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Kansas State University


The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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April 2012 - Vol. 7, No. 4

Top Stories

Allison Jordan BryanImproving Equine Health

Research studies vaccinations to protect newborn foals.

See her share her story.

Presidential Pet Passion

Do pets have an influence on the White House or the presidential race?
Dr. Ronnie Elmore responds

Meet us in Olathe

The College of Veterinary Medicine hosts an open house reception at the new K-State Olathe campus.
What did the guests learn about?

Kind Hearts Caring Hands Day 2012

Faculty members receive tenure and promotions

Pet Tribute hosts pizza lunch for third-year students

CVM unveils new 'Pet Friendly' license plate

AAVMC focuses on financial/economic issues



Regular features

Martina GrigsbyUnder the Microscope
Martina Grigsby, Senior Administrative Assistant – Discharge/Emergency Desk - VMTH

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues

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Video Feature

Improving Equine Health

Research studies vaccinations to protect newborn foals

  Allison Jordan Bryan
  "I have been very fortunate to work with extremely talented individuals and honored to be a part of the research community here at K-State" - Allison Jordan Bryan.  

A K-State veterinary medicine student is investigating ways to improve horse vaccinations and defend them against pathogen challenges at an early age.

Research from Allison Jordan Bryan, a graduate student in biomedical sciences and a second-year veterinary medicine student, Huntington Beach, Calif., may help protect foals as young as 3 months of age from pathogens such as West Nile virus, tetanus, equine influenza virus, Equine Herpes Virus-1, Eastern equine encephalomyelitis and Western equine encephalomyelitis.

“It is important, especially in the equine world, to vaccinate the foals as soon as possible so they will be protected against environmental pathogens they may come into contact with, even at an early age,” Allison said.

Allison recently received a second place award at the K-State Research Forum for her oral research presentation titled “Characterization of immune activation in healthy foals when vaccination is initiated at 3 months of age.”

Foals acquire maternal antibodies and immune cells that help protect them from environmental pathogens before they can fully develop their own immune systems, Allison said. Newborn foals acquire these maternal antibodies and cells through ingestion and absorption of colostrum.

Foals are usually vaccinated at 6 months of age, which gives time for maternal antibodies to decline so they do not interfere with any vaccines. But Allison is looking at the possibility of vaccinating foals at 3 months of age— the earlier age is better because it gives foals more protection against pathogens earlier in life.

“We’re trying to determine whether those maternal antibodies are still in high enough concentration at 3 months to interfere with vaccines and block the active immune response or to see if these antibodies have waned enough to allow a robust immune response,” Allison said.

She is still collecting and analyzing data. Preliminary data has indicated an immune response in 3-month-old foals, making it possible to vaccinate foals at a younger age and increase protection.



Dr. Ronnie Elmore: Presidential pet passion

Dr. Ronnie ElmoreRepublican or Democrat? This question will cross the mind of the American voter in the upcoming fall election. A topic that is often overlooked in the voting process is, who will be the First Pet?

Dr. Ronnie Elmore, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Admissions and Diversity, has turned this simple question into a fascinating hobby about the pets who reside on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His hobby started when he moved to Kansas 22 years ago. See the video to learn more about Dr. Elmore and his collection.



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




CVM hosts reception at K-State Olathe

  Kristi Northcutt leads a tour of the K-State Olathe campus.  

Kristi Northcutt, marketing communications coordinator, leads a tour of the Olathe campus. Alumni, friends and Animal Health Corridor companies were invited to the event.


On March 15, the CVM hosted an Open House reception at the K-State Olathe campus. The event highlighted the CVM’s role at the Olathe campus, its continued commitment as an integral part of the animal health industry and its link to human health and well-being. The event offered facility tours and three speakers: Dean Ralph Richardson, Dr. Dan Richardson, CEO K-State Olathe, and Dr. Dan Getman, president of the Kansas City Area Life Science Institute.

Olathe CEO Dr. Dan Richardson
Dr. Dan Richardson, CEO K-State Olathe, greets the visitors with an overview of the campus mission.


K-State Olathe open house


Kind Hearts Caring Hands Day 2012

The College of Veterinary Medicine held its annual Kind Hearts Caring Hands day on Friday, April 6. The day started with a "bagel bonanza" followed by the annual Quiz Bowl, keynote address, White Coat Ceremony and Senior Honors Banquet. Check out some images from the day's events.

Dr. Tom Lenz
Dr. Tom Lenz addresses the third-year class at the White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Lenz, who is the senior director of Equine Veterinary Services at Pfizer Animal Health, also gave the keynote address on the topic of "Animal Welfare Challenges: Lessons Learned."

Dr. Ken Harkin
Dr. Ken Harkin asks questions during the Quiz Bowl.


Dr. Matt Miesner and Jami Grace
Third-year student Jami Grace receives her white coat from Dr. Matt Miesner and then poses for a quick picture.

Lila McDiffett
Third-year student Lila McDiffett shows off the new Veterinary Health Center logo on this year's white coats. This is the new name for the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital.

Bagel Bonanza
Attendees toast and top their treats during the annual Bagel Bonanza in the Mara Conference Center.


Dr. Steve Zicker addresses third-year students.
Dr. Steve Zicker, Hill's Pet Nutrition, gives some final comments to the third-year class.



Centennial Plaza bricks ad



Faculty members receive tenure and promotions

The CVM held a small reception to recognize faculty members who received promotions and tenure on March 14 in the Mara Conference Center.

The following faculty members were promoted to associate professor and tenure: Dr. Peying Fong, A&P, Dr. Ronette Gehring, Clinical Sciences, Dr. Justin Kastner, DM/P, Dr. Thu Annelise Nguyen, DM/P, and Dr. Deon van der Merwe, DM/P. Dr. Emily Klocke, clinical sciences, was promoted to clinical associate professor. Dr. Laurie Beard was promoted clinical professor. The following faculty members were promoted to professor: Dr. Walter Renberg, clinical sciences, Dr. Dan Thomson, clinical sciences, and Dr. Melinda Wilkerson, DM/P.

Congratulations to all of the faculty members who received tenure and promotions!

Faculty promotions 2012
Pictured (left to right) front row: Dr. Peying Fong, Dr. Walter Renberg, Dr. Deon van der Merwe, Dr. Ronette Gehring, Dr. Laurie Beard, Dr. Justin Kastner and Dr. Dan Thomson. Second row: Dr. Thu Annelise Nguyen, Dr. Emily Klocke, Dr. Michael Kenney, Dr. Frank Blecha, Dr. M.M. Chengappa, Dr. Bonnie Rush, and Dr. Melinda Wilkerson.



Pet Tribute hosts pizza lunch for third-year students

The connections people make with each other over a lifetime are priceless, and the connections made with animals are no different. The CVM’s Pet Tribute program helps to make both possible. On March 27, Pet Tribute sponsored a "pizza meet and greet" program for third-year students to introduce them to the Pet Tribute program, Clay Paws and the Whispering Garden.

Dr. Mac Hafen
Dr. Mac Hafen, the CVM's counselor, addresses the third-year students, explaining how the human-animal bond will impact their interactions with clients as they prepare to enter the clinical phase of their studies.





Pizza kitty
A pet slide show runs while third-year students get pizza. Third-year students submitted pictures of their own pets for the slide show.


New ‘Pet Friendly’ License Plate

The College of Veterinary Medicine has unveiled a new way to support Kansas Shelter Medicine. The Pet Friendly license plate will be made available to Kansas residents early/mid summer 2012. For information or to reserve yours, please call 1-855-269-7387 or e-mail:

Pet Friendly license plate




Get Connected ad


AAVMC focuses on financial/economic issues

Veterinarians, veterinary medical educators, and veterinary industry representatives often turned their attention to economic issues this past weekend at the 2012 Annual Conference of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), which was preceded by the second economic summit between the AAVMC and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), an association of professional veterinarians.

At the conference, held in Alexandria, Virginia, the group looked at current economic challenges to the veterinary profession and veterinary medical education, such as a decline in the number of pet visits despite an increase in the number of pets, higher student debt loads of graduating veterinary medical students as the result of state budget cuts and rising tuitions, and salary and employment trends.

To help address some of the financial challenges, veterinary medical education and the veterinary industry have jointly launched the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare (PPPH) to encourage more veterinary visits.  Some schools have also increased their emphasis on teaching preventive medicine.  “There is an alarming increase in the incidence of preventable diseases that appears directly related to a decrease in veterinary visits and, as a result, the health of our nation’s pets is at risk,” said Dr. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA.  “We applaud the AAVMC for joining with us in this effort because the veterinary medical profession and education share a vital connection.”

The AAVMC is also working to implement a collaborative plan for the future of veterinary medical education, called The Roadmap for Veterinary Medical Education in the 21 st Century: Responsive, Collaborative, Flexible.  That report recommends economic strategies, such as resource sharing and consolidation of efforts through the development of veterinary Centers of Excellence for CVMs and more financial counseling and business education for students.

Another segment of the conference focused on the growing food supply veterinary medicine industry and employment opportunities for veterinarians that go beyond the scope of small animal companion medicine, such as those in food safety and security, animal health and welfare, public health, epidemiology, and research.  "The Animal Health Industry is at a crossroads,” said Dr. Rick Sibbel, the director of technical services for U.S. cattle for Merck Animal Health. “Most of my company's recent hires in the cattle and swine businesses have been veterinarians and I expect that trend to continue.”

Dr. Valerie Ragan, a veterinarian and director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, said that she sees "opportunities in areas where few or no veterinarians were working five years ago."  She said that public practice is "an expanding area in veterinary medicine" and she specifically named opportunities that are emerging in disease surveillance, risk assessment/modeling, and emergency preparedness and response. 

Student debt continues to be a problem for graduating veterinarians, but Dr. Jim Lloyd, a veterinarian, professor, and associate dean for budget, planning, and institutional research at Michigan State University, reported that, except for a dip in 2011, the salaries of new graduates and veterinarians as a whole have been rising faster than the rate of inflation. He also outlined an array of new loan repayment and forgiveness options, such as debt consolidation, income-based repayment plans, the Veterinary Medical Loan Repayment Program, state-sponsored programs, and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

“For students who really want to become veterinarians, there are options that can enable them to achieve their goals and thrive,” Dr. Lloyd said.

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Its members include all 33 veterinary medical colleges in the United States and Canada, nine departments of veterinary science, eight departments of comparative medicine, 12 international colleges of veterinary medicine, and three affiliate members. On the Web:




Under the Microscope

Martina Grigsby, Senior Administrative Assistant, VMTH


Martina GrigsbyHometown: Nortonville, Kan.

Family Information: I have an older sister, who is a K-State alumnus, and a younger brother.

Pets: I have four dogs. Lexi is a 4-year-old Chihuahua/fox terrier/papillon, Duke is a 2-year-old boxer, Shiva is a 1 1/2-year-old boxer and Caesar is a 2-year-old Italian mastiff. They have four acres to run and play on.

What are some spring projects that you have on your list? I am going to start a garden this year so that I can have fresh grown veggies for the summer.

What is something new that you have always wanted to try? I have always wanted to learn how to surf. It is a great core workout as well as fun in the sun.

What is the best April Fool’s prank that you have ever played? I have worked on this one for weeks before, complaining of being sick, not feeling quite right, being hot all the time. Then on April 1, I told everyone that I was having a baby. It took great planning and convincing before the day.

What is your favorite restaurant and favorite thing to eat there? I love to eat at Chili's Bar and Grill. My favorite dish is hard; I love two equally, and every time I go, I have to really decide what I want. I normally end up getting the bottomless lunch (even if it isn't lunch time). It is a bowl of soup, a salad and chips and salsa. It is fantastic, and I get to order as many bowls of soup as I want. The second favorite is the Monterey chicken with french fries and seasonal veggies. Yum.

If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would it be? I would like to own a giraffe. I love their print and they are very fascinating, there are no leaders in a herd and there are at least seven kinds of giraffes. They are the only animals born with horns and the males and females don’t eat the same parts of the tree so they don’t compete for food. I think they are amazing creatures.




News Ticker

Fourth-year student, Stephanie Oursler, traveled to Alaska for a three-week externship with the Iditarod Trail Race. Oursler examined the dogs before the race and ran different tests on each dog.

Iditarod dog race

Stephanie Oursler looks at one of the sled dogs.


Stephanie Oursler

Stephanie Oursler

First-year students, Aaron Schaffer and Natalie Schreyer, and third-year student, Darla Dwyer, traveled to the annual meeting for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians held in Denver on March 10-13. Schaffer gave a presentation on his summer research titled “The Evaluation of Wean-D on Suckling Pig Performance.”

The Board of Regents visited the K-State Campus on Apr. 6. Johanna Diaz, senior in biology, was selected to present and she also participated in the K-State Research Forum. The presentation was titled: “Drug Effects on Behavior and Cortisol Levels During Castration in Calves. Co-Authors for the research: Dr. Luciana Bergamasco, clinical sciences, Dr. Lily Edwards, Dr. Nora Bello, Dr. Johann Coetzee, clinical sciences, Hadley Watson, incoming veterinary student, Jenna Dockweiler, third-year student, and Hayley Glynn.

K-State launched their sesquicentennial celebration web site, check it out at:




Calendar of events

General events

April 21: Kansas State University Open House

April 27: Pet Tribute Ice Cream Social, 3:00 - 4:30 p.m.

May 11: Commencement, McCain Auditorium


Continuing Education events

Apr. 29: Frank W. Jordan Seminar*

June 4-6: 74th Annual Conference for Veterinarians

* 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

April 16: Sheng Yi, Kansas State University

April 30: Naomi Ohta, Kansas State University



New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Dr. Ram Raghavan, Research Assistant Professor - KSVDL

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Tadakatsu Inagaki, Visiting Scholar- A&P
Zongning Miao Visiting Scholar- A&P
Andrea Meyer, Veterinary Technician II - VMTH
Robert Moya, Senior Administrative Assistant, VMTH
Scott Jackson, Library Assistant III - Veterinary Medical Library


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,