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International Swine Viral Disease Conference Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Conference organizers and student presentation award winners at the 2023 PRRS Conference

What began in 2003 as the North American PRRS Symposium has grown in size and focus. The 2023 NAPRRS/NC229 International Conference of Swine Viral Diseases, hosted and organized by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, now covers new emerging and transboundary swine viral disease along with the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). The conference wrapped up its 20th anniversary celebration with a special banquet, keynote talk, and awards ceremony.

Held November 30 through December 2, the premier conference for addressing viral disease threats facing pork production brought more than 150 participants to Chicago, Ill. Within the global swine disease research community, this conference holds a special place by focusing on basic research, diagnostics, and disease control in the field.

“It is fitting that this unique global conference is hosted by our college’s Department of Pathobiology, the academic home of several of the world’s premier researchers focused on swine viral infections and vaccines,” said Peter Constable, dean of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. “Their work, like the PRRS conference, advances innovative science that addresses real-world needs of the global pork industry.”

Special Recognition

Dr. Paul Sundberg
Dr. Paul Sundberg
Dr. Scott Dee
Dr. Scott Dee

Two industry leaders who retired in 2023 were recognized with awards at the conference’s closing banquet.

Dr. Scott Dee was honored for distinguished research and service to U.S. pork industry. He has been awarded more than $12.5 million in research funding throughout his 36-year career. He was the first to publish data proving that porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) and African swine fever virus (ASFV) can be transmitted via feed. His research has led to the development and implementation of biosecurity protocols for managing the importation of feed and feed ingredients, which has resulted in positive economic changes within commercial swine production.

Dr. Paul Sundberg was honored for his outstanding leadership, dedication, and contribution to swine health. A globally recognized expert in swine health, Dr. Sundberg spent the past 30 years in national leadership roles, including Director of Veterinary Issues at the National Pork Producers Council, Vice President of Science and Technology for the National Pork Board, and Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Center. He championed the strategy of providing funding to swine disease researchers to address emerging disease concerns within the pork industry.

Conference Organization and Sponsors

Attendees included students and professionals from research, academic, government, and industry settings as well as veterinarians and pork producers. The meeting featured five plenary scientific sessions, a biosecurity session co-organized with the Swine Health Information Center, and special lunch sessions co-organized with Zoetis and other industry sponsors on modern technologies and translational research.

Again this year, Dr. Ying Fang and Dr. Raymond (Bob) Rowland, both from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, served as executive director and advisor, respectively, of the conference. The organizing committee members include swine disease scientific/extension experts and industry professionals from around the world.

The conference joint scientific committee was co-chaired by Dr. Scott Kenney of The Ohio State University and Dr. Roman Pogranichniy of Kansas State University. The full proceedings of the conference are available online.

The conference received sponsorship from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, its Department of Pathobiology, and its Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; USDA; Zoetis; Boehringer Ingelheim; Dr. David Benfield; Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory; PIC; Promega; SHIC; Tetracore; Millipore Sigma; Central States Research Centre, Inc.

“We deeply appreciate the generous donations from our sponsors, who are essential for the success of this meeting,” said Dr. Fang.

Student Award Winners

Six students received NAPRRS/NC229 ICSVD David Benfield Awards for their research presentations.

Oral Presentation Awards

1st Place: Jessica Caroline Gomes Noll, Characterization of the Biological Function of African Swine Fever Virus p30/p32 Protein, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

2nd Place: Nakarin Parmornchainavakul, Predicting PRRSV-2 Variant Emergence: Insights from a Decade of Genomic Analysis, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN

3rd Place: Julia Baker, Repeat Offenders: Understanding PRRSV Clinical Rebreaks, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN

Poster Presentation Awards

1st Place: Carolyn Lee, Evaluation of Multiple Immune Parameters Following Vaccination with an ASFV Multiepitope Protein Nanoparticle-based Subunit vaccine, The Ohio State University, Wooster, OH

2nd Place: Kaylyn Rudy, Elevated PRRSV Viral Load in Critical Non-lymphoid Tissues is Associated with Late Gestation Fetal Compromise, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

3rd Place: Michelle Steyn, Investigating the Role of Mechanism of Host Cell Death in PRRSV Infection, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD

The photo at the top of this page shows the student presentation award winners. Also included are conference organizers and presentation judges (at left) Diego Diel, Cornell University; Paul Sundberg, Swine Health Information Center; Mariana Kikuti, University of Minnesota; and Scott Kenney, The Ohio State University; and (at right) Shafiqul Chowdhury, Louisiana State University; Jay Calvert, Zoetis; and Ying Fang, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

In addition, travel awards were granted to 17 students to attend the conference. The travel awards were supported by a USDA conference grant and by Boehringer Ingelheim sponsorship.

  • Amalie Ehlers Bedsted, University of Copenhagen
  • Ana Fiorella Castillo Espinoza, Iowa State University
  • Kassandra Durazo Martinez, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Jessica Caroline Gomes Noll,  Cornell University
  • Jing Huang, University of Minnesota
  • Danh Lai, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Valeria Lugo, University of Minnesota
  • Hung Luong, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Marcello Melini, University of Minnesota
  • The Nguyen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Jenna Parliament, South Dakota State University
  • Marie-Jeanne Pesant, Université de Montréal
  • Sirisha Puducode Parameswaran, Iowa State University
  • Michelle Steyn, South Dakota State University
  • Kristen Walker, Morgan State University
  • Lufan Yang, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Xiaomei Yue, University of Minnesota