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K-State Today

March 30, 2018

Veterinary researcher receives $50,000 for tick and tick-related disease research from De Soto businessman

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kathryn Reif

A small pest has inspired a very generous gift for Kathryn Reif, an assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology who studies ticks and tick-borne diseases at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Joe Bisogno, who owns Timber Hills Lake Ranch near De Soto, gave Reif a $50,000 gift to support the work in her laboratory.

"It has always been my hope that ticks and tick-borne diseases could be eliminated from the Earth," Bisogno said. "I have yet to meet someone who enjoys having a tick crawl up their leg, or enjoys finding a tick attached to their wildlife, pets and livestock."

Bisogno's ranch is populated with herds of bison, elk and deer. Reif noted how deer serve as excellent hosts for the tick species that inhabit Kansas. She said Bisogno's gift will help generate critically needed preliminary data for larger extramural grant proposals to further her laboratory's research programs.

"The overall goal of my laboratory is to identify novel solutions to reduce tick bites and tick-borne disease transmission," Reif said.

Reif was invited to Bisogno's ranch in March 2017 and gave a presentation on ticks and her research work.

"I believe that her continued tick research will enable the world to one day not have to worry about being infected by a tick bite," said Bisogno, who is also the founder of the Mr. Goodcents chain of sandwich shops.

Reif said that in Kansas, people, pets, livestock and wildlife are all at risk for tick bites and tick-borne diseases, and that the best way to prevent tick-borne diseases is by preventing tick bites. Using DEET-based repellents or treating clothes with permethrin can help reduce the risk of tick bites in humans. For pets, there are several excellent topical and systemic tick repellent products that owners can get from their pet's veterinarian.

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