The Kansas State University Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases, an interdisciplinary research center in the College of Veterinary Medicine, has received a $1 million cumulative gift ($250,000 for each of the last four years) from Abaxis to further its mission of combating vector-borne diseases with a focus on pathogenesis, surveillance, and disease prevention.
The Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases is at the forefront of research on issues influenced by urban areas that continue their encroachment into animal habitats and can become unsuspecting starting points for vector-borne diseases, according to Ken Aron, chief technology officer at Abaxis.
“We’ve identified several projects, including vaccine development to control canine infections with Ehrlichia species, Anaplasma species infections in dogs, and Rickettsia, the Rocky Mountain spotted fever disease agent, also in dogs,” said Roman Ganta, Ph.D., professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, and center director.
Additionally, Ganta identified a project for developing axenic, or cell-free, media growth of Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species pathogens.
The Abaxis gift also provided matching support for a K-State National Bio and Agro-defense Facility transition fund grant focused on vaccine development and a pathogenesis study to prevent heartwater, which is caused by Ehrlichia ruminantium.
“Just as important, these funds are invested in promoting graduate education focused on vector-borne diseases,” Ganta said. “Our future goals for the foundation fund will be similarly allotted as indicated above and when we find a strategic need to enhance our progress in developing new projects. In particular, we allot these funds for generating preliminary data leading up to publications and additional extramural funding, similar to what we have achieved during the last three years.”