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Molecular Biologist Is an "Early Career" Scientist of the Year / April 13, 2001 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Molecular Biologist Is an "Early Career" Scientist of the Year

By Jim Core
April 13, 2001

AUBURN, Ala., Apr. 13—Craig A. Shoemaker, a molecular biologist, was recently honored as a 2000 recipient of an Early Career Research Scientist award by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific agency.

Shoemaker was selected for his research in aquatic animal health and for co-developing the first modified live vaccine in the United States licensed for fish. The RE-33 E. ictaluri vaccine should serve as a trend-setting advancement in fish vaccines for the rest of the world.

Shoemaker is with the Aquatic Animal Health Research Laboratory here. He worked with catfish farmers, producer groups, a commercial vaccine manufacturer and state and federal regulatory agencies to develop the vaccine, which was then field-tested in three southeastern states for safety and effectiveness.

He is nationally and internationally recognized for his immunological and microbiological expertise in a number of fish species, including farm-raised catfish. He is currently working on the final report on the status of streptococcal disease in the United States’ cultured fish for the industry. He was invited by the Catfish Farmers of America to present a paper on the development of the vaccine. He continues to address other associations on this project, including international audiences in Greece, England and Brazil.

“Dr. Shoemaker is an outstanding, young investigator who has provided leadership, mentoring and cooperation as a team member of the laboratory’s well-recognized accomplishments in aquatic animal health, both nationally and internationally,” said Floyd P. Horn, ARS administrator. “He is an accomplished young scientist who is expected to gain increased recognition as an independent and team researcher in aquatic animal health.”

Shoemaker was honored Feb. 7 at the agency’s Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Maryland. He and other award winners received a plaque, a cash award and additional research funding.

The “early career” award is given to ARS scientists who have made outstanding scientific contributions while having been with the agency 7 years or less and completed their highest academic degree within the past 10 years. Shoemaker is the winner for the agency’s Mid South Area. The area includes research locations in Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Shoemaker joined ARS in 1993 as a graduate research assistant. He received his doctorate from Auburn University in 1996 and continued with ARS as a postdoctoral research associate. He accepted a permanent position in the Fish Diseases and Parasites Research Laboratory (later the Aquatic Animal Health Research Laboratory) in 1997. He has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures at Auburn University in Alabama since 1998.

Scientific contact: Craig A. Shoemaker, molecular biologist, ARS Aquatic Animal Health Research Laboratory, Auburn, Ala., phone (334) 887-4526, fax (334) 887-2983, cshoemaker@ars.usda.gov.

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