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College of Veterinary Medicine

2017 Symposium Speakers

Keynote Speaker: 

pratherDr. Alison Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the field of Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science at University of California, Davis.  She received a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and both an MS in Animal Science, and a PhD in Genetics from UC Davis. Her publicly-funded research and outreach program focuses on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems. Her current research projects include the development of genomic approaches to select for cattle that are less susceptible to disease, the development of genome editing approaches for livestock, and applied uses of DNA-based information on commercial beef cattle operations.  She has given over 450 invited presentations to audiences globally, and uses a variety of media to inform general public audiences about science and technology. She frequently provides a credentialed voice on controversial topics including cloning and genetically engineered plants and animals. Dr. Van Eenennaam was the recipient of the 2014 Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) Borlaug Communication Award, and the 2016 Beef Improvement Association (BIF) Continuing Service Award.



Chuck Allison is the Director of Livestock Procurement and Pork Quality at Smithfield Foods.  In his role, he has oversight for procuring 54,000 hd of market hogs a day for Smithfield’s East Coast harvesting facilities and for the employees involved in handling the animals at each plant.  In addition, he also serves as a liaison between the farms and plants, as well as works closely with Smithfield Premium Genetics to ensure our animals meet our customers’ needs.  Prior to this role, Chuck was heavily involved in Research and Development for both Fresh and Packaged pork products at Smithfield.  Chuck received his MS and Ph.D. from Michigan State University and recently completed his MBA from The College of William and Mary.

hardingDr. Perle Boyer is an Assistant Professor in Veterinary Population Medicine (VPM) department at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. Dr. Boyer received her DVM degree from the National Veterinary School of Toulouse, France and her Master of Specialized Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University. Dr. Boyer is coordinating the education efforts of the swine group at the College level, including DVM student lectures, continuing education and online learning. Her research efforts are divided between farm-applied projects in adequation with the needs of pork producers and developing new educational techniques in veterinary instruction. Member of the planning committee of the Allen D. Leman swine conference, Dr. Boyer is in charge of the DVM student session and in the faculty committee in charge of the Morrison Swine Innovator Prize
Daniel LindharesJay Calvert:  After completing his Ph.D. in Genetics at Purdue University in 1988, Dr. Jay Calvert did post-doctoral research on fish viruses at the University of Guelph and on poultry viruses and vectors with the USDA-ARS in East Lansing Michigan.  Since 1994 he has been employed by Zoetis and legacy companies (Pfizer Animal Health, SmithKline Beecham Animal Health), and stationed at Lincoln Nebraska, Groton Connecticut, and Kalamazoo Michigan.  Dr. Calvert has contributed to a number of vaccine projects for livestock and companion animals, but since 1994 his emphasis has been primarily on swine viruses and especially the PRRS virus.  He led the team of scientists that constructed the first infectious cDNA clone of a Type-2 PRRS virus in 1998, and a similar team in 2004 that identified the cellular protein CD163 as a primary receptor for PRRS viruses, being necessary and sufficient to convert common cell lines from PRRSV non-permissive to PRRSV permissive.  Dr. Calvert oversaw the generation of novel CD163-expressing cell lines as well as the attenuation of the Fostera® PRRS vaccine (launched in 2012) and the Suvaxyn® PRRS MLV vaccine for Europe (2018).  Dr. Calvert is currently exploring alternative vaccine technologies for PRRSV and other pathogens as a Research Director at Zoetis.  In his free time he likes to wade rivers in search of trout and salmon, foster homeless dogs, and design/build/fly hobby rockets.
loweScott Dee earned his DVM, MS and PhD from the University of Minnesota.  He is a board certified veterinary microbiologist and a past President of the AASV. After working in swine practice for 12 years, Scott was a Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine where he focused his research on the transmission and biosecurity of PRRSV for a 12-year period.  This effort culminated in the development and validation of a nationally-applied air filtration system for reducing the introduction of airborne diseases to swine facilities. In 2011, Scott joined Pipestone Veterinary Services in Pipestone, MN where he currently serves as Director of Pipestone Applied Research (PAR), a business unit which conducts collaborative research efforts with production companies across North America comprising approximately 1.5 million sows. Scott has been awarded 8.8M in research funds, has published 148 papers in peer reviewed journals (including the initial publication providing proof of concept of PEDV transmission in feed) and is currently studying the transboundary risk of pathogen spread through feed ingredients. He has received the AASV Practitioner of the Year award, the Leman Science in Practice award and the AASV Howard Dunne Memorial award.  Scott and his wife Lisa have 2 children (Nicholas and Ellen) and live in Alexandria, MN along with their Scottish Terrier, Abigail.
LunneyDr. Jack Dekkers grew up in the Netherlands and received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the Wageningen Agricultural University and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in Animal Breeding. From 1989 to 1997 he was on faculty at the University of Guelph, working closely with the Canadian industry on genetic improvement of dairy cattle. He moved to Iowa State University in 1997, where he currently is a C.F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor and Leader of the Animal Breeding and Genetics group. Current research focuses on the genetic basis of feed efficiency and health in pigs and on the integration of quantitative and molecular genetics, with applications to swine and poultry
Rodger MainDr. Diego Diel received his DVM degree from Federal University of Santa Maria (UFSM), Brazil in 2004. He conducted a MS in Virology at the same institution and then came to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to conduct the research of his PhD degree, which was completed in 2010. Dr. Diel joint the USDA Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in 2011 for post-doctoral training and then returned to the University of Illinois in 2013 for a second post-doc. In August, 2014 Dr. Diel joined the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at the South Dakota State University as an Assistant professor, in 2016 he became the section leader of the Virology section in the Animal Disease and Research Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL)
Bob MorrisonDr. Ying Fang is a professor at Kansas State University. During the past 18 years, Dr. Fang has been deeply involved in the study of molecular pathogenesis of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Current research program is expending to other emerging/foreign viral pathogens. Her research interests have been focused on understanding the basic molecular mechanisms of viral pathogenesis, and applying this knowledge to develop strategies for the diagnoses, prevention and treatment of viral disease. The laboratory has well-established technologies and pig model system for vaccine and diagnostic assay development. Fang’s research has been supported by research grants from the US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Health, National Pork Board and industry partners. In collaboration with other researchers, she published more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed prestigious journals, and has been invited to give presentations by various universities and professional conferences. Dr. Fang has received various research awards, including Zoetis Animal Health Award for Research Excellence in 2017, Distinguish Researcher Award in 2013, Intellectual Property Commercialization Award in 2010, Dean’s Research Award in 2006, SIGMA XI Research Paper Award in 2004, and SIGMA XI Research Proposal Award in 1999.
NiederStephen Gerike, Assistant Vice President - Channel Marketing at the National Pork Board, creates and oversees the annual strategic marketing plan for the retail, foodservice and alternate food sales channel industries.  This includes national trade advertising, the channel marketing websites, newsletters, editorial and industry networking and relations.  Stephen developed the annual Pork Summit event for editors and Taste of Elegance winners, the annual Pork Crawl editor event, and is responsible for pork quality and culinary education for the American Culinary Federation, the Research Chef's Association, the International Corporate Chefs Association, the Global Culinary Innovators Association, and targeted retail and restaurant accounts.  Stephen previously held the position of Director, foodservice marketing and national food service marketing manager with the National Pork Producers Council before joining the National Pork Board on July 1, 2001. He previously held the position of Senior Manager, Sysco Brand Marketing for Sysco Corporation in Houston, Texas. He also has sales and marketing experience with Compass Marketing, Sysco Foodservices of Baltimore and was the Executive Chef at the historic Mohonk Mountain House, Chef de Cuisine at the Annapolis Hotel, and The Treaty of Paris Restaurant within The Maryland Inn, part of the Historic Inns of Annapolis. He gained his culinary training through a formal apprenticeship in the Philadelphia, PA area.  Stephen graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was a Certified Executive Chef within the American Culinary Federation. He resides in the town of Price on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Dr. Maynard Hogberg is professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University. A native of southwest Iowa, he received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from Iowa State University. In 1976 he joined the faculty in animal husbandry at Michigan State University with a teaching, research and extension appointment in swine nutrition and management. Dr. Hogberg was appointed chair of Michigan State’s Department of Animal Science in 1984. He led an effort that created a vision to strength animal agriculture in the state of Michigan, which resulted in substantial state funding for modernization of facilities and programmatic support of new faculty positions and operating funds. After serving on the faculty at Michigan State for 27 years, he was named chair of the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University in 2003. He has strengthened the department to better service the research and teaching needs for the livestock industry in the state. Dr. Hogberg and his colleagues developed a vision for animal agriculture in Iowa that has become the guiding document to increase research funding for animal agriculture. He has been an active leader in several professional scientific organizations. He served as president of both the American Society of Animal Science,  the Federation of Animal Science Societies and president-elect of the National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science. He served on the Symposium Planning Committee for the Food Animal Integrated Research (FAIR 2002) and on the writing committee for FAIR 2006, which prioritized research for animal agriculture in the United States. Dr. Hogberg has been recognized for numerous awards and honors, including Distinguished Service Awards from the Pedigreed Livestock Council, the National Pork Board and the National Swine Improvement Federation.  He retired from Iowa State University in 2015

yangDr. Jeremy Howard grew up north central Iowa and received a Bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University then earned a Master’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln under the direction of Dr. Matt Spangler. He attended graduate school at North Carolina State University and obtained a Ph.D. under the direction of Dr. Christian Maltecca, Department of Animal Science. Dr. Howard’s work at NCSU included projects related to random regression models,  variation in swine drug metabolism and the use of genomic information to manage a population.  Currently a post-doctoral researcher at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Howard is working on the application of genomic selection in a swine breeding population.
zimmermanDr. Huang received his B.S. degree in Biology from Nanjing University in China and his Ph.D. degree from Department of Biomedical Engineering of Zhejiang University in China. He then joined College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, as a Postdoctoral Associate and later as a Research Assistant Professor, focusing on molecular mechanism of replication and pathogenesis of hepatitis E virus (HEV), PRRSV and Torque teno sus virus (TTSuV). Dr. Huang accepted a professor position in Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Animal Sciences of Zhejiang University, China, in 2013. He was the recipient of“The Thousand Young Talents Plan” of China in 2014. Dr. Huang has authored or co-authored 56 publications in peer review journals such as mBio, Journal of Virology and Emerging Infectious Diseases. His current research is mainly focused on epidemiology, biology and vaccine development of swine enteric coronaviruses.
zimmermanDr. Richard Leach is Fast Genetics’ US-based Senior Geneticist. Dr. Leach obtained a B.Sc. in Genetics from the University of Liverpool, followed by a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute. Prior to Fast Genetics, Dr. Leach worked as geneticist for a large swine genetics company, focusing on customer-oriented R&D. Additionally, Dr. Leach previously worked as a quantitative geneticist researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture. Today, Dr. Leach contributes to Fast Genetics’ genetic advancement through his management and involvement in a multitude of molecular and quantitative genetics projects. Dr. Leach also provides technical support to the US sales team and customers
zimmermanDr. Joan Lunney is a Supervisory Research Scientist and an internationally recognized authority on pig immunology and genomics. Her lab is located at the USDA Agricultural Research Center (ARS), Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC) in Beltsville, MD USA. Dr. Lunney obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Her current research focuses on swine immunology, genomics, and resistance to diseases, particularly to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). She coleads the US PRRS Host Genomics Consortium (PHGC) which assesses the role of genetics in determining pig resistance and susceptibility to PRRS virus infection, pathology and associated growth effects. The PHGC effort has been expanded to functional genomics and proteomics as well as to a pregnant gilt model of PRRS virus infection in collaboration with Canadian scientists. She works with industry, particularly through the National Pork Board and PigGen Canada, Inc., and animal health and breeding companies, to expand her research efforts. She is a member of the Science and Industry Advisory Committee (SIAC) of Genome Canada.  Dr. Lunney has led international workshops characterizing monoclonal antibodies (mAb) reactive against swine cell subset, or CD, antigens and immune proteins, the cytokines and chemokines. She coleads the US-UK Collaborative Swine Immune Toolkit effort aimed at developing new mAb, immune reagents and quantitative assays for assessment of pig health and vaccine responses and for use in biomedical models of human health and disease.  Dr. Lunney is very actively involved in mentoring younger scientists, particularly women scientists. She was selected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1998) and of the International Society for Animal Genetics (2017) and received the ARS Beltsville Area Scientist of the Year Award (2010). She has served on numerous grant panels, journal editorial boards and in leadership positions for animal genetic and veterinary immunology societies.
zimmermanDr. Alex Morrow, BA, MVB, PhD, MRCVS is veterinary surgeon with seventeen years’ experience in research working on the pathogenesis and control of Amblyomma variegatum-associated dermatophilosis, followed by four years in a research support capacity at Edinburgh University and fourteen years in his current position in research programme management with Defra where he is International Evidence Lead Animal Health and Welfare.  He established and coordinated for 10 years the European Collaborative Working Group (CWG) on Animal Health and Welfare research, under the EU Standing Committee on Agriculture Research, and led the associated EU-funded EMIDA ERA-NET on Emerging and Major Infectious Diseases of Animals.  He currently leads the STAR-IDAZ global network, “Global Strategic Alliances for the Coordination of Research on the Major Infectious Diseases of Animals and Zoonoses”, and the associated International Research Consortium (IRC), with a higher level of commitment to collaboration, which was launched by the European Commission in January 2016.  He now also heads the EU-funded IRC secretariat.
zimmermanDr. Megan Niederwerder is an Assistant Professor at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.  She received her DVM from Kansas State University in 2009 and after 3 years as a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Niederwerder returned to Kansas State to complete a PhD in swine viral diseases.  Dr. Niederwerder’s research has been focused on understanding how the microbiome plays a role in outcome following viral infection and how feed plays a role in the introduction and transmission of viral diseases.  She was selected as a finalist for the 2016 AVMA Young Investigator Award for her research.  Dr. Niederwerder serves as the course coordinator and teaches veterinary virology to second year veterinary students as well as provides outreach service for the veterinary diagnostic laboratory
zimmermanDr. Graham Plastow is a Professor of Livestock Genomics at the University of Alberta and CEO of Livestock Gentec. A pioneer of the application of genomics in animal breeding, he spent more than 20 years in the agri-food industry before returning to academia in 2007.  He is interested in the application of genomics to increase value for all of the links within protein value chains (from the animal breeder to the consumer) with a focus on improving animal health.
zimmermanTom Rathje currently serves in the role of Chief Technical Officer at DNA Genetics LLC, Columbus, NE.   A native of Iowa, he grew up in Clinton on a diversified cattle and cropping operation.  Tom received his B.S. in Animal Science from Iowa State University (1989), and his M.S. (1991) and PhD. (1995) in Animal Breeding and Genetics from the University of Nebraska where he currently holds an adjunct professorship in the Department of Animal Science. Tom’s M.S. Thesis focused on the effects of selection for testis size on sperm production in boars.  His Ph.D. dissertation involved establishing one of the very first QTL mapping studies using selected populations.  The study focused on identifying the association of QTL with variation in reproductive performance in swine.  He has been with DNA Genetics since its founding in 1995 and has played a key role in the development of the company, being responsible for implementation of the breeding program within nucleus and customer production systems and working in management to develop and support the growth of the company.  DNA Genetics has grown to become the second largest provider of swine genetics to the North American market and produces the most widely used terminal line in the swine industry, influencing over 30% of the pork produced.  In this position he continues to pursue interests in genetic research including: application of genomic selection in pigs, disease susceptibility, sow longevity, identification of novel traits to improve production efficiencies and furthering the application of animal breeding principles to improve livestock populations at the commercial level.  Tom has been a member of ASAS since 1990 and has served on the swine species committee from 2002-2004, serving as chair in 2004.  He was the recipient of the Outstanding Young Agribusiness Award from the Midwest Section of ASAS in 2005.  He has recently (2016) completed a term on the board of directors for the National Swine Improvement Federation serving as Vice-President and President.  Tom has also served in other capacities being a past member of the USDA Swine Germplasm Preservation Committee, the National Pork Board Animal Science committee and currently serves on the NP101 Stakeholder Committee for US MARC.  His personal interests include partnering with his wife, Kristi, to keep up with their three adult children, son-in-law and now two grandchildren.  Tom and Kristi have a growing business breeding and marketing purebred Simmental cattle.
zimmermanRaymond R. R. “Bob” Rowland is a Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology of Kansas State University’s College of Veteinary Medicine. Rowland’s current research interests center on addressing fundamental problems in the detection and control of infectious diseases caused by emerging and foreign pig viruses. A historical focus has been on the molecular mechanisms of diseases caused by porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) and porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2). Since 2008, the Rowland lab has been actively involved in understanding the role of host genetics in the response of pigs to viral infection, including the first characterization of a line of pigs that are SCID; i.e. lack an immune system. The extension of the genetics approach is the use of genetic modification of PRRSV receptors to make pigs resistant to disease. Related research includes the control of viruses in the field and the development of novel detection methods for domestic and foreign animal diseases, such as classical swine fever virus (CSFV) and African swine fever virus (ASFV).  Rowland is actively involved in the research training of graduate, undergraduate and DVM students. Rowland is co-director of the PRRS Host Genetics Consortium (PHGC) and the Executive Director of the North American PRRS Symposium, an annual meeting held in Chicago.  Rowland serves on advisory boards related to PRRS and other infectious diseases.
zimmermanDr. Andrea Wilson:  The Doeschl-Wilson group investigates how the genetics of individuals affects the spread of infectious disease, both within an animal and between animals. We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists aiming to effectively combine field and laboratory experiments with mathematical modelling and quantitative genetics theory, with the ultimate aim to improve livestock health and resilience.
zimmermanDr. Jeff Zimmerman has had a research/teaching appointment in the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory since 1990.  His research focus is on epidemiology, disease ecology, and the development of cost-effective methods to monitor, quantify, and ameliorate the effect of pathogens on livestock health and productivity.  He is the co-editor of Diseases of Swine (9th, 10th, 11th editions) and co-author of 120 refereed publications.

Prior Year's Proceedings (pdf)