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Kansas State University


The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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January 2012 - Vol. 7, No. 1

Top Stories

Hannah LeventhalLove of Learning

First-year student Hannah Leventhal receives national recognition.
Who picked Hannah for this award?

Bull Management

Continuing Education conference focuses on bull selection, nutrition, and veterinary care.
See what's new.

Ornamental Artist

Radiology resident renders animal likenesses on holiday decor.
How does she do it?

Alumnus travels to Cotton Bowl

BRI and the NBAF's Research and Workforce Training Initiatives

K-State/Abaxis partnership boosts Kansas' economy

Holiday Open House spreads good cheer


Regular features

Ashley LikesUnder the Microscope
Ashley Likes, Administrative Assistant, A&P

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues

Hard copy version of Lifelines (printable)
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Leventhal's 'Love of Learning'

First-year student receives special award from Phi Kappa Phi

  Hannah Leventhal presents research at a symposium in Wales.
  First-year student Hannah Leventhal is one of three recipients of the 2011 Love of Learning Award from Phi Kappa Phi. Hannah is shown here on a trip to Wales in September 2011, when she was presenting her research at the International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores.  

'Eleven has been quite a year for Leventhal ... Hannah Leventhal. She joined two other recipients in being selected for a special award from the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi: The 2011 Love of Learning Award.

Recipients receive a $500 award to help fund their graduate studies or career development. Hannah is a first-year veterinary student and graduate student in animal sciences and industry. The other recipients were Ashley Gleiman, doctoral student in adult and continuing education, and Christopher Nichols, a 2007 master's graduate.

Carol Shanklin, dean of the university's Graduate School, said the Love of Learning Awards recognize these past and present students' commitment to enhancing their professional careers as well as their excellent performance as graduate students and alumni.

"Receiving national recognition from honorary organizations and professional associations highlights the quality of K-State's graduate students and the recipients' use of their education to advance their careers," Shanklin said. "We are proud of Ashley, Hannah and Christopher and their professional accomplishments."

Hannah is specifically focusing on equine nutrition. She said she was honored to have been chosen for the Love of Learning Award out of so many well-qualified candidates, and believes it was due to her combination of graduate and professional studies.

"Not many of my veterinary classmates choose to pursue a master's degree while completing veterinary school," Leventhal said. "I keep quite busy in both programs, but thoroughly enjoy what I do and know I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue both degrees. If anything, my chosen fields of study reflect my true love for learning and challenging myself."

After completing veterinary school, Leventhal hopes to pursue her passion for horses through a residency program, focusing on either equine internal medicine or equine surgery. Her ultimate goal is to become a board-certified specialist and practice at an equine specialty hospital.

Leventhal was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi in fall 2010 as a senior undergraduate student, and said she plans to use the award funding for her graduate studies.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation's oldest, largest and most selective all-discipline honor society.




Video Feature

Conference focuses on Bull Management

Lifelong learning is an important theme at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The college’s Continuing Education events, such as the Bull Management Conference held Jan. 6, are designed to round up outstanding speakers and up-to-date, practical information. See the video below for a full report:

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



VMTH radiology resident creates holiday decorations

  Cannonball ornament  
Dr. DesChene Brochtrup uses Christmas ornaments as a way to display her art and create gifts for friends and family. This ornament is of Cannonball.

Art heals the soul. Art has the ability to take on many different forms: it is not limited to one particular canvas. This holds true for third-year radiology resident Dr. DesChene Brochtrup. She uses her talents to create portraits, paintings and even holiday decorations such as jack-o-lanterns and Christmas ornaments.

“I did art in high school just for fun,” Dr. Brochtrup. “I started painting portraits and used them to decorate my home. When I’d have people over, they’d see them and ask me to paint them a portrait or I’d sell them one. “

One day, the idea to create Christmas decorations came from an unexpected visitor.

“We had a man from Butterfly Energy Works working in our house, and he saw some of my work,” she said. “He thought it looked great and asked if I could make animal Christmas ornaments for his staff. After that, I started making them into Christmas gifts for family and friends.”

Dr. Brochtrup started making Christmas ornaments in 2006. She has tried people portraits, but she prefers creating animal decor.

“It usually takes about an hour to paint an ornament,” Dr. Brochtrup said. “I have made some for clients in memoriam of their pets and I have also sold some to veterinary students. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to paint my own pets yet.”

Dr. Brochtrup has taken her talents to other forms of holiday decoration as well. During Halloween time, she will take pictures of animals and convert them to jack-o'-lantern designs. Dr. Brochtrup tries to do this every year, but was unable to for last Halloween.

During her residency, Dr. Brochtrup’s time for art has been limited. She said she is fortunate she uses acrylic paint instead of oil based paint because the paint dries faster and allows her to start and stop at her own leisure. Dr. Brochtrup looks forward to completing her residency in July. She plans on moving to St. Louis after graduating.

Silver ornament

More samples of Dr. DesChene Brochtrup's "ornamental" paintings.

Blue ornament


Alumnus travels to Cotton Bowl

Dr. Russell Hardin with Mark Janssen
Dr. Russell Hardin, DVM 1946, takes some questions from Mark Janssen, writer for K-State Sports Extra. He traveled from his home in Florida to Dallas to watch the Cotton Bowl. He was on the football team in 1944 and 1945. Dr. Hardin is currently the oldest living alumnus of the football team. He ran a mixed animal practice in Indiana for 37 years before retiring.
Dr. Russell Hardin



BRI and the NBAF's Research and Workforce Training Initiatives

  Dr. Dick Oberst leads a tour of the BRI.  

Dr. Dick Oberst, left, leads a tour through one of the labs in the Biosecurity Research Institute.


Consider it a changing of the guard.

New York's aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center -- a major biosafety level 3 animal disease research facility -- is preparing to be phased out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, NBAF, currently being built in Manhattan, Kan.

While NBAF is not projected to be fully operational until 2018, the pathogen work at Plum Island will not stop. Instead much of it will transition to Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Robert's Hall before eventually transitioning to NBAF.

Dr. Stephen Higgs, research director at the Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, and the associate vice president for research at the Kansas State University, spent two weeks at Plum Island in September 2011, in part to discuss the Plum Island-BRI transition process.

"Essentially the BRI is going to be a springboard to get NBAF research going as soon as possible after it opens," Dr. Higgs said. "As Plum Island ramps down, we are making sure that there is not a drop-off in research and training on these pathogens. That's important because we cannot afford to have a period where there's not work being done on these diseases should one of them happen to come to America."

Although no definitive date has been set for when projects will begin transferring to the Biosecurity Research Institute, Higgs said that university and Manhattan-based U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers are already working on some research projects related to the current disease studies at Plum Island, and are procuring the necessary approvals in order to soon begin on others -- including African swine fever and high-path avian influenza.

Additionally, an insectary was recently completed at the Biosecurity Research Institute that will help its scientists work on insect-spread diseases like Rift Valley fever and blue tongue viruses. The insectary is something Plum Island is not equipped with, but may be a part of the research at NBAF.

While visiting Plum Island, Higgs also met with researchers about transboundary animal diseases, those occurring in multiple counties and capable of being carried to new ones. Higgs taught classes on Rift Valley fever virus and on mosquito-virus interactions, and gave talks on the Biosecurity Research Institute and NBAF.

"Moving these projects from Plum Island to the BRI really opens up new possibilities for infectious disease research at K-State that hasn't been possible in the past," Dr. Higgs said. "These are high priority pathogens of major concern because they are a threat to our agricultural system. I really see this as being a whole new era at Kansas State University."

Expertise at Biosecurity Research Institute a front line for future security

Although tiny in size, many pathogens are an enormous threat to the food supply, economy and health of more than 300 million Americans.

Acting as a frontline offensive in this microscopic battlefield is Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute at Pat Roberts Hall. The 113,000 square foot facility is equipped with 31,000 square feet of laboratories and training facilities -- all focused on securing the nation from infectious diseases.

Researchers at K-State, as well as those in industry and at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are using the Biosecurity Research Institute, also known as the BRI, for projects focused controlling pathogens in livestock, insects and plants -- all of which threaten food supplies and can cause serious illness or even death in humans.

Currently, the Biosecurity Research Institute houses the following projects:

* Dr. Jürgen Richt, a Regents distinguished professor and Kansas Bioscience Authority eminent scholar, and Dr. Wenjun Ma, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, are studying emerging and zoonotic infectious disease, including influenza viruses and Rift Valley fever. They recently published their research on the H1N1 virus. An upcoming project will study H5 and H7, two pathogenic avian influenza viruses, and will focus on vaccine development.

* Dr. Randy Phebus, professor of food science, is conducting a study on a group of microorganisms, dubbed non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, or STEC. STEC produce the same toxins and pose similar health threats as E. coli O157:H7, and its presence in ground beef is now regulated in the industry. The project, which involves thousands of pounds of ground beef, is expected to benefit livestock production at all levels.

* Dr. Barbara Valent, university distinguished professor of plant pathology, and Drs. Jim Stack and Bill Bockus, both professors of plant pathology, are studying wheat blast, a serious wheat fungus found in South America. It accounted for 30 percent of the Brazilian wheat crop losses in 2009, although production areas with favorable climate conditions can experience 100 percent losses. Researchers are working to identify resistant varieties of wheat and develop rapid detection tools for the fungus, should it spread to other countries.

* Drs. Dick Hesse and Bob Rowland, virologists in the College of Veterinary Medicine, are focusing on infectious and emerging swine diseases, some of which can spread from animals to humans. Projects involve creating new diagnostic tools and vaccines.

* Dr. Jishu Shi, associate professor of anatomy and physiology, is developing a vaccine for strains of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, or PRRS. The disease causes reproductive failure and respiratory illness in swine, costing the U.S. swine industry around $700 million annually. Dr. Shi is collaborating with Dr. Frank Blecha, university distinguished professor of immunophysiology, and Drs. Hesse and Rowland.

* Dr. Dick Oberst, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, is working to keep deployed American troops safe from food-based threats like bacteria, pathogens and toxins. Because these agents can be added intentionally or unintentionally to food, he's validating some rapid diagnostic protocols and equipment that would allow soldiers to detect these treats in food rations.

* Drs. Bill Wilson and Barbara Drolet, lead scientists and research microbiologists for the USDA's Arthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit, or ABADRU, and Dr. Scott McVey, supervisory veterinary medical officer for the unit, have projects centered on controlling Rift Valley fever and bluetongue disease, as well as other arboviruses transmitted by bloodsucking arthropods like mosquitoes, ticks and midges.

* A team of chemists and microbiologists from NanoScale Corp. is developing an Enhanced Contaminated Human Remains Pouch, or ECHRP, through funding from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. This novel pouch is intended to be a self-decontaminating, odor-proof, gastight, liquid-impervious system that would transport human remains contaminated by chemical or biological agents. NanoScale is a Manhattan-based company that manufactures, markets and commercializes advanced products and technologies.

Since opening in 2008, research in Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute has been supported by more than $68 million in funding.




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K-State/Abaxis partnership boosts Kansas' economy

Abaxis logoKansas State University's partnership with Abaxis Inc., a national medical device manufacturer, is expanding veterinary medicine technologies and returning revenue to the state's economy.

The agreement with Abaxis was recently sealed with the university's Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and the Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization.

"Abaxis is a great addition for the university because it complements our expertise in animal health and it confirms what is possible when you combine education with industry," said Kirk Schulz, Kansas State University president. "The partnership will also aid Kansas State University in becoming a top 50 public research university by 2025."

The Kansas State University-Abaxis relationship pairs one of the oldest veterinary medicine schools in the U.S. with a global animal health company. Abaxis is known for its point-of-care blood analysis laboratory systems. These portable systems are designed to provide essential rapid blood measurements for the medical and veterinary fields. It requires little training and performs numerous tasks. The systems also provide all of the necessary equipment required to perform 14 medical tests and 13 veterinary tests at a rate comparable to a clinical laboratory.

The Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization works with the startup and development of intellectual properties and acts as the university's marketing and licensing agent. The partnership with Abaxis benefits Kansas State University and the Manhattan, Kan., community, said Kent Glasscock, president of the Institute for Commercialization.

"Abaxis and similar private sector endeavors will serve to create increased sponsored research, opportunities for students and faculty, and a strong economic return back to the university and regional economy," Glasscock said. "Such partnerships will help create an even longer global reach for Kansas State University, while at the same time generating returns that will serve to advance the vision of its 2025 goals."

Collaborating with Abaxis led to developing an innovative full-service commercial laboratory in Olathe, Kan., that's available to veterinarians throughout the nation. The Abaxis Veterinary Reference Laboratory, or AVRL, has all of the latest technology and is equivalent to a large-sale clinical laboratory.

In addition to enhancing the field of veterinary medicine, approximately 100 jobs will be created in the area during the next 10 years as the lab becomes fully operational.

"This partnership has allowed us to quickly begin assisting Abaxis in commercializing high quality products," Glasscock said. "The collaboration of the educated staff of Abaxis and the strength of the university's commercial arm allows for the development of superior products and efficient services."

Since starting in 1994 the institute has created more than 170 jobs in the region with salaries that average $57,000 annually. In the past decade the institute has generated nearly $165 million in new revenue within Manhattan and brings in about $1 million in revenue to the area each month.



Holiday Open House spreads good cheer

Annual event draws crowd to Dean's offices for food and fellowship

Becca Snapp and Kassidy Robbins
Becca Snapp and Kassidy Robbins serve punch outside the Dean's Office.

Jenn Free
Jenn Free contemplates whether to enjoy some delicious popcorn.

Hot chocolate spoons
These decorative and tasty spoons offer different options for spicing up hot chocolate.


Hot chocolate table
The Events Office offered a hot chocolate table with different toppings and embellishments.

Development office food line
Attendees make their way through the Development and Alumni Office.

Brian Willis and Dr. Annelise Nguyen.
Brian Willis and Dr. Annelise Nguyen notice the smores table, complete with flaming pots for roasting marshmallows.


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Under the Microscope

Ashley Likes, Administrative Assistant, A&P


Ashley Likes Hometown: Rose Hill, Kan.

Family Information: My mom, Daina, my dad, Steve, my husband, Andrew, and my soon-to-be son, Aiden.

Pets: My parents have a golden doodle. I helped pick him out and name him so he kind of belongs to me. His name is Soleil.

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? I’d like to attend church more often and work on being the best person I can be.

What’s your favorite way to spend a day off during the holiday season? My husband and I like to visit our families who live here in Kansas. We like to soak in as much family time as possible since they don’t live here in town.

What will you remember most about 2011? The event that I will remember the most is finding out my husband and I were expecting. It’s pretty big news!

What color best describes you? Pink! Pink is a pretty happy color and I like to think of myself as a pretty happy person. Plus, it’s my favorite color.

What is the most memorable gift you have ever received? For my 15th birthday my dad bought me a car. It was pretty great because I had no idea I was getting a car for my birthday. It had a big red bow on it. I’ll never forget seeing that car in the driveway.

What movie could you watch over and over again? "The Hangover" — It just never gets old. In fact, I think it gets funnier.




News Ticker

Dr. H. Morgan Scott was named president of the Association for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventative Medicine (AVEPM) for the next two years.

Tristan Strege, agriculture technician, passed her AALAS Laboratory Animal Technician certification exam. This is the second of three levels of certification specializing in lab animal for technicians.

Dr. Yongming Sang, research assistant professor, presented at both the International Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Symposium and the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases in Chicago. His presentation was titled, “Antiviral regulation underlying the activation status of porcine monocytic innate immune cells.”

Marsha Roblyer
VMTH Referral Coordinator Marsha Roblyer got into the holiday spirit and dressed as an elf the Monday before Christmas.



Calendar of events

General events

Feb. 3: CEEZAD Seminar: Dr. Tetsuro Ikegami, "Role of Major Virulence Factor NSs in the Immunogenicity of Rift Valley Fever Virus MP-12 Vaccine"

Feb. 5-6 - Telefund at KSU Foundation

February 22-24 - Alumni Fellow recognition

Continuing Education events

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.


A&P Seminar Series

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

Jan. 23: Dr. Paul Wooley, CIBOR

Jan. 30: Dr. Kay Faaberg, United State Department of Agriculture

Feb. 06: Xiangdong Li, Kansas State University

Feb. 13: Dr. Zhogjie Sun, University of Oklahoma

Feb. 20: Dr. Jere Mitchell, Southwestern Medical Center

March 05: Yijing Li, Kansas State University

March 12: Daniel Hirai, Kansas State University

March 26: Nanhua Chen, Kansas State University

April 02: Dr. Eileen Hasser, Missouri State University

April 09: Dr. Annelise Nguyen, Kansas State University

April 16: Sheng Yi, Kansas State University

April 30: Naomi Ohta, Kansas State University



New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Aubrey Gibson, Microbiologist I - KSVDL
Aradhana Gupta, Instructor - KSVDL
Dr. Kimberly Stackhouse-Lawson, Post Doc Fellow - Clinical Sciences
Martina Grigsby, Senior Administrative Assistant - VMTH

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Kristin Miller, Senior Administrative Assistant - VMTH
Dr. Mausam Kalita, Post Doctoral Fellow - 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,