American College of Veterinary Microbiologists selects Michael Dryden for one of its highest honors
Friday, Aug. 25, 2017
MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University professor who is an internationally recognized expert on fleas and ticks has been named the 2017 Microbiologist of the Year by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.
Michael Dryden, university distinguished professor of veterinary parasitology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is being recognized for a distinguished career that has made important contributions to the field of veterinary microbiology in the areas of research, teaching and/or service.
Dryden will be formally recognized with the award at the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists' annual banquet on Dec. 4 in Chicago. He also will give an invited presentation on the theory and application of modern flea control at the annual conference of the Research Workers in Animal Diseases, Dec. 3-5, also in Chicago.
Dryden's research program is involved in two primary areas: the biology and control of fleas and ticks infesting dogs and cats, and the diagnosis and control of gastrointestinal parasites of dogs and cats. While he has published more than 140 manuscripts and 12 book chapters on numerous internal and external parasites, it has been his research with Ctenocephalides felis — the flea that commonly infests dogs and cats — that has become the most widely known.
Known as "Dr. Flea," Dryden and his research team have generated publications and dissertations about fleas and flea control, including flea host association, longevity, egg production, blood consumption, carpet microclimate, on-animal and premises' flea control assessment techniques, flea trapping systems such as the intermittent-light flea trap, insecticide resistance, flea allergy dermatitis, flea gender structure, reproductive break point analysis, residual speed of kill models, in-home field trials and more.
An invited lecturer in 22 countries, Dryden has presented more than 1,000 invited seminars at scientific conferences and at dozens of veterinary continuing education meetings. He also has been recognized with numerous awards and honors for his teaching, research and service to the veterinary profession.
A dedicated educator, Dryden co-taught the Veterinary Parasitology course in the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1990 to 2001 and became course coordinator in 2002. In 2010, he and a colleague developed the Evidenced-based Small Animal Clinical Parasitology Training Course, also known as "Wildcat Parasitology." More than 200 graduate veterinarians from practice, academia and industry in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe have attended this intense weeklong course, which provides in-depth instruction into practical small animal veterinary parasitology.
"I was honored and humbled when I learned I had been selected to receive this award," Dryden said. "To be recognized by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists for my research and educational achievements in veterinary parasitology is truly special."
Colleagues who nominated Dryden for the honor offered praise for his research and teaching.
"Dr. Kevin Kazacos, who has known Dr. Dryden since he began his research with fleas as grad student at Purdue University, said that Dryden's research 'not only revolutionized our entire knowledge on this common urban pest, but laid the groundwork for a wealth of new information on the species, ranging from basic biology to practical aspects of treatment and control,'" said Becky Wilkes, secretary of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and an assistant professor in the infectious diseases department at the University of Georgia.
Another colleague, Susan Little, in her nomination letter, said she knew of no other veterinary parasitologist who is more highly esteemed or revered by the larger veterinary profession for his many contributions than Dryden, Wilkes said.
A native Kansan, Dryden was born in Osborne and grew up on a farm northwest of Cawker City. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1982 and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1984, both at Kansas State University. He spent a couple years in private practice in Beloit and Wichita. Dryden later earned a master's degree in 1988 and a doctorate in 1990, both from Purdue University. It was while he was a graduate student at Purdue that the veterinary students started calling him "Dr. Flea."
Upon completion of the graduate program, Dryden accepted an offer from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University as an assistant professor of veterinary parasitology in the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department. He was promoted to full professor in 1999 and in 2011 he received the designation of university distinguished professor, the university's highest faculty ranking. Dryden also was recognized in 2011 as a charter diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, when the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine-Parasitology specialty was initiated.