Veterinary Medical Officer Wins Research
Award By Jim
February 13, 2002
BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 13, 2002--Mitchell V. Palmer, a
veterinary medical officer with the Agricultural Research Service, has been
named a 2001 Early Career Research Scientist by ARS, the
U.S. Department of Agricultures chief
scientific research agency.
Palmer was selected for his leadership and outstanding
contributions to the understanding of the diagnosis, control and pathogenesis
of tuberculosis in domestic livestock and wildlife.
Palmer will be honored today at the agencys
Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural
Research Center. He and other award winners will receive a plaque, a cash
award and additional research funding.
Palmer studies the pathology of infectious diseases, especially
those important at the interface between wildlife and livestock, at the
National Animal Disease
Centers Bacterial Diseases of
Livestock Research Unit in Ames, Iowa.
Tuberculosis has been nearly eradicated from cattle in the
United States since programs were initiated in 1917. However, white-tailed deer
in northern Michigan were found to be a host species of Mycobacterium bovis
in 1994 and pose a serious threat to national efforts to eradicate TB from
domestic livestock. Continuing confirmations of the disease in northeast
Michigan cattle herds cost the state about $35 million a year because of
increased testing requirements and loss of trading markets. The presence of the
disease in one state impacts the rest of the nation because of the concern
about disease transmission to animals in other states through movement of
cattle. Because tuberculosis in white-tailed deer had never been
described, there was a complete lack of basic information that could be used to
address the problem, said Edward B. Knipling, ARS acting administrator.
Dr. Palmer recognized this problem and led research that enabled ARS to
respond rapidly to the emergence of this new disease threat.
Palmer conducted the first and only controlled studies on
tuberculosis in white-tailed deer. He developed an experimental model for
challenging deer with M. bovis so a disease is produced that mimics
disease characteristics of naturally infected deer. The model allowed him to
examine the routes of disease transmission and the ability of infected deer to
transmit M. bovis to uninfected penmates. He demonstrated infected deer
can shed M. bovis in saliva, nasal secretions, urine and feces. These
can contaminate feed and become a source of infection. Results of his research
on TB transmission have been used by regulatory officials to ban winter feeding
Palmer and other scientists are using information on the immune
response of white-tailed deer to M. bovis to select and screen potential
vaccines that protect deer from TB infection.
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. Palmer is the winner for the agencys Midwest Area,
which includes research locations in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
He has been with ARS since 1995. He is also an assistant
professor at Iowa State University in the
Palmer is a native of Bountiful, Utah. He received an A.A. in
animal science from Snow College in 1983, a
B.S. in Bioveterinary Science from Utah State
University in 1985, a D.V.M from Purdue
University in 1989 and a Ph.D. in veterinary Pathology from Iowa State
University in 1996.