Jaax discusses agroterrorism, NBAF

Geni Wren of the Drovers CattleNetwork interviewed the dashing Jerry Jaax, DVM, ACLAM, associate vice president for research compliance and veterinarian at Kansas State University, at the 4th FBI International Symposium on Agroterrorism in Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Jaax discussed agroterrorism and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) that is planned for Manhattan (the one in Kansas).

Summer fun at Plum

 There aren’t too many jobs out there where employees are required to go through a decontamination shower each day before going home, along with a 30 minute ferry ride.  Yet that is just what I got to do during my summer at Plum Island Animal Disease Center.  The K-State College of Veterinary Medicine published a short write-up about it in their Sept issue of Lifelines.

Michelle Mazur and Stephan Gibson, both class of 2012, spent the summer working at Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC). The opportunity was made available through a cooperative effort between the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Homeland Security. Each student spent 12 weeks working in the facility in Plum Island, N.Y., on an assigned project.

Michelle worked in veterinary pathology on a study investigating the pathogenesis of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in persistently infected animals, while Stephan assessed the usefulness of a lymphocyte blastogenesis assay for measuring the T-cell response of cattle to FMD vaccine trials.

Both students gained valuable laboratory experience as well as experience in working in a biocontainment laboratory. PIADC is classified as a biolevel 3 facility, and it is the only place in the U.S. where scientists can conduct research and diagnostic work on FMD.

In addition to working on their respective projects, Stephan and Michelle also had the opportunity to attend a two-week intensive Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician course. They heard a series of lectures describing the pathogenesis and characteristics of 20 different foreign animal diseases, and observed clinical cases and necropsies of each disease.

The FMD project opened my eyes to all the possibilities for vets in foreign animal diseases.  Here’s hoping the NBAF will break ground soon to open the job market a bit more.

It’s official: Disease lab approved for Manhattan (Kansas)

Kansas? Why would you go to Kansas?

That’s the question I repeatedly received back in 2006 when I officially made the move. Sure, Amy was a great draw, but the lack of a hockey arena and the distance to the airport were significant detriments.

The community, both at Kansas State University and Manhattan, was fairly inviting. They’re not sure what to make of me walking around with a baby strapped to my belly, but every place has its quirks.

I just wanted to be in an environment where I could give 110 per cent, cause there’s no I in team. I just wanted to be someplace where I could do my thing.

So when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security finalized its decision today to approve a site at Kansas State University for a $450 million lab to study livestock diseases and some of the world’s most dangerous biological threats, I wasn’t surprised.

DHS released its final record of the approval Monday, confirming a decision announced in December to build the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at the Manhattan, Kan., campus to replace an aging lab at Plum Island, N.Y.

Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State (right), told USA Today today that the lab can be operated safely.

"This country is in great need of a modern laboratory for animal diseases.”

And Manhattan (Kansas) is the best place for it.

Government recommends Kansas for biodefense lab

I’ll comment more on this later, but for now, Associated Press reported about an hour ago that the U.S. federal government has recommended a site in Manhattan, Kansas for a new $450 million laboratory — the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility — to study biological threats like anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease.

The Department of Homeland Security’s choice of Manhattan, Kan., beat out intense competition from other sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas.

A formal announcement won’t be made until later this week, when the agency releases an environmental impact statement.

The new lab would replace an aging 24-acre research complex on Plum Island, about four miles off the eastern shore of Long Island, N.Y.

The lab is expected to generate about 1,500 construction jobs and a permanent payroll of $25 million to $30 million for more than 300 employees once the project is completed by 2015.

Manhattan rocks.