Kansas State launches bioterror research center

Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., has launched its new research center to fight bioterrorism and find methods of combating pathogens transferred between humans and animals.

"The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases will use K-State’s expertise and state-of-the-art infrastructure to conduct research, develop technology, and train a specialized workforce to successfully defend our nation’s agriculture economy against agro-terrorism and emerging animal pathogens," Tom Thornton, president and CEO of the Kansas Bioscience Authority, told CattleNetwork.com. "The center will develop and validate vaccines; create innovative devices to detect and diagnose threatening diseases; and help implement systems to curtail human and animal disease threats.

The Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, which will be lead by Dr. Juergen Richt, has received $12 million from the Department of Homeland Security. The center's researchers have said that they hope the center can be used to provide scientific information in the event of a national emergency.

"This is Kansas State University responding to one of the most imminent national threats," Thornton told KTKA.com. "The Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, the post 9/11 group that determined imminent terrorist threats, has determined that the most imminent threat to our nation's homeland security is a biological attack."