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Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig, Dean

Gerhardt G. SchurigDr. Gerhardt Schurig was appointed the third dean in the history of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in June 2004. Prior to his present position, Schurig served as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, as Director of Virginia Tech's new Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences (IBPHS), and as a senior researcher and former director of the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases (CMMID).

Schurig, a professor and veterinary immunologist in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) who joined the faculty in 1978, is internationally renowned for his work in developing vaccines against bovine brucellosis, a zoonotic disease that causes reproductive problems in cattle and undulant fever in humans.

Schurig earned his DVM degree in 1970 from the University of Chile. After earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in immunology from Cornell University, Schurig spent two years working in the Department of Veterinary Science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He then joined the Virginia Tech faculty and began a research career in brucellosis that culminated with the invention of the RB-51 vaccine. That vaccine has become the global "gold standard" in bovine brucellosis control and played a major role in the virtual eradication of the cattle disease in the United States.

Bovine brucellosis, a bacterial disorder caused by the Brucella abortus organism, is largely controlled in the United States and western Europe, yet it remains a significant threat in Africa, the Middle East, Central and South America and other developing areas of the world. Schurig has also been working on an almost $500,000 project with the United States Army Medical Research and Development Command to develop a vaccine which will protect people from brucellosis.

Schurig currently leads the college's international programs and served as director of the college's former World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Veterinary Education in Management and Public Health. He served as head of the college's Department of Veterinary Biosciences in the mid-1980's before helping create and assuming leadership for the CMMID in 1987. During his seven-year tenure as head of that center, it established itself as a major research and development center focused on creating vaccines and improved diagnostic tests for several economically significant animal diseases.

Schurig is a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Veterinary Immunologists, and the American Society for Microbiology. He has received several major teaching and research awards, including the 1986 Beecham Award for Research Excellence.