Dr. Connie Gebhart was honored during the last American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) meeting as the recipient of the BioMIC Excellence in Diagnostic Veterinary Microbiology Award.
Supported by Biomic Inc, this prestigious AAVLD award recognizes distinguished scientist (s) for research accomplishments in the field that result in new scientific findings that have application for the betterment of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Connie Gebhart is full professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, USA. After obtaining both MS and PhD degrees in Veterinary Medicine from that college, she supervised multiple microbiology laboratories and projects until joining the faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. She currently holds a joint appointment with the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory as Faculty Advisor for Microbiology.
Dr. Gebhart has published over 100 peer reviewed manuscripts in internationally recognized journals and has co-authored seven chapters in books such as “Diseases of Swine”, “Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology” and “Pathogenesis of Bacterial Infections in Animals”. She has been invited to speak at numerous national and international veterinary conferences such as the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the International Pig Veterinary Society, as well as for various universities and industries throughout the world.
As faculty, Dr. Gebhart is engaged in service, teaching and research concerning bacterial diseases, with special emphases on diagnosis and epidemiology of enteric diseases. Her research has focused on the obligately intracellular bacterium Lawsonia intracellularis and the novel porcine pathogen Brachyspira hampsonii. In particular, her laboratory was instrumental in identifying these new pathogenic species and continues to be active in studying all facets of these exceptional bacteria. Current research seeks to understand how L. intracellularis causes proliferation of enterocytes, by exploring processes such as interference with apoptosis, mechanism(s) of intracellular survival, alteration of normal cellular differentiation, and effect(s) on the enterocytes’ normal cell cycles.
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.
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.
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.”
The UMN CVM students did a fantastic job at the 2017 American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) meeting this past weekend. Four students presented their projects as an oral presentation. Zhen Yang, Alyssa Anderson, Hunter Baldry and Chris Deegan were all recognized by a jury for their hard work and commitment to the swine industry.
Taylor Homann, Donna Drebes, and Kevin Gustafson all got the opportunity to present their work as poster presentations.
Lastly, two out of the three awards given by Boehringer Ingelheim to advance the research on swine respiratory pathogens were given to Dr. Marie Culhane and Dr. Carlos Vilalta for their project on swine influenza and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (PRRSV) respectively.
This year the Science in Practice award, given by the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, will be presented to Dr. Bob Thompson, DVM with PIC (Pig Improvement Company).
“Boehringer Ingelheim is pleased to join the University of Minnesota in congratulating Dr. Thompson, an outstanding swine practitioner whose work ensures pig health is a priority from start to finish,” says Lara Sheeley, director of marketing for the BI swine division. “BI is committed to supporting swine industry leaders in their pursuit of knowledge and science to drive innovative solutions.”
The Allen D. Leman Science in Practice Award is given each year at the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference to a swine practitioner who has shown an exceptional ability to utilize science in day to day practice. The swine practitioner who receives the award bears the primary responsibility to move research into the field. Nominations and selection of the winner are governed by the Swine Faculty Planning Committee at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.
“For more than 20 years this award has honored some of the most accomplished veterinary leaders in the swine industry,” says Bob Morrison, DVM, MBA, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the University of Minnesota. “We are excited to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim this year in honoring Dr. Thompson.”
The Science in Practice award reception will take place during the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference, September 16−19, 2017 at the Saint Paul RiverCentre. Visit www.lemanswine.umn.edu for more information and to register for the conference.
Dr. Fernando Leite, a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Richard Isaacson, won the Lynn Jones Memorial Award for the best oral presentation at the 97th Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases (CRWAD). His talk entitled “Lawsonia intracellularis vaccination decreases Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium shedding in co-infected pigs” presented the results of the work he did in collaboration with Drs. Gebhart, Singer, and Isaacson at the University of Minnesota.
Please join us in congratulating Fernando for his award!
Abstract: Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium and Lawsonia intracellularis are two of the most prevalent intestinal pathogens of swine. S. Typhimurium causes diarrhea but also results in subclinical persistent colonization of pigs and can lead to food borne illnesses. S. enterica is responsible for over 1 million cases of food borne illness per year in the United States. L. intracellularis infection has been found as a risk factor for increased S. Typhimurium shedding in swine. The objective of this study was to investigate if vaccination against L. intracellularis could lead to decreased S. Typhimurium shedding. To test this hypothesis, groups of nine pigs were either challenged with S. Typhimurium, S. Typhimurium and L. intracellularis, S. Typhimurium and vaccinated against L. intracellularis, or S. Typhimurium L. intracellularis and vaccinated against L. intracellularis. A non-infected control group served as a negative control. Fecal shedding of S. Typhimurium was monitored using an enrichment most probable number method two days after infection and weekly thereafter until animals reached the age of 14 weeks. The co-challenged vaccinated group had a tendency of shedding the least S. Typhimurium and at one-week post infection is when the greatest differences among groups was observed and the vaccinated co-challenged group shed significantly less Salmonella (p>0.05) than the group co-infected without vaccination and the group challenged with Salmonella alone. These differences were of 1.63 and 2.12 Log10 organisms per gram of feces, respectively. The instestinal microbiome of these animals is being investigated to understand how it may have impacted Salmonella shedding levels in the different treatments. These results indicate that vaccination against L. intracellularis may aid in the control of S. Typhimurium in herds co-infected with L. intracellularis.