THE HOT ZONE Connects with K-State’s Long History as ‘Silicon Valley for Biodefense’

Two Kansas State University veterinarians and leaders — Nancy and Jerry Jaax — and their response to an Ebola-related outbreak have inspired the National Geographic limited series premiering this week, THE HOT ZONE

In 1999, Jerry helped Kansas State University publish the “Homeland Defense Food Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness Program.” The 100-page document — informally called “The Big Purple Book” — outlined the university’s infectious disease research programs and the need for a facility to address three major infectious disease components: plant pathology, animal health and food processing. 

That led to the creation of Kansas State University’s biocontainment facility called the Biosecurity Research Institute, or BRI, at Pat Roberts Hall. Both Jerry and Nancy played key roles in the development of the institute and Nancy inspired the need for a training lab based on her experience with Ebola.

Jerry and Nancy also assisted in winning the national competition for the federal National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF, which is under construction north of the university’s Manhattan campus and will replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Research Center in New York. Once NBAF becomes operational in 2022-2023, it will be America’s foremost animal disease research facility.

As the “Silicon Valley for biodefense,” Kansas State University maintains numerous facilities, research collaborations and academic programs devoted to agrodefense and biodefense, including the following list: 

Learn more about Kansas State University as the “Silicon Valley for biodefense.”

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