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WSU cougar logo. Graduate students recognized by Association for Faculty Women

Six Washington State University graduate students have been awarded Outstanding Graduate Student Awards from the WSU Association for Faculty Women.

The annual Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award (doctoral student), Harriette B. Rigas Award (doctoral student), and the AFW Founders Award (master’s student) recognize the academic achievements and professional potential of WSU graduate students.

The Association for Faculty Women solicits nominations from faculty members who work directly with a student to ensure that the highest quality students are considered each year for the awards, which come with a $1000 prize.

Nominations and awardees represent a wide range of disciplines and colleges. Students from any of the WSU system locations are eligible for nomination.

“These students represent the highest level of scholarly achievement, leadership, and promise for future contributions to society,” said D.L. Potts, professor and chair of the Department of English and Association for Faculty Women member.

This year’s winners are:

The Karen P. DePauw Leadership Award

  • Ayumi Manawada, doctoral student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Chloe Erikson, doctoral student, Veterinary Medicine

AFW Founders Award

  • Olabisi Adesanya, graduate student, Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles
  • Jordan Raymond, graduate student, Mechanical Engineering

Harriette B. Rigas Award

  • Molly Carney, doctoral student, Anthropology
  • Chelsea Pardini, doctoral student, Economic Sciences
Dr. Lynne Nelson examines a small Corgi. Canine companions still needed for Dog Aging Project research

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is looking for local and regional canine participants to be part of the Dog Aging Project, a five-year, $23 million undertaking to better understand canine aging.

WSU is one of seven colleges of veterinary medicine around the country to participate in this study along with Texas A&M, University of Georgia, Iowa State University, Colorado State University, Oregon State University and North Carolina State University.

The study is funded by the National Institute on Aging, a part of the National Institutes of Health. To participate in the Dog Aging Project, owners nominate a dog (one per household) at the project website, DogAgingProject.org.

“I am excited to work with a vast number of colleagues across the nation on an important subject. When many clinical scientists come together for such a large study, that’s when rapid progress happens,” said Dr. O. Lynne Nelson, veterinary cardiologist in the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

There are almost 90 million dogs living in the United States.

So, when the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and University of Washington School of Medicine launched the Dog Aging Project in November 2019 seeking canine participants, the research team knew owners across the country would answer the call.

And answer they did.

Nearly 30,000 dog owners have volunteered for this community science research project dedicated to understanding the biological and environmental determinants of canine aging.

“The Dog Aging Project came in as an innovative approach to understand the process of aging. This is because of the remarkable similarities between humans and their canine companions. They share the same environment, have similar lifestyles and, when it comes to aging, both species develop the same types of diseases. We’re going to learn in a relatively shorter period of time than we would to study the human population a lot about how biology, lifestyle and environment can affect healthy aging in dogs, and then have that be applicable to humans,” said Dr. Francesca Macchiarini, chief of the Biological Resources Branch in the National Institute on Aging’s Division of Aging Biology.

Now, more than a year later, the Dog Aging Project is looking for additional canine participants for this research.

All kinds of dogs are welcome to join, but the project researchers are specifically seeking dogs, both purebred and mixed breed, in the following categories:

Breeds

  • Large breed dogs weighing between 70-100 lbs, especially breeds other than Labradors, golden retrievers and German shepherds (the most common breeds in the US)
  • Giant breed dogs weighing more than 100 lbs, such as great Danes, wolfhounds, mastiffs
  • Hound dogs, spaniels, pointers, terriers, bulldogs, and pit bulls (purebred and mixed breed)
  • Working dogs, such as herding, K9, service, agility, mushing dogs, etc.

Geographical regions

  • Dogs living in rural areas, small towns and large cities, in particular
  • Dogs living in the region of WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

“Healthy aging is the result of both genetics and the environment,” said Dr. Daniel Promislow, project principal investigator and co-director at the University of Washington.

“It’s really important for us to study dogs who live in all kinds of environments from farm dogs to city dogs. Right now, we are specifically recruiting dogs from areas where we don’t have as many participants as we’d like to—like this one!”

Puppies

Because the Dog Aging Project is a long-term study, puppy participants are especially beneficial to the project. The research team wants to follow dogs through their entire lives.

“Better understanding the health effects of the presence and timing of spaying and neutering your dogs is of particular interest to the veterinary community,” said Dr. Kate Creevy, project chief veterinary officer from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University. “Following puppies through the process of spaying or neutering or through reproductive activity will tell us a lot about how these events influence healthy aging.”

Studies

As the largest research data-gathering program of its kind, the Dog Aging Project offers numerous opportunities to glean important information on canine lifespan, but also canine healthspan, which refers to the period of life spent free from disease.

Because the nature of the project is collaborative, all data collected by the project are available to researchers worldwide through Terra, a cloud-based computing platform, located at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

The project research team includes more than 40 experts from a variety of fields and institutions, who use the information submitted by the participants and stored in Terra to investigate many aspects of canine health and longevity. The Dog Aging Project includes research in the following areas:

  • Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Toxicology
  • Canine cognition
  • Age-related mobility
  • Cardiology
  • A clinical drug trial of rapamycin

“Aging is a complex phenomenon. By combining insights from many areas of veterinary research, the Dog Aging Project aims to develop the field of veterinary geroscience and ultimately develop interventions that will help dogs live longer, healthier lives,” said Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, project co-director at the University of Washington.

Joining the Pack

To participate in the Dog Aging Project, owners nominate a dog (one per household) at the project website, DogAgingProject.org. After this, they are invited to set up a personal research portal where they answer scientific surveys about their dog and upload veterinary records.

As a member of the Dog Aging Project Pack, participants will be asked to complete an annual health survey about their dog, which will take 2-3 hours, and several other shorter surveys (estimated 10-30 minutes each) spread throughout the year.

Once a dog is a member of the Dog Aging Project Pack, they may be eligible for a variety of other research activities (all voluntary), which could include genetic analyses, the collection of biological samples, or even participation in a clinical trial.

Notes for media:

A media kit is available with photos and video footage.

Pet owners in your state whose dogs are participating in the Dog Aging Project and are willing to speak to the media have been identified.

“By summer 2021, we’re hoping to have 60,000 Pack members eligible for additional studies. These animals bring so much to our lives. Our entire team is dedicated to extending quality of life into advanced age for dogs and their humans,” said Dr. Kate Creevy, project chief veterinary officer from the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, Texas A&M University

The Dog Aging Project is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, grant 5U19AG057377-03.

For more information, or to nominate your dog, visit dogagingproject.org.

Media contacts:

  • Washington State University (for interviews with Dr. O. Lynne Nelson) Marcia Gossard, 509‑335‑8242, mgossard@wsu.edu
  • Texas A&M (for interviews with Dr. Creevy): Jennifer Gauntt, 979‑862‑4216, jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu
  • University of Washington (for interviews with Dr. Promislow and Kaeberlein): Leila Gray, 206‑475‑9809, leilag@uw.edu
Closeup of stray dog, Butch, with a volunteer. Mending Butch’s broken legs

PULLMAN, Wash. — Exactly how Butch, a Labrador-retriever mix, ended up alone and suffering with two broken legs is anyone’s guess.

That’s a story only he can tell.

Whatever bad luck befell the roughly 1-year-old stray dog, his future is looking much more promising after he found his way to the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service and, later, Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

In just 48 hours after arriving at SCRAPS, nearly $10,000 in donations was raised to help pay for the surgeries needed to repair his legs and give him a second chance at life.

“You see the best and worst in this job, so it is nice to see the best,” said Dr. Peter Gilbert, a small animal orthopedic surgeon at WSU. “Everyone feels good about this one – a group of people got together to do something good. And you can tell everyone who has been working with Butch here at the teaching hospital has a little spring in their step.”

Butch was brought to SCRAPS on Friday, March 26, after he was found injured and unable to move, with his left legs both appearing to be broken. After X-rays confirmed the severity of his injuries, shelter officials contacted WSU.

An X-ray show’s Butch’s tibial fracture in his rear left leg, which was repaired with locking plate and screws.

“We’ve worked with Wazzu in the past and we know that WSU is really the place to go for specialized care in our area,” SCRAPS Director Lindsey Soffes said.

Butch was transported to Pullman the following day, and he underwent procedures Monday and Wednesday with Dr. Gilbert and Dr. Roger Rengert, the senior small animal surgery resident at WSU. Dr. Gilbert said Butch’s front left leg was broken in multiple locations and his rear left leg had a fracture in the tibia.

Now recovering, Butch’s legs are full of pins and locking plate systems that will help support his weight and encourage healing. Dr. Gilbert also used synthetic bone grafts that will hopefully speed the recovery.

“I am very happy with how the surgeries went,” Dr. Gilbert said.

Dr. Gilbert said most fractures need six to 12 weeks to heal, but, given Butch’s young age, he anticipates the dog could be healed within eight weeks. Butch will be staying in a foster home during his recovery.

The most challenging part of the recovery will likely be keeping Butch from running, jumping and other movements that could delay his healing or reaggravate his injury.

Dr. Peter Gilbert, a small animal orthopedic surgeon at WSU, examines Butch prior to the first of two surgeries the dog had to repair his broken legs.

“He has been very calm here, so that is a good sign, but you never quite know, the test will be once he starts feeling good,” Dr. Gilbert said.

Soffes said Butch won’t be adopted to a new family until he is fully healed. When he is ready, she doesn’t expect it to take long to find him a home.

“Regardless of what he had been through, he was absolutely the sweetest and gentlest boy when he came to us,” Soffes said. “He was obviously in a huge amount of pain, but he allowed us to gently examine him; he allowed us to move him to a more comfortable cage; he allowed us to load and take him for X-rays. He did all of that without an ounce of any reactivity. He just was sweet. He wants to give kisses. It is just like he is thanking everybody for helping him.”

Soffes and her team at SCRAPS have been blown away by the support of the community and WSU.

“We just want to express tremendous gratitude to WSU for taking him on and taking him on so quickly, and we can’t thank the community enough for helping us to help him,” she said. “We are so grateful for every dollar and we cannot believe how many people saw his story and donated and wanted to help save him.”

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