Governor Laura Kelly Visits Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute


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Governor Laura Kelly today toured the Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) to learn more about its work fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, including through potential vaccine development, medicine discovery, and understanding how animals may be affected by the virus.

“The Kansas State University Biosecurity Research Institute has a long history of excellence and innovation researching disease spread like what we are currently facing with COVID-19,” Governor Kelly said. “My conversations with BRI staff served as a reminder of how many of our best and brightest have answered the call to help end the pandemic. While my administration is doing everything in our power to get Kansans back to work and kids back to school safely – the contributions being made by our health community will be instrumental to protecting the people of this state and our economy.”

Kansas State University President Richard Myers also joined Governor Kelly on Thursday’s tour.

“Kansas State University has tremendous expertise to bring against zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19,” President Myers said. “Our capabilities began with the production of antisera for classical swine fever in 1908 and have accelerated since. Our combined assets and expertise have earned Kansas State University the reputation of the ‘Silicon Valley for biodefense.’”

BRI, located at Pat Roberts Hall on the Kansas State University Manhattan campus, is typically the home of comprehensive infectious disease research to address threats to plant, animal, and human health, including food-borne pathogens. The hub contains multiple biosafety level 3 labs – the second-highest level of security possible.

Since the pandemic began, the highly-trained BRI researchers and staff have applied their unique expertise to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, just as they have with earlier epidemics such as SARS and MERS.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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