Animal health in general and animal infectious diseases in particular are critical areas of research where Kansas State University excels and will continue to excel, K-State Preisdent Kirk Schulz told those attending last week's Animal Health Economic Summit, hosted by Gov. Sam Brownback in Manhattan.
Schultz named off the national centers that have chosen to locate in Manhattan: The National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, a national center for animal health; The Anthropod-Borne Animal Disease Research Unit, which left Wyoming to relocate in Manhattan and the Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases.
"All of these are here because of the expertise we currently have, as well as our plans for growing this area aggressively in the future," Schulz said.
K-State wants to be a national leader in animal health, he said. As Schulz led the university in creating a visionary plan for the future -- K-State 2025 -- he said one consideration was in what areas can K-State play a major role not just in Kansas, but also in the Midwest and the United States.
K-State's particular expertise is in zoonotic diseases -- those spread between animals and humans -- and emerging disease threats.
"The Biosecurity Research Institute here on campus at Pat Roberts Hall gives us the kind of facility we need to do these things aggressively," Schulz said. "As we hire more faculty and build on the expertise we currently have, the university will continue to be a national and emerging leader in this area."
Moreover, Schulz said that K-State's strength in this area will help build up the animal health corridor that stretches from Columbia, Mo., to Manhattan.
"We want to make sure we're a solid anchor tenant of this exciting enterprise that in the next decades will rival things like the research triangle in North Carolina and Silicon Valley in California," he said.
Schulz also said the university was behind Gov. Brownback's desire to have a nationally recognized veterinary medicine school in the state. Schulz said K-State was working toward making its superb College of Veterinary Medicine even better.