Michelle Todd, laboratory manager for the Collaborative Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, works with an Oxford Nanopore Technology MinION sequencing device. Photo by Andrew Mann for Virginia Tech.
Michelle Todd, laboratory manager for the Collaborative Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, works with an Oxford Nanopore Technology MinION sequencing device. Photo by Andrew Mann for Virginia Tech.

Here’s a round-up of education briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to news@cardinalnews.org. Want more education news? There’s no full-time education reporter west of Richmond. We’re raising money to hire one. You can help fund us.

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New lab space opens at vet school at Virginia Tech

The Collaborative Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory has opened at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. More than a dozen faculty, graduate students and residents from across the college are currently using this new space.  

The lab’s aim is to foster collaboration between veterinary college faculty and beyond, creating opportunities for translational research.  

For faculty members such as clinical faculty who do not have their own labs, research comes with several barriers, according to a release from Tech. With this lab, these faculty members have a place to conduct research, share ideas and resources, and give their students lab experience.  

S. Ansar Ahmed, professor of immunology and associate dean of research and graduate studies at the college, identified the need in 2019 for a collaborative laboratory and spearheaded the effort to establish the CMRL. He worked with department heads with clinically oriented faculty and Pete Jobst, director of physical facilities, to repurpose and refurbish existing space, including installing new flooring and mobile lab benches.  

The revamped lab space is 3,000 square feet, 400 of which is space for students in the Master of Public Health program to work in, which will allow interactions with other veterinary clinical researchers. Of the remaining 2,600 square feet of laboratory space, one side is dedicated to studying infectious diseases and the other is for non-infectious diseases. Each side is split into eight lab spaces, separated appropriately to prevent cross-contamination.  

Researchers have access to more shared equipment than they would in separate labs, and they can rely on each others’ expertise to address research questions.  

An investment of over $1 million from the college funded the creation of the lab. Collectively, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies and department heads of the biomedical sciences, large animal clinical sciences and small animal clinical sciences departments funded the purchase of several pieces of equipment. This fully equipped laboratory now allows the performance of many clinical projects funded by federal and non-federal agencies and research foundations such as the Veterinary Memorial Fund, which partially will fund a technician.  

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Minnick Schools hire two superintendents

The Minnick Schools have hired two former public school superintendents.

Greg Mullins is the new assistant director for program development. He served as superintendent of Wise County Schools for six years and has a wealth of expertise and relationships with educational partners in southwest Virginia after decades of service as a teacher, coach, principal and administrator.

Mark Miear is the new assistant director of education. He served as superintendent of Montgomery County Schools for six years and as assistant superintendent of Winchester Public Schools. He will focus on development and expansion of our programs in Wytheville, Roanoke and Harrisonburg. 

Minnick Schools are private day schools.

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Covington High School holds “all classes” reunion Oct. 1

Courtesy of JulieStanley.

Covington High School is holding an “all classes” reunion Oct. 1. The Covington High School band and choirs will perform.  Find or borrow a horn and email julie@oldetowncovington.com.  A limited number of instruments may be available to borrow.

The Alleghany Highlands Genealogical Society will be setting up displays inside the high school to share history with alumni.  

For more information, contact Julie Stanley (julie@oldetowncovington.com), Linda Morrison (lmorrison20@gmail.com), Susan Crowder (through Facebook Messenger), Donna Miller-Dressler (jumpngenes@aol.com), Marian Paxton (marianpaxton@gmail.com) or Rylee Reynolds (Rylee@oldetowncovington.com).