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Oklahoma State University

College of Veterinary Medicine launches Vet Med Faces of Research

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Susan Little, DVM, PhD, DACVM (Parasit.)

Research is an important part of Oklahoma State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“Advancing knowledge and understanding for the benefit of the lives and livelihoods of the people of Oklahoma is a critical element of OSU’s land-grant mission,” said Jerry Malayer, Ph.D., associate dean of research and graduate education.”

In an effort to inform the public about the impact of the many studies being conducted, the veterinary college launched a new monthly series entitled, “Vet Med Faces of Research.”

To introduce the series, meet Regents Professor and Krull-Ewing Endowed Chair in Veterinary Parasitology, Susan Little, DVM, Ph.D., Dipl. ACVM (Parasit.), from the college’s veterinary pathobiology department.

“While working on my Ph.D. in sarcoptic mange, which is a mite disease of red foxes, I became really fascinated with arthropods that feed on wildlife,” said Little. “Most of the tick populations are maintained on wildlife and then spill over to domestic animals or to people thus creating disease problems. Ticks are truly a one medicine system in that they bring together human health, animal health and environmental health. Because I’m a veterinarian, I’m also very committed to protecting animal health and human health. If we can understand ticks, we can limit their impact on the health of people and animals and we can try and reduce some of the exponential increase in ticks and tick-borne infections that we’ve seen in the last several decades.”

OSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine has a long-standing commitment to excellence in parasitology. In addition to her Krull-Ewing lab, Dr. Little co-directs the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology which is housed inside the veterinary college.

She also leads a group of OSU researchers who are collaborating with other Oklahoma researchers and Kansas researchers on an EPSCoR funded research project to better understand tick-borne diseases, how they are acquired, where high-risk areas, exist and how to best subdue these diseases in the Great Plains, specifically in Oklahoma and Kansas.

“We’ve seen the spread of tick-borne infections throughout much of the world but certainly in North America,” continued Little. “Understanding the patterns and processes responsible for those changes and how the ticks make their way in the world, how they are able to transmit the infections is really important for protecting veterinary health and public health.

Here at OSU we have a history of excellence in tick research and tick-borne disease research. I had an established research program at the University of Georgia and moved here in 2005 for the ticks. It was the ticks that drew me here.

That history has been with Oklahoma State since the beginning of the veterinary school in the 1940s and I think it will be with Oklahoma State into the future. It’s something that I’m very proud to be a part of.”

If you would like more information on Dr. Susan Little’s tick research, please visit the Krull-Ewing Lab webpage

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 | derinda@okstate.edu

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