Four Research Projects Receive Foundation Funding

Dr John Waddell, chairman of the AASV Foundation, announced the selection of four research proposals for funding during the foundation's annual luncheon on March 4 in San Diego, California. The foundation granted a total of $60,000 to support efforts by researchers at Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota.

A $30,000 grant was awarded to fund the project "Refining PRRSV classification system and sequencing reports to better characterize genetic diversity and relatedness of PRRSV," to be carried out by Dr Jianqiang Zhang and co-investigators at Iowa State University. The study will analyze an ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory dataset of 37,345 PRRSV-2 (North American type) ORF5 sequences spanning 2000 - 2017, in order to refine a previously described lineage classification system. The resulting, thorough phylogenetic lineage classification system will 1) help describe genetic diversity and relatedness of PRRSV-2 in the U.S, 2) improve sequence reports of diagnostic cases, and 3) determine the prevalence and geographic distribution of PRRSV-2 in the U.S in regards to lineages and RFLP patterns. It is hoped that the classification system will provide a basis for further characterization of the antigenic relationship and cross-protection between different PRRSV-2 lineages in future studies.

Dr Daniel Linhares and various co-investigators at Iowa State University received funding for two separate projects. The foundation awarded $12,582 for Dr Linhares' proposal to study "the effect of attenuated PRRSV mass vaccination on subsequent downstream mortality." The goal of the project is to assess the impact of quarterly MLV mass vaccination of PRRSV-stable breeding herds on grow-to-finish mortality using natural experiments under field conditions. The results will provide information to help swine veterinarians make better informed decisions regarding the use of PRRSV MLV vaccine and other interventions in the sow herd to reduce wean-to-market mortality.

The foundation granted an additional $8,418 to carry out Linhares' second proposal, "Monitoring ISU VDL data for signs of emerging diseases." This project will develop and incorporate analytical tools for the automated detection of significant changes in test results of major swine pathogens, allowing early identification of disease threats affecting swine.

Dr Perle Boyer at the University of Minnesota received a grant of $9000 to fund her proposal to develop day-1 competencies for swine veterinary graduates. The project will be carried out by a faculty task force at the University of Minnesota, with input by swine practitioners from across the US and Canada. The resulting prioritized list of skills will be published and shared with other colleges of veterinary medicine, and made available to veterinary students at the AASV annual meeting and on the AASV website.

Dr Nathan Winkelman chaired the scientific subcommittee responsible for reviewing and scoring the proposals received for consideration, and he joins the foundation in thanking Drs John Baker, Tim Blackwell, Peggy Anne Hawkins, Martin Mohr, and Jerry Torrison for their service on the subcommittee.

An overview of past and current projects funded by the foundation is available at https://www.aasv.org/foundation/research.htm. The foundation will issue its next call for research proposals in the fall of 2018.