Banda named executive director of Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory System

Contact: Mel Thurlow

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Dr. Alejandro Banda is the new executive director of the Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory System, or MVRDLS.

Portrait of Dr. Alejandro Banda
Dr. Alejandro Banda (Photo by Tom Thompson)

The MVRDLS consists of four laboratories located in three geographic sites operated by MSU CVM—the Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (MVRDL) and the Poultry Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (PRDL), both in Pearl; the Aquatic Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ARDL) located in Stoneville; and the CVM Diagnostic and Aquatic Laboratory housed in the Wise Center on the college’s main campus in Starkville. The labs provide vital surveillance and diagnostic testing for practicing veterinarians, individual producers, pet owners, and the livestock, aquaculture and poultry industries throughout the state.

A longtime CVM faculty member, Banda is a clinical professor in veterinary virology in the CVM Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine. He joined the PRDL in 2008 and has instructed DVM courses such as Special Species, Agents of Infectious Disease and Veterinary Anatomy, as well as master’s-level classes including Advanced Poultry Diseases and Poultry Virology. He is a diplomate of both the American College of Poultry Veterinarians and American College of Microbiologists, member of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and American Association of Avian Pathologists, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Avian Diseases.

Banda is originally from Mexico and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Veterinary Science degrees from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He completed his Ph.D. in medical microbiology at the University of Georgia. Banda previously worked as a consultant in animal health with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in Mexico and as an associate professor in avian medicine and virology at the UNAM College of Veterinary Medicine. He also served as an extension associate and laboratory director at Cornell University Duck Research Laboratory in New York state.

“We are excited about Dr. Banda moving into the executive director role because he brings a wealth of experience from his work at the Poultry Research and Diagnostic Laboratory and fully understands the important mission of the MVRDLS,” MSU CVM Dean Dr. Nicholas Frank said. “Dr. Banda will ensure that the MVRDLS continues to serve the needs of the state by detecting and investigating diseases that threaten the health of animals and impact the poultry, cattle, equine and catfish industries.”

The MVRDLS is the state’s only approved laboratory for conducting government-required surveillance and regulatory testing for domestic and food animals, including those tests required before the harvest, sale or shipping of food-animal products. And, although the labs do a high volume of regulatory tests, the diagnostic tests they provide are equally as important as they help producers, veterinarians and industry make decisions about treatment and vaccination programs.

“I am excited to continue serving MSU, the CVM, and the overall state of Mississippi in this new capacity. These current times are posing remarkable challenges in animal health but also offer great opportunities to our diagnostic laboratory system,” Banda said. “MVRDLS is staffed with veterinarians, technicians, research scientists, and support staff who understand that the services we provide are vital to Mississippians. Our employees are committed to protecting the health of animals, people and the state’s vital agricultural economy. I am proud to work with them to ensure that we continue to offer the informed, timely, high-quality services those we serve have come to know and expect.”

MSU College of Veterinary Medicine provides two full years of clinical experience with students receiving training in all species and completing more than 50 surgeries prior to graduation. The college is nationally recognized for its shelter medicine and aquaculture programs, as well as research in antimicrobial resistance. It is the only college of veterinary medicine to lead a USAID innovation lab and offers both B.S. in veterinary medical technology and joint DVM-Ph.D. programs. For more information, visit