Four professors earn Kansas State University’s highest distinguished professorship.
The 2022 recipients of the Lifetime Honor are Hans Coetzee, Professor and Head of Anatomy and Physiology; Roman Ganta, Professor of Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology and Director of the Center of Excellence for Vector-Borne Diseases; Brian Geisbrecht, professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics; and Robert Goodband, professor of animal science and industry and specialist in swine extension.
“As leading researchers in their fields, Drs. Coetzee, Ganta, Geisbrecht and Goodband have also distinguished themselves as teachers and mentors,” said Chuck Taber, executive vice president and president of the university. “They consistently demonstrate K-State’s land-grant mission of excellence in teaching, research and service and are well deserving of their new Distinguished Academic Faculty titles.”
Distinguished University Professors are appointed following a university-wide nomination and evaluation process conducted by the Provost. The four faculty members will receive a personalized plaque and medallion during the university’s fall 2022 commencement ceremonies.
Goodband is part of a national and internationally known swine nutrition team with programs focused on developing, evaluating and disseminating the latest information to increase swine producer profitability while maintaining the highest level of health and animal wellbeing. Goodband is also internationally recognized for its research on feed processing, feed management and nutrient requirements of pigs. His research found that reducing grain particle size in pig feed from 900 microns to the currently recommended 300 to 500 microns results in a 5% reduction in feed usage across the industry and improves the profitability and sustainability of pork producers. He has also reduced the industry’s environmental impact by reducing hog waste by more than 20%.
Goodband’s research has helped define the amino acid requirements of growing pigs, establishing new ways to incorporate food-grade amino acids into their diet. He helped the industry during the global pandemic with his research on slowing the growth rate of pigs, which helped protect the country’s food supply and save pork producers millions of dollars.
Awarded research grants totaling $13.8 million, Goodband’s work has produced eight patents, more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles, nine book chapters, 900 research reports, and 170 popular publications. He is also widely requested as a speaker at national and international meetings, giving 164 invited presentations at conferences in 11 countries.
Goodband regularly counsels approximately 40 undergraduate students each year and mentors more than 120 graduate students since joining K-State in 1989. His work has earned him numerous honors, including K-State’s 2019 Commerce Bank Award and the WT Kemper Foundation Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award; the 2019 American Society of Animal Sciences Non-Ruminant Nutrition Research Award, which is considered the society’s highest research honor; and fellowship status with the American Society of Animal Sciences in 2021.
Coetzee is internationally recognized for developing objective measures of pain during routine husbandry procedures in food-producing animals, including beef and dairy cattle, sheep and swine. Coetzee is also studying bovine anaplasmosis and has developed a single-dose implant vaccine that provides long-term immunity against anaplasmosis infections.
Awarded over $21.2 million in research funding over the past 16 years, including over $18 million from highly competitive federal sources such as the USDA, Coetzee has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts during the same period. He is also in high demand for consultation by livestock producers, practitioners, academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies on livestock pain assessment. He has presented his work at continuing education sessions and conferences around the world.
His work has earned him several international and national accolades, including being the first North American recipient of the World Veterinary Association’s World Animal Welfare Award in 2017, only the second recipient of the World Buiatrics Congress Well- being Achievement Award in 2018 and the youngest recipient of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Animal Welfare Award in 2017. He also received the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Achievement Award and the Zoetis Award of excellence in research.
Coetzee first served at K-State from 2005 to 2011 as an assistant professor of clinical sciences. He joined the university in 2016 in his current position. He is also the acting director of the Kansas State Nantechnology Innovation Center and the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Institute of Comparative Medicine.
Ganta is an international authority on tick-borne rickettsial diseases, contributing significantly to knowledge of the biology, pathogenesis, immunology, diagnostics, and vaccine studies of rickettsial pathogens of Ehrlichia species. , Anaplasma and Rickettsia, especially E. chaffeensis, E. canis, E. ruminantium, A. marginale, A. phagocytophilum and R. rickettsia, which are spread by the bite of infected ticks.
As a principal investigator, Ganta has received approximately $19.65 million in extramural research funding since joining K-State in 1998, including ongoing funding from the National Institutes of Health since 2002. Ganta holds currently three major NIH R01 grants to study the pathogenesis and targeting of vaccine development. diseases affecting companion and livestock animals and people. Other funding agencies that have supported Ganta’s research include the Morris Animal Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Agriculture, and Russell L. Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment. His work has led to seven patents as an inventor or co-inventor and he has eight other patent applications pending.
Ganta established the Vector-Borne Disease Center of Excellence in 2015 at the College of Veterinary Medicine to highlight and expand the vector-borne disease research program at K-State. He generated $1.2 million in foundation support to further the center’s research goals. The center’s researchers come from across campus and around the world, and its many projects include the development of vaccines for Rocky Mountain spotted fever, bovine anaplasmosis, canine anaplasmosis, and canine ehrlichiosis.
Author or co-author of 88 peer-reviewed publications, seven reviews and 12 book chapters, Ganta is actively involved in national grant review committees, serves on the editorial boards of five journals and provides peer reviews. manuscript peers for 34 journals.
Ganta serves as an instructor or co-instructor for several graduate and professional courses. He has supervised 21 postdoctoral students, six professors, two visiting scientists and eight undergraduate students, in addition to having been principal professor for 23 graduate students. He is a recipient of the Pfizer Animal Health Award for Excellence in Research and has been recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Biotechnology and Pharmacy in India and a Fellow of the Conference of Research Workers in Animals Diseases, USA.
Geisbrecht is one of the world’s leading experts on the structure and biochemistry of proteins that function in the innate immune system. In particular, his laboratory studies molecules produced by pathogenic bacteria that block the activity of these innate immune components. Geisbrecht’s work to date has determined and published the molecular structures of more than 30 innate immune system proteins or their bacterial-derived inhibitors. The goal of his lab is to understand these interactions at the molecular level and use this information as the basis for therapeutic discovery and development.
Since joining the K-state Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics in 2013, Geisbrecht has received $5.8 million in NIH support for his work. This includes two new prizes that will provide insight into the interactions between the innate immune system and pathogenic bacteria. Since 2013, his lab has published seven articles in the Journal of Immunology, six articles in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, two articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and individual articles in other prestigious journals. Illustrations from his laboratory’s recent articles in the Journal of Immunology and the Journal of Biological Chemistry were selected to illustrate the covers of the journals.
Geisbrecht has served on national and international grant review boards and the editorial board of several respected scientific journals, including the Journal of Immunology. He has been a guest speaker and presenter at conferences and meetings across the United States and the world.
Teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels and acting as an undergraduate advisor, Geisbrecht has mentored four postdoctoral fellows, home tutor to eight doctoral students and one master’s student, and served on committees dissertation/thesis of 25 other graduate students. . He supervised 27 undergraduate researchers in his laboratory.
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