CRWAD 2015 Newsletter

2014 CRWAD Dedicatee, Dr. Donald C. Robertson, and colleagues

Photo Left to Right Back Row: Dr. Weiping Zhang; Dr. Robert P. Ellis, 2014 Executive Director; Dr. M.M. Chengappa; Dr. Rod Moxley; (behind Dr. Moxley) Dr. David A. Benfield, 2015 Executive Director; Mrs. Rona Robertson, and Dr. Donald C. Robertson, 2014 Dedicatee; (behind Dr. Robertson) Dr. T.G. Nagaraja; Dr. Roman Ganta, 2015 President; (behind Dr. Ganta) Dr. Roger W. (Bill) Stich; and Dr. David G. Renter;
Photo Left to Right Front Row: Dr. Ying Fang; Dr. Gary A. Anderson; Dr. Jianfa Bai; and Dr. Yongming Sang.
Go to the Meeting Photo Gallery for more meeting photos.

CRWAD 2014 President, Dr. David A. Benfield

News From The 2015 Executive Director – Dr. David A. Benfield

It is a privilege and an honor to serve as your CRWAD Executive Director.  Incredible, we have existed as a professional organization for nearly a century.  The 95th Annual Meeting was an outstanding success.  I want to express my thanks to Dr. Bob Ellis and Ms. Suzy Squires for their dedication and passion in organizing and running the 2014 meeting.  These two individuals are the ones that make the meeting effortless for the rest of us. Finally, thanks goes to our CRWAD Council members, session chairs, judges and the many scientists who present their research projects at the conference.

CRWAD has a reputation for excellent graduate student presentations.  I remember presenting my first professional paper as a graduate student.  At that time the meeting was in the La Salle Hotel in Chicago in 1971.  Over the past several years, funding for travel has become limited and laboratories are not always able to send multiple students to the CRWAD meeting.  Last year I announced the establishment of the CRWAD Foundation and the Foundation Board.  The initial goal for the Foundation is to be a vehicle for tax-deductible donations that will provide travel grants for graduate students to attend the CRWAD meeting.  We hope to have sufficient funds to support some students in 2015.  Once we have released information on the Foundation and how you can donate, I encourage you to do so.  Sustaining our graduate student attendance at this meeting is imperative to maintaining a viable professional organization.

I always enjoy attending CRWAD and the associated satellite meetings.  I listen to the excellent oral and poster presentations, but mostly I cherish the opportunity to renew acquaintances with former students, colleagues and friends in our disciplines.  Over the years, I have had the opportunities to meet numerous distinguished scientists and see students become these scientists in the future.  This past year we honored Dr. Don Robertson, our 2014 Dedicatee.

We serve stakeholders that value companion and agricultural animals.  Disease continues to be an important issue for owners and producers. We are indeed a unique group of scientists that gather once annually to determine the best methods of reducing the impact of animal diseases. Make plans to attend the 96th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases. Plan to attend both your satellite meetings and stay for the CRWAD meeting also. I and the CRWAD Council look forward to having you there.

Best always
David A. Benfield


CRWAD Council Members at 2014 annual meeting, Chicago, ILBottom Row, Left to Right: Dr. Qijing Zhang, Council Member; Dr. Laurel J. Gershwin, Vice–President; Susanne Squires, 2014 Administrative Assistant; Dr. Robert P. Ellis, 2014 Executive Director; Dr. Roman R. Ganta, 2015 President.
Top Row, Left to Right: Dr. Christopher C.L. Chase, Council Member; Dr. Paul S. Morley, Council Member; Dr. David A. Benfield, 2014 President, and 2015 Executive Director.

2015 Council Members

President – Dr. Roman R. Ganta, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Vice–President – Dr. Laurel J. Gershwin, University of California, Davis, CA
Council Member – Dr. Paul S. Morley, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Council Member – Dr. Chris Chase, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
Council Member – Dr. Qijing Zhang, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
Council Member – Dr. Amelia Woolums, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Executive Director – Dr. David A. Benfield, Ohio State University, Wooster, OH

Council Members Contact Information


CRWAD Executive Director, Dr. Robert P. Ellis New CRWAD Executive Director, Dr. David A. Benfield, thanks retiring Administrative Assistant, L. Susanne (Suzy) Squires, for her 21 years of service to the CRWAD

Comments From The Past Executive Director – Dr. Robert P. Ellis

Dear CRWAD Life Members, Members, Student Members, and Guests,

2015 CRWAD Executive Director, Dr. David A. Benfield, thanks retiring 2014 Executive Director, Robert P. Ellis, for his 27 years of service to the CRWAD.

Suzy and I wish to thank you all for your support of CRWAD throughout our years of service.  As you are aware, we announced our retirement from CRWAD at the end of 2014.

I served as Secretary-Treasurer, and then Executive Director, from 1987-2014 (27 years).  Suzy was the first and only CRWAD Administrative Assistant.  She served 21 years as our web master, accountant, and assisted with all aspects of administration of CRWAD.  Our organization has changed in many ways over those years.  In the late 1980s to early 1990s, our organization was in a precarious financial position.  With the Council’s and Members’ support, we now have a full year operating expenses in the bank as a reserve.  We have a web site that many of you use for abstract submission, meeting registration, open positions’ advertising, and other news of CRWAD.  There are many other highlights I could mention, but the most important are the lasting friendships with the CRWAD colleagues worldwide.

Please continue in you support of CRWAD, and the current Executive Director, Dr. David A. Benfield.

Sincerely, Bob Ellis, CRWAD Past Executive Director


Dr. Donald C. Robertson, 2014 CRWAD Dedicatee

2014 CRWAD DEDICATEE – Dr. Donald C. Robertson

Dr. Don Robertson grew up on a 160 acre dairy farm outside of Rockford, Illinois.  He started thinking about college at an early age since asthma and severe allergies prevented him from pursuing a career associated with agriculture.  He attended the University of Dubuque, Dubuque, IA where he received a B.S in chemistry.

His first exposure to research on animal pathogens was in 1962 at the National Animal Disease Laboratory (NADL) in Ames, IA.  His graduate research at the NADL focused on identification and characterization of the pathways and key enzymes that catabolize glucose in Brucella abortus, Brucella suis, and Brucella melitensis. After earning the PhD in biochemistry from Iowa State University in 1967, Don moved to the Department of Biochemistry at Michigan State University for a post-doctoral fellowship focused on purification and characterization of proteins.  He joined the faculty in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Kansas on June 1, 1970 where he remained until he took a position as Head of Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of Idaho in1992.  He accepted a position as Associate Director of Research and Extension in the Idaho Experiment Station in 1998 and moved to Kansas State University in 2000 as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies and Professor of Microbiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine.  In 2005 he returned to full-time research and teaching and retired in 2008 as Professor emeritus of Microbiology.

Dr. Robertson was blessed during his career with numerous outstanding graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who have gone on to successful careers in academia and industrial positions. Fifteen students earned their PhDs working in his laboratory.  His initial research program at the University of Kansas focused on mechanisms used by B. abortus and other facultative intracellular parasites to survive within phagocytic cells and often grow at a rate similar to complex media.  Sugar transport systems, the erythritol catabolic pathway, and lipopolysaccharides associated with smooth and rough strains of B. abortus were characterized.  The association, ingestion, degranulation and killing reactions of polymorpnuclear leukocytes(PMNs) incubated with smooth and rough strains of B. abortus were characterized.  In addition, the brucellacidal activity of PMN granule extracts against smooth virulent and rough avirulent strains was determined.

In 1975 his laboratory began studies on the pathogenesis of enterotoxigenic Escherchia coli (ETEC), which cause disease in neonatal animals (piglets, calves and lambs), human infants and travelers to underdeveloped countries.  The primary focus was on two kinds of enterotoxins that cause watery diarrhea and are produced after adherence of ETEC to small intestinal cells.  One enterotoxin is a low-molecular heat-stable peptide containing 18 or 19 amino acids known as STa and the second is a high molecular protein enterotoxin consisting of two kinds of subunits known as the heat-labile enterotoxin (LT).  Both enterotoxins were purified to homogeneity and characterized with respect to chemical and immunological properties and association with intestinal cells.  Antisera raised to STa coupled to protein carriers were used to develop both radioimmunoassays (RIAs) and enzyme linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs).  Purified human and porcine LTs were used to raise specific antisera and characterize the immunological properties and cross reactions of LTs produced by human and porcine ETEC clinical isolates.  Deletion mutants of the STa receptor, which is a transmembrane protein with several functional domains including the extracellular binding domain for STa, and the intracellular enzyme activity that is activated and converts intracellular guanosine triphosphate (GTP) to  guanosine cyclic 3′, 5′- phosphate(cGMP), were used to study the mechanism of action of STa.  The heat-stable enterotoxin produced by Yersinia entercolitica (YSTa) was purified to homogeneity and characterized with respect to chemical and immunological properties.  Also, studies were performed to determine virulence factors associated with atypical strains of Y. enterocolitia isolated from patients with diarrheal disease that do not produce a classical heat-stable enterotoxin.

Don taught undergraduate courses in General Microbiology, Pathogenic Microbiology and a graduate level course in Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenicity at the University of Kansas.   He taught a graduate level course in Pathogenic Mechanisms at the University of Idaho.  Also, he participated in a team-taught microbiology course for second year veterinary students in the College of Veterinary Medicine, KSU from 2005 to 2007. 

Dr. Robertson served on the Bacteriology and Mycology 2 Study section, National Institutes of Health from 1978 to 1983 and the Cholera Panel, U.S. – Japan Cooperative Medical Science Program from1984 to 1992.  He was granted a life membership in the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases in 2009.  Also, he was a member of the editorial boards for Infection and Immunity and Applied and Environmental Microbiology from 1983 to 1996.  He served as an administrative advisor for the Minor Use Animal Drug Program (NRSP-7) from 1999 to 2005. He is a member of several professional organizations including the American Society of Microbiology, American Academy of Microbiology, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, American Association of University Professors, American Society for Advancement of Science, Sigma XI and Gamma Sigma Delta.

Don has been married to his wife Ronna for 52 years with 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren.  His hobbies include working on classic Ford cars, serving as president of the local classic car club for the past two years, service work with the Manhattan Lions Club, reading, and working in his yard.


2014 AVEPM Schwabe Award recipient Dr. Roger Morris, Emeritus Professor of Animal Health, Massey University, New Zealand


Dr. Roger Morris, Emeritus Professor of Animal Health, Massey University, New Zealand

The Calvin W. Schwabe Award is presented annually by the AVEPM to honor lifetime achievement in veterinary epidemiology and preventative medicine. The 2014 honoree is:

Dr. Roger Morris
During the more than 40 years of his career, Professor Morris has established himself as one of the world’s leading veterinary epidemiologists with an outstanding global profile as a researcher, educator and policy advisor. He has had a major impact on the veterinary profession and society in general through his work on epidemiological surveillance, animal health economics, the use of information technology in epidemiological decision-making and his contribution to capacity building of veterinary services around the world.

Professor Morris has been influential in the development of evidence-based policy and disease control in many countries as well as for international organizations including World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank. He has had a significant role in having veterinary epidemiology recognized as a scientific discipline within veterinary science with direct impact on animal disease risk management. In doing so, he has made an enormous contribution towards the global community being able to more effectively deal with new and emerging disease threats associated with the continuing globalization of trade in animals and animal-derived products. His networking and contributions have helped change standards and legislation to incorporate evidence- and risk-based approaches. This has led to improved policies from which farmers and consumers continue to benefit in many countries. Between 1969 and the present, Dr Morris has been involved internationally in advice and consultancy to governments, international organizations, research institutions and industry bodies on animal health and human implications of animal diseases.



The Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award was presented to Dr. Hyun Soon Lillehoj, Animal Biosciences and Biotechnology, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Hyun Soon Lillehoj, Ph.D., received her B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Hartford, M.S. degree in Microbiology from the University of Connecticut, and Ph.D. in Immunology from Wayne State University, School of Medicine. After graduation, she was a NIH post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University to conduct research on the immunology of prostate cancer and immunogenetics of autoimmune diseases. In 1981, she was appointed as a staff fellow in the Laboratory of Immunology, NIAID, NIH where she studied T-cell immunity. Since 1984, Dr. Lillehoj worked at the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. Since joining the USDA-ARS, she has progressively risen in the ranks to where she is now highest grade level, Supergrade (ST). Her research career has focused on the immunobiology of host-pathogen interactions, vaccine development, mucosal immunology, immunogenetics and development of antibiotic alternative strategies. Dr. Lillehoj developed the first set of mouse monoclonal antibodies detecting chicken lymphocyte subpopulations that have been commercialized and used by poultry scientists world-wide and have been instrumental for investigation of avian cell-mediated immunity. More recently, Dr. Lillehoj constructed the first chicken intestinal cDNA microarray which has been of seminal importance in national and international poultry genomics research and developed and commercialized many novel antibiotic alternative strategies. Her research has resulted in more than 390 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 18 book chapters, 600 meeting abstracts, and 14 patents. She has been awarded more than $ 20 million in research funding, including 8 CSREES NRI, BARD, IFASA, and Food Safety Initiative grants, and 45 formal collaborations (CRADAs) with private industry since she joined ARS. In addition, she has served on numerous editorial boards, national grant panels, award and technical committees of the AAAVP and PSA, and chaired multiple sessions at national and international meetings. Dr. Lillehoj holds adjunct professorships at the University of Delaware, the University of Maryland, Mississippi State University and the University of Guelph and has guided the research of 95 junior scientists and graduate students from Asia, Europe, and South America. Her accomplishments have been recognized by the BARC Technology Transfer Award (1998), the ARS Technology Transfer Award (1999), the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Technology Transfer Award (1999), the Helen Cecil Leadership Award (2001), the AVMA Pharmacia/Upjohn Animal Health Achievement Award (2001), the Korean Poultry Science Association Distinguished Scientist Award (2001), the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center Senior Scientist of the Year Award (2003), the ARS Outstanding Scientist of the Year Award (2004), Merck Achievement Award (2006), the Levine P.P Award (AAAVP, 2006), the Pfizer Animal Health (Embrex) Fundamental Science Award (2007), Beltsville ARS Technology Transfer Award (2008), and Phibro Animal Health Award (2011). Dr. Lillehoj will be inducted into the ARS Hall of Fame in September 2014.

Congratulations Dr. Lillehoj for receiving this prestigious award!



The Distinguished Veterinary Microbiologist Award was presented to Dr. Siba K. Samal, Professor of Virology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

Dr. Samal received B.V.Sc. & A.H. in 1976 from Orissa Veterinary College, India, his M.V.Sc. from Indian Veterinary Research Institute in 1978, his M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 1981 and 1985, respectively. He received post-doctoral training at Baylor College of Medicine in 1985-86 and at Plum Island Animal Disease Center in 1986-88. Dr. Samal is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

He began his career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland in 1988 and became a full professor in 1998. Dr. Samal was a visiting scientist at the NIH in 1993-94. He has been the chairperson of the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Dean of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine since 2001. Over the years, he has worked on blue tongue virus, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, aquareovirus, Newcastle disease virus, and other avian paramyxoviruses. His current research is focused on development of avian paramyxovirus vectored vaccines for human and animal diseases. He is author or co-author of more than 160 refereed scientific publications, more than 120 published abstracts, and 13 book chapters. He edited a book entitled, “The Biology of Paramyxoviruses,” and is currently the editor of four scientific journals. As Principal Investigator, Dr. Samal has obtained more than $10 million in extramural research funding. He holds three U.S. patents. He has served as major advisor for 24 doctoral students, four M.S. students, and 18 post-doctoral fellows. Throughout his career, Dr. Samal has received numerous prestigious awards, including the 1984 John Paul Delaplane Award at Texas A&M, the 1990 Outstanding Invention Award at the University of Maryland, the 2000 Award for Research Excellence at the Virginia Tech University, and the 2007 Dean Gordon M. Cairns Award at the University of Maryland.

Congratulations Dr. Samal for receiving this prestigious award!


Left to Right: CRWAD Administrative Assistant, L. Susanne Squires (Suzy), pictured with 2014 CRWAD new Life Member, Dr. Y.M. (Mo) Saif. Left to Right: CRWAD Administrative Assistant, L. Susanne Squires (Suzy), pictured with 2014 CRWAD new Life Member, Dr. Y.M. (Mo) Saif.


2015 CRWAD new members photo

Photo left to right: Dr. Jennifer Wilson–Welder, Dr. Diego G. Diel, Dr. Elizabeth M. Antaki, Dr. A. Audrey Ruple–Czerniak, and Dr. Dennis D. French.

CRWAD New Members pictured with 2014 Executive Director, Dr. Robert P. Ellis, and the 2015 Executive Director

Photo left to right: 2014 Executive Director, Dr. Robert P. Ellis; Dr. Alda Pires; 2015 Executive Director, Dr. David A. Benfield; and Dr. Beatriz Martiniez Lopez.

The Following New Regular Member Applicants, approved by the Council, were announced and presented with Member Certificates:

2015 New Members
1) Elizabeth M. Antaki, Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA
2) Brandy Burgess, VMRCVM, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
3) Diego G. Diel, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
4) Dennis D. French, CVM, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802
5) Philip R. Hardwidge, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
6) Alda Pires, Population Health & Reproduction, University of California, Davis, CA
7) A. Audrey Ruple-Czerniak, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
8) Beatriz Martinez Lopez, CADMS, University of California, Davis, CA
9) Lakshmi Tulasi Sunkara, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
10) Jennifer Wilson-Welder, National Animal Disease Center, ARS-USDA, Ames, IA

2015 New Life Members
1) David H. Francis, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD
2) Y.M. Saif, Food Ani Hlth Res Program-OARDC, Ohio State University, Wooster, OH
3) Helen M. Acland, Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory, Harrisburg, PA
4) Douglas Rogers, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
5) John Prescott, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, CANADA



Electronic Abstract submission will be required for the 2015 meeting. The Abstract deadline for the 2015 CRWAD Annual Meeting is August 21.  Abstracts will be sent to CRWAD through the OASIS On-line Abstract Submission Program

The OASIS On-line Abstract Submission Program will not accept abstracts after midnight August 25.  The submitting author for each abstract will be considered the contact author and presenter.  The abstracts submitted by the deadline of August 21, will be allowed a four day editing window by the submitting author.  The editing window will close at midnight, August 25, 2015.  Information and access to the OASIS On-line Abstract Submission Program will be available on our CRWAD web site June, 2015.

Abstract submission instructions and information are available at AUTHOR INSTRUCTIONS.

ABSTRACTS AVAILABLE ON-LINE AT: On-line Meeting Planner and Itinerary Builder


Chicago Marriott (Downtown) Room Reservations 2015

A dedicated booking website has been created for our CRWAD event. Guests will be able to make, modify and cancel their hotel reservations online, as well as take advantage of any room upgrades, amenities or other services offered by the hotel.

Attendees please note:
The custom link will direct you to the on-line CRWAD custom room block at a Passkey system. The block will be closed off in the Passkey system 3 days before the meeting date. Use these phone numbers (Toll–Free: 1–877–303–0104 ; or 1–866–596–7456 for international calls) if you opt to call the hotel instead.

Please place your hotel sleeping room reservations at the following custom site:
Chicago Marriott (Downtown) Hotel custom CRWAD Room Reservations Web site will be available at a later date.

If you call the hotel (Toll–Free: 1–877–303–0104 ; or 1–866–596–7456 for international calls) to make your sleeping room reservation make sure you ask for the CRWAD group rate.  Place your reservation by November 11, to secure a sleeping room under the CRWAD group rate. Government room rates will be available in the CRWAD room block. 2015 CRWAD Group Rate will be competitive with area hotels.

DO NOT send your CRWAD meeting registration payment to the hotel.

NOTICE:  The Chicago Marriott may be sold out the nights of December 4 and 5, 2015.  CRWAD has a block of rooms reserved, and you must make your reservations by November 11, to insure that you obtain a room before our block is released.  When reserving your room by phone make sure you indicate your affiliation with the CRWAD in order to receive the special CRWAD group rate.


CRWAD 2013 President, Dr. Rodney Moxley


CRWAD is grateful for the leadership and dedication of our out–going 2014 President Dr. David A. Benfield. In-coming 2015 President, Dr. Roman R. Ganta (On left), exchanges the Past President's Plague to Dr. Benfield.


Dr. Roger William (Bill) Stich, Editor-in-Chief for the Animal Health Research Review (AHRR) Journal

AHRR (Animal Health Research Reviews)

Dr. Roger William (Bill) Stich , Editor–in–Chief, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, presented a report on the status of Animal Health Research Reviews. AHRR is marketed by Cambridge Publishing.

"Animal Health Research Reviews provides an international forum for the publication of reviews and commentaries on all aspects of animal health. Papers include in-depth analyses and broader overviews of all facets of health and science in both domestic and wild animals."

Animal Health Research Reviews may be ordered from Cambridge Journals: AHRR Subscription Order Form