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Parasitology association recognizes Kansas State University's Dryden with highest honor

Monday, July 27, 2015


Kansas State University's Michael Dryden, right, university distinguished professor of veterinary parasitology, receives the 2015 AAVP-Merial Distinguished Veterinary Parasitologist Award.| Download this photo.

MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University veterinarian who is recognized as one of the world's foremost authorities on fleas and ticks — earning the nickname "Dr. Flea" — has been honored for his lifetime achievements in the advancement of veterinary parasitology.

Michael Dryden, university distinguished professor of veterinary parasitology in the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department at the College of Veterinary Medicine, has received the 2015 AAVP-Merial Distinguished Veterinary Parasitologist Award. It is the highest honor of the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists and recognizes the outstanding contributions of one of its members to the advancement of veterinary parasitology.

Presentation of the award was July 11 in Boston at the association's 60th annual meeting.

"Receiving the 2015 AAVP distinguished parasitologist of the year award was a most humbling experience," Dryden said. "It is the highest honor bestowed by the association, and I never considered that the association would honor me with this career achievement award."

"Mike is a quintessential faculty member," said M.M. Chengappa, university distinguished professor and head of the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department. "We're fortunate to have a professor of his caliber and stature in the college at Kansas State University. He's an asset not only to the college, but also to the profession in general."

"Mike is the consummate teacher," said Doug Carithers, secretary-treasurer of the AAVP. "He is able to clearly explain complex relationships and concepts in a logical, passionate and entertaining manner that is relevant for the particular audience, no matter what their background. Most importantly, even though he's considered the flea expert worldwide, he remains open-minded enough to keep learning and explore the possibilities, making him not only a great teacher, but an excellent student of science."

Born in Osborne, Dryden 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 later earned a master's degree in 1988 and a doctorate in 1990, both from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. 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.

At Kansas State University, Dryden developed a research program along with Patricia Payne and his laboratory staff that has been 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 130 manuscripts and eight book chapters on numerous different internal and external parasites, it has been his research with Ctenocephalides felis that has become the most widely known. The university's flea team has generated publications and dissertations on flea host association, longevity, egg production, blood consumption, carpet microclimate, on-animal and premises flea control assessment techniques, flea trapping systems or 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 numerous articles on flea control. Conducting such an extensive research program has necessitated collaborating with faculty and working with students at Kansas State University and other universities.

Dryden was promoted to full professor in 1999 and in 2011 received the designation of university distinguished professor, Kansas State University's highest faculty ranking. In 2011, he was recognized as a charter diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiology when the D.V.M.-Parasitology specialty also was initiated.

Recognized as a passionate educator, Dryden co-taught the College of Veterinary Medicine's Veterinary Parasitology course from 1990 to 2001, becoming course coordinator in 2002 and co-teaching it with Payne for the last 12 years. In 2010, along with Payne, he developed the "Evidenced Based Small Animal Clinical Parasitology Training Course," often called Wildcat Parasitology. More than 140 graduate veterinarians from practice, academia and industry in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe have attended this intense weeklong course, designed to provide a deep dive into practical small animal veterinary parasitology.

Dryden has been invited to lecture in more than 21 countries, presenting 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.


M.M. Chengappa



News tip

Cawker City, Manhattan and Osborne

Written by

Joe Montgomery

At a glance

Kansas State University's Michael Dryden, university distinguished professor of veterinary parasitology has been recognized as the distinguished veterinary parasitologist of the year by a national association.