MANHATTAN — Kansas State University's Veterinary Diagnostic Lab is the first place scientists in the region would turn if there were an outbreak of avian flu, classical swine fever or any disease affecting animals. To meet that challenge, K-State has expanded and upgraded its molecular diagnostic capabilities and they showcased the facility and equipment at an Open House.
Featured speakers were Ralph Richardson, dean of K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine,
Gary Anderson, director of the diagnostic lab, Chuck Piazza, vice president, general manager,
Molecular Biology Systems, Applied Biosystems and Robert Larson DVM representing the Beef Cattle Institute. They explained the importance of this facility for veterinarians and producers in Kansas and across the U.S. and discussed the lab's future research program. Tours of the laboratory facilities – which have been expanded and feature the latest in molecular diagnostic equipment – were then offered to visitors.
"Some time ago we made a commitment to focus on molecular diagnostics because we believe it's essential for providing the very best service to our clients and it is necessary for high throughput disease surveillance programs," Anderson said. “This expansion of space, along with the latest equipment and additional resources will allow us to embrace the latest technology and be prepared for rapidly emerging methods of molecular diagnostic testing.
To support this effort K-State turned to Applied Biosystems, a division of Life Technologies Corporation. Applied Biosystems, a global leader in developing molecular biology systems, reagents, and other technologies, provided equipment and product support, which have allowed the lab to make major advances in the field of molecular diagnostics. Scientists around the world currently use Applied Biosystems' innovative instrument systems to accelerate academic and clinical research, drug discovery and development and pathogen detection studies related to human health and disease. Many of these same molecular biology systems and technologies are now being applied to help the animal health industry.
New equipment includes polymerase chain reaction (PCR) — or Real-time PCR — systems, which can assist scientists in performing rapid genetic analyses and detecting a broad range of infectious diseases. Several existing technologies and software were also updated.