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K-State Today

January 15, 2021

Juergen Richt receives Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Award

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Juergen Richt, Regents distinguished professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, joins three professors from the University of Kansas as 2021 recipients of prestigious Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards.

The recognition program was established by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at KU from 1967 to 1983, and his late widow, Aya. Four awards, each named for former leaders of the KU Endowment, are presented annually to honor outstanding accomplishments in research by faculty members at Kansas Board of Regents institutions. Richt is the recipient of the 2021 Dolph C. Simons Sr. Award in Biomedical Sciences.

Richt said it is a tremendous honor to receive such a prestigious award from the University of Kansas. He expressed gratitude the award shows in the focus of his research, which is zoonotic and emerging pathogens.

"Since more than half of all human infectious diseases and the majority of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in nature, I believe our area of work is of tremendous importance to the future of biomedical research and to society at large," he said.

"This is an extremely well-deserved recognition of Dr. Richt and his collective research accomplishments," said Derek Mosier, head of the diagnostic medicine and pathobiology department. "Dr. Richt is internationally recognized for his research on emerging and zoonotic disease. The recent pandemic has particularly highlighted his passion to conduct impactful research and his extraordinary ability to rapidly form high-quality research teams that contribute to discoveries for the benefit of both animals and humans."

Each award includes a plaque and $10,000 grant for ongoing research efforts. The award money can be used for research materials, summer salaries, fellowship matching funds, hiring research assistants or other support related to research.

At K-State, Richt investigates zoonotic, emerging and transboundary diseases of livestock, focusing mainly on viral diseases. His work has led to strategies to identify, control and/or eradicate pathogens with significant impact on veterinary medicine, human health and food security. His recent work focuses on the establishment of preclinical animal models for SARS-CoV-2 to evaluate the efficacy of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19.