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Source: Juergen Richt, 785-532-2793 or 785-532-4408, jricht@k-state.edu
Websites: http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/richtbio.html
and http://www.vet.k-state.edu/CE/2010/ceezad/ceezad.aspx
Photo available. Contact media@k-state.edu or 785-532-2535.
News release prepared by: Beth Bohn, 785-532-6415, bbohn@k-state.edu

Thursday, June 24, 2010

KICK-OFF MEETING FOR CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOR EMERGING AND ZOONOTIC ANIMAL DISEASES JUNE 28 AT K-STATE

MANHATTAN -- Several of the world's top experts in diseases that can spread from animals to humans -- and vice versa -- will be among the presenters at the kick-off meeting for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, also known as CEEZAD, at Kansas State University.

The meeting starts at 1 p.m. Monday, June 28, at the K-State Alumni Center. It is open to the public, but registration is required and is available at http://www.vet.k-state.edu/CE/2010/ceezad/ceezad.aspx.

Leading the meeting will be Dr. Juergen A. Richt, the center's director. Richt is a Regents Distinguished Professor in K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine and a Kansas Bioscience Authority Eminent Scholar.

K-State's expertise in vaccine development, diagnostics, animal disease detection and education programs spearheaded the university's selection in February for CEEZAD.

K-State is receiving $12 million over the next six years for the center, with Richt as principal investigator and director of the grant. CEEZAD will conduct research, develop technology and train a specialized work force to successfully defend U.S. pre-harvest agricultural systems against agroterrorism, other catastrophic events and emerging animal pathogens that can have a significant impact on human and animal health.

At the kick-off meeting, speakers will include Richt, a veterinary microbiologist who has worked with multiple agents of zoonotic potential, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, chronic wasting disease, animal influenzas and other emerging pathogens. Also making a presentation will be William White, director of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. The Department of Homeland Security is replacing the New York center with the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF, at K-State.

Other presenters will include top scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service; Dr. Michele Bouloy, Pasteur Institute in Paris; Dr. Polly Roy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Dr. Alan Guthrie, University of Pretoria in South Africa; Dr. Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and more.

Welcoming addresses will be presented by Richt; April Mason, K-State provost and senior vice president; Ralph Richardson, dean of the K- State College of Veterinary Medicine; Angela Kreps, president and CEO of KansasBio; and Tom Thornton, president and CEO of the Kansas BioScience Authority.

A complete schedule of presentations and registration information are available at http://www.vet.k-state.edu/CE/2010/ceezad/ceezad.aspx. More information also is available by contacting CEEZAD at 785-532-2793 or ceezad@k-state.edu.

K-State's CEEZAD is partnering with Texas A&M University's Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense Center, or FAZD, to co-lead the Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate's efforts to involve university researchers in zoonotic and animal disease detection. The Department of Homeland Security anticipates that both K-State and Texas A&M will conduct projects in all of the thematic areas, including vaccines, detection, diagnostics, modeling and simulation, education and training. Homeland Security also will work with center leadership to ensure long-term coordination and collaboration.