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

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

2020 Grier Scholarship Recipients

February 2, 2021

Congratulations to two of our Pathobiology Graduate students, Juhi Arora and Fenghua Qian, for being chosen to receive the Grier Scholarship for 2020! In order to be considered for the award, students must be a Ph. D. candidate in Pathobiology, and must have passed the qualifying examination for the Ph.D. no later than July 1 and the award does come with a monetary prize. Congrats to you both again!

College of Agricultural IID student Hailey Reiss earns internship award

January 20, 2021

Hailey Reiss, an immunology and infectious disease major from Quakertown. A graduate of Quakertown Community High School, Reiss was the summer scholar at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, where she performed statistical analysis and reviewed and presented data. Hailey is advised by VBS faculty member Dr. Pamela Hankey-Giblin.

"What about the environment? Leveraging multi-omic datasets to characterize the environment’s role in human health"

January 6, 2021

Kristin Passero (Hall Lab PhD student) and Dr. Molly Hall organized the session "What about the environment? Leveraging multi-omic datasets to characterize the environment’s role in human health" for the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing (PSB) with environmental health research experts Dr. Chirag Patel (Harvard Medical School), Dr. Arjun Manrai (Harvard Medical School), Dr. Kimberly McAllister (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences), and Dr. Shefali Setia Verma (University of Pennsylvania). Kristin and organizers published an introduction to the session and gave an introductory talk as well: Hall Lab MD/PhD student, Morris Aguilar, also gave a talk on his metabolomics research which is published here:

Andrew D. Patterson, PhD receives Society of Toxicology Achievement Award

December 18, 2020

A world leader in the field of metabolomics, Andrew D. Patterson, PhD, has been awarded the 2021 SOT Achievement Award for his leadership, vision, service, and dedication to the field of toxicology. Dr. Patterson has established himself as a prestigious investigator at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, where he holds multiple positions, including Professor of molecular toxicology and Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. He is the Tombros Early Career Professor and Huck Endowed Chair, as well as the Penn State Cancer Institute Metabolomics Shared Resource Director. Dr. Patterson received his PhD in genetics in 2006 through a graduate partnership program between George Washington University and the National Cancer Institute. He then undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in the Laboratory of Metabolism at the National Cancer Institute, during which he focused on the development and refinement of metabolomics approaches to determine how toxicants and other environmental exposures influence the metabolome. At a time when this field was just emerging, Dr. Patterson’s work furthered metabolomics as an invaluable tool for understanding drug metabolism and promoted the development and identification of translational biomarkers for ionizing radiation exposure, toxicity, diabetes, and cancer. Dr. Patterson’s research illustrates the connection between toxicology and medicine in ways that have clear implications for the development of therapeutics and for public health measures to address risk factors associated with nongenetic metabolic diseases and their associated chronic disease manifestations. His laboratory has become a world leader in metabolomics research and is a major resource for numerous laboratories within and outside the United States that are trying to incorporate this approach into their science. Dr. Patterson’s current research interests are focused on understanding the host-metabolite-microbiota axis—specifically how the manipulation of gut bacteria affects host metabolites and how these host/bacterial co-metabolites interact with host nuclear receptors and modulate toxicity and cancer. In addition to his research, Dr. Patterson’s service in the field of toxicology is exemplified by his long list of advisees and mentees. Dr. Patterson has mentored nearly 50 young researchers, from undergraduate students to junior faculty. Many postdoctoral fellows under his mentorship have progressed to academic and industry careers, and he has trained graduate students who have earned PhDs with an emphasis on metabolomics and toxicology. Since Dr. Patterson joined SOT in 2012, his laboratory has presented research findings every year at the SOT Annual Meeting, including poster presentations and a Platform Session. He also has served on the Editorial Board of Toxicological Sciences (ToxSci) and currently serves as an Associate Editor of ToxSci and Environmental Health Perspectives. In addition to participation within SOT, Dr. Patterson also is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry and the American Chemical Society and is an Editorial Board member of several high-impact journals. Congratulations Andrew!

Mckayla Nicol receives first place for 2020 CIDD Best Student Paper

December 15, 2020

Congratulations to McKayla Nicol who won first place for the 2020 CIDD Best Student Paper, McKayla is a Pathobiology Grad student in Dr. Girish Kirimanjeswara's lab in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences: Nicol, M.J., Brubaker, T.R., Honish, B.J., et al. Antibacterial effects of low-temperature plasma generated by atmospheric-pressure plasma jet are mediated by reactive oxygen species. Sci Rep 10, 3066 (2020).

College of Ag Senior Selected As Marshall Scholar

December 7, 2020

Penn State senior A’dryanna Jenkins earned a 2021 Marshall Scholarship, allowing her to pursue graduate studies in pathology at Cambridge University for one year. Jenkins, of Easton, Pennsylvania, is an immunology and infectious diseases major in the College of Agricultural Sciences and a Schreyer Scholar. After graduating, she plans to pursue a combined MD/PhD degree and work as a physician-scientist in academia and government. She will use the Marshall Scholarship to join the Roychoudhuri Laboratory in Cambridge University’s Department of Pathology.

Penn State researcher to explore how vitamin D affects COVID-19

November 23, 2020

Funding from the National Institutes of Health will enable Margherita Cantorna, distinguished professor of molecular immunology and nutrition in the College of Agricultural Sciences, to study whether vitamin D supplementation could help people ward off or reduce symptoms caused by COVID-19.

Faculty continues strong research ties with Ohio State

October 29, 2020

Dr. Troy Sutton receives funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) to research COVID-19

October 27, 2020

Dr. Troy Sutton, Assistant Professor, has received funding from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) to determine how long immunity to COVID-19 lasts after an initial infection. Specifically, Dr. Sutton’s research group will use animal models to determine how antibody levels change over time, and the relationship between decreasing levels of antibodies and susceptibility to re-infection. Using a similar approach, he will also explore how long vaccine induced immunity is protective, and working with Emory University, the findings in animal models will be compared to antibody responses in humans.

Memorandum of Understanding between Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (MAFSU) in India now in place.

October 26, 2020

Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (MAFSU) have now a Memorandum of Understanding in place to develop an international program in areas related to One Health, Food Safety and Diagnostic Medicine. MAFSU was formed on December 3, 2000 with its operational center at Nagpur. The University comprises of five veterinary colleges, two colleges of fishery sciences, and one college of dairy technology. Since 2003, Penn State faculty including Dr. Bhushan Jayarao and Professor Emeritus Channa Reddy have worked with MAFSU faculty and students on several different occasions, including training MAFSU faculty at ADL, providing research and extension programming support in diagnostic medicine, and dairy production. This is a beneficial relationship for both the Department and the College of Ag, and we congratulate and thank everyone involved who made this endeavor official last week!

Veterinary experts offer advice after pet cat tests positive for COVID-19 in Pa.

October 20, 2020

Despite the state's first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a domestic cat, veterinary experts say residents should not be concerned about contracting the virus from pets and other domesticated animals. However, people with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 should take precautions to protect the health of their pets.

Dr. Girish Kirimanjeswara's lab to mentor IID undergraduate student Nina De Luna’s participation in this year’s Step-Up Year Round Research Program.

October 20, 2020

Nina De Luna is an IID honors student in Dr. Girish Kirimanjeswara's lab. She has been accepted in the NIH STEP-UP program called Year Round Research Program. The STEP-UP Program is a federally funded program managed and supported by the Office of Minority Health Research Coordination (OMHRC) in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney (NIDDK) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The overall goal of STEP-UP is to build and sustain a biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social science research pipeline focused on NIDDK’s core mission areas of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases and nutrition; kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases.

VBSC Grad Student Outing to Way Fruit Farm

October 17, 2020

Some of VBSC's graduate students had a blast at Way Fruit Farm in Port Matilda on Friday 10/16/20. We were missing a few but a great time was had by all who attended shopping, apple picking and going on hayrides. We hope to have similar outings each month. Look for emails on future adventures!