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February 16, 2022

Case Study: Iowa State University VDL

“The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is a crown jewel for Iowa State University and for the entire state of Iowa.”

- Iowa State University President, Wendy Wintersteen



A veterinary diagnostic lab (VDL) develops and delivers diagnostic and consultative services regarding animal health and diseases. The Iowa State University VDL is a national leader in protecting animal and human health, offering full-service laboratories that process upwards of 100,00 cases each year. They conduct more than a million tests annually. With changing process flows and a massive increase in volume, Strang worked with ISU to create a new one-of-a-kind VDL to meet their demand.

Previously located in the ISU veterinarian school, moving the VDL to its own building freed up space in the vet school for surgery suites, hospital improvements, and classrooms. With their VDL accreditation up for renewal, ISU had the option to either make a major renovation or build an entirely new facility that would meet their every need. Deciding on a new facility, ISU sought to improve both capacity and efficiency of the VDL’s processes and services.

Watch the live progress on the construction of Iowa State University’s new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory!



The new 90,000 SF state-of-the-art VDL provides essential infrastructure for sample receiving and processing, pathology, bacteriology, necropsy, and histopathology in Iowa and all over the nation. The new construction drastically improves the efficiency and effectiveness of the process flow while addressing critical issues of space quantity and quality, while providing the necessary biosafety and biocontainment. These specialized laboratory spaces were also designed with a flexible layout concept. This allows the labs to quickly adapt to changing user needs and research goals.


The ISU VDL is an essential part of Iowa’s economy. It serves as a quality control lab for the State of Iowa’s food production. This is a massive laboratory, and it is set up for an extremely high volume of testing. They are the largest food animal veterinary diagnostic lab in North America. The ISU VDL also helped set up human health testing during the COVID-19 pandemic because they already had the testing set-up and processes ready. Early in the pandemic, the VDL worked with Iowa’s State Hygienic Lab to help them meet the overwhelming amount of testing requirements in Iowa.

“What the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is accomplishing in supporting the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is truly a great example of how Iowa State University is prepared to and can respond to the needs of Iowans,”

-Dan Grooms, the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean of Veterinary Medicine

Now at home in their state-of-the-art, specialized facility, the ISU VDL is applying its world-class laboratory design to everyday, real-world problems.

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