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Renovated space provides new research opportunities

Newly renovated space in Goss
Laboratory, home to the Department of Veterinary Biosciences in the College of
Veterinary Medicine, has added 9,000Goss Lab square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory
space. The new labs will allow an expansion of research and teaching related to
infectious diseases. The $3.9 million upgrade was made possible by a grant from
the National Institutes of Health.

“This new space is important
to the college,” said Dr. Michael Oglesbee, chair, Department of Veterinary
Biosciences. “The study of infectious diseases is one of our great research
strengths and this facility enhances our ability to expand both our research
and educational programs.”

An important addition to this
space is the new infectious disease autopsy facility. This biosafety level two
(BSL2) laboratory provides a secure area for faculty and students to conduct animal
autopsies in an environment that protects them from viruses, bacteria, and
parasites that can infect both animals and people. The open floor design of research space facilitates collaborative interaction between up to four groups.

Eight faculty in the
department are conducting research in infectious diseases, including Dr. Xin
Li, who works on tick-borne illnesses and Dr. Li Wu, who conducts research on
HIV. Both of these faculty members were hired as part of a university-wide initiative
known as the Public Health Preparedness for Infectious Diseases (PHPID) program. 

"The
PHPID brings together researchers in human, animal and environmental fields to
build an understanding of the interdependence that exemplifies the "One
Health" model," said Dr. Lonnie King, dean and Ruth Stanton Chair in
Veterinary Medicine. The department is
also home to the university Center of Retrovirus Research, led by Dr. Patrick
Green, associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies in the College of
Veterinary Medicine. Work by Dr. Yasuko Rikihisa has resulted in several
breakthroughs in our ability to diagnose certain bacterial diseases of both
humans and animals. Dr. Rikihisa was named the university innovator of the year
as a result of the commercial success of these
diagnostics.

Goss Lab

 

Other
important infectious disease research is being conducted on respiratory
viruses, and enteric viruses. Dr. Jianrong Li and his research group was one of
the first to move into the new research space. They work with two groups of
viruses: paramyxoviruses that are linked to acute respiratory diseases in
children and the elderly, and caliciviruses that are responsible for a majority
of the foodborne illnesses worldwide.

“College research
expenditures totaled over $10 million last year,” said Dr. Oglesbee. “A large
percentage of this work takes place in our department, and this was leveraged
to obtain support from the National Institutes of Health in renovating our facilities
so that we may further build on our strengths”.

[Pictured above] One of four rooms dedicated to tissue culture, a
capability that is essential to studies of cell biology and microbial-host cell
interactions.
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