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K-State Today

August 4, 2017



Veterinary researcher receives funding for tick-control research from Lawrence-based animal health company

By Joe Montgomery

Katie Reif

Katie Reif, assistant professor in the diagnostic medicine/pathobiology department in K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, recently received $10,000 from Integrated Animal Health for researching and developing novel tick and tick-borne pathogen control measures.

"We are interested in identifying novel strategies to combat ticks and tick-borne pathogens through studying the intrinsic and dynamic relationship between tick vectors and tick-borne pathogens," said Reif, who is a member of K-State's Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases. "Projects in my lab range from understanding molecular mechanisms tick-borne pathogens employ to invade, adapt and replicate in tick cells, to more applied investigations of tick control methods. As infection of a single pathogen species or genotype is rare, we are also interested in how competition between co-infecting or resident microbiota affects pathogen establishment, maintenance and transmission from the tick vector."

The mission of Integrated Animal Health, Lawrence, is to identify difficult-to-deliver compounds that have already demonstrated safety and efficacy in humans and to develop therapeutics based on these validated compounds and targets for feed chain animals, companion animals, thoroughbred racehorses and other animal groups.

"We recently had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Reif when we conducted a tick symposium with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and members of the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Kansas USDA representatives," said Blake Hawley, president and CEO of Integrated Animal Health. "During that meeting we learned of the impressive work of Dr. Reif and her mentor, Dr. Michael Dryden, a parasitologist at K-State. We wish to see her work continue through the gift of this research funding."