Kansas State creates center for vector-borne diseases

Center will conduct interdisciplinary research to combat vector-borne diseases including pathogenesis, surveillance and disease prevention.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University is establishing a new center of excellence that will focus on helping to control infectious diseases in both people and animals.

On April 8, the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases (CEVBD) will be publicly launched under the guidance of Roman Ganta, professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. CEVBD is an interdisciplinary research center with a mission to combat vector-borne diseases with a focus on pathogenesis, surveillance and disease prevention.

"CEVBD will prepare us well to build a nationally and internationally recognized program to combat the emerging threats of vector-borne diseases in the U.S., including bacterial, parasitic and viral diseases," Ganta said. "The center also will strive to synergize with the soon-to-be-established federal facility in Manhattan (Kan.), the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF)."

CEVBD goals include establishing a tick-rearing facility to support the research needs of Kansas State University and other academic institutions and industry in the U.S.

"This facility is already in progress," Ganta said. "We started rearing Amblyomma americanum and Ixodes scapularis ticks. Further, we have developed a network to build research programs to promote strong collaborations among Kansas State faculty who have shared interests, as well as faculty and researchers at other academic institutions and industry in the U.S. and abroad."

The center also will produce programs to prepare future generations of scientists with expertise on vector-borne diseases, offering continuing education workshops and developing resources, such as a repository to maintain culture stocks of vector-borne pathogens.

"The long-term goal is to make CEVBD a highly sustainable, reputed and one-of-a-kind center in the U.S.," Ganta said. "To ensure the successful promotion of the center's progress, two advisory panels were established, both internal and external."

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