U Of Missouri’s Dr. John Middleton Receives Nat’l Mastitis Council’s Award Of Excellence

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Source: National Mastitis Council news release

The National Mastitis Council (NMC) named John Middleton, a University of Missouri professor in the department of veterinary medicine and surgery in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the associate vice president and chief of staff in the office of the university president, as its 2024 Award of Excellence for Contribution to Mastitis Prevention and Control recipient.

The 2014 NMC president, Middleton earned his bachelor’s, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and PhD degrees from Washington State University, is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and an associate member of the European College of Bovine Health Management.

This award recognizes an NMC member who has provided sustained contributions to mastitis prevention and control through research, extension and/or education, clinical practice or service to dairy producers. Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors the award and presented Middleton with a $2,500 honorarium.

Middleton has held clinical, teaching, research, administrative and service roles at the University of Missouri for more than two decades. His research has primarily focused on mastitis and milk quality in dairy cattle and dairy goats. Externally, he has held leadership roles in the American College of Veterinary of Internal Medicine, American Veterinary Medical Association and National Mastitis Council. He served as an NMC board member from 2010-2016.

Additionally, Middleton is a long-serving member of the U.S. Department of Agriculture multistate project – Mastitis Resistance to Enhance Dairy Food Safety. Currently, he is a section editor for the health, behavior and well-being section of the Journal of Dairy Science. Middleton has given talks and workshops internationally on mastitis and milk quality.

In support of Middleton’s nomination, Lawrence “Larry” Fox, Washington State University emeritus professor, wrote, “John has made significant contributions to mastitis control and its abatement, and thus the improvement of milk quality.” As a veterinary practitioner, Middleton worked with producers to improve bovine health and milk quality. As a researcher, he directed studies that addressed identifying how mastitis pathogens interact with the dairy ecology to decrease the risk of this disease complex, determining how the cow and calf respond to the exposure of mastitis pathogens, and investigating what management strategies can be developed that will lead to mastitis abatement.

Middleton embarked on his research career at Washington State University, leading investigations into the epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus mastitis. Not only was he able to explain the cow’s response to this agent in her effort to combat the disease, but he also explored possible methods to eliminate the pathogen during the dry period with success. Much of Middleton’s early work in contagious mastitis abatement at the University of Missouri focused on illuminating the antibody response to vaccination against Staph. aureus. Continuing work on the genus Staphylococci, Middleton directed research examining the roles of non-aureus staphylococci mastitis agents. More recently, Middleton extended his research reach to caprine (goat) staphylococcal mastitis.

Middleton’s former graduate student and now colleague Pamela Adkins praised Middleton for teaching her invaluable lessons on how to develop appropriate questions and methods in science, and his dedication to students and setting them up for success in their careers.

Adkins added, “He not only worked diligently to teach each of his students how to be good scientists, but also how to share our work with fellow researchers, producers and industry personnel. He worked meticulously through draft after draft to make sure we were communicating our work appropriately and clearly. John’s dedication to the success of his students is visible today, as several of us have gone on to continue to work in academia and develop our careers as dairy researchers.”

National Mastitis Council is a professional organization devoted to reducing mastitis and enhancing milk quality. NMC promotes research and provides information to the dairy industry on udder health, milking management, milk quality and milk safety. Founded in 1961, NMC has about 1,000 members in more than 40 countries throughout the world.