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K-State Today

May 24, 2024

Frank Blecha retiring from K-State after 43 years

Submitted by Joe Montgomery

Frank Blecha

As of June 9, Frank Blecha is retiring from his position as the director of Core Research Laboratories within the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Blecha has served as associate dean of research in the veterinary college since 2010. Prior to that, he was head of the anatomy and physiology department from 1998-2011 and assistant department head from 1991-1998. As department head, he mentored and supported the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, or COBRE, award focused on epithelial function in health and disease. He has served as a faculty member specializing in immunology since joining K-State in 1981.

"Dr. Blecha has devoted his entire faculty career to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University," said Bonnie Rush, Hodes family dean. "His loyalty to Kansas State University is unparalleled. His career research accomplishments are tremendous and include over $3 million in grant money to construct the Core Research Laboratories."

In 2001, K-State recognized Blecha as a distinguished professor, the highest honor the university bestows on its faculty members. In 2004, he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Department Head.

Under Blecha's leadership, the College of Veterinary Medicine became a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance in 2018. In 2012, Blecha was part of the first research consortium to successfully map the genome of the domestic pig.

Blecha's research focus has been on evaluating the regulatory mechanisms involved in innate immunity, including the role of antimicrobial peptides and antiviral cytokines. He has published 158 peer-reviewed publications, with 13,571 citations and an h-index of 62.

Blecha holds five U.S. patents and has delivered 138 invited presentations. He has held leadership positions in national and international organizations, including the American Association of Immunologists and the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists. In 2010, Blecha received the Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award from the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists.

Blecha has served as a major professor for nine doctoral and three master's students and a mentor for four postdoctoral fellows. In addition, he has served on the supervisory committees for 56 graduate students. In 1998, he was presented with the University Distinguished Graduate Faculty Member Award at Kansas State University.

A reception for Blecha will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, May 31, in the BI Atrium/Auditorium in the veterinary college.