Kansas State lays groundwork for animal health research center

Kansas State lays groundwork for animal health research center

SINCE joining Kansas State University in mid-2012, Dr. Jim Riviere has been laying the groundwork necessary to improve the animal health industry.

He is the MacDonald chair of veterinary medicine, university distinguished professor of anatomy and physiology and Kansas Bioscience eminent scholar.

Riviere is mapping space in Mosier Hall for the Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine (ICCM), a first-of-its-kind animal health research center. The institute will combine pharmacometrics, pharmacokinetics, molecular modeling, computational epidemiology and biomathematics to develop quantitative mathematical models and computer simulations that will help scientists solve basic problems in animal health and disease. Findings may translate to human health and food safety as well, the announcement said.

"This is sort of a spin-off of my background with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD)," Riviere said. "It will leverage a lot of those strengths that exist at Kansas State University and the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor and expand them for use in even more applications."

FARAD is a national program maintained by various universities and is focused on preventing and mitigating harmful residues of drugs, pesticides, biotoxins and other chemical agents that may contaminate foods from animals.

ICCM is projected to be operational by February 2014.

Also in the works are plans to help improve the drug approval process currently used by the animal health industry. Riviere said the goal is to adopt some modern computational approaches that are used for human health drugs — in which drug development companies prove to a regulatory agency that the product is effective and safe — to simplify the approval of veterinary drugs.

"It's a humongous undertaking, but there's no way for it not to be," Riviere said.

In February, Riviere introduced the idea during a presentation to Kansas industry scientists and research leaders. He discussed the benefits of global companies and government agencies sharing information in order to save time and resources and reduce duplicative findings.

Riviere said relocating FARAD to Manhattan, Kan., and opening the National Bio & Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan would be influential in advancing animal health.

Volume:85 Issue:26

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