Awards for Advancing Research in Respiratory Disease (AWARRD)

Over $100,000 Awarded to Researchers Studying Pig Respiratory Disease


Three research proposals were selected to receive the Awards for Advancing Research in Respiratory Disease (AWARRD) and $35,000. The program, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, provides more than $100,000 each year for research relating to infectious porcine respiratory diseases.
The Respiratory Disease Research Board, consisting of seven independent swine veterinarians and researchers, reviewed several exceptional proposals before making their final decision, according to a release. Over the past 15 years, the AWARRD program has provided more than $1.3 million in support of the development of less costly, innovative diagnostic testing and sampling processes; identified more effective biosecurity practices; sought to better understand respiratory diseases; and developed risk assessment tools, intervention programs and vaccination strategies.
“The swine industry is continually seeking ways to improve the health and performance of pigs, but there are still many unanswered questions, particularly when it comes to respiratory diseases. The AWARRD program in general, and the three proposals the board chose to fund this year, will help answer some of those questions, and hopefully yield solutions that will be applicable to everyone in our field,” says Daryl Olsen, DVM, a board member and senior partner at AMVC.
The 2019 Awards for Advancing Research in Respiratory Disease winners include:
Alyssa Betlach, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, Minnesota
•    “Spatial and temporal detection patterns for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae under controlled aerosol exposure for gilt acclimatization”

Juan Sanhueza, DVM, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul
•    “Toward the best testing strategy for PRRSv stability: time-to-negative processing fluids in breeding herds”

Mariana Kikuti, DVM, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul
•    “Genetic diversity of PRRSV in piglets during an outbreak”
“The primary goal of these awards is to fund field-applicable research focused around key questions in our industry, and to do so in a collaborative fashion,” says Reid Philips, DVM, PRRS technical manager, Boehringer Ingelheim. “We’re proud to be a part of this effort to help move the swine industry forward in its understanding of respiratory disease, and we’re excited to see how the outcome of these research proposals positively impacts the control and management of respiratory disease.”
The board also granted research completion awards to the following individuals for successfully completing past projects funded by the AWARRD program:

Carles Vilalta, DVM, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul
•    “Evaluation of tail pail fluid as an indication of PRRSV status in the sow herd”

Marie Culhane, DVM, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul
•    “Association of the presence of Influenza A virus in pigs at weaning with post-weaning performance and cost of production”
Applications for the 2020 awards will be open for submission in late 2019. For more information on the Respiratory Disease Research Board and the AWARRD program, visit
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