Kansas State University, Merck Animal Health partner to open diagnostic lab at Olathe campus

Friday, November 15, 2013

by Kristi Northcutt

Kansas State University Olathe is the site of the new Microbial Surveillance Lab, a partnership with Merck Animal Health. The lab will be a second site for the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, which is based on the Manhattan campus.

Merck Animal Health provided a donation for the development of the Microbial Surveillance Lab at K-State Olathe. The lab will provide diagnostic support services that will initially meet the unique needs of Merck Animal Health, followed by other animal health industry partners.

The lab also will create high-quality student educational and training programs utilizing a specialized caseload, and increase the regional and national visibility of the university's Veterinary Diagnostic Lab within the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor. Current laboratory capabilities include microbiology culture, identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.

"Merck Animal Health is a valuable partner to K-State through the College of Veterinary Medicine and K-State Olathe," said Kirk Schulz, president of Kansas State University. "By supporting the Microbial Surveillance Lab, Merck will help advance diagnostic education and training, as well as help propel K-State toward our goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025."

The partnership with Merck Animal Health extends beyond the lab walls. The company supports a cohort of students in the veterinary biomedical sciences graduate program at the Olathe campus, who will benefit from research opportunities at K-State Olathe.

"We at Merck Animal Health are proud to support and invest in scientific research as it is vital to the future of the animal health industry and veterinary medicine," said Rick Sibbel, D.V.M., director of technical services, Merck Animal Health. "This partnership provides us with an opportunity to contribute to the education and real-world experiences of students who are pursuing a related degree, as well as impact advances in animal medicine."

The lab is fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, and has been established to provide microbiology diagnostic support to animal health pharmaceutical and biological companies. Through value-added partnerships and an entrepreneurial business model, the microbial surveillance lab provides an excelling environment of support for teaching and research, and connectivity to the nation.

"Thanks to Merck, this offers a new platform for us to more easily provide diagnostic services and professional expertise to the Kansas City region, Animal Health Corridor and beyond," said Ralph C. Richardson, dean of the Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "With the additional benefit of enhancing professional and graduate-level educational opportunities through our K-State Olathe campus, this is a win-win-win situation for all involved."

Olathe Microbial Surveillance Lab services are provided by contract only. Routine diagnostic submissions should continue to be directed to the K-State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on the Manhattan campus.

For more information about the microbial surveillance lab, contact Brian Lubbers at 913-307-7388 or blubbersk@k-state.edu.