July 31, 2014
A $325,000 gift was given to the program by the Deer Breeders Corp.
Texas Tech University officials celebrated today (July 30) a research investment totaling more than $850,000 in support of a white-tailed deer and cervids research program at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH).
Led by associate professors Ernest Smith and Steve Presley and senior research associate Galen Austin, the research project is part of an ongoing collaboration between the university and the Deer Breeders Corp.
“We are very grateful for the continued support from the Deer Breeders Corp. and are excited about this unique research opportunity,” Smith said. “The forward-thinking of the Deer Breeders Corp. has led to a great collaboration with our researchers at Texas Tech that will strengthen and promote an emerging and growing sector of the agricultural industry.”
As part of the overall investment, the Deer Breeders Corp. recently provided a $325,000 gift to the program, which is in addition to an initial start-up grant and other investments valued at approximately $370,000 from the company.
“Deer Breeders Corporation is proud of Texas Tech for stepping up to the plate and helping the deer industry with research that is long overdue,” said Chris Timmons, Texas Tech alumnus and president of Deer Breeders Corp. “We hope to further this industry in a big way by producing healthier, hardier animals—not only for our breeders but also for our native deer.”
“We are excited about this arrangement for many reasons,” said Robert Duncan, Texas Tech vice president for research. “What we learn from this research will produce healthier deer while advancing our understanding of deer genetics, broader interactions, and other aspects of basic bioscience.”
Eligible for matching funds from the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP), the $325,000 gift is anticipated to be matched at a 50 percent rate of $162,500, bringing the total investment for this research project to more than $850,000.
The funds are being used to establish a white-tailed deer and cervids research program at Texas Tech, which includes the construction of a dedicated research facility. As part of the project, researchers at TIEHH will look for drug residues, investigate insect-borne disease transmission dynamics, and study nutrition and genetics in white-tailed deer and cervids. Cervids include other similar species in the deer family.
Russell Thomasson, interim vice chancellor of research and commercialization at the Texas Tech University System, said this has been a great opportunity to connect the problem-solving capabilities of Texas Tech research with an important industry need identified by the Deer Breeders Corp.
“Despite being an $8 billion industry in the United States, deer breeders have no antibiotics or other pharmaceuticals labeled for use in these animals,” Thomasson said. “This research program at Texas Tech will work to provide healthy solutions for deer and the industry.”
The Institute of Environmental and Human Health was created in 1997 as a joint venture between Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University
Health Sciences Center to assess the impact of toxic chemicals and diseases on the
physical and human environments, including air, water, soil and animal life.
Researchers investigate elements in the environment, both those that are naturally occurring such as disease and those caused by humans, such as nuclear activity, pollution or chemical or bioterrorism, which negatively impact the environment. It is one of the few labs in the country dedicated to environmental toxicology.