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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

A Short History of the VDL

January 7th, 2016
Additions to the VRL building over the years. In 1965, a carcass incinerator was also added.

Additions to the VRL building over the years. In 1965, a carcass incinerator was added (yellow). In 1972, a research wing was added (red).

In 1951, OSU built the Veterinary Research Laboratory (VRL), a no-frills, one-story, brick building that operated as a part of the College of Agriculture. Eight years later, three small laboratories were added to the building to house the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL).

By 1975, the VDL included a couple of pathologists, a necropsy room, and bacteriology and histology labs. “Serology was run by the bacteriology lab on bacterial agents, and a few viral agents,” says Rocky Baker, current virology lab supervisor.

When the VDL moved into the newly completed Magruder Hall in 1981, it was comprised of four pathologists, virology, bacteriology, histology, clinical pathology, and necropsy. The VDL director was Dr. Jack Schmitz, with Dr. Don Mattson as the virology section head. “The area for virology was very cramped,” says Baker. “They under-planned that space.” So, three years later, virology was moved back into the VRL building.

In 1997, Baker attended training in Molecular Diagnostics at the Auburn Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and began running a few PCR tests. In 2006, PCR testing was organized under the new Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, with Donna Mulrooney appointed as the lab supervisor.

Various additions were added to the VRL building over the years, including a research wing in 1972. At some point, OSU covered the brick exterior with Styrofoam insulation finished with stucco. “Big chunks of the siding are falling off,” says Mulrooney, now VDL quality manager. “Woodpeckers are nesting in the foam. We really need a new building.” Today the VRL building houses Molecular Diagnostics, Virology and Serology, and Dr. Kathy O’Reilly’s research lab.


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