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A partnership between K-State and Mercy Regional Health Center is ready to provide medical care oversight and occupational health response plans for high profile biosecurity laboratories in Manhattan.

The partnership currently is in place for K-State's Biosecurity Research Institute, a biosafety level 3 and biosafety level 3 agriculture facility. With the opening of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, NBAF, in 2018, university and Mercy leaders will continue adjusting occupational health practices and medical procedures that can apply to biosafety level 4 laboratories, or BSL-4, such as NBAF.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will operate NBAF. Research at NBAF and K-State's BRI focuses on diseases that exist naturally in the world -- such as classical swine fever and Rift Valley fever. Researchers say performing such infectious disease studies helps protect the nation from biological threats by developing effective vaccines and other treatments.

"This partnership enables K-State to perform essential biosecurity and infectious disease research in a safe environment while ensuring that everyone is prepared in the unlikely event of an accident in the lab,” President Kirk Schulz said. "We appreciate Mercy's willingness to work with our researchers, an essential collaboration as K-State becomes a top research institution."

The partnership is twofold: Mercy's occupational health services program, led by Theresa Crubel, director and registered nurse, prepares preventative treatment while a planning team at Mercy provides preparedness. In turn, K-State gives Mercy accurate, up-to-date information about pathogens being researched at the BRI.

"Mercy is very excited about the partnership we currently have with K-State, and we look forward to working with NBAF management and the Department of Homeland Security as the plans for NBAF move forward," said Mercy President and CEO John Broberg. "We will continue to work with K-State to ensure that we have prepared our physicians and staff appropriately to deal with medical and other emergency response events at NBAF."

Pathogen research is arranged months in advance, giving K-State researchers and Mercy personnel ample time to prepare response plans. Mercy can also develop plans in the pre-hospital environment because it operates Riley County EMS.

"Mercy is very involved with and excited about the current opportunities for collaboration and training with the Riley County Local Emergency Planning Committee," said Larry Couchman, director of emergency and EMS services for Riley County. "We continue to plan and prepare to meet the community's medical needs for the current BRI facility and the future needs of NBAF."

Mercy's occupational health services performs government-mandated screenings for current BRI employees, and could do the same for future NBAF employees. Before any pathogenic research is performed, a fitness test and blood work assess the immune status of researchers, who then receive appropriate vaccinations.

Researchers carry wallet cards that list pathogens they are researching, infection symptoms and what to do if they suspect an infection. They use a 24-hour hotline to contact medical professionals if symptoms arise. Occupational health staff and emergency services staff, in addition to Asad Mohmand, Mercy's infectious disease doctor, and other physicians are trained to treat pathogen exposures.

Mercy's emergency services and administrative teams have toured the BRI and are able to handle response needs in a biocontainment laboratory. Mercy emergency staff regularly attends biosecurity training to stay up-to-date on procedures. In the years before NBAF's arrival, they will receive appropriate training for a BSL-4 laboratory, and the health center will assess facilities and adjust accordingly.

Manhattan and K-State are not the first to address occupational health concerns with BSL-4 laboratories. In 2005 when construction began on Rocky Mountain Laboratories, a BSL-4 laboratory in Hamilton, Mont., the laboratory partnered with St. Patrick Hospital in nearby Missoula, Mont. Crubel said the hospital and community share demographic similarities with Mercy and K-State, and Mercy personnel plan to visit Montana to learn from the hospital staff.

Crubel and other Mercy leaders have also been networking with colleagues around the country and attended a recent conference on treating biological exposures.

"We're aware that we have work to do to be fully prepared for a BSL-4 facility like NBAF," Crubel said. "But we're far, far ahead because we've been able to do the BRI work. The research environment is very safe, and it is vital to perform this research. We can't progress as a society without it."


Have an affinity for the prairie and want to share your interest with others?

The Konza Prairie Biological Station is seeking people interested in learning more about the tallgrass prairie preserve and sharing that knowledge through its docents program.

New docent orientation is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 19, in the Konza's Hulbert Education Center on the lower level of the Konza Prairie Ranch House. The orientation is the first of 13 training sessions required to become a Konza docent. The Saturday morning sessions will stretch through May and wrap up in September.

At the orientation session prospective docents will learn more about the Konza Prairie Biological Station and the Konza Environmental Education Program. Attendees can preview program materials, receive the upcoming training schedule, meet experienced docents and Konza Prairie staff, and view a presentation about the Konza.

Trained docents guide hikes and driving tours for public and school groups visiting Konza Prairie. Other service opportunities include helping with K-12 student research activities and work day and special projects, as well as attending educational in-services and social events.

Since the docent program began in 1992, more than 250 individuals have been trained, and the docents have staffed an average of 150 public and school events each year since 2007. As a group the docents have logged more than 1,100 hours of volunteer service to the Konza Environmental Education Program annually.

More information about the Konza Prairie, the education program and the docent program can be found at Specific questions can be directed to Valerie Wright, Konza's environmental educator, at 785-587-0381 or

The Konza Prairie Biological Station is an 8,600-acre native tallgrass prairie preserve jointly owned by K-State and The Nature Conservancy. It is operated by K-State's Division of Biology.


Professor Walter Dodds is providing Kansans with a better understanding of how human activity affects water quality.

Dodds, university distinguished professor of biology, has devoted more than 20 years to researching water quality in Kansas biological communities.

Through his research on stream and river ecosystems Dodds has discovered an important quality of streams: What happens in the headwater streams greatly influences water quality downstream, meaning that water quality improvement efforts should focus on smaller streams.

"Freshwaters of the state provide valuable ecosystem goods and services that have a positive monetary effect on the citizens of the state," Dodds said. "Clean water is a valuable resource that we want now and to preserve for the future. The goal of my research is to understand how we can harmonize the human relationship to our environment to maximize benefits provided by freshwaters to Kansas citizens."

Most of his research focuses on Kansas streams, including streams on the Konza Prairie Biological Station just south of Manhattan.

"We've created an idea of what baseline conditions of water quality issues are in the state," Dodds said. "We know this region is capable of very good water quality."

Because water is used for drinking, recreation, irrigation, industry, fishing and more, clean streams and rivers are indispensable resources. Dodds' research provides insight into what kind of public efforts and policies can best influence the water quality in Kansas.

Dodds is working on two major Konza projects to improve Kansas' potential for clean water. One focuses on patch burn grazing and its effects on water, while the other project looks at the conversion of prairie streams to forest streams. The projects involve Kansas agricultural practices as well as land use and land cover changes.

Patch burn grazing, a newer management technique, uses fire and grazing to improve wildlife and livestock production. It involves burning a third of pasture each year. Cattle gravitate toward the most recently burned areas in the pasture because of the more nutritional grass, allowing other pasture areas two years of rest between grazing.

"A lot of places that are preserving tallgrass prairie are using this management technique, but almost nothing is known about its effects on water," Dodds said.

Because patch burn grazing concentrates cattle into one area of pasture, nearby water resources could be greatly affected by cattle waste runoff. Dodds wants to find out how the concentration of cattle affects water quality, and what kind of mitigation efforts can reduce any negative effects.

Dodds' second project involves his observation over several years that an increasing number of open prairie streams are converting to forested streams.

"We are seeing basic shifts in biologic communities," Dodds said. "The community goes from organisms that prefer algae that comes from the open prairie streams to organisms that prefer leaves that fall on the streams."

The shift in biologic communities is important because it affects the water level and flow of nearby streams. It may be the cause of an increase in the number of dry days in Konza streams during the past 20 years.

"It's our best explanation for what is happening at Konza," Dodds said. "The precipitation and temperature haven't changed very much at all over the time period, but the runoff has gone down."

Dodds said similar situations might be happening in streams around the state, especially as forested areas grow in the northern region of the Flint Hills. He is performing a series of experiments where he removes vegetation from the watershed to see if the flow of the stream increases.

But Dodds' research doesn't stop there. He is also involved with ecological forecasting, which looks at how chemical and biological changes affect water. Dodds is analyzing data from state agencies, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Environmental Protection Agency to look at water quality and biodiversity.

K-State is an economic development leader with nationally recognized research programs focused on clean water and air, sustainable food, renewable energy and improving the financial future of Kansans. As the state's land-grant university, K-State is committed to improving the quality of life for Kansas families.


In the early 1970s Andy Warhol purchased a Polaroid Big Shot camera, a bulky, unreliable piece of equipment that brought its subject into focus from a distance of only three feet. It was from this vantage point that the voyeuristic artist turned his lens on all he knew, from celebrities and socialites to politicians.

"Big Shots: Andy Warhol Photographs of the '70 & '80s" is now on display through April 3 at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

The exhibition includes selections from 100 Polaroids and 56 black-and-white images donated to the museum in 2008 by the Andy Warhol Photographic Legacy Program, a division of the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York. The donation was part of a larger gift of 28,000 photographs to nearly 200 U.S. institutions in recognition of the foundation's 20th anniversary.

From his childhood Warhol was obsessed with fame and beauty. He collected many photographs of celebrities. After 1976 he was never without a camera. He took nearly a roll of film a day, leaving more than 60,000 photographs in his estate. The Beach Museum of Art's photographs were made by Warhol between 1971 and 1987, the year of his death. During this period the artist was at the height of his fame and notoriety.

The Pittsburgh native began his career in commercial advertisement in New York and was instantly recognized for his unique style. Nearly all of the screen printed images of celebrities and commercial products, including his iconic soup cans and Coca Cola bottles, for which he became known, were based on photography, whether taken by him or found in newspaper archives and magazines.

The Beach Museum show illustrates the artist's practices as a photographer: his request that his Polaroid subjects sit in a chair in his studio and wear a thick coat of white make-up; his habit of hiding behind a mobile camera at social events; and quieter moments when he trained his lens on inanimate objects such as a pair of shoes -- the subject of an early commercial art assignment.

One Polaroid in the Beach Museum collection shows Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch of the West in MGM's 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," in costume. Hamilton was one of Warhol's famous neighbors. Another black-and-white print presents party companion Bianca Jagger, whom Warhol met in 1971 after she and Mick Jagger were married. Warhol described her as, besides himself, one of the most "socially diseased" people he knew, always wanting to go out and "make a big, dramatic entrance."

For more information about the exhibition, contact Martha Scott at the Beach Museum of Art at 785-532-7718 or drop by the museum on the southeast corner of the K-State campus at 14th Street and Anderson Avenue. Free visitor parking is available next to the building. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.


A new network being established by K-State's Advanced Manufacturing Institute will help rural Kansas companies become more competitive nationally and globally.

A $720,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, to be awarded over a three-year period, will help the Advanced Manufacturing Institute develop the Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network.

In addition, the institute will collectively receive $400,000 in matching funds over three years from the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation, North Central Regional Planning Commission, South Central Kansas Economic Development District, Great Plains Development Authority and Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations.

"The Kansas Opportunity Innovation Network will work with companies and economic development agents to identify business growth opportunities such as new business ventures, products and services," said Jeff Tucker, associate director of the Advanced Manufacturing Institute.

"The network will serve as an innovation intermediary to promote business-to-business collaboration," he said. "It will support numerous projects across the state -- including a supply chain network development pilot project in partnership with the Kansas Department of Commerce -- and support the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation's emerging technology clusters initiative."

"It's crucial to our economy and our Kansas companies that we position ourselves to take advantage of opportunities for companies to grow and expand their markets through product development, market diversification and international trade," said Steve Kelly, deputy secretary at the Kansas Department of Commerce. We appreciate this opportunity to support AMI in this effort to identify growth opportunities for Kansas companies."

"We'll also do a business profiling and innovation networking project with the North Central Regional Planning Commission, a regional asset mapping project with Great Plains Development Inc., as well as a regional manufacturing park/incubator business development project with the Harvey County Economic Development Council," Tucker said.

"The Great Plains Development Authority is very pleased to be a part of this AMI initiative," said Dan Goddard, chief executive officer of the authority. "We have a unique asset that will take much time and effort to develop. The AMI initiative will provide us a much needed jumpstart in attracting and growing businesses, and providing quality employment opportunities at the new Great Plains Industrial Park."

"We also will conduct wind supply chain and pre-profiling assessments in coordination with the South Central Kansas Economic Development District, and working with the Great Plains Development Authority on a redevelopment project for the Kansas Army Ammunition Plant," Tucker said. "This work will enhance global competitiveness of rural companies and distressed regions, resulting in business growth that will create higher skill and wage jobs in Kansas and generate wealth."

Other partners in the project include the Rural Policy Research Institute, Kansas Association of Regional Development Organizations, Network Kansas, GLWN and Initiatives Inc.

The Advanced Manufacturing Institute is a part of the College of Engineering. It is a Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation Center of Excellence that provides engineering and business services. More information on the institute is available online at


For the first time in more than 40 years the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. will reverberate through the halls of Kansas State University.

The theme of this year's celebration, "The Dreamer Speaks Again," refers to the recent discovery of an audio recording of the convocation speech King gave at K-State Jan. 19, 1968. The tape will be played at the Thursday, Jan. 27, Martin Luther King Fellowship Luncheon. The tape's debut will be followed by the reactions and recollections of three men who shared the K-State platform with King in 1968: William Boyer, George Haley and Homer Floyd.

"For years I've been saying that it's mind-boggling that there wasn't a recording of the event," said Myra Gordon, K-State associate provost for diversity and dual career development. "Even though the convocation was in the '60s it was incomprehensible to me that it wouldn't have been recorded in some way. Then just as we tried to bring more sophistication and more weight to our celebrations here, we've now been blessed by the revelations of more information and more artifacts that help tell the whole story of Dr. King's historic visit to K-State, including this tape."

But the luncheon isn't the only event during K-State's Martin Luther King celebration and observance. Other events, all open to the public unless otherwise noted, include:

* Thursday, Jan. 20, the College of Architecture, Planning and Design's third annual diversity lecture will be at 4 p.m. in the K-State Student Union Little Theater. The speaker will be Curtis Moody, president and CEO of Moody/Noland Inc., a noted design firm with locations throughout the United States. Moody will discuss "The Challenges of an Architectural Firm."

* Tuesday, Jan. 25, the College of Agriculture's seventh annual Diversity Student Leaders Luncheon will feature Rodney D. Somerville, executive immunology specialist with Centocor Ortho Biotech. His address will be "A Crossroad at Midnight." The luncheon starts at 12:30 p.m. in the Union's Flinthills Room; contact Zelia Wiley, assistant dean for diversity in the College of Agriculture, at, for reservations. A reception honoring a K-State faculty member and student for their efforts in enhancing diversity will be at 3:30 p.m. at the K-State Alumni Center. This year's awardees are Samuel Brinton, senior in mechanical engineering-nuclear engineering option and vocal performance, Manhattan, who is receiving the Commerce Bank Presidential Student Award for Distinguished Services in Enhancing Multiculturalism; and Wiley, who is receiving the Commerce Bank Presidential Faculty/Staff Award for Distinguished Services to Historically Underrepresented Students.

* Wednesday, Jan. 26, the College of Business Administration's 12th annual diversity lecture is at 10:30 a.m. in the Union's Forum Hall. Tunde Odunayo, CEO of Honeywell Flour Mills in Nigeria, will talk about his experience building a world-class company in the Nigerian private sector. Also Jan. 26, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity's annual candlelight vigil will start at 7 p.m. in Forum Hall, and be followed by a hot chocolate social, sponsored by the K-State School of Leadership Studies, in the hall's foyer.

* Thursday, Jan. 27, will feature the MLK Fellowship Luncheon and "The Dreamer Speaks Again" from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alumni Center Ballroom. This historic event is free and open to the public. Lunch is $12, and attendees are encouraged to make their reservations early. The reservation form is available online at

* Friday, Jan. 28, Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Week wraps up with some special events. The first is the third annual Brown Bag Luncheon for Diverse Faculty and Staff at noon in the Union's Sunflower Room. The week concludes with the annual laying of the wreaths at the K-State's King commemorative bust. Those who wish to join the processional are requested to report to the Multicultural Student Organization office on the first floor of the Union at 1:45 p.m.

More details are available at


At any given time, between 10 and 20 percent of cattle in the United States are afflicted with lameness, making it one of the most common ailments affecting feedlot and stocker calves.

That's why a K-State research team is working to reduce the percentage of cattle affected by bovine lameness.

Three researchers -- David Anderson, professor of clinical sciences; Brad White, associate professor of clinical sciences; and Johann Coetzee, associate professor of clinical sciences -- are involved with bovine pain and welfare assessment at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Because of their efforts to understand and treat lameness in cattle, they are becoming leaders in this critically important bovine research.

"K-State is one of the few universities in the country with a farm animal surgery program," Anderson said. "Because of the research we're doing here, we're getting national and international attention about these programs."

The team is developing a model to assess lameness and identify possible ways to treat it. Lameness can be excruciatingly painful for cattle and is caused by a variety of factors, including nutrition, environment and infectious organisms, Anderson said. When damage to the hoof and sole results in ulcers, abscesses or infection of the deep tissue of the foot, it causes severe pain during weight bearing.

The goal of their research is to identify risk factors for the prevention of lameness, validate tools for early detection, develop recommendations for effective treatment, and ultimately improve the health and welfare of cattle. Each researcher is focusing on a different area of the project.

Anderson is working on pressure map technology, which is a way of measuring the weight bearing and method of stride. White is working on accelerometry, which involves using monitors to measure the behavioral responses of animals. White can monitor an animal for 24 hours to determine how much time it spends lying down, moving around or standing still.

Coetzee, a pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic specialist, is working to analyze indicators of pain in the blood and analyzing drugs to determine the dosage to reduce pain.

So far the researchers have developed ways to assess lameness. They are now looking at therapeutic models and identifying drugs -- such as flunixin and meloxicam -- that could help ameliorate pain and lameness.

The researchers recently published work on sodium salicylate in the Journal of Dairy Science and will have an upcoming article about flunixin in the American Journal of Veterinary Research, expected sometime in 2011.

Anderson spoke at the 2010 World Buiatrics Congress in Santiago, Chile, about farm animal surgery and has been invited to speak at the 2012 World Buiatrics Congress in Portugal.


Haar's workSherry Haar's innovative work in the use of garden plants for dyeing and printing is featured in the winter issue of Fiberarts magazine.

In a column called Creative Process, the apparel, textiles and interior design professor writes about her from-the-garden garments: "I made the switch to natural dyes five years ago and since then have immersed myself in the growing and research of garden plants for dying and printing."

She created several wearable-art pieces during a semester-long sabbatical when she worked on natural dyes by testing pre- and post-treatments for colorfastness.

Haar grows about 30 varieties in her dye garden and uses solar and decomposition extraction methods.

She used fresh and frozen flowers and leaves to create background visual texture for fabrics. "I hammered the plants through the layers of fabric using the soft rounded head of the hammer," she explained.

"Striation," one of the gowns featured in the magazine, was displayed at the juried design exhibition of the International Textile and Apparel Association in Montreal in October.

For more than three years Haar has been researching what plant/fiber combinations reap the best colorfast results and how to incorporate sustainable methods in the dye process and product development. She records each experiment in a three-ring notebook, complete with fabric swatches and a photo journal.

Synthetic dyes can be toxic to the environment, Haar said. Plant and animal dyes are not.

Haar and university photographer David Mayes provided photos to illustrate the Fiberarts article.