Studying infectious diseases

The University of Wyoming’s Veterinary Sciences department is joining a consortium of roughly 20 other universities, as well as private institutions, to provide training and research on infectious diseases.

The contract lasts for five years, Department Head and Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory Director Will Laegreid said.

“We will participate as needed with compensation limited to $5 million per year, though we do not expect to be near that,” he said. “We would provide research expertise and training to colleagues around the world, as needed.”

The contract is run through Leidos, a defense company that often works with federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency.

The UW Board of Trustees approved the contract during its December meeting.

“We will not need to hire more faculty,” Laegreid said. “This will be part of some faculty research and service commitments … We have not discussed specific tasks as yet. However, in previous work along these lines, I have trained veterinarians on diagnostic testing, field disease investigation and vaccination.”

He added he is not aware of “exactly similar” projects in the past.

“We in the Veterinary Sciences Department … have done diagnostic training with colleagues from several African countries and Iraq and continue to work on global health issues,” Laegreid said.

“I personally have been involved in similar projects in my previous position at the University of Illinois.”

The contract is meaningful, Laegreid said.

“Assisting people around the world to control and prevent infectious diseases is something that I feel is important,” he said.

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