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  Home > About VDL > Annual Report

Annual Report

FY2012 (Abbreviated)


The mission of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) is to protect and promote animal and human health through early detection and monitoring of animal diseases. The VDL fulfills its mission of identifying emerging diseases by providing laboratory diagnostic service to poultry and livestock producers and veterinary practitioners for the state of Minnesota, conducting preliminary investigations and initiating applied research on new animal disease problems, developing new diagnostic methods for selected disease problems, and training diagnosticians, veterinarians, and graduate students. The laboratory is a part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as Minnesota’s only full-service accredited animal health diagnostic facility. The VDL is fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.


As the official laboratory of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, the VDL contributes to the economy of Minnesota and surrounding states by responding to outbreaks of animal diseases (e.g., highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza, swine influenza, and other zoonotic diseases), thus protecting the livestock and poultry industries. In addition, the VDL faculty is actively involved in research projects on emerging disease identification, new test development, and disease prevention.

The VDL participates in national laboratory networks and contributes to building capacity in animal disease testing and prevention. The VDL is a member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, Food Emergency Response Network, and Veterinary Laboratory Response Network. The VDL is involved in a number of research projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in surveillance and diagnosis of animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, and chronic wasting disease.

During calendar year 2012, the VDL evaluated 54,539 accessions for disease investigations. Each accession represents a request for laboratory assistance to address animal or public health concerns. A total of 1,374,925 laboratory tests were conducted. Bovine viral diarrhea and enteritis by rotavirus, coronavirus, and Salmonella were the major problems in cattle. Major swine problems continue to be infections caused by porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and swine influenza virus. In a survey conducted in May 2011, 98 percent of the VDL’s clients rated the accuracy of VDL results as excellent or good.

As of June 2012, the staff consisted of 8.78 full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty members, 5 FTE pathology residents, 74.8 FTE bargaining unit employees, and 16 part-time student employees.


The VDL plays an important role in protecting the health of animals in addition to protecting the public from foodborne and zoonotic diseases. The laboratory strives to provide quality services to meet clients’ needs. Case histories and diagnostic laboratory data are recorded for each case received. Field diagnostic investigations are conducted for animal disease problems as necessary. Efforts are made to improve existing diagnostic laboratory procedures through applied research studies and new diagnostic procedures are put into service when developed. Studies are continuing on swine influenza virus and mutations in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus. Molecular methods for the detection of swine pathogenic bacteria are in great demand. The VDL’s program in aquaculture and fisheries has been a great success. A new picorna virus of fish has been found in Wisconsin lakes.


Antigen tissue distribution of avian bornavirus (ABV) in psittacine birds with natural spontaneous proventricular dilatation disease and ABV genotype 1 infection. Wünschmann A, Honkavuori K, Briese T, Lipkin WI, Shivers J, Armien AG. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2011; 23(4):716-726. Epub 2011 June 13.

Identification and characterization of a spore-like morphotype in chronically starved Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis cultures. Lamont EA, Bannantine JP, Armién A, Ariyakumar DS, Sreevatsan S. PLoS One. 2012; 7:e30648. Epub 2012 Jan 24.

Incidence rate for hantavirus infections without pulmonary syndrome, Panama. Armien B, Pascale JM, Munoz C, Lee SJ, Choi KL, Avila M, Broce C, Armien AG, Gracia F, Hjelle B, Koster F. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011;17:1936-1939.

Junctional epidermolysis bullosa in a calf. Medeiros GX, Riet-Correa F, Armién AG, Dantas AF, de Galiza GJ, Simões SV. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2012; 24:231-234. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Otitis interna induced by Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii in a cat. Paulin J, Morshed M, Armién AG. Vet Pathol. 2012; June 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Protein carbonylation and adipocyte mitochondria function. Curtis JM, Hahn WS, Stone MD, Inda JJ, Droullard DJ, Kuzmicic JP, Donoghue MA, Long EK, Armien AG, Lavandero S, Arriaga E, Griffin TJ, Bernlohr DA. J Biol Chem. 2012; July 21. [Epub ahead of print]

Purkinje cell heterotopy with cerebellar hypoplasia in two free-living American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Armién AG, McRuer DL, Ruder MG, Wüenschmann A. Vet Pathol. 2012; [Epub ahead of print]

Sarcocystis calchasi-associated neurologic disease in a domestic pigeon in North America. Wünschmann A, Armien AG, Reed L, Gruber AD, Olias PTransbound Emerg Dis. 2011; 58:526-530. doi: 10.1111/j.1865-1682.2011.01254.x. Epub 2011 Aug 16.

Characterization of influenza A outbreaks in Minnesota swine herds and measures taken to reduce the risk of zoonotic transmission. Beaudoin A, Johnson S, Davies P, Bender J, Gramer M. Zoonoses Public Health. 2012; 59:96-106. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2011.01423.x. Epub 2011 Jul 18. PMID: 21824375. [PubMed - in process]

Contemporary epidemiology of North American lineage triple reassortant influenza A viruses in pigs. Lorusso A, Vincent AL, Gramer MR, Lager KM, Ciacci-Zanella JR. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012; Jan 22. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22266673. [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Detection of airborne influenza A virus in experimentally infected pigs with maternally derived antibodies. Corzo CA, Allerson M, Gramer M, Morrison RB, Torremorell M. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2012; Jul 25. doi: 10.1111/j.1865-1682.2012.01367.x. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22827737. [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Diagnostics and surveillance for swine influenza. Detmer S, Gramer M, Goyal S, Torremorell M, Torrison J. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2012; May 8. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22566130. [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Evolution of novel reassortant A/H3N2 influenza viruses in North American swine and humans, 2009-2011. Nelson MI, Vincent AL, Kitikoon P, Holmes EC, Gramer MR. J Virol. 2012; 86:8872-8878. Epub 2012 Jun 13. PMID: 22696653. [PubMed - in process]

Global transmission of influenza viruses from humans to swine. Nelson M, Gramer M, Vincent A, Holmes EC. J Gen Virol. 2012; Jul 18. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22791604. [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Multiple reassortment between pandemic (H1N1) 2009 and endemic influenza viruses in pigs, United States. Ducatez MF, Hause B, Stigger-Rosser E, Darnell D, Corzo C, Juleen K, Simonson R, Brockwell-Staats C, Rubrum A, Wang D, Webb A, Crumpton JC, Lowe J, Gramer M, Webby RJ. Emerg Infect Dis. 2011; 17:1624-1629.PMID: 21892996. [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Pathogenicity and transmissibility of North American triple reassortant swine influenza A viruses in ferrets. Barman S, Krylov PS, Fabrizio TP, Franks J, Turner JC, Seiler P, Wang D, Rehg JE, Erickson GA, Gramer M, Webster RG, Webby RJ. PLoS Pathog. 2012; 8:e1002791. Epub 2012 Jul 19. PMID: 22829764. [PubMed - in process]

Pathogenicity and transmission in pigs of the novel A (H3N2)v influenza virus isolated from humans and characterization of swine H3N2 viruses isolated in 2010-2011. Kitikoon P, Vincent AL, Gauger PC, Schlink SN, Bayles DO, Gramer MR, Darnell D, Webby RJ, Lager KM, Swenson SL, Klimov A. J Virol. 2012; 86:6804-6814. Epub 2012 Apr 4. PMID: 22491461. [PubMed - in process]

Transmission of influenza A virus in pigs. Torremorell M, Allerson M, Corzo C, Diaz A, Gramer M. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2012; Jan 9. doi: 10.1111/j.1865-1682.2011.01300.x. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22226050. [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Vaccination of influenza A virus decreases transmission rates in pigs. Romagosa A, Allerson M, Gramer M, Joo HS, Deen J, Detmer S, Torremorell M. Vet Res. 2011; 42:120. PMID: 22185601. [PubMed - in process]

Comparison of exendin-4 on beta cell replication in mouse and human islet grafts. Tian L, Gao J, Weng G, Yi H, Tian B, O'Brien TD, Guo Z. Transplant International. 2011; 24:856-864. PMID: 21627696.

Enhanced differentiation of adult bone marrow derived stem cells to liver lineage in aggregate culture. Subramanian K, Owens DJ, O’Brien TD, Verfaillie CM, Hu WS. Tissue Engineering A. 2011; 17:2331-2341. Epub Jun 30. PMID: 21548835.

Paramagnetic microparticles do not elicit islet cytotoxicity with co-culture or host immune reactivity after implantation. Suszynsk TM, Rizzari MD, Kidder LS, Mueller K, Chapman CS, Kitzmann JP, Pongratz RL, Cline GW, Todd PW, Kennedy DJ, Schuurman H-J, O’Brien TD, Avgoustiniatos ES, Papas KK. In Press: Xenotransplantation. 2011; 18:238-244. PMID: 21848541.

Severely fibrotic pancreata from young patients with chronic pancreatitis: evidence for ductal neogenesis of islets. Balamurugan AN, O’Brien TD, Loganathan G, Soltani S, Bellin M, Anazawa T, Papas KK, Vickers SM, Herng BJ, Sutherland DER. Acta Diabetol DOI 10.1007/s00592-011-0306-9, July, 2011. PMID: 21773756.

Stimulating beta cell replication and improving islet graft function by AR231453. Gao J, Tian L, Weng G, O'Brien TD, Luo J, Guo Z. a GRP119 agonist Transplant Proc. 2011; 43:3217-3220. PMID: 22099761.

Stimulating beta cell replication and improving islet graft function by GPR119 agonists. Gao J, Tian L, Weng G, Bhagroo NV, Sorenson RL, O'Brien TD, Luo J, Guo A. Transpl Int. 2011; 24:1124-1134. PMID: 21902730.

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