VBSC 2021 Grier Scholarship Recipients Awarded

October 19, 2021

On behalf of the VBSC Scholarship Committee we want to congratulate Shaneice Nettleford and McKayla Nicol on being awarded the Grier Scholarship for this academic year. This award recognizes the tremendous academic efforts they have put into their graduate program. We had a very competitive group of applicants this year and are happy to be able to award these two deserving students. Congratulations to you both!

McKayla Nicol Receives the College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Dissertation Award

October 18, 2021

Pathobiology graduate student McKayla Nicol was awarded the College of Agricultural Sciences Outstanding Dissertation Award in recognition for her outstanding nomination for the "Alumni Association Dissertation Award" which showcases McKayla's achievements in scholarship and professional accomplishments. The Alumni Association Dissertation Award is among the most prestigious awards available to Graduate Students at Penn State. The Office for Research and Graduate Education in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has recently submitted her nomination to the Graduate School as one of the top four nominations in the College. Congratulations McKayla!!


October 5, 2021

Inside each of us there exists a place of bountiful bacteria that contribute to our immune health and overall health on a daily basis. While this is not a part of the body’s innate or adaptive immune system, it still contributes to bodily functions each day. It is the gut microbiome.

Dr. Parisa Kalantari joins Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences as new Assistant Professor of Immunology

October 1, 2021

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Parisa Kalantari, Assistant Professor of Immunology, to the department. We are very excited to be welcoming back one of our own! From Dr. Kalantari: I am very excited to join the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences faculty. Penn State has always felt like home to me and coming back as a faculty member is a dream come true. As a PhD student, I got to work with incredible Professors and I am now delighted to see them become my colleagues and collaborators. As a faculty member, my goal is to create the same supportive environment for my own students. My research interests focus on innate immunity and infectious parasitic diseases. My work seeks to identify new targets and reveal novel immunological strategies for prevention and treatment of schistosomiasis and other Th17 cell-mediated diseases. I am currently studying the mechanisms of action of two pathways that protect the host from developing severe immunopathology. The first project focuses on the cGAS/STING pathway by defining the molecular basis underlying the anti-inflammatory bias imposed by STING, an adaptor molecule important in DNA sensing and type I Interferon production. The second project is to investigate the role of autophagy in suppressing immunopathology. Interested and motivated graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to apply.

New tool predicts changes that may make COVID variants more infectious

September 30, 2021

Researchers at Penn State have created a novel framework that can predict with reasonable accuracy the amino-acid changes in the virus’ spike protein that may improve its binding to human cells and confer increased infectivity to the virus. The tool could enable the computational surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 and provide advance warning of potentially dangerous variants with an even higher binding affinity potential. This can aid in the early implementation of public health measures to prevent the virus’ spread and perhaps even may inform vaccine booster formulations.


September 21, 2021

From chemistry to metabolomics to ethnobotany, Dr. Joshua Kellogg’s research is a conglomerate of various topics that celebrate the interdisciplinary nature of modern science. His lab is a natural products lab that focuses on health promotion derived from nature including plants, fungi, and bacteria. Currently, some of the lab’s projects include seeking out drugs for both infectious diseases and chronic GI diseases.

ECHO OIF Cycle 4 Announces Award

July 28, 2021

Molly Hall, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, was awarded the NIH ECHO Opportunities and Infrastructure Fund (OIF) Award with Dean Craig Newschaffer, College of Health and Human Development, titled “Integrative genome-exposome method to identify interactions between early life exposures and the genome”.

Grants will aid College of Ag Sciences faculty in commercializing research

July 15, 2021

Three research projects that are demonstrating commercial promise — and have potential to improve lives — have received grants through a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences program designed to spur innovation.

Animal Diagnostics Lab at PSU hosts 2021 Practitioners’ Meeting

June 16, 2021

On June 8, 2021, ADL hosted the annual Practitioners’ Meeting, a one-day continuing education event primarily for veterinarians who utilized the diagnostics services offered by ADL.

Metzger Family Names Space In New "Animal, Veterinary, and Biomedical Sciences" Building

June 8, 2021

The motivation to make a philanthropic gift to an organization is different for every donor, but in many cases, it boils down to the desire to make a positive impact. This rings true for Dr. Fred Metzger Jr. and his wife, Megan, who have made the first major gift to support the new Animal, Veterinary, and Biomedical Sciences Building. The seven-figure gift to name the general purpose classroom in the facility will provide funding for the departments of animal science and veterinary and biomedical sciences to support the state-of-the-art facility expected to open in the fall of 2021.

Acar receives Excellence in Academic Advising Award from College of Ag Sciences

June 4, 2021

Nüket Acar, coordinator of undergraduate advising for veterinary and biomedical sciences, has received the 2021 Excellence in Academic Advising Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Dr. Sougat Misra Receives the College of Ag Sciences RAIN Grant

June 3, 2021

Researcher from VBS receives the College of Ag Sciences RAIN grant for the second consecutive year! Congrats to Dr. Sougat Misra, Asst. Research Professor, for his successful application for the Research Applications for Innovation (RAIN) grant from the College of Agricultural Sciences. The grant is awarded to one innovative research project annually with the intent to commercialize technologies developed by the researchers in the College. It is one of the most prestigious College-level funding opportunities for pursuing innovative and translational research. Dr. Misra will use the funding to pursue his studies to assess the efficacies of two novel combinatorial therapeutic regimens for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. His work involves pharmacological targeting of an amino acid transporter, essential for the proliferation and survival of leukemic cells, to enhance the delivery of small molecule candidate therapeutics. Preclinical studies involving highly relevant murine models of leukemia will ascertain the effectiveness of the proposed therapeutic interventions in this aggressive form of blood cancer. Congrats to him! Dr. Anthony Schmitt won the award last year in the Department.

Dr. Nüket Acar nominated and selected as the recipient of the 2021 Excellence in Academic Advising Award

May 25, 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Acar for being nominated and selected as the recipient of the 2021 Excellence in Academic Advising Award. This award is presented by the College of Ag’s Alumni Society annually to recognize excellence in advising undergraduate students in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Acar’s nomination was supported by current students, alumni, and Penn State faculty, and is a true tribute to the important impact she has on the lives of our students.

College of Ag Sciences students recognized in Diversity Essay Contest

May 18, 2021

Three students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have been recognized for their commitment to diversity as winners of the second annual Undergraduate Diversity Essay Contest, which is sponsored by the college’s Diversity Coordinating Council.

Schmitt receives Research Innovators Award from College of Ag Sciences

May 10, 2021

Anthony Schmitt, professor of virology, is the 2021 recipient of the Research Innovators Award, given by the Office for Research and Graduate Education and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Penn State researchers are applying decades of expertise toward the development of complementary COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

May 3, 2021

From almost the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, the world waited anxiously for a vaccine, the safeguard that would enable a return to normal life. Researchers around the world eagerly picked up the challenge. Penn State scientists have been active among them from the earliest days. Drawing on the knowledge, skills, and technologies they have developed over their careers, and taking advantage of infrastructure built for the purpose, teams of experts around the university moved rapidly to face the crisis.

The Animal Diagnostics Lab at Penn State hosts 2021 Practitioners’ Meeting

April 30, 2021

On June 8, 2021, ADL hosted the annual Practitioners’ Meeting, a one-day continuing education event primarily for veterinarians who utilized the diagnostics services offered by ADL. This year, like last, the event was held virtually due to the ongoing pandemic, but the event will hopefully be held in-person in 2022. 52 veterinarians were in attendance. The focus of this year’s meeting was on diagnosing causes of abortion and reproductive losses in ruminants, and also included updates from the PA Department of Agriculture. Other topics included a timely update from Dr. Suresh Kuchipudi on emerging coronaviruses in livestock, an update on the application of whole-genome sequencing technology in routine diagnostic submissions, and an overview of clostridial diseases in domestic animals. Dr. Fred Williams III, a veterinary pathologist from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine with an interest in reproductive pathology, was the keynote speaker. He gave an engaging and well-illustrated overview of the common causes of abortion in ruminants. The meeting was well-received by attendees, with 97% of attendees rating it above average to excellent. A common response from attendees was the desire for face-to-face interactions, which will hopefully happen next year. In the words of one participant, “Overall, I think this was one of the best ADL practitioners' meeting ever. It was focused, high quality, useful information.” For additional information, please contact Erin Luley at ehl5008@psu.edu

Dr. Adrian Barragan Chosen As the 2021 Recipient of the Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award

April 30, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that our own Dr. Adrian Barragan has been chosen as the recipient of Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award by the Diversity Coordinating Council within the College of @agsciences. This award recognizes Dr. Barragan for his distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the College. Dr. Barragan gives back to our students and our community in a number of ways, from translating all papers, reports, workshops and webinars from English to Spanish, to being an advisor to the @pennstateprevetclub. Congratulations Dr. Barragan!

Tyler Fuller, IID Major, was recently accepted into the Primary Care Scholars' Program

April 27, 2021

Tyler Fuller, IID Major, was recently accepted into the Primary Care Scholars' Program at the PSU Hershey College of Medicine. Although the program is virtual this year, He will be virtually shadowing various physicians, growing his understanding of diverse practice environments, & gaining insight into the life of a medical student. The 3 week program also includes guidance on applying to medical school as well as information about residency training from the admissions committee for Hershey. Overall, the point of the program is to grow leaders that will understand & promote the importance of Primary Care in addition to serving in underserved areas. Congratulations Tyler!

Will COVID-19 eventually become like the seasonal flu?

April 21, 2021

“COVID-19 Vaccines: Asked & Answered” video series- Troy Sutton, assistant professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences, explains that because variants continue to emerge, we anticipate that SARS-CoV-2 will continue to circulate in humans for several years, causing regular outbreaks.

VBS Professor Receives Research Innovator Award

April 21, 2021

Tony Schmitt, VBS Professor of Molecular Virology, has been named the 2021 recipient of Penn State’s Research Innovator Award. The award recognizes faculty and staff in the College of Agricultural Sciences who have commercialized technologies generated through Penn State research. Tony’s research group is developing a technology that allows delivery of therapeutic proteins into cells. The technology is based on the discovery that for certain viruses, the particle formation process can be manipulated in a way that allows proteins of interest to package into the particles in the same way that virus genomes would normally be packaged. The end result is virus-like particles that are loaded with the desired protein, and capable of depositing the cargo into the cytoplasms of target cells. Applications include CRISPR-based genome editing, which is severely constrained at present by the lack of safe and effective delivery strategies.

Stability of the food supply a huge factor in COVID vaccinations for ag workers

April 2, 2021

The impending vaccination of heretofore unvaccinated Pennsylvania food and agricultural workers against COVID-19 can go a long way toward ensuring business continuity and stable supply chains in one of Pennsylvania's top economic sectors, according to experts in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

College of Ag Sciences Courses Aim to Broaden Cultural Understanding

March 30, 2021

Faculty in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences continue to develop novel courses designed to increase cultural awareness and knowledge of food systems here in central Pennsylvania and throughout the world. Two of these courses will be offered in the fall 2021 semester.

"New Online Course Engages Middle, High School Students In - The Science of COVID"

March 24, 2021

Through short content lectures and interaction with embedded online tools, students and other users can develop a better understanding of how pandemics are studied, modeled, prepared for and mitigated.

Tool can provide swine producers with early diagnosis of often-fatal 'Strep zoo'

March 17, 2021

A team led by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has developed a diagnostic test that can identify virulent forms of the swine bacterial pathogen Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus — often referred to as "Strep zoo" — which can cause severe illness and death in pigs, other animals and rarely people.

Veterinary and biomedical sciences senior looks back on her time at Penn State

March 8, 2021

Brooke Migdal, a senior majoring in veterinary and biomedical sciences, plans to attend veterinary school and work with marine animals.

Next best thing: Virtual reality aids learning in College of Ag Sciences classes

March 8, 2021

Faculty in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences are using immersive technology to enhance learning.

Study finds short window for donating convalescent plasma to COVID-19 patients

March 1, 2021

Researchers found that that the optimal timeframe for donating convalescent plasma for use in COVID-19 immunotherapy is within 60 days of the onset of symptoms.

Penn State's Andrew Patterson receives Society of Toxicology Achievement Award

February 9, 2021

The Society of Toxicology has named Tombros Early Career Professor Andrew Patterson of Penn State as the recipient of its 2021 Achievement Award, recognizing his significant contributions to the field of toxicology within 15 years of obtaining the highest earned degree.

University in-house TASC Lab begins COVID-19 diagnostic testing

February 9, 2021

CLIA certification is underway to support University Park campus testing, ability to send results directly to individuals