Students, faculty recognized for research excellence at annual symposium

Student group winners
Student award winners pose for a photo with Jon Oatley, center, a professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences, following the 23rd annual College of Veterinary Medicine Research Symposium, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, at Washington State University in Pullman. From left, are Stanimir Kambarev, Lindsay Sidak-Loftis, Matthew Wun, Mustika Rahmawati, Nolan Middleton, Allison Jensen, Agata Skarbek, and Sara Westbrook. Winners not pictured are Caroline Sirr and Amy Hudgins. (College of Veterinary Medicine/Ted S. Warren)

Professor Felix Lankester of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Health is the recipient of the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence, largely in part for his efforts combating rabies in East Africa.

Since 1985, high-profile research faculty in the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine have been recognized with the annual honor for their advancements in the veterinary field.

Lankester received the honor Thursday evening at the 23rd Annual College of Veterinary Medicine Research Symposium.

“I am honored and thrilled to simply have been nominated, let alone be awarded the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence,” Lankester said. “The award has my name on it, but it equally belongs to all my colleagues that I work with, and especially those who do the hard field work associated with the research. Without the dedication and tenacity of these staff this award would not be coming my way. And so, in accepting this award I am doing so on behalf of all our field researchers who I know are also excited that our work is being recognized in this way.”

Lankester is an associate professor at WSU’s Allen School. He leads field research and the country-wide rabies vaccination campaign in the East African nation of Tanzania.

In addition to vaccinating 2.5 million dogs in Tanzania, his research team has found that, contrary to previous belief, rabies vaccines stored at warmer temperatures still protect against the disease in dogs. The team has also revolutionized how to track if stray dogs have been vaccinated using facial recognition.

In addition to the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence, awards were distributed to student researchers from five categories: undergraduate student, graduate student, postdoctoral researcher, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student/intern, and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine resident.

Out of all undergraduate researchers, Allison Jensen received first place in the undergraduate student category for her poster; Nolan Middleton received second place in the undergraduate research category.

Lindsay Sidak-Loftis, advised by Dana Shaw, received first-place in the graduate student category; Mustika Rahmawati received second place in the category. Stanimir Kambarev topped the post-doctoral researchers’ category; Sara Westbrook received second place. Caroline Sirr received the research award out of the veterinary student/intern pool, and Amy Hudgins and Agata Skarbek tied for second place in the category.

Assistant Professor Dana Shaw of the college’s Veterinary, Microbiology and Pathology department, was the recipient of the Dean’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award.

Professor Margaret Wild in the Veterinary, Microbiology and Pathology department, was presented the Boehringer Ingelheim Award for Mentorship in Veterinary Medicine.