Scientists from College of Veterinary Medicine assist MSDH with COVID-19 laboratory work

College of Veterinary Medicine research scientists

Five research scientists from the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and its Department of Basic Sciences are assisting the Mississippi State Department of Health with efforts to mitigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Working at the MSDH Public Health Laboratory in Jackson on weekends in May to conduct COVID-19 human diagnostic testing, these scientists include CVM research associates Michelle Banes and Allen Shack; Dr. Wei Tan, director of the CVM flow cytometry facility; graduate student Liyuan Liu; and post-doctoral researcher Dr. Nogi Park, all of whom are skilled in molecular biology and currently work in areas conducting infectious disease research at CVM.

Their work extends the efforts of those who are regular employees of the lab and enables them to have weekends off. These five scientists join Dr. Lifang Yan, a CVM faculty member at Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory in Pearl, who already was assisting the MSDH.

According to MSU CVM Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Steve Pruett, the College of Veterinary Medicine wants to use the skills and knowledge of its people in the most effective way to help with the COVID-19 crisis.

“When Dr. Daphne Ware at MSDH indicated they could use additional help, we were glad to step in and assist,” he said. “These CVM research scientists are familiar with and have the skills to perform this type of testing. The College of Veterinary Medicine is simply treating their work at the MSDH as a temporary assignment.”

MSU CVM Dean Kent Hoblet said the college is pleased to share personnel and resources for the benefit of Mississippians during this crisis.

“This is an unprecedented situation that has hit our country and many in our state really hard, and we all have to do our part to get through it,” Hoblet said. “We are proud of this partnership with MSDH. It’s really a win-win situation. The MSDH needs our help, and these scientists are able to lend a hand, while gaining valuable experience related to this novel virus.”

This MSU-MSDH partnership also serves to develop a group of trained workers, who stand ready to provide this vital service in the event there is a sudden need to do large numbers of tests in the state in the future, Pruett added.

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Mel Thurlow | College of Veterinary Medicine

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