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Kansas State University
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Manhattan, KS 66506
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Prepared by: Juergen A. Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor, K-State College of Veterinary Medicine, and one of the state's first Kansas Bioscience Eminent Scholars, 785-532-4401, jricht@vet.ksu.edu

Thursday, July 31, 2008

K-STATE'S BIOSECURITY RESEARCH INSTITUTE AND THE NATIONAL BIO AND AGRO-DEFENSE FACILITY WOULD MAKE POWERFUL RESEARCH TEAM

Establishing a state-of-the-art research program requires serious fiscal, intellectual and physical investments, which often makes those programs challenging to move from one location to another. But when I was given the chance to move my research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa, to Kansas State University's BRI -- Biosecurity Research Institute -- the choice was clear.

As K-State's new Regents Distinguished Professor, I am honored to bring my research program on infectious animal diseases to K-State's BRI. As a veterinary microbiologist and virologist, the ability to thoroughly examine the mechanisms used by microorganisms to survive, cause sickness and potentially jump from animals to humans is central to my work.

The BRI, at Pat Roberts Hall, is uniquely equipped to accommodate my program as well as practically any other high-level research on food animals, food crops and food processing. My research on influenza and Rift Valley Fever virus infections, prion-related diseases and their cross-species transmissibility -- especially to humans -- fits like a hand in glove with K-State's research focus. And without the BRI, my research wouldn't be possible.

The BRI is not only a testament to the statewide commitment to agricultural food security and food safety, but it's part of a comprehensive scientific effort involving more than 150 K-Staters. These scientists -- most of whom are international experts -- spend their valuable time working directly on keeping the nation's food supply safe from biological threats. From basic food safety practices to defusing the latest bug afflicting livestock or crops, moving to K-State gives me a chance to join a scientific team like none other in the nation.

It is no surprise then that the Department of Homeland Security is looking at K-State as a potential site for its most modern animal disease facility, the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF. Should NBAF be built in Manhattan, federal researchers will be able to tap the university's expertise and a well-educated student body to help fight the threat of exotic and endemic emerging diseases. This collaboration will no doubt yield timely solutions to real world animal disease problems.

Research slated for the NBAF is critical to ensure the long-term safety of livestock in Kansas and across the nation, and the expertise needed for that research definitely is at K-State.

As a veterinary researcher, I value the commitment K-State has made to protect the nation's food supply and look forward to taking my role in protecting the people of Kansas and our nation from foreign and zoonotic animal disease threats.