The Department of Basic Sciences was established in July, 2001. The department faculty and staff represent the basic scientific disciplines that are required for education of veterinarians. Research focus areas include infectious diseases and immunology (including diseases of important food animal species), digital biology (biological computing, bioinformatics, and systems biology), and toxicology. The widely used AgBase molecular biology database was developed and is maintained by members of the Department of Basic Sciences, and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, which is involved in toxicology and health disparities research, is located in the Department of Basic Sciences. The department fulfills all missions of the land grant university triad, i.e., research, teaching, and service. Among the department’s service components are its fish diagnostic services. One of the faculty members in this department is recognized by the OIE (international animal disease organization) as an expert who may be consulted with regard to selected fish diseases.
The Department of Basic Sciences is involved in the management and delivery of the first year of the veterinary curriculum, and members of the department play key roles in a program designed to provide veterinary students with a high quality research experience in the summer. In addition to participation in the freshman veterinary curriculum, faculty in the department are heavily involved in providing classes and training activities for graduate and post doctoral students.
Stephen B. Pruett, Ph.D., Department Head
Mississippi State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Basic Sciences
P.O. Box 6100
Mississippi State, MS 39762-6100
Phone: (662) 325-1130
Digital Biology (Proteomics, Genomics, Systems Biology, and Gene Ontology)
Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Keun Seok Seo
Stokes, Andrea Varela
Toxicology and Pharmacology
||Olsen, Eric Vincent
|Ambrust, Kevin L.
||Peterson, Brian C.
||Jones, Edwin W.
||Smith, James Leif
Updated January 2014Dr. Janice Chambers received a $400,000 grant from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to study a new category of drugs, designed and synthesized by Howard Chambers that increase the activity of the enzyme paraoxonase. This enzyme is involved in detoxifying the pesticide parathion and also in cholesterol metabolism. These awards are often continued on a year-to-year basis, if the agency is pleased with the progress of the work. For a recent news release on recent work from the Chambers lab, please see, http://www.msstate.edu/web/media/detail.php?id=6221.
Dr. Henry Wan received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health NIH) for $425,000 for a 3 year project to investigate the mechanisms by which influenza (flu) viruses can be very selective not only for different host animals such as birds compared to swine compared to humans, but also for different organs in different hosts. For example, some flu strains affect the lungs almost completely and do not have much effect on the stomach, whereas other strains affect both of these organ systems.
Dr. Keun Seok Seo has been awarded a research grant by the Quarantine and Inspection Agency of South Korea to collaborate with scientists there in the development of a vaccine to prevent Staphylococcus aureus infections in cattle. Funding of approximately $175,000 for the first 1.5 years of work has been obtained, and further funding is anticipated, depending on the outcome of the initial phase of work. Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacterium that causes serious infections of various types in both humans and in cattle, and there currently is no effective vaccine. Developing a vaccine could decrease the substantial losses in milk production that are now caused by these bacteria in the dairy industry, and it could lead to the development of vaccines to prevent a certain type of pneumonia and post-surgical infections that can be devastating in humans.
Dr. Andrea Varela-Stokes received an NIH R15 grant to study the occurrence of tick-borne diseases in Mississippi. In particular, she studies diseases caused by microbes that are related to those which cause Lyme disease. This grant will provide funding in the amount of $425,000 over the next 3 years to support this research.
Dr. Matthew Ross received an NIH R15 grant to study the mechanisms by which cholesterol metabolism by a particular type of white blood cells contributes to cardiovascular disease. This grant will provide $425,000 over a 3 year period.
Dr. Mark Lawrence and Dr. Attila Karsi received a major USDA grant for study of a bacterium that infects fish and is costly to the aquaculture industry but also can infect humans. It is Aeromonas hydrophila, which caused a widely reported life-threatening infection in a young woman who was cut when a zipline broke and she fell into a stream where these bacteria are commonly found (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/rare-flesh-eating-disease-caused-common-bacteria/story?id=16319358).
Dr. Stephen Pruett and Dr. Mark Lawrence at CVM along with Dr. Giselle Thibaudeau at the Institute for Imaging and Advanced Technology serve as the leadership team for a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant that was funded in October by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its Institute for General Medical Sciences. This grant is sponsored the NIH’s IDeA (Institutional Development) program. It establishes at MSU a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence on Pathogen Host Interactions. Young investigators will conduct research and receive world class mentoring from experienced local scientists as well as distinguished experts nationally and internationally. The investigators in this Center include: Dr. Keun Seok Seo, Basic Sciences; Dr. Henry Wan, Basic Sciences; Dr. Bindu Nanduri, Basic Sciences; Dr. Janet Donaldson, Department of Biological Sciences, and Dr. Mariola Edelmann, Institute for Genomics, Biotechnology, and Biocomputing. This Center grant will provide more than $10,000,000 in total funding to MSU during its 5-year duration.
Dr. Mark Lawrence is coordinating the development of a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Center for Aquatic Food Security at MSU. This Center will serve to organize the considerable research resources at CVM, the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture, and the Thad Cochran Warmwater Aquaculture Center in Stoneville to meet the needs of granting agencies working to provide adequate nutrition to people in developing countries.
Dr. Barbara Kaplan is lead author for Chapter 12, “Toxic Resopnses of the Immune System” in “Casarett and Doull’s Toxicology The Basic Science of Poisons, published in 2013”. This is the standard textbook for graduate level toxicology courses world-wide.
Dr. Mark Lawrence received a university level diversity award in recognition of his work to establish collaborations and to accommodate students from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Tuskegee University.
Evangel Kummari was the runner-up in the 3MT contest in which graduate students presented their research program and results in 3 minutes with one slide. Evangel was given a certificate and a cash award having competed effectively to enter the final round of 8 competitors and to then finish second. Evangel will be staying at MSU-CVM for post-doctoral studies.
Drs. Keun Seok Seo and Joo-Youn Park announce the birth of their daughter at 2:15 a.m. on January 12th. Her name is Aylene Minji Seo. Please join me in congratulating them!
New Faculty Members
In the past two years, we have been fortunate to add five new faculty members to our department:
Dr. Keun Seok Seo (Asst. Prof.) joined us as a tenure track Assistant Professor from his previous position as an Assistant Research Professor. Dr. Seo earned his D.V.M. degree in South Korea and his Ph.D. at the University of Idaho. HIs research specialty is pathogenesis and immunity to Staphylococcus aureus. Dr. Seo is an investigator in our Center of Biomedical Research Excellence on Pathogen Host Interactions. He has published extensively in the area of host-pathogen interactions in Staphylococcal diseases.
Dr. Barbara (Barb) Kaplan (Asst. Prof.) joined us from Michigan State University, where she established a productive career as a Research Assistant Professor. Her research specialty is immunotoxicology, and she was recruited also because of her interest health disparities research. Dr. Kaplan is lead author of the Immunotoxicology chapter of the leading toxicology textbook, Casaret and Doull’s Toxicology. She has published extensively on the effects of dioxin and cannabinoids on the immune system.
Dr. George Howell III (Trey) (Asst. Prof.) joined us from Mississippi College. He had previously been an Assistant Research Professor here in the department of basic sciences, where he obtained a research grant and a fellowship during his first year in the position. The research grant has been transferred to MSU and is still active. Trey’s area of expertise is type II diabetes, and he was also recruited for his interest in health disparities research. He has numerous publications in diabetes. Dr. Howell’s research lab is located in the Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Lab in Pearl, MS. He frequently visits our campus for committee meetings and to conduct some aspects of his research.
Dr. Mariola Edelmann is our newest faculty member having accepted a position as Assistant Professor from her previous position at the Institute for Genomics, Biotechnology, and Biocomputing (IGBB). In fact, Dr. Edelmann will continue her association with IGBB as a faculty consultant for MSU investigators who use IGBB’s expertise and facilities in the area of proteomics. Dr. Edelmann received her Ph.D. from Oxford University in the U.K., and she is an investigator in the NIH Center of Biomedical Research Excellence at MSU. Dr. Edelmann has a publication record highlighted by publications in first tier journals such as the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Nature.
Dr. Nan Zhao (Asst. Res. Prof.) joined us recently to work with Dr. Henry Wan in the computational biology areas of his influenza research. Dr. Zhao earsed his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biomedical Engineering at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China and he earned his Ph.D. in bioinformatics at the University of Missouri. He also did post-doctoral research at Missouri until joining us in late 2013. He received the Shumaker fellowship for bioinformatics and the outstanding graduate student award during his time at Missouri. Dr. Zhao adds to our growing expertise in computational biology.