To protect animal health, human health and food safety through unparalleled diagnostic laboratory services and professional expertise that allow early detection and monitoring of animal diseases, thereby providing support for animal owners and industries, veterinarians, animal research scientists and educators as well as state and federal animal health programs.
The Animal Diagnostic Laboratory (ADL) fulfills its mission by providing in depth, rapid diagnostic information to support disease control, health management, and performance of livestock, poultry, wildlife, fish, and companion animals and by ensuring the safety of foods of animal origin. Furthermore, ADL provides active surveillance of animal diseases, identification of emerging diseases through the development and application of new diagnostic methods and training and education for new diagnosticians, veterinarians and graduate students as proactive measures to ensure the viability of Pennsylvania’s animal industries.
The ADL is located on the University Park campus of The Pennsylvania State University and housed within the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences.
ADL is a member of the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS), a tripartite system which includes the additional labs of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory housed within the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture in Harrisburg and the New Bolton Center Laboratory located at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Kennett Square.
PADLS laboratories are fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) and adhere to OIE and PADLS internal quality management standards. Each PADLS laboratory is also a participating member of the USDA sponsored, National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and provides surveillance for exotic disease outbreaks affecting poultry, livestock and wildlife including Avian Influenza, Exotic Newcastle Disease, Scrapie, Chronic Wasting Disease, Classical Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth Disease. PADLS laboratories participate in animal disease control and eradication programs as well as regulatory testing for local, interstate and international movement of animals and animal material.
The Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System serves as a central reference facility for state and federal agencies, veterinarians and animal owners within the Commonwealth. Each PADLS laboratory provides services unique to their expertise including gross pathology, histopathology, immunohistochemistry, bacteriology, serology/immunology, molecular biology, parasitology, electron microscopy, virology, and field investigation.
The Animal Diagnostic Laboratory at Penn State University is the center for avian and mammalian virology within PADLS and also encompasses the individual sections of avian and mammalian pathology, histology, electron microscopy, bacteriology, parasitology, molecular diagnostics, avian and mammalian serology, and aquaculture.
In addition, the adjacent E.coli Reference Center is closely affiliated with ADL and provides bacterial typing and virulence gene detection services to PADLS laboratories.
ADL is equipped with its own waste incinerator and hosts the Pennsylvania Game Commission to facilitate diagnostic testing of wildlife. Our goal is to identify infectious and contagious diseases as quickly as possible by providing accurate diagnostic testing and provide an early warning for impending epizootics.
ADL serves the commonwealth of PA by providing the following specific services.
Diagnostic and analytical testing services for detection of animal diseases
- Bacterial isolation, identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing
- Bacterial serotyping, toxin testing and other virulence testing on disease producing enteric bacteria
- Fungal identification
- Virus isolation and identification
- Anatomic pathology
- Clinical parasitology
- Diagnosis of nutritional and metabolic problems
Molecular testing for pathogen identification, typing and sequencing
- Biopsy service to identify diseases in clinical samples
- Electron microscopy
Surveillance testing to actively safeguard animal health
- Avian Influenza
- Exotic Newcastle Disease
- Chronic Wasting Disease
- Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease)
Development of new and improved procedures for disease detection
Recommendations for veterinarians and animal owners
- Vaccination programs
- Medical treatments (antibiotics, antifungals, nutritional, etc)
- Field investigation summaries
- Management recommendations (nutrition, colostrum, calf care, milk quality, etc)
Many of the veterinary specialists and veterinarians at the ADL are board certified in various specialties including mammalian pathology, avian medicine, and microbiology. The vast array of expertise of the faculty and staff at ADL accommodates numerous opportunities for hands-on training for animal science and pre-veterinary medical students including:
- Formal academic courses (General Animal Pathology, Avian Diseases, etc)
- Independent study programs
- Undergraduate and graduate research programs
- Honors programs
- Summer internships
Additionally, the laboratory provides tours and workshops for special interest groups including high school students, international groups and local institutions.
The expertise of the ADL faculty is not confined to the laboratory. A team of veterinarians and staff experienced in various sectors of animal agriculture, routinely visit farms across the state performing field investigations of animal health or production problems. In addition, faculty often put on educational programs, assist extension specialists with industry workshops and educational meetings, contribute to cooperative extension bulletins and circulars, and coordinate in-depth disease investigation by enlisting multidisciplinary team approaches. ADL personnel also frequently assist in the development of international laboratories and training of laboratory staff in such countries as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, India, Thailand, Cambodia, and the former Soviet republics.
Many of the faculty at ADL conduct independent and applied research projects aimed at improving animal agriculture in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond. Additionally, many faculty members collaborate with investigators conducting basic and applied research at many of the University’s core facilities and at other institutions across the country. For more information on research conducted at ADL and Penn State, please visit individual faculty web pages.