Learning and teaching are benefits as Australian researcher works with K-State faculty

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John Pluske, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences, is working with Kansas State University researchers on antibiotic resistant bacteria in the gut of swine associated with the use of alternative microbial feed additives. He is a professor in the Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences in Perth, Australia.
John Pluske, Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences, is working with Kansas State University researchers on antibiotic resistant bacteria in the gut of swine associated with the use of alternative microbial feed additives. He is a professor in the Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences in Perth, Australia.

Fulbright Distinguished Chair John Pluske is studying antibiotic-resistant bacteria in swine.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Imagine you’re a scientist and have spent your career looking for answers to mysteries that affect animal health. And then you have the opportunity to share your findings with peers in another part of the world, as well as learn from their research.

That is where John Pluske is, as he works with Kansas State University’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and College of Veterinary Medicine as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Pluske, a professor in the Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences in Perth, Australia, is the first Fulbright Chair to study in K-State’s animal science department. His time at K-State began in August and extends into January, 2015.

Working with K-State researchers and extension specialists, he is studying antibiotic resistant populations of selected bacteria in the gut of swine associated with the use of alternative microbial feed additives.

At Murdoch, his research interests include swine nutrition and the digestive physiology of pigs, particularly piglets and weanling pigs, the interrelationships between nutrition and enteric diseases of pigs in the absence of antimicrobial compounds, and the roles that nutrition and the environment play in modifying immune function and the gastrointestinal bacterial ecosystem.

The cultural exchange and opportunity to have a world-renowned researcher in K-State’s swine group, as well as in the department and at the university, is providing tremendous insight about  Australia, its swine industry, and research and funding mechanisms, said Mike Tokach, swine extension state leader with K-State Research and Extension.

“That’s a huge benefit,” Tokach said. “The Fulbright also provides the opportunity to interact with Dr. Pluske as a researcher and involve him in our work. We have involved John in our research planning meetings and plan to develop proposals to continue working together after he finishes his Fulbright and returns to Australia.”

During his time in Kansas, Pluske is presenting seminars to different groups, sharing information about his professional experiences, Australia, and the pork industry.

He will present Livestock Agriculture: Perspectives, Challenges and the Australian Experience   http://www.k-state.edu/provost/enrichment/lecture/2014-15/pluske.html  on Oct. 24 as part of K-State’s 2014-2015 Provost Lecture Series.

Story By: Mary Lou Peter

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