USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System Accepting Preproposals for Use of its Serum Bank

The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) is accepting preproposals to conduct research on its banked sera and linked animal management and demographic data, collected during various NAHMS national studies.

NAHMS collects survey data on a nationally representative sample of livestock operations. These data include indicators of animal health, management, and productivity. During NAHMS studies, biological samples are collected on a subset—usually a convenience sample—of operations. These samples often include blood. The various studies collect prospective and cross-sectional data on animal health, management, and productivity. Sera from the samples are used in an initial battery of tests and the remainder is maintained frozen at the USDA:APHIS:VS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. These sera offer a unique opportunity to researchers at a nominal, cost-recovery fee. See the next page for a listing of available sera.

Aliquots from the serum bank will be available after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed. The MOU describes the researcher’s role in ensuring that individual data remain confidential, which tests will be performed, and how test results will be reported, among other things.

Researchers who want access to the sera bank must submit a preproposal to the NAHMS program. Preproposals will be evaluated for merit by a group representing NAHMS, the animal industry, and other technical experts, as needed.

Preproposals must include the principle investigators’ name, mailing address, phone, fax, and e-mail address. Indicate which sera are being requested (animal type and date of sera collected) and include a summary proposal for each test to be conducted. The summary should address the following issues:

  • Significance of the problem to be studied.
  • Objectives and hypotheses of the study.
  • Possible funding sources for the study.
  • Tentative timeline for the project.

Researchers with highly ranked preproposals will be asked to provide a more detailed proposal, which will include plans for materials, methods, analysis, and reporting. If this proposal is approved, NAHMS will provide a letter indicating the availability of the sera, potential use of associated data, and the fee which should help the researcher acquire grant funding.

Please send the initial preproposal to the attention of Judy Rodriguez (judith.m.rodriguez@aphis.usda.gov) by June 30, 2012.