Bond at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Presidents and Their Family Pet”

Dr. Ronnie Elmore, DVM, MS
Associate Dean for Academic Programs,
Admissions and Diversity
College of Veterinary Medicine

11:55 to 12:00: Closing

Assistance dogs help people in a variety of ways.



Dr. Thomson receives alumni award from Texas Tech

Dr. Dan Thomson, native of Clearfield, Iowa, was selected by the Texas Tech University for the Advanced Graduate of Distinction award.

Dr. Thomson is the director of the Beef Cattle Institute at the CVM. He received his bachelor’s degree and DVM from Iowa State University. His master’s degree is from South Dakota State and his doctorate is from Texas Tech.

Dr. Thomson was an associate veterinarian with Veterinary Research and Consulting Services in Greeley, Colo. He then served as the director of animal health and well-being for Cactus Feeders in Amarillo, Texas. Dr. Thomson was the veterinary consultant for their 10 commercial feedlots and directed their animal health research at the Cactus research facility. He still practices feedlot medicine in Nebraska and Texas.

Dr. Thomson is recognized internationally as a leader in beef cattle production and health management. Currently, he is the Jones Professor of Production Medicine and Epidemiology and director of the Beef Cattle Institute at CVM. He serves as the OIE Chair of Beef Cattle Production and Welfare. Dr. Thomson teaches cow/calf, stocker and feedyard production medicine as well as nutrition. Dr. Thomson has published 44 peer-reviewed papers, five book chapters, 182 abstracts and proceedings at professional meetings and delivered 362 invited talks internationally on his research and field experience on the interactions between production management, environment and nutrition on the health and well-being of beef cattle. Dr. Thomson’s research program has been granted more than $7.7 million with $5.2 million of those funds coming with him as the primary investigator. Dr. Thomson has been very active working on advisory boards and committees for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, American Farm Bureau, American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the North American Food Animal Well-being Committee. Dr. Thomson’s research and outreach has been reported in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, St. Louis Dispatch, Des Moines Register, Kansas City Star, Korea Herald, Vancouver Sun, Phoenix Star, Minneapolis Star Tribune and many others.

Dr. Kevin Pond (left), Texas Tech Animal Science Department head, presents Dr. Dan Thomson with an alumni award.
Dr. Kevin Pond (left), Texas Tech animal science department head, presents Dr. Dan Thomson with the Advanced Graduate of Distinction Award.



Centennial Plaza bricks ad



MPH program recognizes outstanding participants

Kansas State University’s Master of Public Health (MPH) Program celebrated National Public Health Week and recognized significant public health contributions by students, graduates and faculty at the 3 rd Annual Excellence in Public Health at K-State Awards Reception held Thursday evening. This year’s honorees included Gina Besenyi, Tyler Kane, Dr. Robert Larson, Julie Pickler and Aaron Boyd.


Gina Besenyi, Ty Kane and Dr. Robert Larson
Gina Besenyi, Tyler Kane and Dr. Robert Larson.

The 2011 Outstanding MPH Student award went to Gina Besenyi. Gina received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from K-State in 2003, and plans to complete her MPH degree in May 2011. Over the past two years, Gina has been heavily involved in all aspects of research activities with the kinesiology department’s team, and she has been the project manager for the “Development of a Community Stakeholder Park Audit Tool” project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living Research program. She has also been a team leader for Promoting Lifelong Activity and Nutrition Through Schools (PLANTS) and research assistant in other projects in the Youth Health Behavior Research Laboratory. Gina resides in Holton, Kan., with her husband, Robert, and their 2-year-old son, Gavin.

Tyler Kane was selected for the 2011 Outstanding Graduate of the MPH Program. Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Kansas State in 2003 and his MPH degree in 2006. After graduating, he worked for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment until May 2007 and then the Sedgwick County Health Department from 2007 to the present. First as a community health educator and now as a community health analyst, Tyler has provided crucial leadership and expertise to many public health issues in his county and state. For example, he has worked in tobacco prevention, infant mortality, community assessments and agency accreditation. Tyler resides in Wichita with his wife, Amy, and their daughter, Avery, and son, Levi.

Dr. Robert Larson is this year’s Outstanding MPH Faculty member. Larson has consistently demonstrated leadership in the animal and public health programs at K-State for many years. He is a DVM graduate from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987, and he received his Ph.D. in 1992, both at K-State. He now holds the Edgar E. and M. Elizabeth Coleman Chair in Food Animal Production Medicine and is director of Veterinary Medical Continuing Education. For the last three years, Larson has been one of the representatives in the MPH’s area of emphasis on infectious diseases and zoonoses, and has served as its interim director from June to December 2008. Larson has been one of two instructors for the core course DMP 708, and this year, he developed and taught a new online epidemiology course, DMP 754, which is now part of the MPH program’s core curriculum. He currently serves as a major professor to a significant number of MPH students and serves on the committee for many others. Larson lives in Clay Center, Kan., with his wife, Laura, and daughters: Mariah, Karrin and Annie.

Julie Pickler and Aaron Boyd were the winning team for the Best Public Health Video this year. Julie and Aaron are both MPH students in the public health physical activity area of emphasis. Boyd received his bachelor’s degree from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo in 2010, and Pickler received her bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, Pullman, in 2007. Below is their winning video.

K-State's MPH program was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in January 2003 and admitted its first students that fall. Since then, 41 individuals have earned their Master of Public Health degrees and two have received a Graduate Certificate in Public Health Core Concepts. Currently, the program has a total of 80 students. This interdisciplinary program in the Graduate School offers integrated multidisciplinary expertise with more than 50 primary and support faculty from eight departments in four colleges and two support units at K-State. The mission of the program is to provide education, research and service across multiple disciplines of public health, impacting human, animal and community health locally, regionally and globally. The director of the MPH program is Dr. Michael Cates, a veterinarian and the James B. Nichols Professor of Veterinary Public Health in the College of Veterinary Medicine.


150 Years of Kansas Beef

Donít forget to order your '150 Year of Kansas Beef' commemorative book!

150 Years of Kansas Beef celebrates the people and institutions that have made Kansas beef what it is today. The historical and photograph-rich book will take readers through the hardships, changes, and triumphs of the Kansas beef industry over the last century and a half.

The book can be ordered online at, and will be printed by Donning Company Publishers and delivered in summer 2011.


150 Years of Kansas Beef


Biosecurity Research Institute to be open at Open House

NBAF program manager to participate

A behind-the-scenes look at the Biosecurity Research Institute and firsthand information about the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility are part of this year's All-University Open House at Kansas State University.

The Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Roberts Hall on the Manhattan campus will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 16, as part of K-State's annual open house.

The institute is an integral part of K-State's plan to become a top 50 public research university by 2025. It is a biocontainment research facility that has enhanced biosafety level 3 and biosafety level 3 agriculture laboratories.

The day will include demonstrations and virtual tours of the facility, giving visitors the chance to discover what biosafety levels are and what they mean. Visitors can try on safety gear, learn about biocontainment operations and maintenance, and find out what it takes to work in a biocontainment facility.

Visitors also can participate in question-and-answer sessions with Julie Brewer, the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility program manager from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. NBAF will be built on the hill east of the Biosecurity Research Institute.

The institute is located on the northern part of the Kansas State University main campus and offers 31,000 square feet of research space. The facility also includes a combined classroom and laboratory for hands-on interactive learning, a modern lecture hall that seats up to 50 people and conference rooms with distance learning capabilities.



Equine Field Service to Equifest

Jennifer Brewer, Garrett Stewart and Chelsie Burden
Fourth-year students (left to right) Chelsie Burden, Garrett Stewart and Jennifer Brewer traveled to Kansas Equifest with Dr. Chris Blevins. Equifest was held in Wichita on Feb. 11-13. The event is for horse owners and enthusiasts to meet, be entertained and gain equine knowledge. Dr. Blevins and the students checked in horses and handled equine emergencies at the event.



Kansas names Dr. Nagaraja one of state's top scientists

Dr. T.G. Nagaraja

Kansas State University's Dr. T.G. Nagaraja has a goal: safer meals at the dinner table.

It's this goal and his work on E. coli O157:H7 that have earned Dr. Nagaraja, a university distinguished professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, recognition from health officials and in academic and cattle industry circles. Now K-12 students in Kansas schools may also become familiar with his work, thanks to a Hutchinson-based organization that promotes scientific accomplishments of Kansans.

The Ad Astra Kansas initiative "Science in Kansas: 150 Years and Counting" recently named Dr. Nagaraja as one of the state's top 150 scientists -- past and present -- as part of the yearlong celebration of the Kansas sesquicentennial. As one of the selected scientists, Dr. Nagaraja was added to Ad Astra's digital trading card series. The cards are for K-12 students and help teach and emphasize the importance of science and innovation and the role they play in the history and future of Kansas.

"My first research experience was on working with microbes that live in the stomachs of cattle," Dr. Nagaraja said. "When I chose research as my career, I came to Kansas -- cattle country-- to do more research on problems related to cattle. I'm honored to receive this recognition."

Dr. Nagaraja has spent more than a decade studying E. coli O157 in beef cattle, looking at how the organism persists in cattle and their environment and how beef is exposed to it during the production process -- before eventually ending up on plates across the world.

"To me, E. coli O157 is an important foodborne pathogen because it affects so many thousands of people every year, sometimes even killing them," Dr. Nagaraja said. "Children are particularly vulnerable. Many children who are exposed to it develop kidney failure and complications, forcing them to be on dialysis for the rest of their lives."

Initially his focus was microbiology, with an emphasis on microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract of cattle -- particularly the rumen, which allows cattle to digest grasses and grains. His transition to E. coli O157 research began after he served on a preharvest food safety team that investigated the bacteria. Now with all of his efforts geared toward understanding E. coli O157, Nagaraja's ultimate goal is to develop ideas that make all cattle E. coli free.

In the meantime, he's one of the foremost experts solving the biological puzzle, of which there are many pieces.

"Only a minority of cattle have E. coli O157 by the time they go to slaughter -- maybe 20 to 30 percent, depending on the season," Dr. Nagaraja said. "Those with the organism carry it in their gastrointestinal tract, which then contaminates their hide. But what's interesting is that the organism doesn't cause any problems for the cattle -- they stay normal."

Another oddity is that seasonal temperature affects the bacteria. May through September sees an increase in infected cattle, while the numbers decrease 2 to 5 percent in the winter months. Nagaraja said there's no explanation for this.

Collecting and analyzing E. coli O157 typically falls into two categories for Dr. Nagaraja and his lab: field-based and lab-based studies.

Field studies involve visiting feed yards, slaughterhouses and occasionally dairies. On-sight fecal samples are collected from the floor of the pens rather than from the animal itself. This provides an environmental snapshot of infectious externalities, like water tanks, soil and other cowhides -- three large transmission sources in feed yards.

At slaughterhouses the gastrointestinal tract can be studied. It's also where large-scale contamination can occur due to dirt, feces and hides coming into contact with carcasses.

Experimental inoculation studies -- which are harmless to cattle -- are conducted in K-State's Animal Research Facility, which is approved for biosafety level 2 research.

In winter months Nagaraja typically spends more time in lab-based studies, looking at the properties of E. coli and developing and improving methods to detect and quantify the organism in a variety of samples.

Dr. Nagaraja said he's most proud of contributing to a finding that cattle fed a diet that includes the by-product distillers grain have higher levels of E. coli O157. Distillers grain is what's left after the starch from corn is removed to make ethanol. The study was funded by a nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Dr. Nagaraja said many of his findings couldn't be accomplished without the help of graduate students assisting in the research. "As professors, sometimes we have an idea to explore, but the graduate students are the ones who go and execute them. I've been fortunate enough to have a lot of really good graduate students in my career," he said.

Dr. Nagaraja received his bachelor's and master's degrees in veterinary microbiology from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India. He earned a doctorate in microbiology from K-State, and joined the faculty in 1979.



Under the Microscope

Susie Larson, Graphic Design Specialist, Veterinary Medical Library

Susie Larson Hometown: Lawrence, Kan. (always been a K-State family)

Family Information:Husband, Duane (we just celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary, April 3). I have two great sons, Heath and Chancey, and a wonderful daughter-in-law, Katie.

Pets: A Jack Russell Terrier named “Jack” and several horses.

What makes you smile and why? The simple little things: a flower first opening up in the spring, a child’s laugh, or animals playing. A smile of happiness on someone’s face is one of the greatest things life can offer.

What is your biggest spring cleaning project? My flower beds and garden.

April showers bring May flowers…. Which flowers are your favorite in the spring? Flowers are my passion. The forsythia shrub and tulips are always so colorful and promising of spring.

What has been your favorite design project for the CVM? Every design project (large or small, simple to complicated) is special to me. Designing the posters for the annual conference a few years ago for the seven K-State buildings, athletic track and green commons area named after our veterinarians was the most rewarding. Small prints of them are hung in the Dean’s Conference room and it gives me pride to have our veterinarians honored and my work is displayed.

If you could be any age for a week, what would it be and why? Wow! I guess I like where I am at in age, but maybe having the energy and joint flexibility of being 20.



Check it Out at the Library

Good search queries at PubMed

by Carol Elmore

Carol Elmore PubMed indexes more than 5,200 journals covering the fields of human medicine, nursing, dentistry and other health-related topics and includes more than 20 million citations. It is the largest medical database in the world and is available free at: . Because PubMed is often promoted as a database for medical literature, many people don’t realize how relevant it is to veterinary medicine. PubMed indexes about 170 core veterinary journals and 70 other titles with peripheral veterinary coverage or limited indexed citations. Other databases, such as CAB Abstracts, also index veterinary medical journals, but are not available free to users worldwide as is PubMed.

One aid that is helpful to users of PubMed, who are seeking veterinary topics, is a special query that restricts a search to veterinary topics and journals. To select this query, you can either go to limits in PubMed at (also located as a link at the top of the opening PubMed screen) and select veterinary science from the subset menu or you can go to the Special Query page at and find the veterinary science link listed in the subjects section. The veterinary science query sets up a special algorithm that restricts the search to a veterinary subset described at .

A search under the terms “cataract surgery” using all of PubMed would return approximately 28,865 citations, but when the search is limited to the veterinary science query, approximately 532 citations are listed. One caution: When using the veterinary science query limit, articles on veterinary topics that are published in human medical journals might be eliminated, depending on the indexing terms used. Since some researchers publish their articles in human medical journals, even though they are researching a veterinary topic, restricting the search to the veterinary science subset could possibly eliminate some relevant articles especially in research areas.

Remember that you can request searches and articles for a small fee by contacting Carol Elmore at or by calling 785-532-6006.

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



News Ticker

A quilt made by Dr. Ronnie Elmore was selected as a semi-finalist for the AQS Quilt Show and Contest on April 27-30 in Paducah, Ky. The quilt is titled “Christmas in the Cabin” and will be competing with 389 other quilts for cash prizes up to $20,000.

Dr. Howard Erickson
Happy Birthday Dr. Erickson!

The Department of Anatomy and Physiology celebrated Dr. Howard Erickson's 75th birthday March 16.

Dr. Nora SpringerDr. Nora Springer, DVM 2008, is the recipient of two grants from the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology. Her research is titled: “Procoagulant Activity in Horses: Measurement of Platelet-Derived Microparticles and Endogenous Thrombin Potential.” Dr. Springer is a veterinary clinical pathology resident at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Deepthi Uppalapati, Ph.D. student in anatomy and physiology, was selected to receive the Dr. Jane Westfall fellowship for women scholarship. Deepthi will travel to Orlando, Fla., to present her work. Dr. Westfall is an emeritus professor and taught at K-State for 32 years.

Dr. Hans Coetzee presented at the Northeast Dairy Production Medicine Symposium in Syracuse, N.Y., on March 26. His topic: Pain Management.

Dr. Dan Thomson presented at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., on March 30. Topic: The Future of FA Veterinary Medicine: Education and Practice.




Calendar of events

April 14: International Potluck, Mara Conference Center, Noon, Guest Speaker: Dr. Rose McMurphy

April 15: K-State Spotlight on Intellectual Property, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Alumni Center Ballroom, Guest Speaker: Christopher M. Cashman

April 16: All University Open House, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., universitywide

April 16: Human-Animal Bond Fair, Mara Conference Center, 10:00 a.m. to Noon, five speakers and 11 exhibits

Continuing Education events

June 5-8: 73rd Annual Conference for Veterinarians

* More information about Veterinary Medical Continuing Education events can be found at the VMCE Web site.

Department of Anatomy & Physiology Seminar Series

Below is a list of speakers and the departments each speaker represents.

April 18: Dr. Kirk Hamilton – Dept. of Physiology, University of Otaga, New Zealand

April 25: Dr. Jingxin Cao – National Microbiology Laboratory – Public Health Agency of Canada

May 2: Chen Peng – Anatomy & Physiology

Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology Seminar Series

April 14: Dr. Susan Egan, Department of Molecular Biosciences, KU

April 21: Dr. Justin Kastner

April 28: Dr. Abbey Nutsch, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, K-State

May 5: TBA

May 12: Dr. Charlotte Vines, Department of Microbiology, Mol. Genetics & Immunology, KU Medical Center


New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Scott Jackson - Library
Elizabeth Poulson
Haixia Li
Joy Deckness
- CaTS

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Jinhua Li - A&P


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,