Imagine the warm, sandy beaches of Australia, the pure, white-capped mountains towering over Colorado, and the never-ending cotton fields of West Texas. Few have had the opportunity to experience all three of these places firsthand. The newest member of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at Texas Tech University has been fortunate enough to call all these places home.
Guy Loneragan was among six strategic hires for Texas Tech in fall 2010 and the first for the Department of Animal and Food Sciences. According to Taylor Eighmy, vice president of research for Texas Tech, Loneragan is a tool in the university’s effort to obtain tier-one status.
“We are asking them to continue their excellence in research, scholarship, teaching, mentoring and program development,” Eighmy said. “There are high expectations placed on these hires.”
Loneragan began his education as a veterinary medicine student at the University of Sydney.
“I’ve always had an interest in public health, as well as animal health,” Loneragan said. “I’m a veterinarian by trade, but what really has struck me is the relationship between healthy animals and healthy people.”
Loneragan made his way to the United States from Australia because of this interest. “I wanted to specialize a little bit more and better understand the latest developments,” Loneragan said, “and those opportunities were not, at that time, available in Australia.”
Epidemiology was the logical choice for Loneragan as he enrolled in Colorado State University.
Loneragan currently pursues research grant funds to back his current initiatives related to Escherichia coli O157:H7, or E. coli, and the development of a systems approach to control the bacterium. While Loneragan is the principle investigator for the project, he collaborates with other faculty members who include professors Mindy Brashears and Mark Miller.
Kevin Pond, chair of the Animal and Food Sciences Department Chairperson for the Department Animal and Food Sciences said Lonergan’s reputation as a successful researcher preceded him.
Loneragan said he welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with individuals whom he considers to be world-class scientists, but also good friends. Research is his number one priority as Loneragan moves forward here at Texas Tech, but he is eager to build relationships with colleagues.
“Really, what I would like to do is pursue some of these larger research questions,” Loneragan said.
His ultimate research goal is to positively impact public health for all Americans.
“I see us doing this through understanding and providing a mechanism to make an impact in food safety,” Loneragan said.
He plans to accomplish this through further development of the partnerships he already possesses, not only with other Texas Tech faculty, but with others throughout the world.
“A lot of the problems that we’re facing, others are confronted with as well,” Loneragan said.
The research he does in feedlots throughout France, Argentina, Australia and Canada provides a unique experience and perspective toward challenges in the food safety industry.
“If we share ideas and concepts, we can make advances quicker,” Loneragan said.
Because Texas Tech has the infrastructure to facilitate faculty pursuing larger science, societally important questions, Lonergan was intrigued to conduct research at the institution.
“What I can bring is the link to some of the programs that answer important questions for society,” Loneragan said.
It is with these types of links in research that Texas Tech can move forward in its effort to attain tier-one status.
“Texas Tech has clearly invested in building its infrastructure, both physical and personnel,” Loneragan said, “but what really attracted me is its leadership has laid out a vision to get there that is coherent, logical and driven.”