Retired professor Luo Chu-fang (羅竹芳) has become the first Taiwanese to win a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) honorary award, National Cheng Kung University said on Sunday.
The OIE confers annual awards for outstanding contributions to the control of animal disease and/or veterinary public health.
Luo was honored for her research into shrimp diseases, which led to her lab becoming famous for studying new shrimp diseases and the development of diagnostic tools to detect viral diseases in shrimp, the school said in a statement.
Photo courtesy of National Cheng Kung University
Luo taught at National Taiwan University, where she conducted the bulk of her research, before transferring to Cheng Kung in 2013, where she taught until her retirement last month.
Despite her retirement, Luo’s enthusiasm for research is unabated, and she is working on the nation’s first standardized shrimp breeding area in Hualien County, the statement said.
Luo began studying crustaceans in 1994 after witnessing the effects of the white spot syndrome virus on shrimp and the aquaculture industry.
Her research at the time on the pathogenic mechanisms of white spot disease, which is caused by a virus, was very important, a person in the shrimp industry said.
Scientists had thought that the disease was caused by a baculovirus, but Luo used DNA sequencing and viral pathogen assembly mechanisms to determine that it was caused by a new virus.
Thanks to that research, Luo’s lab was designated a reference lab by the OIE.
Having published several papers on shrimp breeding while at NTU, after switching schools, she used the results to help aquaculture farmers develop their businesses, Luo said.
While at Cheng Kung, Luo studied the breeding of specific pathogen-free shrimp and cultured shrimp resistant to viral diseases, set up a research and development center for shrimp aquaculture, and built a high-tech shrimp farm to promote a new form of shrimp farming management.
In 2013, Luo collaborated with researchers in Thailand to develop diagnostic kits for the detection of viral diseases in shrimp, which have tremendously benefited the marine biotechnology industry and shrimp aquaculture, Cheng Kung said in the statement.
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