Skip to the content

Kansas State University


The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

Lifelines logo

December 2011 - Vol. 6, No. 12

Top Stories

Middle school students stain slidesGROWing for Animal Health

Science and technology workshop introduces middle school girls to veterinary medicine.
Hands-on approach inspires

Unprecedented Opportunities

Dean Ralph Richardson announces a $5 million legislative request to dramatically advance the mission of the CVM.
How can you help?

Going to the Dogs

Patent dealing with a natural antimicrobial peptide helps dogs better fight pathogens
Who came up with the patent?

Faculty foursome nabs top teaching trophies

Kansas Farm Bureau gives service award to Dr. Thomson

Cat Town concludes successful season

Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital celebrates holidays

CVM leaders tour Plum Island research facility


Regular features

Dr. Anuradha GhoshUnder the Microscope
Dr. Anuradha Ghosh, Postdoctoral Research Associate, DM/P

Check it Out at the Library
Donate to the Book Sale

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.
Click here to get Acrobat Reader

Support the College of Veterinary Medicine
Click the link to make a gift at our online giving page.

Facebook logoFind us on Facebook

GROWing for Animal Health

Science and technology workshop introduces middle school girls to veterinary medicine.

A group of recent visitors to the CVM may have provided a sneak preview of some future veterinary students. The college hosted an event called “All 4 Animal Health” sponsored by the K-State Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE) through its program called Girls Researching Our World (GROW), which is targeted toward girls in middle school.

The theme of this program highlighted the roles scientists, engineers and technologists play in promoting the health, nutrition and overall well-being of animals. The goal was to emphasize animal health applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

All for Animal Health was held Nov. 5 and included these activities: Saving Lives with Math, which shows what a pharmacist does to save the lives of animals; Pet Health, an opportunity to participate in a hands-on activity to perform a small animal check-up; and The Tooth of the Matter, which explores oral animal health. In all, 81 girls attended the workshop.

Dr. Kimathi Choma, director of undergraduate public health programs, helped organize the activities at the CVM. He said, “It was very exciting to be able to host this event, so that the middle school participants were able to explore the world of animal health and consider veterinary medicine as a future career. “

Yasché Glass, program coordinator for KAWSE said, “The event was quite a success.  I received emails and calls from a number of parents – these included comments like: ‘my girls talked about it for hours on the way home’ and ‘my daughter loved the activities.’ We are very pleased that the event was so successful and look forward to working with the veterinary college in the future.”

"We appreciate the faculty, staff and students of the College of Veterinary Medicine's hard work in hosting the event and making it well received by the middle school participants," said Dr. Beth Montelone, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who sits on the steering committee for the GROW program.

Participants don PPEs.
Part of the hands-on experience includes donning Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Staining slides.
One of the hand-on activities involves staining slides.
Dr. Kimathi Choma gives the opening address.
Dr. Kimathi Choma, director of undergraduate public health programs, gives the opening address. Dr. Choma earned his DVM in 2007 at K-State.
Examining anatomical structures.
A volunteer leader shows students how to examine anatomical structures.
Preparing to do a fine needle aspirate.
This group is preparing to do a fine needle aspirate (FNA).




Video Feature

Unprecedented Opportunities

Dean Ralph Richardson announces a $5 million legislative request to dramatically advance the mission of the CVM.

Video produced by Joseph Chapes and Kent Nelson, technology coordinators from
Computing and Technical Support (CATS).


By Dean Ralph Richardson

The Kansas Board of Regents recently approved a plan for us to request a $5 million increase in our base budget from the Kansas state legislature. We see opportunities for growth by cooperating with the federal laboratories being located in Manhattan, such as the Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit (ABADRU) and the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF). We are deeply engaged with the new K-State Olathe campus and with activities in the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor, where the greatest concentration of animal health and nutrition companies in the world resides.

These are unprecedented times for the College of Veterinary Medicine. We now have an opportunity and responsibility to address the expansion of the regional veterinary workforce and research needs as determined by our college’s Master Planning process, the university’s “Vision 2025” initiative to be a top 50 research institution, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s goal to grow the Kansas animal health industry.

We call this request: “People, Programs and Places.”

  • The “People” initiative will allow us to attract and retain top-notch faculty who will invigorate comparative biomedical and infectious disease research efforts, resulting in more effective, research-based diagnostic testing and remedies for animal and human diseases. We intend to strengthen our college’s research engine to leverage state funds and bring extramural resources, such as grants and contracts from places like the NIH, USDA and various foundations.
  • The “Programs” initiative will allow us to continue to serve the veterinary profession, just as we have for more than 100 years, and to take a giant leap forward. We want to graduate the very best practicing veterinarians possible and develop cutting-edge programs such as our Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas (VTPRK), and increase the number of researchers and diagnosticians to meet specific state and national needs for veterinary medicine in rural America. This includes preparing graduates to work at incoming federal labs, nearby animal health companies and our own university. We want to train comparative biomedical scientists through combined DVM/MPH (Master’s in Public Health) and DVM/PhD programs, along with traditional graduate programs, to supply the next generation of researchers and diagnosticians for this country and this world.
  • The “Places” initiative is right here at Kansas State University, utilizing both the Manhattan campus and K-State Olathe. This will require renovating existing space in Manhattan into modern, space-efficient offices and laboratories for diagnostics, research and education.

In the 2012 legislative session, we must clearly articulate to legislators and Kansas citizens the importance of drafting, approving and funding new legislation to grow the College of Veterinary Medicine. We seek to fill the needs of a rapidly growing workforce in Kansas and the Midwest relative to animal health, public health, biomedical sciences and academic medicine. We intend to fill that need while continuing to provide outstanding new DVM graduates for veterinary practice.

I’m very excited about what we will be doing over the next few months, relative to telling the story about why it’s so important to grow this veterinary college in these times of emerging infectious diseases, world pandemics, biomedical challenges to human and animal health, disease prevention and a healthy sustainable environment. I sincerely believe that, by enhancing the veterinary and animal health initiatives in Kansas, we will create a better quality of life for all Kansans, whether they be directly related to veterinary medicine or if they simply benefit from the improvements in the economic climate of our state as a result of the growth in animal health and nutrition companies or the development of more federal research laboratories to enhance animal and public health.

You are a valued stakeholder in the future of our state’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Share this news with your community and with your local state representatives and/or senators. Your e-mails, letters, tweets, phone calls or personal interactions can ensure that Kansas legislators understand the impact made by this college across the state, nation and world. Tell them this legislation will address needs and services relevant to your community and beyond. Please contact your legislator right away. Thank you for your help.



Going to the Dogs: New patent promotes canine health

  Kansas State University has been issued a patent dealing with a natural antimicrobial peptide that helps dogs better fight pathogens, including different bacteria, viruses and fungi.  
Kansas State University has been issued a patent dealing with a natural antimicrobial peptide that helps dogs better fight pathogens, including different bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Make no bones about it, a discovery by a Kansas State University research team could mean a longer and healthier life for man's best friend.

University researchers Dr. Tonatiuh Melgarejo, an associate professor of human nutrition; Dr. Frank Blecha, University Distinguished Professor of immunophysiology and associate dean for research; and Drs. Yongming Sang and Maria Ortega, former postdoctoral fellows, isolated and characterized a natural antimicrobial peptide that helps dogs to better fight pathogens — including different bacteria, viruses and fungi.

The peptide's characteristics and production method were recently issued as a patent titled "Antimicrobial Cathelicidin Peptides" to the Kansas State University Research Foundation, a nonprofit corporation responsible for managing the technology transfer activities of the university.

Researchers modeled the synthetic canine antimicrobial on a naturally occurring peptide found in the white blood cells of dogs, then tested it against numerous types of viruses, fungi and bacteria.

"It turned out it's really good at killing these microorganisms," Dr. Melgarejo said. "We suspected we had something that could really improve animal health, and maybe eventually human health."

The study that led to the synthetic antibody began in 2003, as Melgarejo and colleagues intended to find the antimicrobial peptides — or antibodies — responsible for canine immunity. Up to that point little data had been collected about the animal's immunology.

"Every single living creature on Earth -- animals, plants, insects and even bacteria -- produce some type of antimicrobial peptides," Dr. Melgarejo said. "These peptides are very small molecules that kill microbes like bacteria, viruses and yeast. It's a fairly simple defensive system, and everything from bacteria to humans produce these peptides."

According to Dr. Melgarejo, the antimicrobial peptides that each species produces are unique and hardwired to an organism's DNA, giving certain species certain resistances. For example, the immune system in dogs may be able to kill certain pathogens extremely well while the immune system in humans is not.

The team discovered different antimicrobial peptides in the dog but was most interested in canine cathelicidin, commonly abbreviated as K9CATH. Cathelicidins are peptides that play a central role in the early innate immunity against infections.

While animals like domestic cattle and buffalo have several different cathelicidins to help fight infections, dogs have only one type of cathelicidin peptide. This led the team to speculate that the sole cathelicidin in canines is extremely strong.

"Although a dog may be stronger immunologically speaking than a human and many other animals, it's not the strongest animal on Earth," Dr. Melgarejo said. "When I worked in the clinical sciences I regularly treated dogs for diarrhea, coughing, ear infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis and other diseases. So it's evidently not as sturdy of an animal as it could be."

Because dogs are considered man's best friend, the researchers wanted to be dogs' best friend, too. Using the canine genome -- the genetic blueprint of the domestic dog — the team applied the canine cathelicidin as a temple to develop a synthetic antimicrobial with enhanced biological activity.

Drs. Melgarejo and Blecha, along with Annika Linde, research associate, and Kate Osei-Boadi, a doctoral candidate in human nutrition, Ghana, are continuing to develop the synthesized cathelicidin as well as explore new avenues to strengthen it. This currently includes studying hyenas, which are one of the most resilient animals in nature.

Researchers are also in the process of establishing a partnership with the Kansas Bioscience Authority to test the synthesized peptide against canine leishmaniasis, which is a tropical disease that is on the rise. The disease is zoonotic, meaning that it spreads from dogs to humans. Leishmaniasis is found in about 88 different countries worldwide and accounts for an estimated 2 million new cases a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.




Faculty foursome nabs top teaching trophies

Fall teaching awards
Congratulations to the winners of the fall teaching awards. They are: Novartis Third Year Award: Dr. Emily Klocke; Merial First Year Award: Dr. Zsolt Szladovits; Teva Animal Health First Year Award: Dr. Judy Klimek; and Bayer Animal Health Second Year Award: Dr. T.G. Nagaraja.



Kansas Farm Bureau gives service award to Dr. Thomson

  Steve Baccus and Dr. Dan Thomson  
Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus presents the Distinguished Service Award to the CVM's Dr. Dan Thomson.

Congratulations to Dr. Dan Thomson, who was selected Friday, Nov. 18, as the recipient of Kansas Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award at its annual meeting. The Distinguished Service to Agriculture award is presented to individuals who exemplify leadership in agriculture, service to Farm Bureau families and community involvement.

“My heroes are farmers, ranchers and veterinarians working every day to provide food for the world,” Dr. Thomson said. “It is an honor to serve the Kansas farmers and ranchers. The Kansas Farm Bureau has provided me many opportunities to serve and I am very humbled to receive this award. Awards are not hurdles, but instead expectations that you will continue to provide service. I look forward to many years of serving the Kansas farmers, ranchers and veterinarians.”

Kansas Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award is given in recognition of outstanding service on a national or significant statewide basis in the interest of agriculture. Nominees are selected by the Awards Committee made up of Kansas Farm Bureau board members and the entire Kansas Farm Bureau board of directors approves the selection.

"Dr. Dan Thomson is an obvious choice for Kansas Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award for 2011," said Steve Baccus, an Ottawa County grain farmer, who serves as president of Kansas Farm Bureau. "Dan works tirelessly for Kansas farmers and ranchers, and travels across the state informing and listening to members of our county Farm Bureaus. He is a true leader in beef cattle production and health management, and Farm Bureau members of Kansas appreciate his work."

Dr. Thomson, who is originally from Clearfield, Iowa, 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 Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He has served as the OIE Chair of Beef Cattle Production and Welfare and was recently asked to serve on the Food Marketing Institute’s Animal Welfare Advisory Board. 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. He serves as a leader in the state of Kansas on animal agriculture issues and has been named to the Governor’s advisory board for the Animal Ag summit along with serving on advisory boards and committees for Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Thomson is licensed to practice veterinary medicine in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.





Centennial Plaza bricks ad



Cat Town concludes successful season

Thanks to everyone for joining us at Cat Town, plus our sponsors, Hy Vee and all the student clubs who helped out.

The food is delicious!

Family has fun at Cat Town.

Animal Health International

Merck Animal Health

Magnum Feedyard

Flint Hills Beverage

Cox Bros. BBQ

Cat Town banner


Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital celebrates holidays

A few pictures from the recent VMTH holiday party. Cheers!

Dessert table

Enjoying fellowship at the party.

Veggies are good too.

Meats and veggies

A quick break for some good eats.



Get Connected ad



CVM leaders tour Plum Island research facility

CVM faculty at Plum Island.

Faculty from the CVM recently toured the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Pictured (left to right): Dr. Luis Rodriguez, research leader for the Foreign Animal Disease Research Unit leads the tour for Dr. Frank Blecha, Dr. Bonnie Rush, Dr. Roger Fingland, Dr. M.M. Chengappa and Dr. Gary Anderson. The trip involved discussing the preparation in educating students that may be interested in working at Plum Island or the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) one day. They also explored the idea of research collaboration opportunities between Plum Island, BRI and the CVM.



Under the Microscope

Dr. Anuradha Ghosh, Postdoctoral Research Associate, DM/P


Dr. Anuradha Ghosh Hometown: Kolkata, India

Family Information: My husband, Narinder. My parents and younger brother stay at Kolkata and my in-laws are at Jalandhar, India.

Pets: I had a German shepherd named Giky for 11 good years. He was my family and still lives in my memories. I never craved for another pet after him.

Do you have any special December holiday traditions? We enjoy the Christmas-New Year week-long winter break with homemade cakes, cookies and the native sweets made of jaggery and coconut.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Get to know how microbes rule the world.

If you could change something about the world, what would you change? Bring back all the extinct species of animals and plants to the Earth. Making us want to reconsider their cause of extinction.

What’s the most recent book that you have read and what did you think about it? "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer. This nonfiction gives a different insight about nature which is beautiful yet harsh.

What is your favorite type of weather and why? Tropical summer! Colorful clothes, juicy fruits, holidays and, of course, my birthday.

Do you have any goals for what is left of 2011? December is the month to look back over the year and set the goals for the coming year. This sounds so perfect!



Check it Out at the Library

Donate to the Book Sale

by Carol Elmore

Carol Elmore During the holidays when you are spending time reorganizing at your home or your office and find good useable books, consider donating them to the Veterinary Medical Library for our upcoming book sale. Our next sale will be in February around Valentine’s Day. We accept donations of all kinds of books. Children’s books are always appreciated for the sale as well as popular fiction titles in both hardback and paperback formats. Veterinary titles and other scientific books will also be sold so consider donating some of those kinds of books for our sale. We also have a section for CD and DVD sales that is a popular area. If you have any of these that you no longer enjoy or have ones that your children have outgrown, we would appreciate your donations of them.

During our books sale we usually have a silent auction of some of our most desirable items and will have a half-price sale in the later days of our sale. Also many people wait for our super-bargain “$1.00 for all you can put in a bag” deal at the very end of our sale.

The exciting part about the sale proceeds from our sale is that we don’t just keep all of the money for ourselves here at the library but use it to buy technology items that can be checked out. We have a talking GPS and a wireless presentation remote control as well as binoculars, cameras, laptops and other items that can be checked out. These were all purchased with proceeds from our previous sales. We are continually looking for new gadgets and electronic items that can be purchased with our new proceeds. Have a safe holiday and remember to donate your unwanted books to our sale.

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



News Ticker

William Karl LukertWilliam Karl Lukert was born on Nov. 11, 2011 in Manhattan, Kan. His proud parents are Dr. Adam Lukert, DVM 2011, and Anna Lukert, DM/P. His grandparents are Drs. Karl and Susan Lukert, DVM 1981. He weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents by Dr. James CarpenterDr. James Carpenter, clinical sciences, just recently published the 3rd edition of his book “Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery.”



Drs. Mike Apley and H. Morgan Scott presented at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture’s Chicago for NIAA’s “Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose” symposium, Oct. 26-27.

Drs. Elizabeth Davis, Ken Harkin and Robert Larson participated in the KVMA Fall Conference in November. The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Scott McVey.

Congratuatlions to Drs. David Anderson, Robert Larson, Matt Miesner and Brad White, for "Evaluation of two Clostridial vaccines in calves" for a Boehringer-Ingelheim grant.

Congratulations to Dr. Butch KuKanich for "The effect of CYP inhibition on tramadol disposition and effects in dogs," resulting in an ACVIM Foundation/Veterinary Pharmacology Research Foundation Partnership Grant.

A class of 1999 member, Dr. Emilie Bohannon passed away Nov. 15, 2011, in Springfield, Mo., after a battle with a brain tumor over the last year and a half. Nov. 15, 2011, in Springfield, Mo. She graduated from Parsons High School in 1992, and married Jason Bohannon in 2002. Dr. Bohannon was a veterinarian working in Lawrence, Kan., and St. Louis Park, Minn., and an esthetician before starting a family. At that time, she decided to stay home and raise their three children: Ella Michal Bohannon, Miller Jason Bohannon and Brooks Cross Bohannon. Memorials are requested to St. Vincent dePaul Society, 1416 West Poplar, Rogers, AR 72758.

Story Update : We are sad to report that Max the Great Dane, from the story "Facebook friends to the Max" in the November issue of Lifelines, passed away Dec. 5, after a lengthy fight with a retrobulbar mass (sarcoma) behind his left eye.



Calendar of events

General events

Dec. 16 - All-CVM Faculty, 3-5 p.m.

Dec. 19 - Holiday Open House, 2:30-4:00 p.m., 101 Trotter, 103 Trotter, Library (4th floor in Trotter) and 2A (basement).

Feb. 5-6 - Telefund at KSU Foundation

February 22-24 - Alumni Fellow recognition

Continuing Education events

Jan. 6 - Bull Evaluation and Management Clinic*

Feb. 3 - Annual Conference on Animal Diagnostics and Field Evaluations*

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


DM/P Seminar Series

Seminars start at 3:30P.M. in the Mara Conference Center, 4th Floor, Trotter Hall

Dec. 15: Dr. Robert J. Miller, USDA ARS Cattle Fever Tick Research Laboratory, Edinburg, Texas



New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

John Kearbey, Senior Administrative Assistant - KSVDL
Elizabeth McQuade, Research Assistant - KSVDL
Brendy Waters, Research Assistant - KSVDL

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Dr. Heather Towle, Clinical Assistant Professor- Clinical Sciences


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,