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K-State Today

June 13, 2017



Kansas State University veterinary faculty co-author award-winning swine disease research article

By Joe Montgomery

Collaborative research with scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has resulted in special recognition from the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, or AAVLD. Two of Kansas State University's experts in swine disease research contributed to an article that was selected for the 2016 Best Full Manuscript Award for research published in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation, or JVDI.

The article, "Application of a pathogen microarray for the analysis of viruses and bacteria in clinical diagnostic samples from pigs," was authored by five scientists at the Livermore Laboratory, Crystal Jaing, James Thissen, Pam Hullinger, Shea Gardner and Kevin McLoughlin, and two authors, Megan Niederwerder and Bob Rowland, both from diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department in the College of Veterinary Medicine at K-State. Niederwerder also works in the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The authors received a $250 honorarium from the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

This study investigated the utility of the Lawrence Livermore Microbial Detection Array, which is designed to detect more than 8,000 species of microbes toward the evaluation of known and unknown microbes in serum, oral fluid and tonsil from pigs. This research is particularly significant for diseases connected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, or PRRSV, and porcine circovirus type 2, or PCV-2. The array easily identified PRRSV and PCV-2, but at decreased sensitivities compared to polymerase chain reaction detection methods, which is the standard type of diagnostic test.

"Diagnostic testing capable of differentiating multiple agents at once can be extremely valuable in reducing time and cost," said Gary Anderson, director of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. "The JVDI is a highly regarded journal in veterinary diagnostic medicine and to be selected as the best manuscript for 2016 is truly a significant accomplishment. We congratulate Drs. Niederwerder, Rowland and their colleagues."

"We sincerely thank AAVLD for this recognition and honor," Niederwerder said. "The microarray provides us the opportunity to investigate complex disease syndromes in swine, where polymicrobial infections are common. Because the microarray technology can detect thousands of microbes in a single test, we are able to identify the presence of co-pathogens as well as normal flora. After confirming its application in this manuscript, we have since leveraged the microarray as a comprehensive tool to investigate the role of the microbiome in health and disease of swine."