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Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases


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Manhattan, KS  66506

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Kansas Biosciences Authority Funded Projects


Novel and emerging pathogen detection using metagenomics sequencing

Kansas State University               PI:  Benjamin Hause

Kansas State University               Co-PI: Richard Hesse

Kansas State University               Co-PI: Juergen Richt

01/01/2015 – 12/31/2016


This project seeks to identify and characterize both known and novel, emerging, re-emerging and foreign animals diseases in U.S. animals.  We previously evaluated bovine nasal swabs from both U.S. and Mexican cattle with respiratory disease.  In this project continuation, we will characterize the viral flora of feral swine. 

The main objective of this proposal is to identify novel and emerging pathogens in U.S. feral swine.  Using NGS viral metagenomic methods, we will sequence 100 nasal swabs collected from feral swine throughout the U.S.  Should any known foreign animal or transboundary diseases (FAD and TBD, respectively) be detected they would be readily recognized.  A second objective of this project is to characterize the normal viral flora of feral swine.  Some, if not most, viruses lack cell culture systems and are difficult to study.  Consequently, our knowledge of feral swine viral ecology is incomplete.  NGS profiling of viruses in feral swine will allow us to begin to have a more comprehensive understanding of swine viral pathogens present in swine in natural environments.  While NGS will not establish a causal relationship between pathogen detection and disease, it will identify candidate viruses for further study.  Our third objective is to perform molecular epidemiological studies on candidate novel pathogens on larger numbers of swine samples to provide further insight into viral ecology, in particular, as to whether novel or emerging viruses identified in feral swine are also present in commercial swine operations.  These results are critical as identification of potential novel FAD/TBD in domestic swine would allow diagnosticians in the U.S. to design assays and perform surveillance to readily detect viruses and initiate containment strategies.  Additionally, as a majority of human infectious diseases are zoonotic, this approach may identify potential threats to human health.


Next generation in-vitro testing for the assessment of protective immunity to foot-and-mouth disease in vaccinated cattle
Kansas State University               PI: Alfonso Clavijo
Kansas State University               Co-PI: Raymond Rowland
01/01/2016 – 12/31/2016


The overall objective of this study is to express the capsid protein (P1) of foot-and-mouth disease virus in a baculovirus expression system; and to use this recombinant protein as an antigen in a suitable assay format for detection and quantitation of antibodies against FMDv, which will be used to calculate the expected protection, assess herd immunity and monitor the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns against FMDv in vaccinated cattle.  The specific objectives include 1) Production of recombinant proteins of FMDv serotypes A24/Cruzeiro/Brazil/55 and O1/Campos/Brazil/58 capsid protein (P1) and 3C protease in baculovirus expression system, 2) Production of monoclonal antibodies against capsid protein P1 (rBacP1) of FMDv serotypes A24/Cruzeiro/Brazil/55 and O1/Campos/Brazil/58, and 3) Evaluation of rBacP1-based ELISA as alternative to liquid-phase blocking (LPB)-ELISA and virus neutralization (VN) tests to assess FMD immunity.


Field evaluation of the Rift Valley fever Point-of-Care PCR assay

Kansas State University               PI:  Jessie Trujillo

USDA-ARS-ABADRU                    Co-PI:  William Wilson

01/01/2016 – 12/31/2016


The overall goal of this project is to provide field evaluation of the Point of Need Rift Valley fever virus (RVFv) using outbreak samples from an endemic country.  The specific objective of this proposal is to determine the clinical sensitivity and specificity of Point of Need PCR (Pockit) assay for detection of Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFv) RNA through the execution of a field trial in an endemic country.