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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

National Scientific Leadership Meeting and
Annual Recognition Program

Proud Past and Promising Future
January 21-23, 2004
New Orleans, Louisiana

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John Gorham



  • John GorhamProfessor, College of Veterinary Medicine
    Washington State University
    Pullman, WA

Dr. Gorham was raised in the State of Washington. He received a DVM at Washington State University and a PhD at the University of Wisconsin. He was hired by the Bureau of Animal Industry in 1946 and was assigned the diagnoses and control of fur animal diseases. He became a research leader in the ARS in 1953 and retired after 50 years of federal service.

Gorham, his ARS colleagues and coworkers at Washington State University have made several important contributions including the demonstration of an intestinal fluke of dogs and fox that transmits a fatal rickettsial disease. The investigation led to the establishment of the ARS Endoparasite Vector Pioneering Research Laboratory in Pullman. Other research findings include

  • A diagnostic test for bluetongue antibody
  • First description of caprine arthritis and encephalitis, a retroviral goat disease that serves as a model for human AIDS
  • Control of Aleutian mink disease, a devastating and economically important mink disease
  • Identification of genetic diseases of cattle and mink that provide animal models to study human genetic conditions
  • Development of an effective spray vaccine for the immunization of mink against distemper virus.

The initial ARS prion research was conducted in 1977 at the Animal Disease Research Unit at Pullman. The remarkable stability of transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) was demonstrated in tissue blocks for histopathology. In later studies it was shown that TME prions infected cattle and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow) prions infected and caused the death of mink.

Doctor Gorham has published over 500 scientific and trade publications.



Last Modified: 9/8/2015
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