MANHATTAN, KANSAS — Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, is the hub for animal health and biosecurity research in the United States. Many researchers at the university specialize in areas such as infections and zoonotic diseases, livestock and plant diseases and biosecurity.
Infectious and zoonotic diseases
Stephen Higgs is associate vice president for research and the director of the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University. Higgs’ areas of research interest include vector biology, infectious diseases, immunology and vaccine development including SARS-CoV-2, the strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, Zika virus, West Nile virus and yellow fever virus.
Waithaka Mwangi is a professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Mwangi’s research covers COVID-19, African swine fever virus and novel strategies for inducing immune protection against microbial pathogens in livestock.
Dana Vanlandingham is an associate professor of arbovirology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Vanlandingham’s research focuses on zoonotic arboviruses, such as Japanese encephalitis virus, that require high-containment facilities.
Brad White is the director of the Beef Cattle Institute and is a professor of production medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine. White’s research focuses on beef production and management including bovine respiratory disease prevention as well as cow-calf, stocker and feeder calf systems.
Cassie Jones is an associate professor of animal sciences and industry in the College of Agriculture specializing in animal feed safety, livestock feed manufacturing, feed ingredient stability and animal nutrition.
Megan Niederwerder is an assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Niederwerder’s research focuses on endemic and foreign animal diseases of swine including African swine fever virus and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.
Plant diseases and biosecurity
Barbara Valent is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is a university distinguished professor of plant pathology in the College of Agriculture. For more than 40 years Valent’s research has focused on blast disease and most recently on wheat blast and preventing its establishment in the U.S.
Jim Stack is the director of the Great Plains Diagnostic Network and is a professor of plant pathology in the College of Agriculture. Stack’s areas of specialty include diagnostics, plant biosecurity and the plant health-public health interface.
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