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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases

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CEEZAD is a public source for the latest information on developments related to high-consequence foreign animal, emerging and zoonotic disease threats.


June 17, 2019

Ten Talented Students Successfully Complete CEEZAD’s BSL-3 Summer Training Program

CEEZAD’s recently concluded Summer Training Program gave 10 promising students a chance to explore the full range of professional opportunities available to them as they progress along their career paths. The program provided students with hands-on experience in high-containment laboratory situations and acquainted them with recent developments in the field of veterinary infectious disease studies.

The BSL-3 Summer Training Program is an annual exercise in which CEEZAD gathers experts in the fields of biosecurity, virology, pathobiology and related fields in order to educate promising students who are interested or already involved in veterinary research in those fields.

Most of the program takes place at the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Kansas State University. This included one week of training at the BRI into procedures that are used to ensure safety in a BSL3 environment. Additionally, the program featured visits to various industry, business and educational sites within the Greater Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. Participants visited four Kansas City area firms involved in various aspects of the veterinary health industry: Midwest Research Institute (MRI Global), Bayer Animal Health, Citoxlab, and Merck Animal Health.

The participants, most of them DVM/PhD students, are involved in the study of various infectious diseases. Their names, schools and current majors are:

Sean Stapleton, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, DVM student; Katelyn Haydett, Michigan State University, DVM student; Megan Toms, Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, DVM/MPH student; Jonathan Teeple, Michigan State University, DVM/MPH student; Dana Stewart, Michigan State University DVM/MPH student; Grayson Walker, North Carolina State University, DVM/PHD student; Madeline Butterfield, University of South Dakota, Kansas State University DVM student; Andrea Ayala, University of Georgia, PhD student in comparative biomedical sciences; Elsa Sanabria, North Carolina State University, DVM/MPH student; Sarah Murray, Texas A&M, PhD student.

At the end of this year’s session, the students said the two-week experience broadened their awareness of the numerous career opportunities available to them. In several cases, the program also deepened or clarified their interest in particular aspects of veterinary research. “It showed me a lot of different pathways – research, industry, biodefense,” remarked Megan Toms.

Katelyn Haydett said the experience opened her eyes to the wide range of ways in which veterinary research is conducted. “I see that you can go into the government sector, the private sector, or the academic sector,” she said.

The program concluded with two days of presentations by some of the world’s leading researchers into veterinary health. The presenters included Dr. Koos Coetzer of the University of Pretoria, South Africa; Dr. Greg Gray of Duke University; Dr. Cyril Gay of the US Department of Agriculture; Dr. Alonso Clavijo of the National Centre for Animal Diseases in Canada; Dr. Anton Gerilovych of the Institute for Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Ukraine; and Dr. Young Lyoo of Konkuk University in South Korea. 

Dana Stewart was among those placing particular value on her exposure to BSL3 training requirements. “Coming in I had no experience with any of the BSL levels,” she said. “I got a hands-on opportunity to work in that kind of environment.” Madeline Butterfield, who is beginning her veterinary medicine studies at Kansas State this fall, said the workshop gave her “insight into what science careers look like.”