Specializing in a particular equine disease can make laboratories like the Department of Veterinary Science’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky highly reputable. But when that particularity is recognized by the Animal World Health Organization (OIE) in Paris, France, that high reputation equates with worldwide responsibility.

The OIE names a handful of research laboratories "OIE reference laboratories" for specific diseases. These laboratories–always led by a recognized "expert"–research, investigate, innovate, develop, store, test, consult, and advise on the diseases they’re responsible for, all in the name of the OIE. It’s an honor, a privilege, and above all a major commitment and responsibility. Across the planet there are 236 OIE reference laboratories covering 112 animal diseases. The Gluck Equine Research Center is one of them. It alone covers three animal diseases–all specifically equine-related.

Peter Timoney, PhD, FRCVS, professor and former department chair and director of the Gluck Center, is an OIE-recognized expert on equine viral arteritis (EVA) as well as equine rhinopneumonitis; and Thomas Chambers, PhD, professor of veterinary virology at the Gluck Center, is an OIE-recognized expert on equine influenza.

"Diseases are international in their circulation, and the (OIE) reference labs provide focal points of expertise that countries can turn to for assistance as the needs arise," Chambers explained.

By collaborating with related OIE reference laboratories across the globe (currently, three others for equine influenza, three f