Qijing Zhang Named Mahr Chair of One Health

September 7, 2022

Dr. Qijing Zhang, a Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Medicine, has been named the Dr. Roger and Marilyn Mahr Chair in One Health in Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

A faculty member in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine since 2003, Zhang was elected this past spring to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Zhang is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology as well as an Honorary Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.

Zhang’s research has had regional, national and global impact on the control of antibiotic-resistance pathogens in animals and humans. As a renowned microbiologist, Zhang has built a world-class research program on antimicrobial resistance and food safety.

His expertise in antibiotic resistance has earned him international acclaim. He is an expert in areas related to antibiotic resistance development, persistence, transmission from animal reservoirs to humans, and mitigation strategies. He is a pioneer in the effort to understand mechanisms involved in the emergence, persistence and fitness of antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter, a major zoonotic pathogen worldwide.

Zhang’s research group at Iowa State was among the first to document the impact of antibiotic resistance on bacterial fitness. His work is often used as a resource for science-based policy making by regulatory agencies on the use of antimicrobials in animal production. His work also identified emergence and transmission of zoonotic pathogens and their intervention strategies, contributing to improvement of animal health and public health.

He has published more than 170 peer-viewed papers and 14 books/book chapters. His publications are cited more than 12,000 and he has made more than 140 presentations at conferences and institutions globally. During his career, Zhang has received competitive grants totaling over $25 million from various funding agencies including NIH, USDA, NSF and FDA.

The Mahr Chair in One Health further supports Iowa State’s visionary leadership in promoting and facilitating innovative multi-disciplinary collaboration that embraces the university’s land grant mission. One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple health science professions and their related disciplines working locally, nationally and globally to attain optimal health for people, animals, plants and the environment.

“It’s a great privilege to help support Dr. Zhang’s dedicated commitment of visionary leadership towards One Health at Iowa State and beyond through his membership in the National Academy of Sciences,” the Mahrs said. “He is truly transforming the way human, animal, plant and ecosystem health professionals work together to improve the health of all living things and the environment worldwide.”

Dr. Roger Mahr, a small animal practitioner throughout his career, has long supported Iowa State’s One Health initiative. The College of Veterinary Medicine One Health Lectureship Series was established in 2011 in honor of Dr. Mahr as he served as the chief executive officer of the One Health Commission, which was headquartered at Iowa State from 2011 through 2013.

Mahr served as president of the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2006-07. During his presidency, he revealed a vision for a One Health Initiative, which the AVMA established in collaboration with the American Medical Association in 2007.