Lifelines - December 2012

The official newsletter of the College of Veterinary Medicine

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December 2012 - Vol. 7, No. 12

Top Stories

Dr. Mark Weiss and Phuoc BuiIman Research Award

Dr. T.G. Nagaraja receives prestigious K-State prize.
Who gives this award?

Mapping the Genome

K-Staters partner in Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium to map the DNA of the domestic pig.
Who is on the team?

Rescue Training

Third-year student Laura Schurr takes World Vet course in an unusual location.
Where did she go?

Dr. Dan Thomson nabs national teaching award

CVM partners with Helping Hands Humane Society for spay/neuter services

KLF awards large animal scholarships

CVM unveils new 'Pet Friendly' license plate

Veterinary Health Center communications update

Dr. Scott Hay receives alumni award at AAEP conference


Regular features

Rhonda CoffmanUnder the Microscope
Rhonda Coffman, Diagnostic Laboratory Office Supervisor

News Ticker

Calendar of events

New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Lifelines back issues

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Dr. Nagaraja receives Iman Award

Faculty research award includes $5,000 prize
  Dr. T.G. Nagaraja
  Dr. T. G. Nagaraja express his gratitude upon being chosen as the 2012 Iman Research Award recipient.
  Dr. Ron Iman, Dr. T.G. Nagaraja and Rae Iman.  
  Dr. Ron and Rae Iman congratulate Dr. T.G. Nagaraja for his distinguished research with microbiology.  

Dr. T.G. Nagaraja, university distinguished professor of microbiology in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology (DM/P) recently received a $5,000 Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Research at the K-State Alumni Association. This was one of two different awards given to outstanding faculty at K-State.

Joining the K-State faculty in 1980, Dr. Nagaraja’s research program has focused primarily on microbiology of the gastrointestinal tract of cattle, particularly of the rumen, the first of the four compartments of the complex stomach. His research program is geared toward supporting the beef industry in Kansas, contributing primarily to the in-feed use of antibiotics, causes and preventions of digestive disorders, such as acidosis, bloat and liver abscesses. In the past 10 years, his research has focused on preharvest food safety, particularly of the Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 in beef cattle.

His nominator, Dr. M.M. Chengappa, university distinguished professor and DM/P department head, said, “Dr. Nagaraja is an exceptional scholar and recognized both nationally and internationally for the caliber of his research and expertise. He brings enormous visibility not only to the department and college, but also to the university and the state of Kansas.”

The recipient of the Iman Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching is Andrew Barkley, agricultural economics professor in the College of Agriculture. Barkley teaches courses in agricultural economics and public policy. He is a frequently requested speaker on the topics of motivation, teaching, higher education and agricultural and public policy.

“We are so pleased to honor these outstanding K-State faculty members,” said Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association. “They are certainly worthy of this special recognition. We also are grateful to Ron and Rae Iman for their generous commitment to make these awards possible.”

Past CVM winners of the Iman Award include Drs. Dan Marcus (Anatomy and Physiology) for research and Derek Mosier (Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology) for teaching. Both of these awards were announced in 2009.

The Imans live in Albuquerque, N.M., and are life members of the K-State Alumni Association and serve as KSU Foundation trustees. The annual Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Awards are sponsored by the K-State Alumni Association and are made possible through the generosity of Dr. Ron and Rae Iman.


Mapping the Genome

K-Staters partner in Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium

The genome of the domestic pig was mapped with help from Drs. Blecha and Sang

An international scientific collaboration that includes two CVM researchers is bringing home the bacon when it comes to potential animal and human health advancements, thanks to successfully mapping the genome of the domestic pig.

The sequenced genome gives researchers a genetic blueprint of the pig. It includes a complete list of DNA and genes that give pigs their traits like height and color. Once all of the genetic information is understood, scientists anticipate improvements to the animal's health as well as human health, as pigs and humans share similar physiologies.

"With the sequenced genome we have a better blueprint than we had before about the pig's genetics and how those genetic mechanisms work together to create, such as the unique merits in disease resistance," said Dr. Yongming Sang, research assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Physiology.

For three years, Dr. Sang worked on the genome sequencing project with Dr. Frank Blecha, associate dean for the College of Veterinary Medicine and university distinguished professor of anatomy and physiology.

A report of the international study appears as the cover story for the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Nature. Learn more about this project in the video below:

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


Third-year student takes rescue training course in Nicaragua

  Laura Schurr works on an aimal rescue technique.  
Third-year student Laura Schurr works on an animal rescue technique.
  Providing spay and neuter surgeries  

Participants in the Technical Animal Rescue course provide basic care, such as routine spay and neuter surgeries.

(Photos by: William McKee/Murrow College of Communications)


By Rebecca Martineau

Disasters across the world compromise the welfare of both humans and animals in the area. The World Vets organization works to secure veterinary aid in these situations. The first step for World Vets volunteers is a Technical Animal Rescue course to prepare both students and professionals. Laura Schurr, a third year student, took this one week program over Thanksgiving break as an alternative mentorship requirement. Laura was the only veterinary student at the training, among two other Americans and four Nicaraguans.

“It was interesting to see what goes into disaster planning and where my role would be,” Laura said. “I found that my skills would probably be most useful in triage, away from the actual disaster.”

The FEMA-certified course takes place in Granada, Nicaragua, and focuses on preparing interested participants to be called upon by World Vets in the event of a disaster. The sessions include practice with basic rescue skills, such as anchor systems, hydraulics training and restraint techniques. Participants also focus on the flow of disaster relief, organization and planning in high stress events. They also receive surgical training within the Granada community, helping to spay, neuter and de-worm local dogs.

World Vets programs can be found in 36 countries around the world. When these disaster situations arise, such as the Thailand tsunami or Haiti earthquake, the program deploys volunteers to that area. These volunteers can be veterinary professionals, students or simply interested individuals. However the technical rescue course is a requirement for interested volunteers.

Laura hopes to be deployed with the program in the future, recommending both the course and the World Vets organization as a whole.

To see a video of Laura’s training from World Vets, visit:


Practicing with an animal rescue and restraint system.
Laura works with other participants on a restraint system for rescuing animals.


Dr. Dan Thomson nabs APLU teaching award

  Dr. Dan Thomson  
  Outstanding in his field, Dr. Dan Thomson teaches courses in feedlot production medicine, animal welfare and clinical nutrition. He was recently recognized with a teaching award by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.  

A CVM faculty member is one of six professors throughout the country to win a 2012 Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences Regional Teaching Award.

Dr. Dan Thomson, the Jones Professor of Production Medicine, received the award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The award recognizes six outstanding faculty members on the basis of their ability as classroom teachers, use of innovative teaching methods, scholarship and service to students and their profession.

Kansas State is first in the nation in terms of teaching awards received, with a combined total of 13 national and regional awards.

Dr. Thomson teaches courses in feedlot production medicine, animal welfare and clinical nutrition.

“My philosophy is to motivate and transfer usable knowledge to students so they will walk out of my classroom wanting to continually learn new ways to improve animal well-being, food safety and animal health,” he said.

Dr. Thomson is also director of the Beef Cattle Institute, which provides education, research and outreach to beef producers. His research efforts have brought more than $33 million in grants to his program. He serves as the animal welfare adviser to McDonald’s and the Food Marketing Institute and has chaired the World Organization for Animal Health’s Beef Cattle Production and Animal Welfare Committee.

Dr. Thomson has been recognized for his teaching before when he received the Kansas State Novartis Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005 and 2009, and also when he was named teacher of the semester at Texas Tech University’s College of Agriculture in 2000.

The Regional Teaching Award is sponsored by the APLU, USDA and American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Thomson and the other award recipients each receive a $2,000 stipend to improve teaching at a school of their choice.

“This may be an individual award,” Dr. Thomson said, “but I couldn’t do this job without the aid of others along the way.”




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CVM partners with Helping Hands Humane Society for spay/neuter services

  Kayla Conroy and Tinie Chung  
  Third-year students Kayla Conroy and Tinie Chung work together with a patient from the Helping Hands Humane Society.  
  Anna Pees and Jennifer Engle
Third-year students Anna Pees and Jennifer Engel.

by Rebecca Martineau

For nine weeks during the fall semester, 230 dogs from Topeka's Helping Hands Humane Society and other organizations are admitted to K-State’s College of Veterinary Medicine to be spayed or neutered. Third-year students learn surgical techniques while Kansas State faculty who are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons supervise the surgeries. The students learn blood collection, physical examination, anesthesia, tissue handling, suturing and post-surgery monitoring. The students work in groups of four, rotating responsibilities weekly to broaden their experience.

“This is the first time in the curriculum that students use what they learned in class and apply it to a hands on experience,” said Deb Skaggs, veterinary technician, describing the nine-week collaboration as an excellent educational experience.

“There are very few opportunities afforded to veterinary students that allow us to show and realize our aspirations to help animals during our education,” said another third-year student, Tera Rooney. “This program epitomizes why we are here and why we should remain motivated in order to make a true difference in the lives of animals.”

The program is a win-win situation for both the CVM and the Humane Society. Because Kansas state law requires animals to be spayed or neutered at adoption, the service greatly improves the efficiency of the adoption program from the Humane Society. Undergraduate veterinary students at the CVM have the opportunity to learn surgery under the guidance of professionals, while practicing other vital clinical skills. Both parties are invested in student education and the well-being of the dogs that pass through the system. Soon-to-be-adopted pets are also vaccinated, dewormed, and may have other beneficial health procedures performed during their stay.

“The program is a great way to accomplish something great for both of us,” said Bill Acree, director of the Helping Hands Humane Society. “We love collaborating with K-State to benefit animal welfare and education.”

Before and after the surgery, the students spend time interacting with the dogs, socializing them before their return to Topeka. Students often teach basic commands to the dogs. As a result, bonds are formed between the students and their patients, resulting in many student adoptions of these dogs.

“It’s hugely rewarding, teaching skills that students will use every single day in the veterinary profession, as well as providing a service to the community and a better chance for the dogs to get healthy and adopted,” Skaggs said. Skaggs is also the proud owner of Emmy, a corgi adopted through the program.

Kellie Lewis and Melissa Watts
Kellie Lewis holds a patient while Melissa Watts listens to the patient's heart beat.



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. For information, see, call 1-855-269-7387 or e-mail:

Pet Friendly license plate



Veterinary Health Center communications update

VHC is now on Facebook

The Veterinary Health Center is taking new initiatives to provide client education and communication opportunities online.

The VHC has established a Facebook page with the goal of increasing interactions between clients, donors, friends and referring veterinarians. The page will highlight daily happenings, as well as provide information from our expert veterinarians on animal health care. We encourage faculty, staff and students to go online and “like” the new page at

In addition to the Facebook page, the Pet Health Center is beginning an e-newsletter “PawPads” for monthly distribution to Pet Health Center clients. This will feature advice from our PHC veterinarians, as well as news, tips and events. Join the list by subscribing at or on the VHC Facebook page.


KLF awards large animal scholarships

Kelsey Schnoebelen and Michelle Colgan

Kelsey Schnoebelen (class of 2015) and Michelle Colgan (class of 2013) have been chosen to each receive a $1,500 Ralgro Wheels for Bucks scholarship from Merck Animal Health and Kansas Livestock Foundation. This award recognizes Kansas State University veterinary school students with a career goal of being a large animal veterinarian. Both hope to work in rural Kansas after graduation.


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Dr. Scott Hay receives alumni award at AAEP conference

  Dr. Scott Hay  
  Dr. Scott Hay, DVM class of 1988  

Dr. Scott Hay, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is the recipient of K-State’s 2012 Alumni Recognition Award for the annual conference of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) in Anaheim, Calif., on Dec. 3.

Dr. Hay received his DVM from K-State in 1988. After spending a few months as a staff veterinarian at Ottawa Veterinary Clinic in Ottawa, Kan., he moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to work with Teigland, Franklin and Brokken, DVMs. Dr. Hay is now the president and managing partner of the business, focusing on horseracing and the treatment of racetrack thoroughbreds. His primary interests lie in lameness evaluations and purchase examinations. Dr. Hay particularly enjoys consulting with and advising clients on their potential purchases at thoroughbred auctions.

Dr. Hay has had a lifelong interest in both horses and veterinary medicine. His late father, Dr. William Hay, who earned his DVM at K-State in 1952, was a veterinarian in Ottawa, Kan., who raised and raced American Quarter Horses. Scott shares his father’s passion for racing American Quarter Horses and as a teenager, competed with their horses in roping events at local rodeos.

“It is a tremendous honor being chosen for this award particularly knowing some of the names that have preceded me,” Dr. Hay said. “It is extremely humbling to be included in that group.”

“We’re very proud to recognize Dr. Hay for this award, particularly because of the broad and extensive leadership role he has had as an AAEP member,” said Dr. Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “His commitment to the veterinary profession and equine industry is outstanding, showing that it’s possible to successfully combine one’s passions on both a professional and personal level.”

Dr. Hay has held numerous positions with the AAEP, including a stint on its board of directors, serving on the Professional Conduct and Ethics committee, and being the facilitator of the Purchase Examination at Public Auction Forum. Currently he is serving on the Racing Committee, Executive Director Review Committee, and is the moderator for the AAEP Racing Rounds.

In addition to his involvement with AAEP, Dr. Hay is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Florida Veterinary Medical Association and Florida Association of Equine Practitioners. He has also served on the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Advisory Committee.

Dr. Hay is married to Darlene, and they have three children: Baylee, Lindsay and Kylee.



Under the Microscope

Rhonda CoffmanRhonda Coffman, Diagnostic Laboratory Office Supervisor

Hometown: Quenemo, Kan.

Family: Myself and three children.

Pets: I have three horses, a dog, four cats and a goat

What is your favorite holiday song? “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” I used to Christmas carol with my 4-H group, and this was one of my favorites.

What is one memory from 2012 that stands out to you? I remember June 1, because it was the day my son came home from serving in Africa in the Peace Corps for 27 months.
If you could be fluent in another language what would you pick? I would study French. I had several years of French in high school, and it is a beautiful language and an international language. I have been to France before and would love to return.

Who is the hardest person in your family to buy gifts for?Actually the hardest person to buy presents for is my daughter. She is a picky ‘jeans’ person, shirt person, etc. She has tons of jewelry and accessories, and very few hobbies.

What would you do first if you had won the recent Powerball? If I won the lottery, I would first hire a lawyer to help me out — then decide how much to give to my family: brother, sister and mom and dad, etc. — plus my children.

What is your favorite way to spend your time off? I ride my horses every chance I get and this fall has been wonderful for doing just that. I run several days a week and work outside on my farm. I also am an avid reader.



News Ticker

KSSART attendees

This picture is of the CVM attendees at the Kansas State Animal Response Team ( KSSART) annual conference in November. From left to right are: Raeannah Lamb (class of 2015), Anna Champagne (class of 2015), Rachel Wright (RVT, Pet Health), Dr. Susan Nelson (Pet Health). Dr. Nelson also gave a presentation covering small animal first aid at the conference. The owl's name is Avatar, who was used to demonstrate restraint of raptors during a wildlife session.


Dr. Hong Wang, instructional technologist/coordinator of Instructional Technology and Design, presented at the International Convention of Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Her presentation title is “Connecting a Community of Learners with Modeling Design.”

Dr. Antje Anji, research assistant professor, received a research grant from the Johnson Cancer Center. Her proposal is entitled: “Do epigenetic changes in the promoter region of GluN2B gene contribute to the development of esophageal cancer following chronic ethanol exposure?”

Congratulations to Dr. Nathan Canada, equine intern,and his wife, Lauren, for the birth of a baby girl on Nov. 17 named Lauren Peighton Canada. She was born at 11:07 am. She is 6 lb. 5 oz., and 18 3/4 in.

Dr. Douglas Powell of diagnostic medicine/pathobiology led an invited workshop for the Australian Institute of Public Health in Sydney on Nov. 26. The key topics were improving food safety culture through new media, new messages and access to information to improve public health.


Cat Town wrap-up: Thanks to hosts and sponsors

  Cat Town tables  
  Allen originally designed and built these tables for Cat Town several years ago. Thanks to Allen Wege from the CVM's facilities office for repainting the Cat Town tables.  

The Development and Alumni Office would like to thank the participants of this season’s Cat Town tailgates. The host organizations include: Exotic Animal Medicine Club, Canine Club, the student chapter of AABP, the student chapter of AAEP, Christian Veterinary Mission Foundation, Theriogenology Club and the student chapter of AVMA. Sponsors of the tailgate include: Novartis, Cox Bros BBQ, MS Biotech, Elanco Animal Health and Curtin Property Company.

Cat Town grill

The cooker was originally donated to the college by Emporia Veterinary Hospital, East Emporia Veterinary Clinic and Dr. Louis Wempe, class of 1949. It was repainted this year by VMAA president Dr. Justin Janssen.


Calendar of events

General College/Alumni Events

Dec. 18: Dean’s Office Holiday Open House, 2:30- 4:00pm.


Continuing Education events

Jan 11: Conference on Reproduction, Calving and Calf Care in Cow-Calf Herds,

Feb. 9: 2nd Annual Conference on Animal Diagnostics and Field Applications: Food Animal Medicine, Frick Auditorium,

March 2: Veterinary Technician Conference


New Arrivals/Recent Departures

Welcome to:

Kelsey Donnelly, Veterinary Technician I, VHC

Thanks and Goodbye to:

Jessica Anderson, Senior Admin Assistant, VHC


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