FDA Microbiologist to Head Leopold Center
FDA Microbiologist named to head Leopold Center | Des Moines Register Staff Blogs
Mark Rasmussen, a Nebraska native who is supervisory microbiologist and director of the Division of Animal and Food Microbiology at the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine in Laurel, Maryland, will become the new director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University on June 1.
He succeeds Jerry DeWitt, who retired in 2010. Mark Honeyman has been interim director of of the Center since last year after a nationwide search that ended without a candidate being selected.
“Dr. Rasmussen brings to us a broad-based background and exceptional scientific, agricultural and administrative strengths that will provide strong leadership for the Leopold Center and for Iowa agriculture,” said Gregory Geoffroy, president of Iowa State University.
At the FDA, Rasmussen has provided technical guidance and research support for regulatory decisions on drugs, feed additives and contaminants in animal feeds. He also worked 18 years as a scientist and research leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames, including service as a collaborating faculty member in Iowa State’s animal science and biomedical sciences departments.
He has held research positions in private companies and has farmed full-time in Nebraska.
Rasmussen was raised on a farm in northeastern Nebraska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a master’s degree in animal science from the University of Nebraska, a Ph.D. in dairy science from the University of Illinois and a master of business administration degree from Iowa State University.
His scientific expertise includes areas of microbiology, food safety, animal health, ruminant nutrition, veterinary medicine and antibiotic resistance. He holds two patents related to his research, including food safety technology used on an estimated 20 percent of the beef carcasses marketed in the United States.