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NEWSLETTER | MARCH/APRIL2016
 
 

 

Allen School Welcomes New Faculty Member

Eric Lofgren

Eric Lofgren, PhD

Eric Lofgren, PhD, has joined the faculty of the Allen School. An epidemiologist specializing in computational and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases, Dr. Lofgren’s research interests include hospital epidemiology and emerging, enteric, and respiratory pathogens. His work focuses on developing disease transmission models that can combine with data from observational studies to produce more complete understanding of transmission dynamics, and the use of simulation to evaluate potential interventions. He also has worked to create data simulation to evaluate potential interventions. He also has worked to create data visualizations to help communicate potential epidemic scenarios to decision-makers. In his previous position as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory in the Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, Dr. Lofgren published several papers on the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa, including in the journals Science, Nature, and PNAS. In addition, he has published work on MERS Corona Virus, hospital-associated Clostridium difficile infection, and influenza epidemics, among other topics. Dr. Lofgren’s modeling expertise offers many collaborative opportunities with Allen School faculty members and others at WSU, including proposed research on the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance. Dr. Lofgren earned his PhD in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Gillings School of Global Public Health, in 2013.




 

Research News

 

 

Grants Awarded:

Dr. Anders Omsland is a co-investigator on a 2-year, $2,115,000 USDA-funded grant titled “Development of in vitro biofilm and planktonic culture of Ca. Liberibacter asiaticus: a game change in HLB research.” Led by Dr. David Gang of WSU’s Institute for Biological Chemistry, the project will lead to strategies to control the bacterium that causes citrus greening disease (Huánglóngbìng, or HLB), currently destroying orange, grapefruit, and lemon crops around the world. For more, see the WSU News feature on the award.

Dr. Viveka Vadyvaloo has been awarded a grant of $111,404 from the Morris Animal Foundation for a 2-year study titled “Towards predicting plague epizootics: Understanding free-living amoeba as an inter-epizootic host for sylvatic plague.” The project will investigate whether free-living soil amoeba isolated from an active plague foci can support long term survival and/or replication of Yersinia pestis, the pathogen that causes plague, in controlled laboratory culture, as well as in rodent burrow soil under conditions designed to simulate those of seasonal epizootic and inter-epizootic plague cycles.




 

Congratulations to faculty, staff and students on recent publications:

Afema JA, Byarugaba DK, Shah DH, Atukwase E, Nambi M, et al. (2016) Potential Sources and Transmission of Salmonella and Antimicrobial Resistance in Kampala, UgandaPLoS ONE 11(3): e0152130. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152130

Beckley CS, Shaban S, Palmer GH, Hudak AT, Noh SM, Futse JE. (2016) Disaggregating Tropical Disease Prevalence by Climatic and Vegetative Zones within Tropical West Africa. PLoS One 11(3):e0152560. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0152560.

Liu J, Zhao Z, Lu S, Orfe L, Subbiah M, Call DR. (2016) Soil-borne reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are established following therapeutic treatment of dairy calvesEnvironmental Microbiology 18:557-564. doi: 10.1111/1462-2920.13097

Lofgren ET, Collins KM, Smith TC, Cartwright RA. (2016) Equations of the End: Teaching Mathematical Modeling using the Zombie ApocalypseJournal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 17(1):137-142. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i1.1066

Palmer GH, Bankhead T, Seifert HS. (2016) Antigenic Variation in Bacterial Pathogens. Microbiology Spectrum 4(1). doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0005-2015.

Stone JA, Baum LG, Nicola AB, Aguilar HC.(2016) Multiple novel functions of henipavirus O-glycans: the first O-glycan functions identified in the Paramyxovirus familyPLoS Pathogens, 12(2):e1005445. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005445

Zambriski JA (2016). The Last Cup of Milk. In Bui T, Evert J, McCarthy V, et al (Eds.), Reflection in Global Health: An Anthology (pp. 170-182). San Francisco, CA: Global Health Collaborations Press.

Dr. Thumbi Mwangi, as an Aspen New Voices Fellow, recently published a piece on the Huffington Post Impact blog, titled “Rabies Just Can’t Get Any Respect,” to raise awareness of the toll taken by this neglected zoonotic disease.

 


Student and Fellow News

Cory Gall, student of Dr. Kelly Brayton, successfully defended his doctoral thesis, titled “Functional characterization of the bacterial microbiome of the Dermacentor Andersoni tick exhibits interactions with pathogen acquisition.”

Sylvia Omulo, PhD student in the lab of Dr. Douglas Call, has won the WSU Graduate School’s $1,000 Karen DePauw Leadership Award for 2016/2017. Established in 2003, the award is named for former Graduate School dean Karen P. DePauw to honor graduate students who exhibit exceptional leadership skills and involvement at WSU.

Sylvia Omulo was also selected to receive an EPIC scholarship to attend the course “Introduction to GIS in Public Health,” offered by Columbia University this June. The scholarship is available thanks to a generous grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences.

Dr. Viveka Vadyvaloo has welcomed Athena Lemon, a new research intern, into her lab.

Keesha Matz, an undergraduate microbiology major in the WSU Honors College mentored by Dr. Hector Aguilar-Carreño, received an award for outstanding oral presentation at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), held in Seattle last November. Her topic was “Roles of Nipah virus attachment, fusion, and matrix proteins on viral assembly and budding.” 

Natalie Hurst

Natalie Hurst, an Animal Science major and 7-year BS/DVM student mentored by Dr. Jennifer Zambriski, presented her honor’s thesis research at SURCA in March, with a poster entitled “A comparison of the impact of housing on morbidity and mortality in calves experimentally challenged with Cryptosporidium parvum.” Ms. Hurstwon a 1st place “Crimson Award” and $500 scholarship.

Natalie Hurst



Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Guy Palmer will be awarded an honorary doctorate from Kansas State University, in May. Dr. Palmer is being presented the honor by his alma mater (he earned a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude,  and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine there), in recognition of his contributions to global health and infectious disease research. It is his second honorary doctorate; he also received the honor from the University of Bern in 2011. Click here to see the K-State announcement.

Dr. Hector Aguilar-Carreño was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, effective July 1, 2016. Dr. Aguilar-Carreño’s promotion was granted one year ahead of the typical timeline for tenure consideration.

Dr. Jennifer Zambriski was invited to present research at the PATH Cryptosporidium Symposium in San Francisco this past January.  Her talk, "Implementation and Standardization of the Calf Animal Model for Evaluation of Cryptosporidium Chemotherapeutics," was part of an international meeting of Cryptosporidium investigators held to discuss priority research areas to facilitate development of novel drugs and vaccines. See more on the PATH Drug Development webpage.

Ms. Mary Teresa (Triza) Shigoli has joined the Allen Schoolas a full-time Project Coordinator, based in Nairobi. Ms. Shigoli is providing administrative support on the CDC-funded project titled Preventing Zoonotic Diseases (GHSA Strategy #3) in Kenya.   Dr. Kariuki Njenga is the Project Director.

Tanzania Trip

WSU College of Veterinary Medicine dean Dr. Bryan Slinker and his wife Kathy recently visited the Serengeti in Tanzania with their children. On their return from the field they stopped by Arusha, TZ, to check in on the Allen School’s program office there, home base of CVM activities in the country, including the Serengeti rabies vaccination program.




Project Updates

Program Updates

Allen School faculty members Drs. Terry McElwainKariuki Njenga and Thumbi Mwangi joined with representatives of Kenya’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya Medical Research Institute, county governments, the CDC and USAID in a workshop on preparedness planning for public health events of initially unknown etiology in Kenya. The workshop, held in Nairobi in March, was funded by the CDC Global Health Security Agenda grant to Dr. Njenga (PI), Preventing Zoonotic Diseases (GHSA Strategy #3) in Kenya. 

Ms. Sara Pepper, Grant Manger for the Allen School, traveled to Kenya and Tanzania in March to visit two programs and meet with colleagues to discuss new and continuing collaborations. In addition to attending the CDC-funded preparedness planning workshop described above, she visited with students, faculty and administrators of the Program for Enhancing the Health and Productivity of Livestock (PEHPL), a Bill & Melinda Gates-funded project based at the Nelson Mandela African Institution for Science and Technology, in Arusha, Tanzania. Pictured are, on left and far right, respectively, Ashley Railey and Zoe Campbell, PEHPL students from WSU, Ms. Rose Mosha, PEHPL Program Coordinator (center left), and Ms. Pepper.

Travel to Kenya and Tanzania
     


 
 
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