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Dr. Tom Kawula Appointed as Allen School Director

Dr. Tom Kawula, Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of North Carolina Medical School, will follow Dr. Guy Palmer as Director of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. Dr. Douglas Call has been Interim Director since Dr. Palmer stepped down, in July, 2015, to serve as WSU Senior Director of Global Health and promote CVM and university-wide interests and initiatives related to the Grand Challenge of Sustaining Health. Dr. Call will remain Interim Director until Dr. Kawula’s arrival, expected in early October, then resume his role as Associate Director for Research and Graduate Education at the Allen School.

In addition to the position as Allen School Director, Dr. Kawula will maintain his research program focused on bacterial pathogenesis, with its particular emphasis on Tularemia (Francisella tularensis), a zoonotic pathogen of global importance. His current NIH R01 award is funding research to understand how Francisella tularensis survives and replicates within macrophages and other cells.

Raised in Moscow, Idaho, both Dr. Kawula and his wife, Carol, graduated from the University of Idaho, and have family ties to the region. He earned his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at University of North Carolina, and after stints as a post-doc at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and as an Assistant Professor at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, he returned to UNC as a faculty member in 1992, where he has enjoyed an active research and teaching career.

The Palouse connection, and a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary research and training, attracted Dr. Kawula to the Allen School Director position. “When I first learned about the Allen School a few years ago, I was immediately intrigued by the mission of applying different disciplines to focus on linkages between animal and human health and the development of effective intervention,” he said. “I’ve spent a good part of my career attempting to create effective interdisciplinary approaches to research, education and training.” This interest led to his National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) award that supports college students from around the country to work on Molecular Biosciences research on the UNC campus each summer since 2012. Graduate-level courses led by Dr. Kawula include, among others, Microbial Pathogenesis, encompassing aspects of immunology, virology and bacteriology that contribute to pathogenesis. He has served as dissertation advisor to 13 PhD students, and as a committee member for an additional 31 doctoral students.

“Interdisciplinary research is complicated, and it requires an unusually high degree of perseverance and commitment. I am really impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of the faculty and staff to the unique mission and approach of the Allen School. I can hardly wait to be a part of this outstanding team.”

Tom Kawula
Tom Kawula, PhD

Research News



Grants Awarded:

Dr. Viveka Vadyvaloo

Dr. Viveka Vadyvaloo has been awarded an NIH R01 grant ($2,241,931; 06/16/2016-05/31/2021) for her project “Regulation of Yersinia pestis flea-borne transmission.” The research aims to identify small non-coding RNA regulatory mechanisms that define the ability of the plague bacterium to establish infection in the flea and mediate flea-borne transmission, with the goal of identifying new opportunities for blocking transmission and disease spread. Dr. Florent Sebbane of Institut Pasteur in Lille, France, is a co-investigator on the project.

Dr. Shelley McGuire is a co-investigator on a WSU Grand Challenge Seed Grant titled “Early-life programming of infant health” ($75,000; 06/01/2016 – 05/31/2018). Dr. Sara Waters, of WSU Vancouver Department of Human Development, is the project PI. Co-investigators also include Drs. Masha Gartstein, WSU Pullman Department of Psychology; Lucia Peixoto, WSU College of Medicine, Spokane, and; Chris Connolly, WSU Pullman College of Education.


Congratulations to faculty, staff and students on recent publications:

Ahmed S, Besser TE, Call DR, Weissman SJ, Jones LP, Davis MA. (2016) Evaluation of two multi-locus sequence typing schemes for Escherichia coli. Journal of Microbiological Methods 124:57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2016.03.008

Cerón A, Ortiz MR, Álvarez D, Palmer GH, Cordón-Rosales C. (2016) Local disease concepts relevant to the design of a community-based surveillance program for influenza in rural Guatemala.International Journal for Equity in Health. 15(1):69. doi: 10.1186/s12939-016-0359-z.

Du J, Reeves AZ, Klein JA, Twedt DJ, Knodler LA, Lesser CF. (2016) The type III secretion system apparatus determines the intracellular niche of bacterial pathogens. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 113(17):4794-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1520699113.

James AE, Rogovskyy AS, Crowley MA, Bankhead T. (2016) Characterization of a DNA adenine methyltransferase gene of Borreliahermsii and its dispensability for murine infection and persistence. PLoS ONE 11(5): e0155798. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155798

Jensen PK, Wujcik CE, McGuire MK, McGuire MA. (2016) Validation of reliable and selective methods for direct determination of glyphosate and AMPA in milk and urine using LC-MS/MS. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part B. 51(4):254-9. doi: 10.1080/03601234.2015.1120619

Lyimo B, Buza J, Subbiah M, Call DR. (2016) Surface waters in northern Tanzania harbor fecal coliform and antibiotic resistant Salmonella. African Journal of Microbiology Research 10(11):348-356. doi: 10.5897/AJMR2015.7880

Lyimo B, Buza J, Subbiah M, Temba S, Kipasika H, Miller W, Call DR. (2016) IncF plasmids are commonly carried by antibiotic resistant Escherichiacoli isolated from drinking water sources in Northern Tanzania. International Journal of Microbiology Article ID 3103672.

McGuire MK, McGuire MA, Price WJ, Shafii B, Carrothers JM, Lackey KA, Goldstein DA, Jensen PK, Vicini JL. (2016) Glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid are not detectable in human milk. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.126854.

Memon MA, Shmalberg J, et. al. (18 additional authors). (2016) Integrative veterinary medical education and consensus guidelines for an integrative veterinary medicine curriculum within veterinary collegesOpen Veterinary Journal 6(1):41-56. doi:

Mosites E, Thumbi SM, Otiang E, McElwain TF, Njenga MK, Rabinowitz PM, Rowhani-Rahbar A, Neuhouser ML, May S, Palmer GH, Walson JL. Relations between household livestock ownership, livestock disease, and young child growth.Journal of Nutrition 146(5):1118-24. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.225961.

Noh SM,Dark MJ, Reif KE, Ueti MW, Kappmeyer LS, Scoles GA, Palmer GH, Brayton KA. (2016) Super-infection exclusion of Anaplasma marginale in the tick vector is dependent on time between exposures to the strains. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 82(11):3217-3224. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00190-16

Plattet P, Alves L, Herren M, Aguilar HC. (2016) Measles virus fusion protein: structure, function, and inhibition. Viruses 8(4). pii: E112. doi: 10.3390/v8040112.

Shmalberg J, Memon MA. A retrospective analysis of 5,195 patient treatment sessions in an integrative veterinary medicine service: Patient characteristics, presenting complaints, and therapeutic interventions. Veterinary Medicine International Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 983621 

Student and Fellow News

Allison James, student of Dr. Troy Bankhead, successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Elucidating Mechanisms for Persistent Infection by the Relapsing Fever Spirochete, Borrelia hermsii.”  Other members of Dr. James’ thesis committee were Drs. Kelly Brayton, Mike Konkel, and Viveka Vadyvaloo.

Svetlana Lockwood, student of Dr. Shira Broschat, passed her dissertation defense, earning her PhD in Computer Science. Dr. Lockwood joined the lab of Dr. Douglas Call on June 1 in a joint Allen School/EECS postdoctoral associate position as part of the NIH T32 training program in Immunology and Infectious Disease, where she will work on antibiotic resistance problems with a focus on bioinformatics.

Two PhD students in the lab of Dr. Hector Aguilar-Carreno received awards in the recent NIH Biotech Training Program Symposium: Liz Zamora won second place for her presentation titled “Roles of Nipah Virus Fusion Protein Domains in Fusion Cascade Progression,” and Gunner Johnston won honorable mention for his presentation “Cytoplasmic Motifs of the Nipah Virus Fusion Protein Drive Virus Particle Formation.”

Brucella Abortus

Dr. Cheryl Miller, postdoctoral associate in the lab of Dr. Jean Celli, received the Best Oral Presentation Award at the 3rd Annual College of Veterinary Medicine Postdoctoral Research Symposium, April 2016. Her talk was titled "The Brucella VirB type IV effector BspB targets the COG complex to inhibit host secretory trafficking.”

HeLa cells infected with Brucella abortus (in red). 
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Miller 

Dr. Mark Caudell has joined the lab of Dr. Douglas Call. Dr. Caudell recently completed his Ph.D. in Anthropology at WSU and has played a pivotal role in Dr. Call’s research on antibiotic resistance in northern Tanzania. He will work at the Allen School for 12 months as a postdoctoral fellow, focusing on data analysis and writing.

Faculty and Staff News

Terry McElwain
Dr. Terry McElwain

After 27 yearson the faculty of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine,Dr. Terry McElwain has retired with the rank of Regents Professor Emeritus of Pathology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. McElwain served as Associate Director and Head of Africa Programs for the Allen School since its inception in 2007, as well as Director/Executive Director of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory since 1993. His research career focused on vaccine development for tick-borne diseases in tropical and subtropical regions, and more recently his work has centered on global control of infectious diseases in low income countries through capacity building in disease surveillance, detection and response. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the Washington State Academy of Sciences, and a Medical Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among many other honors and awards. Dr. McElwain will continue his involvement on Allen School international research and capacity building projects on a part-time basis.

Dr. Mushtaq Memon, Associate Professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and Coordinator of the Global Animal Health Pathway program, will retire in July, 2016. Dr. Memon, renowned for his work in livestock reproduction, international development, and international veterinary education, has been a member of the WSU faculty for 25 years. His honors and achievements include a Fulbright Scholar award for work in the Sultanate of Oman, and serving as a consultant for the United States Agency for International Development throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. He is among a select group of Fulbright alumni to become ambassadors for the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, which administers the Fulbright Scholar program in collaboration with the US Department of State.

Cynthia Goodwater is a new administrative staff member, working as Secretary Senior in the front office.  Ms. Goodwater comes to the Allen School with experience as a Fiscal Technician II in the WSU Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, as well as experience in the business office of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Guy Palmer gave the Keynote Address at the Keystone Symposium on Vaccines for Tropical Diseases, May 22 - May 27, 2016, Cape Town, South Africa.  The title of his address was “Vaccination as a driver to achieve the Sustainability Development Goals."

Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire received the 2016 Thomas E. Lutz Teaching Excellence Award, WSU College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Anders Omsland’s work on Coxiella burnetii, the cause of the zoonotic disease Q fever, and his successful effort to replicate the microbe’s growth environment in host cell-free (axenic) culture, were featured in the May 1 issue of the online magazine TheScientist.  See Going Intracellular, in the Lab Tools: “Becoming Acculturated” section. Dr. Omsland’s development of the axenic culture will facilitate studies of C. burnetii and similar intracellular bacterial pathogens, including his research on their physiochemical and nutritional requirements.

Dr. Tom Marsh was a guest co-editor with Amy Hagerman of the USDA and co-author of a series of articles on the theme “Economic Consequences of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza” in Choices, an online publication of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.  See

Dr. Susan Noh will be an instructor for the Vector-Borne Disease section of the Smith-Kilborne Course (June 1- June 7) on Transboundary and Emerging Infectious Diseases, hosted by USDA-APHIS, held in Riverdale, MD.

Dr. Douglas Call has been engaged this past spring in multiple national and international programs and working groups addressing antimicrobial resistance, including:

  • An invited talk to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the USDA’s Antimicrobial Resistance Interagency Working Group, April 13, in Washington, DC. The talk was entitled: “Antimicrobial resistance: moving beyond the prudent use paradigm.” While there he also spent two days with partners from the Washington Global Health Alliance meeting with members of the Washington state delegation on Capitol Hill, where they discussed global challenges of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Participated as an invited panel member for an event to promote the Longitude Prize --  a U. K. sponsored, £ 10 million award for development of diagnostic solutions to the challenge of antimicrobial resistance (March 31).
  • Presented a webinar to the Washington State Antimicrobial Working Group entitled, “Environmental concerns with antibiotic resistance and U.S. Aquaculture” (April 8).
  • Accepted an invitation from the American Academy of Microbiology to join a newly formed Steering Committee that will address the current status of antimicrobial resistance

Project Updates

Preventing Zoonotic Diseases in Kenya project

Investigators on the CDC-funded Preventing Zoonotic Diseases (GHSA Strategy #3) in Kenya project (Dr. M.K. Njenga, PI) convened in Pullman, WA, in May to plan Year 2 activities and establishment of a sustainable, near real-time animal syndromic surveillance system in Kenya. The grant is part of the CDC’s Global Health Security Agenda initiative. Meeting participants included, in photo clockwise from left, Dr. Tammy Beckham and Dr. Lindsey Holmstrom of Kansas State University, and Drs. Njenga, Thumbi Mwangi, and Terry McElwain of the Allen School. 

Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health

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