Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh received the Distinguished Research Alumnus Award

The 2017 Points of Pride Research Day was held earlier this month and the swine group was well represented. Among the awardees, Dr. Montse Torremorell received the highest research reward at the College level: the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence for her impressive work on swine influenza, PRRSV and biosecurity approaches to mitigate pathogen transmission. Additionally, Dr. Bob Morrison, who passed away earlier this year, was recognized for the impact of his entire career with the Mark of Excellence Award.

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From left to the right: Dean Trevor Ames, Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh, Dr. Sriram Rao, and Dr. Peter Davies

The distinguished Research Alumnus Award was given to Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh in recognition of her work and research efforts. Dr Kalpravidh graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1993 when she completed after only 2 years, her PhD in Veterinary Medicine under the supervision of Dr. Bob Morrison. Dr. Kalpravidh then returned to her home country of Thailand where she began her career with the Division of Disease Control at the Thailand Department of Livestock Development. Her work in coordinating disease control efforts crossed national borders and she is now the Regional Manager for the Asia-Pacific region at the Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Disease (ECTAD) in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Before starting her seminar, Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh thanked the two groups of people without whom she believes she would not have had such a successful career : her family and more particularly her father who kept telling her to keep dreaming and her mentors, among them Dr. Morrison.

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The 44 countries in the Asia-Pacific region for which Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh coordinates efforts in disease control.

The area under her supervision is impressive: 44 countries of the Asia-Pacific region in which she coordinates the efforts to deliver veterinary assistance to countries responding to the threat of transboundary animal health crises. Some of the diseases and areas she has had to focus on in the past are: Foot and Mouth Disease, PRRSV and other swine infectious diseases, Antimicrobial Resistance, zoonotic Influenza, and zoonotic Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Wantanee Kalpravidh made hers the FAO mission of collaboration and capacity building with the countries, applied epidemiology and implementation of laboratory diagnosis.

A recent example of her work was her implication in the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza epidemic in Vietnam and her evaluation of the feasibility of a poultry vaccination campaign.

To paraphrase Dr. Davies’ words: “There is no-one more deserving of this award than Wantanee and we are very proud of how she used her PhD.”

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