Swine Program

Remembering...

Dr. Mike Murtaugh

Portrait of Dr. Mike MurtaughProfessor Michael Murtaugh, PhD, passed away Tuesday September 18, 2018 from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 67. 

Mike joined the college in 1985 and spent the entirety of his University of Minnesota career in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. He was a consummate faculty member, excelling in teaching graduate courses and conducting research and outreach. Mike authored more than 225 peer‐reviewed journal articles, was the primary advisor for 30 Master’s and PhD students, and held three U.S. patents. His influence extended throughout the Academic Health Center at the University and throughout the world. At the time of his death, Mike was serving on the editorial boards of more than a dozen academic journals, and had successfully completed nearly 160 sponsored projects as Principal Investigator or Co‐Investigator. Mike was a respected and highly sought after mentor. He always had people coming and going from his office asking for scientific, career, and personal advice. His door was always open and he always stopped what he was doing to help others. He touched many lives during his career. Besides his numerous graduate student advisees, he also mentored over fifteen veterinary students, thirty‐six undergraduate and high school students, twelve post‐doctoral researchers, twenty visiting scientists, and numerous others who came to him for advice and support. He cared about everyone not only scientifically, but also personally. He always wanted to do what was in a student’s best interests, even though it may not have been what was in his best interest. His lasting legacy is in the scientific training and education of a generation of swine health specialists and researchers.

Prof. Murtaugh was an international leader in swine immunology, and devoted considerable effort over the past 25 years in battling the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus (PRRSv), a disease that costs U.S. swine producers alone some $500 million annually. Mike used molecular biological approaches to first understand the nature of PRRSv and investigated in detail the immunological response of pigs to this pathogen. Mike earned the B.S. degree in biology at the University of Notre Dame and then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela. He earned a Ph.D. in entomology at the Ohio State University. The University of Texas Medical School in Houston was his next stop— he spent four years in a post‐doctoral position in the Departments of internal Medicine and Pharmacology— before assuming a faculty position in St. Paul.

He will be remembered for his dry sense of humor and positive outlook on life, character traits that he maintained even as his battle with cancer raged. Mike cared passionately about science and derived some of his greatest personal satisfaction working on the college’s Strategic Plan and the International Conference on One Medicine and One Science (iCOMOS). Mike cared deeply about science informing policy and saw the need for scientists to be more actively involved in communicating about their research. I am grateful to have known him, and stand in awe of the many contributions he made to our college.

By Cheryl Dvorak

The College chose to honor his memory and his legacy by creating a Fellowship for graduate students in his name.

Donate to the Dr. Mike Murtaugh fellowship

Dr. Bob Morrison

Portrait of Dr. Robert Morrison A man of the utmost integrity, Bob was a beloved father, husband, uncle, father-in-law, brother-in-law, grandpa and friend. He was honest, hard-working, loyal, open-minded, grateful, genuine and humble. He was a kind man with a gentle soul. He cherished his children and grandchild, and cared endlessly for his wife. Bob was happy as long as his wife Jeanie was by his side; together they traveled the world, were active in their community and church, started a squash scholarship for underserved youth, opened their home to students, and passionately supported their children. Bob had many hobbies including bee-keeping and making "Bob's Other Honey," leatherworking, watching hockey, woodworking, sailing trips with friends, whist, biking and playing squash.

"Dr. Morrison was an international leader in the swine industry," says Dr. Trevor Ames, dean of the college. Bob was hired by the University of Minnesota in 1986 and recently launched the Swine Health Monitoring Project, which provides weekly reports on the health status of over 50% of the U.S. sow herds.  Dr. Morrison also coordinated two internationally-respected swine health management conferences: the St. Paul, MN-based Allen D. Leman Swine Conference and the Leman China Conference in Nanjing, China.  The conferences are named for UM professor Dr. Al Leman, who served as Dr. Morrison's graduate advisor. In China, Dr. Morrison is called "Professor Mo" and is a highly respected swine veterinarian. He started working with Chinese swine producers more than 20 years ago and had made great contributions to the development of the industry. For many in Chinese swine community, he is a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. Leman China will carry forward Dr. Morrison's legacy to improve swine production through providing science-driven solutions TM.

 I hope I have helped and inspired others along their path as others have helped me.

-- Bob Morrison

Dr. Morrison was also a pillar of the swine community here in the United States. In 2016, he was recognized with the prestigious Master of the Pork Industry award by the National Hog Farmer for his dedication to swine producers. At this occasion, Dr. Morrison stated that he was a curious mind, always eager to learn and this is how he will be remembered. Today, the swine community is paying homage to our friend and colleague, to his drive, devotion, and integrity. David Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, said Morrison and the other veterinarians involved in the accident are well known in Minnesota and worldwide. “This is a very deep blow to the pork-producing community on a number of levels,” Preisler said. “Professionally and personally, all of them are fantastic people.”

Tribute in the press:

Bob Morrison's legacy

University of Minnesota, swine industry mourn loss of Bob Morrison

Well-known U vet among 3 Minnesotans killed in Czech Republic crash

Dr. Carlos Pijoan

Portrait of Dr. Carlos Pijoan Researcher, Clinician, Teacher, Mentor, and Lifelong Learner, the founding director of the Swine Disease Eradication Center, Dr. Carlos Pijoan was recruited to the University of Minnesota in 1982 after emerging as an international leader in swine health research in his native Mexico. He is recognized worldwide for his contributions to knowledge of swine respiratory disease, and his work on the influence of swine production systems on the dynamics of microorganisms such as PRRS virus, Haemophilus parasuis, Streptococcus suis, and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.

Dr. Pijoan received his veterinary degree from the National University of Mexico in 1969 and his Ph.D. from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom in 1973. In 1982, he joined the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, where he was the founder and director of the Swine Disease Eradication Center and a professor in the Veterinary Population Medicine department. Dr. Pijoan oversaw the professional development of numerous graduate students from around the world, many of whom have made significant contributions to the swine industry. His many honors and awards included the Norden Teaching Excellence Award in 1991, the Mark of Excellence Award in 2001, the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence in 2002, and Best Teacher awards in 1999, 2000, and 2001. Dr. Pijoan died on Jan. 9, 2007, after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Carlos truly touched uncountable lives, both personally and professionally, throughout the global swine and research communities.

 

Dr. Allen D. Leman

Portrait of Allen Leman holding two piglets Throughout his career, Dr. Leman worked to define the link between swine disease and swine production. Al understood how a university could influence practitioners and empower them to be leaders for the swine industry.

In 1974 Dr. Allen D. Leman, a new University of Minnesota Extension veterinarian, and Dr. Jim Hanson, director of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s continuing education program, initiated this conference to present new information and discuss issues important to the swine industry. Al understood how a university could influence practitioners and empower them to be leaders for the swine industry. This conference for Minnesota practitioners began in a small lecture hall on the St. Paul Campus and has evolved into the multisession, international meeting it is today.

Al left the University of Minnesota in 1986. After his death in 1992, the swine conference for veterinarians and producers was renamed in his honor.  The swine faculty continues to provide the leadership in developing this program and remains committed to Al’s vision of excellence.