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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

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Manhattan, KS  66502

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The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases (CEEZAD) at Kansas State University was established in 2010 to help protect the nation’s agricultural and public health sectors against high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats. CEEZAD has four principal missions:

  • Development of novel, safe, efficacious and DIVA-compatible vaccines for prevention and control of high-impact emerging and zoonotic diseases that can be manufactured in the U.S.
  • Development and expansion of technologies and platforms for laboratory and point-of-need pathogen detection.
  • Development of models to predict high-consequence disease behavior in the U.S. to aid prevention or outbreak control.
  • Development of education and training programs for students, veterinarians, first responders and researchers in high-impact animal diseases and animal emergencies.

News/Events Highlights

September 24, 2018

CEEZAD official aids grantsmanship training program in Senegal

The deputy director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases led a training program conducted recently in Senegal to improve grantsmanship writing and mentoring.

Dr. Jean-Paul Gonzalez led the session, which was sponsored by the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the Cooperative Biological Engagement Program (CBEP). The program was supported by LEIDOS and by CRDF-Global, and was hosted by the Senegal Ministry of Health and Social Action as well as the Institute of Health Research of Epidemiological Surveillance and Training.

The training program was held the week of September 10th In Dakar, Senegal. Its goal was to develop participants’ grant-proposal skills for research and equip them with other relevant knowledge to submit proposals in response to a range of U.S. funding opportunities.

The training covered all aspects of the grant writing process from a white paper to a full research proposal.

September 19, 2018

NPR interviews CEEZAD’s director on ASF outbreak in China

The director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases was cited today in a National Public Radio segment on the recent outbreak of African Swine Fever in China.

Dr. Juergen Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, was interviewed by NPR’s Rob Schmitz for a website article and 3:30 radio segment that ran this morning on Morning Edition. That show is heard on NPR stations nationwide.

Dr. Richt spoke about the recent discovery of the ASF virus in China, the world’s largest pork producing market, with more than 700 million pigs. He noted that the virus is highly contagious, killing infected pigs within five days. The problem is complicated by the fact that no vaccine exists.

“So the only strategy we have is to keep it controlled and keep it out from non-infected areas,” he said.

In early August, the first diagnosis of ASF In China was made in the city of Shenyang in the northeast. Several additional outbreaks have been reported since then in areas as much as 1,000 miles distant from the site of the original outbreak.

The full NPR presentation, including a portion of the interview with Dr. Richt, can be read and heard at the following link:


September 6, 2018

CEEZAD deputy director co-authors paper on Rift Valley fever in Uganda

The deputy director of the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases is a mentor on a recently published article on Rift Valley fever.

Jean-Paul Gonzalez, CEEZAD’s deputy director, co-authored the article titled “Rift Valley fever seroprevalence and abortion frequency among livestock of Kisoro district, South Western Uganda (2016): a pre-requisite for zoonotic infection.” It was published in the 2018 issue of BMC Veterinary Research.

Co-authors with Dr. Gonzalez are Ngabo Herbert Budasha, of the office of the District Veterinary Officer in Kisoro, Uganda; Tesfaalem Tekleghiorghis Sebhatu, of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine; and Ezama Arnold of the Department of Health and Social services, Uganda Red Cross Society, in Kampala, Uganda.

Rift Valley fever is a viral hemorrhagic disease that affects both human and animal health as well as international trade. In livestock it causes abortions; human infection occurs through close contact with infected animals.

In the article, the authors report that they found an over 10.4 percent seroprevalence in populations of cattle, sheep and goats. Seroprevalence was highest in the northern highlands and lowest in the southern lowlands. Overall prevalence of abortion was 17.4 percent.

The authors concluded that Rift Valley fever virus is endemic in the Kisoro district, and that livestock in highland areas are more likely to be exposed. They also found that abortion as an epizootic risk appears to be associated with Rift Valley fever infection among other risks (e.g. brucellosis).They project that outbreaks in livestock will most likely lead to zoonotic infection in the Kisoro district.

The full article can be accessed at https://rdcu.be/5MfT and also at www.ceezad.com

September 6, 2018

Position Available

Laboratory Manager (Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases)

Department: 3670080040 Diagnostic Medicine Pathobiology
Job no: 504511
Work type: Staff Full Time (Unclassified)
Location: Manhattan, Kansas

About this Role:  This position is to manage a very busy, successful research team whose main goal is to develop rationally designed vaccines and diagnostics against high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats such as Rift Valley fever virus, African swine fever virus, and highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. The position requires the individual to display critical thinking, independent judgement, and the ability to organize information as it relates to ongoing and new molecular, viral research with direct guidance from the Research Science Manager and Primary Investigator. The research is conducted at the BSL-2 and BSL-3 level of containment and utilizes several select target animal models such as pigs, cows, chickens and mice.

We Support Diversity and Inclusion:  Kansas State University embraces diversity, and promotes inclusion in every sector of the institution. The university actively seeks candidates whose commitments and contributions will advance the University's commitment to the Principles of Community.

Duties / Responsibilities:           

  • Coordinates personnel activities within the laboratory and animal rooms to maintain research project timelines and study protocols
  • Oversees equipment purchases and maintenance, personnel training to include records updating, maintain supplies within proposed budget and updates inventories of consumables, virus stocks and other laboratory reagents
  • Provides safety expertise, training and maintain records of safety training for laboratory personnel; coordinate safety inspections for the BSL2 and BSL3 laboratories by outside inspection agencies
  • Maintain the BSL3 select agent database and inventory
  • Research, write and review laboratory standard operating procedures for the BSL2 and BSL3 laboratories
  • Assist in the writing and maintenance of IACUC/IBC documentation for all studies conducted by the PI/laboratory personnel.  Insure that all personnel are up to date on training and records
  • Assist in the processing of Import permits, Material Transfer Agreements, and shipping documents for the organization
  • Select Agent DOJ clearance is required
  • Provide expertise technical support in recombinant DNA technology, molecular biology techniques such as RT-PCR, PCR, recombinant protein development and production, monoclonal antibody generation and characterization
  • Generate virus-like particles [VLPs], investigate VLPs for vaccine development using serological techniques, develop diagnostic tests or assays, propagating viral stocks
  • Quality control validate recombinant live-vectored/protein/VLP-based prototype vaccines
  • Work with animals [cows, sheep, pigs and mice- inoculation/bleeding/isolation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and serum]
  • Provide support to Post-Docs and other personnel in the BSL2 and/or BSL3 laboratories

Required Minimum Qualifications:        

  • Masters degree
  • 2 years relevant experience

Preferred Qualifications:            

  • Masters or PhD in molecular biology, virology, or related field
  • >3 yrs. Laboratory management within a virology, molecular or related field
  • Animal handling (rodents and/or livestock/wildlife) experience
  • Microsoft Office knowledge and skills, cell culture techniques
  • Molecular laboratory experience – PCR, RT-PCR, cloning, western blotting, affinity purification of recombinant proteins using eukaryotic/prokaryotic cells or cell-free systems, conducting safety and immunogenicity studies, immunological assays, virological assays, ability to present data to PI and others effectively
  • Select Agent and DOJ Clearance are required and hiring dependent upon ability of individual to attain all necessary approvals.
  • Experience generating live-vectored subunit vaccines, generation and affinity purification of recombinant proteins using eukaryotic/prokaryotic cells or cell-free systems, cell culture techniques, conducting safety and immunogenicity studies in cattle, sheep, pigs, and/or mice hands-on experience conducting, conducting EliSpot assays in mammals or other immunological assays, flow cytometric techniques, PCR, RT-PCR, reverse genetic systems, plaque assays, hemaggutination assay, monoclonal antibody production in mice
  • Manuscript editing, poster presentations and/or presentation at local, university or national meetings, published articles in nationally/globally recognized scientific journals

Special Instructions to Applicants:  Please submit an application along with a cover letter, resume and contact information for three professional references.

Screening of Applications Begins:  Screening of applications begins immediately

Salary Range / Pay Rate:  $ 44,150 - $ 77,250 annual salary

Equal Employment Opportunity:   Kansas State University is an Equal Opportunity Employer of individuals with disabilities and protected veterans and actively seeks diversity among its employees.

Background Screening Statement:  In connection with your application for employment, Kansas State University will procure a Background Screen on you as part of the process of considering your candidacy as an employee.

August 17, 2018

CEEZAD’s director discusses threat of ASF during visit to Asia


Dr. Juergen Richt joins Dr. Young Lyoo, dean of veterinary medicine at Konkuk University in Seoul, in a discussion with media, government officials, scientists and students about efforts to combat the spread of African swine fever.

CEEZAD’s director was a special guest during a series of recent presentations in East Asia on the emerging problem of African swine fever in China.

Dr. Juergen Richt, Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and an internationally recognized expert on transboundary animal diseases, was in East Asia on a series of presentations when the outbreak occurred. Dr. Richt spoke with veterinary medicine faculty and students at Konkuk University in Seoul, and also with members of the media and swine associations in South Korea.