Posted August 04, 2017
Featuring Adam Moeser
Sordillo Crop
Lorraine Sordillo, MS, PhD

The MSU College of Veterinary Medicine is pleased to announce that three faculty members from the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences were awarded $1.68 million in Foundational Program Grants from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a program within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Drs. Bo Norby and Adam Moeser were each recipients of the foundational grants, and Dr. Lorraine Sordillo was awarded both a foundational grant and a training and leadership grant.

The AFRI Foundational Program is a competitive grants program under the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which oversees all USDA research enterprises. The Program supports single-function and integrated agricultural research, education, and extension efforts that address key problems of local, regional, national, and global importance in sustaining conventional and organic food and agriculture systems. The Program supports six priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; renewable energy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities.

Norby Bo
Bo Norby, CVM, MPVM, PhD

AFRI Foundational Program Grants are extremely competitive; approximately 10 percent of all grant requests are awarded.

“This demonstrates the quality of our faculty’s research and the College’s dedication to meet the important challenges that face animal agriculture today,” says Dr. Dan Grooms, chair for the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. “To have three faculty members receive four AFRI Foundational Program Grants in the same year is phenomenal.”

The grants have a tremendous impact on the researchers and their work, and will fund the following research programs:

  • The Impact of Bovine Leukemia Virus Infection on Disease Incidence and Severity in Dairy Cattle—Bo Norby, CVM, MPVM, PhD
  • Targeting and Mitigating Early Life Stress-Induced Gut Injury to Optimize Lifelong Immunocompetence in Pigs—Adam Moeser, MS, PhD, DVM
  • Lipid Metabolism and Dysfunctional Inflammatory Responses in Periparturient Dairy Cows—Lorraine Sordillo, MS, PhD
  • Graduate Training and Leadership Development in Infectious Diseases and Agricultural Biosecurity—Lorraine Sordillo, MS, PhD

A College Priority

Moeser Portrait
Adam Moeser, MS, PhD, DVM

Cuts in federal funding for research threaten to slow or halt scientific discovery. Dr. Vilma Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan, associate dean for Research and Graduate Studies, says research grants are key to enable faculty researchers to transform their bright ideas into new knowledge.

“Research funding is absolutely essential to the facilitation of basic research, the growth of new and current research programs, and for the recruitment and training of the next generation of scientific and health professionals,” says Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan. “The AFRI Grants allow our faculty to answer the fundamental questions that are important to agriculture, animal health, and public health. That we have obtained an institutional training grant in addition to our research grants speaks volumes about the quality of our training environment and the caliber of our faculty. ”

Grants facilitate the support of research assistants and graduate students, laboratory equipment and supplies, technological support, and travel to conferences and meetings where new knowledge can be disseminated.

“Without these assets, the groundbreaking translational research our faculty perform would be limited, both in the lab and outside of it,” says Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan.

Last year, the College initiated a new Strategic Plan supported by three pillars, one of which is to generate new knowledge that will advance health and wellbeing of animals and humans.

“As our faculty researchers continue to be awarded grants and pursue funding, our College’s research base will continue to grow,” says Yuzbasiyan-Gurkan. “Each piece of funding not only provides fiscal energy, but it encourages an environment of discovery and progress among our faculty and their teams. This momentum goes on to benefit animals and humans everywhere.”

For more information on the College’s AFRI Grants or current research initiatives, please contact Kristen Lare at 517-355-5165 or