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K-State Today

October 14, 2021

Veterinary student selected for NBAF Scientist Training Program fellowship

Submitted by Erin Pennington

Jayden McCall, third-year veterinary student in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University, was recently awarded the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Scientist Training Program fellowship.

McCall will receive tuition, stipends and funds for supplies and travel through a $1.6 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

While in veterinary school, McCall's interest in food animal medicine was piqued during a 2020 veterinary research scholars program that matches scholars with faculty mentors to develop a summer research project.

"I've always been interested in infectious diseases, immunology and vaccine development but hadn't had the opportunity to study that in a research setting," McCall said. "I really enjoyed being able to apply my knowledge and experience regarding infectious diseases and learning more about the vaccine development process."

McCall is involved in African Swine Fever Virus subunit vaccine development with his research mentor, Waithaka Mwangi, professor of diagnostic medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Jayden is focused, hardworking and highly motivated," Mwangi said. "The NSTP fellowship is further recognition of his potential as a researcher and it will offer him an opportunity to pursue his career goal."

McCall was also selected to receive a prestigious national award by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and Association of American Veterinary Colleges to support his research project in summer 2021.

NSTP fellows are selected for their strong interest and expertise in emerging animal diseases, diseases that infect both animals and people, or foreign animal diseases that threaten global health and food security. Once the fellowship program is completed, they are committed to working at the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York and, ultimately, the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF, which is under construction adjacent to the university's Manhattan campus.

"This work combines my interests of vaccine development and infectious diseases in the food animal setting to protect our livestock species," McCall said. "This opportunity with NBAF is exciting because I will be able to stay in Kansas where I have family, while still helping with the important work of keeping livestock safe in the U.S."