Auburn Veterinarian | Fall 2017

Page 1

AUBURN FA L L 2 0 1 7











A BALANCED COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE Most of my discussions as dean seek to identify the appropriate balance between two apparent extremes. For example, we strive to maintain balance between revenue and expenditures, hospital caseload and clinical instruction, work responsibilities and life’s demands, “healthy” stress and distress, and so on. From the College of Veterinary Medicine’s perspective, we seek to achieve an ideal balance between teaching, research, and service. In other words, we want to monitor and adjust our activities to support Auburn University’s mission in enhancing student success, promoting discovery, and practicing the highest standards of veterinary medicine. These discussions determine which faculty are hired, how faculty time is spent, where funds are allocated, and which students are recruited. I’m excited to share in this issue of the Auburn Veterinarian a bold plan that was established by Provost Timothy Boosinger, our college’s sixth dean, to advance the research mission of Auburn University in a strategic and impactful way. The Cluster Hire Initiative, established in 2014 and fully implemented this year, has recruited more than 40 internationally recognized scientists to the Auburn University campus, four of whom reside in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Most significantly, these new faculty will contribute to five major research initiatives that span most disciplines across our campus: from veterinary medicine to engineering to pharmacy to forestry & wildlife sciences and beyond. As budgets in public higher education tighten, we actively seek ways to do more through collaboration and interdisciplinary work. We have found valuable synergism with our academic partners on Auburn’s campus, in industry, and in the federal sector. Even more exciting is our belief that when disciplines merge, the union creates fertile areas for creativity and innovation.

Auburn’s Scott-Ritchey Research Center is a companion animal research program supported through an endowment and substantial extramural funding from the federal government, corporations, and donors. Through extensive interdisciplinary collaboration spanning more than 50 years, the Center has transformed a veterinarian’s clinical curiosity over a single neurological kitten into a groundbreaking, multi-institutional program in gene therapy for inherited neurological disorders. Strategies for creating a cure for GM1 gangliosidosis in cats will soon enter human clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health. From a One Health perspective, we are optimistic. One Health, by its nature, is an interdisciplinary venture with high research value. A balanced One Health perspective enhances student learning, improves clinical services, and increases our profession’s relevance to society.

War Eagle!

Dean Calvin Johnson ’86





SENIOR WRITER Mitch Emmons EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Mary Ellen Hendrix PHOTOGRAPHY Mitch Emmons Jeff Etheridge, Auburn Photographic Services




ACADEMIC AFFAIRS Dr. Daniel Givens RESEARCH Dr. Frank Bartol CLINICAL SCIENCES Dr. Jamie Bellah DEVELOPMENT Diana Turner Jan Chamblin




• Facebook and Twitter | AuburnVetMed • YouTube | College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University • Instagram | au_vet_med. Auburn Veterinarian (USPS 014-919) is published four times annually, Volume 36, at 105 Greene Hall, Auburn, AL 36849-5528. Submissions: Mail to Auburn Veterinarian, 105 Greene Hall, Auburn, AL 36849. Copyright © 2017 Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be utilized or reproduced without prior written consent of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Auburn University is an equal opportunity educational institution/employer.



30 | G RANT TO














ith global impact in the field that continues to this day, Domestic Animal Endocrinology was created in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology nearly 35 years ago. Domestic Animal Endocrinology accomplished a number of technical firsts with respect to internet-based publishing. Indeed, technical practices adopted early on ultimately were reflected in publication practices of other scientific publications across a host of disciplines. The College is proud to recognize this important and historically relevant contribution to science and to those whose vision and dedication to this discipline made it happen.

The following is Dr. James Sartin’s account of how this important, scholarly publication was started at the college: A new scientific journal, Domestic Animal Endocrinology, was developed in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in 1983. A group of five endocrinology faculty agreed to launch a new journal dedicated to endocrine research in animals of agricultural and veterinary significance. James Sartin and Robert Kemppainen from Physiology and Pharmacology, John Pritchett from Zoology, and Dennis Marple and Hardin Rahe from Animal and Dairy Science pooled personal funds and launched the new journal. A call for papers and subscription notices were mailed. An

undergraduate student at Auburn designed the cover for the journal. Surprisingly, the manuscript submissions arrived quickly along with the first check for a library subscription from the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Kemppainen handled subscriptions and business, Dr. Marple was production editor, and Dr. Sartin served as scientific editor. On a Saturday morning in January 1984, we gathered in a teaching laboratory in Physiology and Pharmacology, packaged the journals in envelopes and applied mailing labels to the envelopes. Domestic Animal Endocrinology was born. By the late 1980s, the journal was the highestranked journal in the ISI Veterinary Medicine category. The journal was later moved to the ISI Dairy and Animal Science category where it also spent time at the top of the list. In the early 1990s, the workload was becoming a burden, so the journal was sold to Butterworth Heinemann publishing company for professional production and advertising assistance. A few years later, Elsevier acquired Domestic Animal Endocrinology. Domestic Animal Endocrinology was at the forefront in utilizing the possibilities of the Internet. In 1994, we launched a gopher server with the help of the CVM computer group, then quickly thereafter, a World Wide Web platform. In early 1995, we began receiving manuscripts via email. Also in 1995, the computer group at the


CVM made a form to receive manuscript reviews from the web. The reviewer pasted reviews into the form, pushed a button and the review was emailed to the editor. Unfortunately, the faster delivery of manuscripts to reviewers did not improve manuscript review times as much as we hoped. The journal provided an award for outstanding graduate student papers published each year and published special issues of review articles from international meetings. Domestic Animal Endocrinology grew from a quarterly publication to eight issues per year. By any measure of success, Domestic Animal Endocrinology had become a major journal in its discipline.

Over the years, a number of Auburn University faculty were a part of the journal. Frank (Skip) Bartol, Dale Coleman, Don Mulvaney and Tim Braden served as associate editors, and others served as editorial board members and reviewers. After 25 years as editor, Dr. Sartin gave up the editorship. Although Domestic Animal Endocrinology is no longer housed at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, the two will always be linked.

For more information, visit:

OUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS The college asked our alumni, “What do you think is the greatest achievement in the college’s history?” To date, we’ve received some interesting responses:

Joe Long ‘84 “For me it is the privilege of being a part of a proud profession that still holds empathy and kindness in high regard. This foundational principle was modeled by our professors and has been reinforced by my Auburn colleagues in practice as well as the critical referral/consultation support from the current faculty. We have far too few heroes today and it is an honor to see veterinary professionals on many levels do their work with integrity, exemplifying what it looks like to do our jobs well. It has been fascinating to watch the profession evolve and the AUCVM continues to lead the way as we confront these challenges. The Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital is just one example of Auburn’s commitment to a high level of excellence.


May we never lose this sense of pride in being an Auburn veterinarian! War Eagle!”

Hugh H. Bassham ‘63 “I came away from Auburn inspired to continue my education after my graduation. I believe it is graduating caring and committed veterinarians.”

Sam Woods ‘45 “I had the honor of shaking Dr. Cary’s hand in 1926. I am sure there are only a few vets living who have had this honor. Dr. Cary came to see my father [Kansas City Veterinary College, class of ’13] who had a sick horse.”

Tobe J. Singleton ‘98 “The greatest achievement for me from the AU CVM is the memories made while I was a student and when my father (J. Whitt Singleton ’80) was a student. [When I was] four, my father started veterinary school and I remember having to fall asleep watching him sit at a desk studying since my bedroom was also his study room. The desk light stayed on into the early hours of each morning. He had to work hard to soak up the knowledge those first two years of veterinary school. It was difficult with having a family (my brother was born beginning of his junior year). I remember when my father had clinical rotations that he would take me with him when he had to check on cases while they were in the small or large animal hospitals (Hoerlein or McAdory Hall). I suppose that is what started me on my path of yearning to be the same as he was when I went to college 15 years later. After years of being his kennel walker, gate opener for large animal calls and assistant with surgery, supportive shoulder for the dear client who was upset over the loss of their dear pet or cleaning a cage for a patient, I loved it all and that’s what forged me to focus on becoming a veterinarian. I was fortunate to secure a recommendation for veterinary school from a professor that my father had as an instructor (Dr. Gatz Riddell). I worked with him in McAdory Hall milking cows for two-and-a-half years prior to entering veterinary Teachingschool & Research Labof 1994. I also had him as a in the fall professor along with Dr. David Pugh when I was on clinical rotations in veterinary school and also was lucky enough to have others who are no longer with us (Dr. Bob Carson) or retired (Dr. Dwight Wolfe) to solidify my large animal instruction.

Dr. Steven Swaim was another special professor (now retired) that I was so fortunate to have as a student in the small animal clinic to instill in me ‘pearls of wisdom’ I utilize every day in practice. Dr. Bill Brawner, Dr. Paul Rumph, Dr. Phillip Garrett, Dr. Larry Swango, Dr. Joe Spano, Dr. Joe Newton and Dr. Charlie Hendrix (Bay less ask a Riss Pro Sy Own Iss) are just a few of the professors who make me smile when I think of the four years I had the privilege to learn from these individuals and share now with my clients their love for veterinary medicine. The greatest achievement for me would be the people I was fortunate to call teachers, friends and colleagues. The buildings may change and, even though I would like it all to stay as it was when I was in school, progress is needed. The Auburn University CVM is Auburn in spirit and love of veterinary medicine. I’m thankful of my instruction there and proud to be a member of an elite group of alumni from one of the best veterinary schools in the country.”

Evelyn Nelson ‘91 “When I reflect on this question, I see many answers. The best is that wherever I go, whenever I am asked ‘what college of veterinary medicine did you graduate from.,’ I proudly reply Auburn. Almost 100 percent of the following refrains are ‘that is known to be the best veterinary school in the country.’ This is, I believe, due to the general quality of persons admitted to the college and then groomed and molded by an unwavering quality of education and ethics.”

Those are some of my fondest memories and the work ethic, knowledge and the love they showed for the profession warmed my heart.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ­— Email your comments to: and be sure to add your name, graduation year, and a special memory of your time at AUCVM.




n 1836, shortly after the Treaty of Washington in 1832 that removed the Creek Indians from east A labama, the town of Auburn was founded by John J. Harper from Georgia. Growth in the town paralleled that of the territory, soon requiring efforts to meet the needs of education. Early preparatory schools that served a wide area of east A labama and west Georgia were the forerunners of the East A labama Male College founded by the Methodist Church in 1856. Closed in 1861 with the declaration of Civil War, the college served as a Confederate hospital until 1865. History records that rapid advances in science and industry are often borne on the wings of war. It is noteworthy that the Civil War coincided with the proof of the Germ Theory in the laboratories of Louis Pasteur (1860), marking the beginnings of modern medicine and ushering in the Golden Age of bacteriology. Wound infections and contagious plagues had been the bête noire of civilization from the beginnings of time. Following Pasteur’s momentous revelation, discovery of the true etiology of these infections followed in rapid-f ire order.


During the decade that Charles A. Cary was graduating in veterinary medicine at Iowa State University (1887), Robert Koch had identif ied the cause of tuberculosis (1882), and the f indings of Theobald Smith of the U.S. Bureau of A nimal Industry (BA I) incorporated the testing of infected cattle, which led to compulsory pasteurization of milk products. A lso of note at the time was the discovery of the piroplasm causing Texas tick fever and its mode of transmission. In so doing, Frederick K ilborne and Cooper Curtice, working under Daniel E. Salmon and Theobald Smith in the laboratories of the BA I, demonstrated for the f irst time the role of insect vectors of both human and animal contagion, opening the door to elucidation of the causes of malaria, yellow fever, plague, typhus, and innumerable other arthropod-borne diseases. Three other events occurring in the same timeframe (1860-1890) were seminal in the birth of veterinary medical education in A labama. In 1862, a year after Lincoln was elected president, Congress passed the Homestead Act, the Morrill Land-Grant College Act, and the act establishing the United States Department of Agriculture, all aimed at assisting the family farmer. The Morrill Act, in particular, provided for agricultural and mechanical colleges throughout the country. The Methodist Church had a well-established college

in Auburn with no funds to operate it. So in 1872, the East A labama Male College, under the administration at the time of Dr. B.B. Ross, chairman of the faculty board and presumably with the support of Governor David P. Lewis, made a successful bid for A labama’s land-grant college, transferring ownership of the church college to the state of A labama. The second Morrill Land-Grant College Act in 1890 provided annual appropriations to each state to support its land-grant college. It also provided funding for publicly supported black institutions (including Tuskegee Institute) which became known as the Colleges of 1890. The third major event occurred in 1887 with the passage of the Hatch Act which provided for a yearly grant to each state for the support of an agricultural experiment station. This coincided with the administration of William Leroy Broun, president of the A labama Agricultural and Mechanical College. Up until the turn of the century, Germany and France had been the fountainheads of medical and comparative (veterinary) medical knowledge. It was into this exciting period of discovery in 1891 that Broun and Cary, then a University of Missouri graduate student of Dr. Paul Paguin’s—himself a student of Louis Pasteur­— had a chance meeting on a train.1 President Broun, intent on emphasizing the sciences at Auburn, recognized the potential

in Cary and persuaded him to join the faculty at Auburn as a visiting lecturer of physiology and veterinary science in the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1892. It might be said that, from this time onward, the future was virtually preordained. In satisfaction of his agreement with President Broun, Cary pursued his graduate studies further in the laboratories of Robert Koch in Germany, returning to Auburn in 1893. A n immediate benef it of Cary’s f irst-hand acquaintance with the work of Pasteur and Koch was that A labama was one of the f irst states in the nation to institute the use of tuberculin for detection of tuberculosis in cattle and the application of public meat and milk inspection and the pasteurization process. This was the f inest example of the practice of One Medicine. Applying the f indings of K ilborne and Curtice, Cary tackled the South’s problem with tick fever which had effectively paralyzed the cattle industry. But to execute these multiple responsibilities, there needed to be a formal structure to use as a base of operations.

1 This oft-repeated f ictional account has subsequently been corrected.



STRATEGIC CLUSTER HIRES Editor’s Note: The College of Veterinary Medicine has four new cluster-hire faculty, part of an Auburn University initiative associated with research programs. Speaking about the importance of these additions to the college’s research programs, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Frank “Skip” Bartol said: “The College of Veterinary Medicine has core faculty members in three of the five clusters, and recruited four new faculty members through this important hiring initiative. Included are two scientists in the Omics and Informatics cluster—Drs. Nancy Merner and Xu Wang— and two in the Pharmaceutical Engineering cluster—Drs. Amarjit Mishra and Maninder Sandey. These individuals bring important new perspectives, knowledge and skills to the college. Their addition to our faculty promises to catalyze competitiveness and advance our programs of research and scholarship.”

Strategic Cluster Hire Initiative Leverages Research, Strengthens Faculty Expertise In Fall 2014, Auburn University, under the auspices of the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, launched the university’s first strategic hiring initiative. Designed to align Auburn’s research with funding trends, strengthen the faculty, and enhance the university’s research performance, the initiative began with nearly 50 faculty members who presented synopses of their scholarly work with others in Auburn’s intellectual community.


“As a land-grant institution, Auburn University is committed to advancing knowledge and discovery through application and scholarly work,” said Auburn Provost Timothy Boosinger. “To promote successful interdisciplinary research, scholarship, creative work, and engagement activities, it is important to identify existing multidisciplinary opportunities for research and cultivate new ones. This is the intent and objective of the Cluster Hire Initiative.” Following a rigorous proposal process, five strategic research cluster proposals were selected for funding. These clusters represent faculty from every college and school and support the university’s capacity to advance interdisciplinary research. Following is an overview of each cluster:

Health Disparities At the broadest level, the goals for this cluster are to improve health in the community, state, region, nation, and world by identifying, understanding, and addressing health needs and health disparities. A special focus of the cluster is on the disadvantaged segments of these populations, which are often underserved by existing health care systems due to historically unequal treatment or injustice. Research is aimed at identifying the source of disparities and acting to alleviate them, and includes approaches that range from broadly based population studies to carefully controlled laboratory-based experimental models to identify how disparities occur. To accomplish these goals, research scientists within the Health Disparities cluster form multidisciplinary collaborative research teams and partnerships to devise highly competitive research proposals designed to identify,

Cluster Hires Focus Research, Maximize Collaboration (V)

College of Veterinary Medicine


School of Nursing


School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences


College of Agriculture


College of Education


Harrison School of Pharmacy


Alabama Cooperative Extension System


College of Liberal Arts


College of Human Sciences


Samuel Ginn College of Engineering


College of Architecture, Design and Construction


College of Sciences and Mathematics











Ag Ed







Auburn Cluster-Hire Faculty

understand, and remediate health disparities. Membership in this cluster is diverse, and research interests of the new faculty members range across a multitude of disciplines, such as: biomedicine, including obesity, diabetes, dementia, developmental disabilities, and cancer; socio-ecological factors that influence health and health-related decision-making, including environmental contaminants, substance abuse, dietary and exercise choices, income levels, and accessibility to available services related to somatic and mental health; and attitudes concerning preferred body sizes and satisfaction with body size. Research strategies include population-based epidemiological studies, employment of large-scale databases, and experimental and interventional studies with humans and laboratory animals. The Health Disparities cluster also is committed to the dissemination and translation of research discoveries to the widest range of potential audiences. These audiences include the relevant scientific communities, clinical professionals who act directly to maintain and promote public health, policy makers, the participants in research studies, and the public at large. Through dissemination and translation, the cluster members affect science, policy, and practices related to health and health disparities.


Members of the cluster are also committed to interdisciplinary education of undergraduate and graduate students that crosses traditional academic boundaries of colleges, schools, and departments in order to train a new generation of health disparities scholars and practitioners. This commitment is realized through inclusion of both undergraduate and graduate students in ongoing research, serving as guest lecturers in courses currently taught at Auburn and development of seminars and courses not currently offered at Auburn University.

Sponsoring Colleges/Schools • College of Agriculture • College of Education • College of Architecture, Design and Construction • School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences • College of Human Sciences • College of Liberal Arts • School of Nursing • Harrison School of Pharmacy • College of Sciences and Mathematics

• College of Veterinary Medicine

1. Drug Discovery, Molecular Synthesis & Diagnostics

• Alabama Cooperative Extension System

2. Manufacturing of Active Therapeutics

Pharmaceutical Engineering The overarching objective of this cluster hiring initiative is to establish a cutting-edge interdisciplinary pharmaceutical engineering research and education program that will meet the current and future needs of the pharmaceutical industry, the state of Alabama, and the nation. More effective drugs with fewer adverse effects are needed to treat human diseases. The use of medications and the associated costs continue to rise. Clearly, there is a need to have more efficient and cost-effective ways to take drugs from the lab bench to the bedside. While there are many steps in this process, drug delivery/ testing and manufacturing are key components that frequently do not receive sufficient attention. Questions such as what are the best formulations for maximum therapeutic effect and the optimal methods for manufacture must be addressed. Nationwide, there are only a few institutions, and none in the Southeast, that are using an integrated interdisciplinary approach to address these important issues in drug delivery and manufacturing. The sponsoring colleges/schools are committed to strategically promote and facilitate the interdisciplinary research and education needed to fill this critical gap. The Pharmaceutical Engineering Cluster will augment drug development, testing, and manufacturing efforts as well as offer interdisciplinary science and engineering research and training unavailable elsewhere in Alabama or the Southeast. Furthermore, this cluster addresses a national need for research along with the production of trained scientists and engineers who can deliver 21st-century solutions to problems on the critical path from discovery to commercialization of new medical products. This cluster will make Auburn University a key player in the field by strategically bringing together the resources and expertise of the sponsoring colleges/ schools. The cluster will foster interdisciplinary research that will identify, develop, and test novel methods for drug delivery along with efficient methods for the manufacture of medications. Auburn University is uniquely positioned to build on existing strengths to develop an integrative approach to address these challenges. Research activities will be organized in four primary thrust areas:

3. Formulation, Transport, Testing & Delivery Methods 4. Product Design & Regulation These topics comprise the entire process from identification of promising bioactive agents through efficacy and safety testing, manufacturing and delivery, to optimizing the impacts on dosing regimens and health outcomes research. Of vital importance, cluster members will take a holistic approach to these problems, as looking at each step individually may lead to suboptimal solutions. The cost of bringing a new drug to market has steadily increased to $500-800 million. As much as 75 percent of the total cost of each marketed drug is attributed to high failure rates of other candidates due to efficacy/safety problems. The high financial risk of drug development places great pressure on reducing cost and increasing productivity. Hence, tremendous opportunity exists for strategic academic research. Insightful integration of discovery, development, and manufacturing coupled with increased interaction among industry, academia, and government should improve efficiency in the health care sector.

Sponsoring Colleges/Schools • Samuel Ginn College of Engineering • Harrison School of Pharmacy • College of Sciences and Mathematics • College of Veterinary Medicine

Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences (CHESS) Multiple lines of scientific evidence have shown that global change including alterations in climate, air and water quality, and land use already have affected the ability of Earth’s ecosystems to provide people with food, energy, and water in many regions of the world. The U.S. National Climate Assessment indicates that U.S. ecosystems and our economic system are highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, and already are experiencing increased impacts of persistent extreme weather events such as droughts, hurricanes, heat waves, and sea-level rise. To provide effective solutions to the most pressing global and regional environmental challenges as well as to support transformation towards global sustainability, it


is of critical importance to pursue an interdisciplinary/ systems approach to understanding, predicting, and reacting to changes in coupled human-earth systems across local to global scales. The climate, human, and earth system sciences, by their very nature, are large, complex, and multi-disciplinary. The CHESS Cluster builds on Auburn’s strengths in disciplinary research on biological and physical sciences and will leverage the work of current faculty in plant and animal sciences, ecosystems, water resources, geoscience, agronomy, forestry, geospatial science, computational science, and social sciences. New faculty hires in seven areas will fill the crucial gaps of our understanding about the interconnected and interdependent human and earth systems, and facilitate the integration of existing expertise across multiple disciplines of participating colleges into an interdisciplinary, system-oriented program. The seven new faculty hires will provide crucial expertise needed 1) to understand and predict climate change dynamics using an earth system modeling approach, 2) to understand the dynamics of coupled natural and human systems, 3) to assess far-reaching biological effects and responses of our food-crop systems, 4) to understand global and regional hydrological processes and water resources, 5) to use paleoclimate data and model for understanding the past to predict the future, 6) to address critical challenges for big data management and high-performance computing in CHESS, and 7) to address climate policy and the economic, political and socio-cultural dimensions of the climate-food-energy-water nexus. The activities of this cluster initially will be organized and administrated by the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research (ICCGCR), the CHESS Steering Committee and External Advisory Board. This cluster will propose and offer a new interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree program in CHESS based on the integration of scientific disciplines from five colleges and school. The existing ICCGCR Center is also proposed to upgrade to a new university-level Institute of Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences.

Sponsoring Colleges/School • School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences • College of Sciences and Mathematics • College of Engineering • College of Agriculture • College of Liberal Arts


Omics and Informatics Omics and informatics science is one of the strongest and fastest-growing disciplines within modern biology. The human genome project drove a technological revolution that now makes comparison of individual genomes from all forms of life possible and affordable. This technology has also facilitated high throughput sequencing of RNA and DNA, allowing a snapshot of gene function in cells to become extraordinarily accessible. Additionally, this research has fueled a better understanding of downstream aspects of gene expression including protein interactions (the proteome) and processes affected by chemical modifications of the genome (epigenomics), as well as energetics and metabolism (metabolomics). Among other societal needs, this flood of data allows unprecedented understanding, utilization, and management of natural resources, precision medicine, and genome-directed detection of pathogens in environmental and food production settings. However, these opportunities also create the pressing need to devise new approaches to collect, store and analyze this information. Simply put, this technology is the future of modern biology, and Auburn University is committed to being at the front of the field. Researchers at Auburn investigate many different aspects of the biology of a huge range of species while employing a common thread of omics-based approaches and informatics for the analysis of the data sets produced. Existing programs such as the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer, the Cell and Molecular Biosciences Program, and the Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Program provide a rich collaborative environment. Auburn also possesses and continues to develop significant infrastructure including impressive computational resources and genomics technology. The Center for Comparative Genomics and Translational Research, established in the Fall of 2014 between Auburn University and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, allows Auburn faculty to access world-class resources and further emphasizes the need to develop expertise, both jointly with HudsonAlpha, and independently, to pursue omics and informatics research at the highest levels. The Omics and Informatics Cluster will impact Auburn, Alabama, the country and the world in broad and far-ranging ways. The sponsors welcome those who want to be a part of this exciting program.

Sponsoring Colleges/School • College of Agriculture • College of Sciences and Mathematics • College of Veterinary Medicine • Samuel Ginn College of Engineering • Harrison School of Pharmacy

Scalable Energy Conversion Science & Technology The focus of the Institute for Scalable Energy Conversion Science & Technology is to address the fundamental science and technology barriers that need to be overcome in order to economically produce and utilize small and otherwise underutilized energy sources in an environmentally beneficial manner. At present, the production and delivery of energy are dominated by extremely large capital investments, extensive supply and distribution infrastructure, and processing plants that economically scale only to very large sizes. As a result, many smaller, more remote, or seasonally available energy sources are grossly under-utilized, functionally stranded, and/or flared or vented into the environment (with deleterious results). Candidate energy sources that are suitable for smaller-scale processing plants include, among others: agricultural and forest biomass, land fill gas, anaerobic digester gas (biogas), food wastes, coal wastes, and a vast and ever-growing number of small oil and gas wells that populate Alabama as well as the Bakken (North Dakota) and the Eagle Ford (Texas) formations. The university environment is ideal for this research focus. The energy industry is focused on immediate return on investment and low risk. The university, with its diverse research background and a longer-term strategic horizon, is the right place to develop this science and technology portfolio. Auburn’s recent activities in bioenergy research highlight the need to reduce the scale of bioenergy-conversion technologies as well as the logistical systems employed to supply biomass to centrally located processing facilities at economically feasible costs. Furthermore, a number of the scalable gas-to-liquid (GTL) approaches needed for biogas or flare-gas conversion are almost identical to those required for agricultural or forest biomass, meaning that the fundamental approaches to be investigated in the Institute are central to the research and development agendas of all participating colleges.

To accomplish the focus, the Institute will facilitate and leverage the scholarly and educational activities of both existing faculty as well as new cluster hires by studying the fundamental science of processing these materials into liquid fuels or chemical feedstocks, or by testing new and existing methods for tailoring this fundamental science to new technologies that can be mobile and applied in the field. The focus of this Institute is timely, unique to Auburn, and addresses pressing societal needs in energy security, environment and economic development.

Sponsoring Colleges/School • College of Agriculture • College of Sciences and Mathematics • Samuel Ginn College of Engineering • School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences

In addition to the four newly hired faculty, the College of Veterinary Medicine has other faculty working in several of the cluster areas. They include: Health Disparities Cluster: Dr. James Wright and Dr. Stephanie Ostrowski, Department of Pathobiology. Omics and Informatics Cluster: Dr. Frank “Skip” Bartol, associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies and interim director of the Scott-Ritchey Research Center; Dr. Bruce Smith, Department of Pathobiology and director of AURIC; Dr. Douglas Martin, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology; Dr. Tatiana Samoylova, Deartment of Pathobiology; and Dr. Paul Walz, Department of Pathobiology. Pharmaceutical Engineering Cluster: Dr. Frank “Skip” Bartol, associate dean of Research and Graduate Studies and interim director of the Scott-Ritchey Research Center; Dr. Dawn Boothe and Dr. Douglas Martin, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology; and Dr. Tatiana Samoylova, Department of Pathobiology.





An assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology, Dr. Merner pursued her graduate studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, where her dissertation focused on the genetics of hereditary breast cancer, deafness, and a specific form of sudden cardiac death (arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, or ARVC). The most significant contribution of her doctoral studies came in 2008 with the discovery of TMEM43 as the cause of ARVC type 5. Dr. Merner pursued post-doctoral training in Montreal in the laboratory of Dr. Guy Rouleau, director of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University. Her primary focus was in the application of next-generation sequencing techniques for the identification of genes associated with essential tremor, autism spectrum disorder, insensitivity to pain, and epilepsy. In 2012, Dr. Merner used exome sequencing to discover the first causative ET gene, FUS. In 2014, Dr. Merner became a research assistant professor in the Harrison School of Pharmacy at Auburn University. She established a cancer genetics research program that focuses on identifying genetic risk variants of hereditary cancer syndromes, particularly Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC) Syndrome. Now as a faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine in the Omics and Informatics initiative, Dr. Merner is continuing her quest to find HBOC susceptibility genes and has incorporated a comparative genomics approach by studying both dogs and humans affected by the disease. Dr. Merner’s program is symbolized by her big pink bus, known as the “Gene Machine,” which serves as Dr. Merner’s mobile outreach and research program that aims to engage the community through an education and trust-building mechanism and offer research participation to individuals who would otherwise not have such opportunities. The Gene Machine travels all over the state to community events as well as scheduled education sessions and study enrollment appointments. The premise is to provide access. Alabama is a severely medically underserved state, and Dr. Merner strives to bring research and education to various communities for true inclusion.




An assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology, Dr. Mishra is a member of the Pharmaceutical Engineering cluster initiative. He earned his bachelor’s degree in veterinary sciences and animal husbandry in 2003 from the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences of India. In 2005, he earned his master’s degree in animal biochemistry from Indian Veterinary Research Institute with a Junior Research Fellowship from Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Dr. Mishra joined the Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, in 2006 to work on purinergic P2X7 receptor and alveolar cell interactions during surfactant secretion and acute lung injury. In 2011, he received his Ph.D. in veterinary biomedical sciences from Oklahoma State University, and joined the lab of Dr. Stewart J. Levine in 2012 as a postdoctoral fellow at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. While with the Levine lab, Dr. Mishra studied how dendritic cells modulate and propagate airway inflammation and responses to asthma. Dr. Mishra’s research approach underpins the contribution of progenitor cells to the molecular mechanisms cardinal to airway inflammation in asthmatics. A specific objective of his research is to identify novel endogenous signaling pathways and druggable targets in immune cells related to adaptive immunity and to investigate obesity-associated changes in dendritic cell function and airway inflammation.






An assistant professor of pathology in the Department of Pathobiology, Dr. Sandey’s research is teamed with the Pharmaceutical Engineering cluster initiative. Dr. Sandey earned a DVM from University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad in India in 2004, and following was awarded a Junior Research Fellowship to pursue a Master of Veterinary Science degree in animal biotechnology from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izzatnagar, India. In 2005, he received a Ph.D. in veterinary biomedical sciences from Auburn University. Dr. Sandey received a fellowship from EPSCoR in 2012 and an animal health and disease research grant for his Ph.D. project “Elucidation of genomic structure and biological functions of canine MDA-7 and its receptors.” He completed a three-year anatomic pathology residency at Auburn University and is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Dr. Sandey’s research focuses on molecular profiling, molecular classification, and comparative aspects of canine cancer. His laboratory is developing novel adenoviral vectors for both oncolytic virotherapy and delivery of genes with antitumor properties such as canine melanoma differentiation associated gene-7. Additionally, his laboratory is characterizing a liver-specific knockout mouse model of human Niemann Pick disease type C.



XU WANG CVM | Cluster Hire

An assistant professor of comparative genomics in animal health in the Department of Pathobiology, Dr. Wang also holds a position as an adjunct faculty investigator in the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. He received a bachelor’s degree in biological science in the School of Life Science at Fudan University in 2004 where he developed his honors thesis on genetic diversity of Chinese minority populations and linkage mapping of anthropometric traits in Dr. Li Jin’s lab. Dr. Wang earned his Ph.D. in genetics and genomics with Dr. Andrew Clark in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell University in 2011, with minors in biometry and computational biology. After completing his graduate work, Dr. Wang was appointed as a research associate in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the Cornell Center for Comparative and Population Genomics before coming to Auburn. A member of the Omics and Informatics cluster initiative, Dr. Wang’s research focuses on the genetic and epigenetic regulation of gene expression in vertebrates and insects, with emphasis on functional, evolutionary and comparative genomic analyses of epigenetically regulated allelic imbalance, whose mis-regulation is often involved in human and animal diseases including cancer, such as X chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting.






enetic disorders and diseases caused by failure of mechanisms that regulate gene expression, or the processing of gene products, can have devastating effects on both humans and animals. Pioneering advances in gene therapy and molecular medicine at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), one of which is nearing human clinical trials, hold promise for a brighter, healthier future for us all. In the Scott-Ritchey Research Center, CVM scientists Dr. Doug Martin and Dr. Heather Gray-Edwards lead efforts on GM1, Tay-Sachs (TSD) and Sandhoff (SD) disease research. With several years of documented success in animal models, a therapeutic strategy for treatment of GM1 gangliosidosis should enter human clinical trials in the coming year. GM1 gangliosidosis is a rare, inherited neurological disease. A lysosomal storage disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord, it is a progressive, degenerative condition that is always fatal in children. This genetically heritable disease affects about one in 200,000 people. These diseases are also found in cats, dogs and sheep. By taking advantage of a unique feline model developed at the Scott-Ritchey Research Center, the Auburn CVM research team has developed a gene therapy protocol that has proven successful in treating GM1. Moreover, their findings could lead to refinement of gene therapies for other neurologic diseases.

The vector is currently being made at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, one of America’s largest pediatric health care and research centers. Once the toxicity study on mice with the vector is completed, the company will begin to produce the vector for human clinical trials, which is expected to be in 2018 at the NIH. “The toxicity study is just one of several safety regulations the FDA requires before we can begin human clinical trials,” Dr. Martin said. “We feel confident that the vector will pass this test and we will be in production soon.” The development of a treatment for GM1 gangliosidosis using AAV gene therapy was initiated in 2005 by Dr. Martin, a professor in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology at Auburn, and Dr. Miguel Sena-Esteves, an associate professor in the

“The technology developed for GM1 treatment could be applied to any number of diseases, like Alzheimer’s, which may turn out to be an unusual form of a storage disease like GM1,” Dr. Martin said. “Our vector could have much broader implications and theoretically, the same technology used to treat GM1 could also treat Alzheimer’s.” Dr. Martin and Dr. Gray-Edwards are members of the Tay-Sachs Gene Therapy Consortium, an international collaborative group of scientists committed to searching for a cure. This team developed and tested a delivery system, or “vector” based on the adeno-associated virus (AAV). Dr. Doug Martin examines one of the cats in the GM1 study


Dr. Heather Gray-Edwards, right, and laboratory technician Kalajan Lopez

Neurology Department at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

how it has worked in cats that have the disease and how it has extended their lives as healthy animals.”

GM1 glangliosidosis is caused when the body does not produce enough of a specific enzyme, β-galactosidase (βgal), which recycles molecules from the body. When the molecules build to abnormal levels, they progressively destroy the body’s nervous system. The earlier the onset in children, the more quickly the disease kills.

Dr. Martin and a team of researchers have found success in administering the virus two ways: The first, and most successful, is by intracranial injections through the skull, which has succeeded in getting therapy beyond what is called the blood-brain barrier. Because of the risk of brain injection—especially in children already suffering from a neurologic disease—a less invasive alternative is now on the fast track for human clinical trials.

Dr. Sena-Esteves and Dr. Martin re-engineered the virus to introduce the gene that produces βgal. The virus acts as a vessel, its genetic material is removed and replaced with a concentrated dose of the βgal gene. Healthy cells pass along βgal, essentially allowing deficient cells to soak in the crucial enzyme. The experimental gene therapy has extended the lives of cats, which have a similar genetic defect, from an average of eight months to more than 57 months, with no ill effects, and with normal function. “There is no question now that the disease can be treated successfully,” said Dr. Martin. “We have seen


This second method is the development of an intravenous treatment which provides sufficient doses to the brain through the blood system. “This method has proven successful, but we have to administer more of the vector to ensure enough of it is in the brain,” he added. This team has also achieved similar success in the treatment of animals with GM2 gangliosidosis (Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff disease). Both cats with Sandhoff disease and sheep with Tay-Sachs benefited

from gene therapy devised by this team. Human clinical trials are also in the planning stages for for Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff disease.

and replicate inside cancer cells. They kill the cancer cell directly, by destroying it from the inside, and also by attracting the attention of the immune system.

Gene therapy studies in Tay-Sachs sheep are particularly important because the scientists have successfully demonstrated the same therapeutic principle in a brain similar in size to that of a child. These results indicate that the same success may be possible in a child’s brain, says Dr. Heather Gray-Edwards, an assistant research professor at the Scott-Ritchey Research Center.

Initial clinical trial results in dogs with bone cancer garnered promising results, and the group is now developing the second and third generations of the virus. Dr. Valery Petrenko, a professor in the Department of Pathobiology, pioneered use of bacterial viruses (bacteriophages) in molecular medicine. He and Dr. James Gillespie, an assistant research professor in the same

“We now only need to raise more funding to be able to take these therapies to clinical trials in human medicine,” Dr. Gray-Edwards said.

Other advances in gene therapy and molecular medicine The College of Veterinary Medicine is also home to other cutting-edge research programs at the molecular level focused on cancer and other diseases. In his laboratory at the ScottRitchey Research Center, Dr. Bruce Smith, a professor in the Department of Pathobiology, is seeking cures for both muscular dystrophy and cancer using gene therapy, and by monitoring immune responses to therapy.

“We use a library of different bacterial virus (bacteriophage) particles to identify protein sequences that are over-expressed on the surface of different types of cancer cells.” — Dr. Gillespie

In muscular dystrophy research, Dr. Smith has identified X-linked Duchenne-like muscular dystrophy (DMD) in four different dog breeds. He has found the mutations in three of these breeds (Welsh Corgi, Labrador Retriever, Labradoodle). He and his team are currently working on identifying the cause in the fourth breed, the English Springer Spaniel. In cancer research, Dr. Smith is working to create new treatments for a wide range of cancers in both dogs and people. His current work is focused on developing oncolytic viruses. These viruses are engineered to infect


department, are collaborating in research focused on developing targeted anti-cancer nanomedicines.

preventing the efficacy of some nanomedicines to reach their full potential,” Dr. Gillespie said.

“We use a library of different bacterial virus (bacteriophage) particles to identify protein sequences that are over-expressed on the surface of different types of cancer cells,” Dr. Gillespie said. “We have studied the interaction of these modified viral particles with different subtypes of breast, prostate, lung, and pancreatic cancer cells. The proteins from these cancer cell-specific virus particles are then isolated and used to create cancer cell-specific nanoparticles that can specifically deliver a therapeutic molecule [for example, small molecule drugs or siRNAs].”

Dr. Tatiana Samoylova, a research professor with Scott-Ritchey Research Center and the Department of Pathobiology, is focused on development of contraceptive vaccines for wild and feral animals. Her research involves cats, dogs, and pigs, using phage as a vector for immunogenic peptides.

Traditionally, targeted nanomedicines identify proteins that are over-expressed on the surface of tumor cells, or on the blood vessels in tumors, and rely on defects in tumor blood vessels for their increased tumor killing ability, he added. “Recently it has been suggested by us and other groups that the role of the tumor microenvironment may be

Dr. Bruce Smith


Such contraceptive vaccines are composed of whole phage particles carrying immunogenic peptides, where the phage body plays the role of a carrier protein/ adjuvant and multiple peptide copies stimulate production by the animal of anti-peptide antibodies. These antibodies interfere with male and female reproductive functions, leading to reduction in fertility. “Examples of antigens used in our laboratory for vaccine construction include zona pellucida-binding peptides as well as molecules derived from reproductive hormones and their receptors,” Dr. Samoylova said. “One of our projects is directed towards development of a novel type

contraceptive vaccine for feral cats and stray dogs to be used as an alternative to surgical castration. A single dose, non-surgical sterilant that could be administered in the field at a reasonable cost would be an ideal solution, and would save lives and end suffering for millions of companion animals throughout the world. The goal is to create a vaccine that will fulfill these requirements.” The vaccine is designed to include phage particles carrying multiple copies of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) peptides, she explained. Animals respond to such vaccines by producing anti-GnRH antibodies, which are known to affect fertility, reducing or preventing pregnancies. Other uses of such GnRH-based vaccines may be in the treatment of human and animal hormone-dependent reproductive cancers. “Contraceptive vaccines for wild pigs is another major area of our research,” Dr. Samoylova said. “Populations of wild pigs are rapidly expanding throughout the United States, causing annual losses of up to several billion dollars in damages to agriculture and other areas of the economy. Current control programs that focus on wild pig eradication through trapping and hunting are expensive, inefficient, and unacceptable for much of the public. Unlike any other contraceptive for wildlife, our approach allows development of vaccines that are species-specific.” Species specificity is one of the major requirements for an ideal contraceptive for wildlife since such vaccines need to be distributed in uncontrolled environments where they could contact non-target species, resulting in unwanted loss of fertility in the non-target animals, she adds. The approach is unique and protected by U.S. Patents. Potentially, it can be applied to population control of multiple wildlife species. In addition to established gene therapy and molecular medicine research programs at the College of Veterinary Medicine, recent additions to the faculty through the Cluster Hire Initiative in both pharmaceutical engineering and omics/informatics bring broader strengths to this promising field of research and discovery.


with donation to


A family whose son died from GM1 gangliosidosis honored what would have been his fifth birthday by raising support and money for research being conducted at Scott-Ritchey Research Center. Michael and Sara Heatherly, whose son Porter was diagnosed with GM1 at just four months old, recently held a benefit at the Auburn University Club, raising $38,000 for research at Scott-Ritchey. Porter died at age four Nov. 10, 2016. In three years, the couple has raised $104,000 for GM1 research. The Heatherly family have celebrated their son’s birthday asking for donations for the disease, and plan to continue to do so, to thank Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine and to honor their son. “We believe Porter was born for a reason, and we want to do what we can to help researchers find a cure,” Michael Heatherly said. “After Porter’s diagnosis in 2013, we were left without hope. Then we found out about the research being done at Scott-Ritchey to cure the disease; it gave us hope, if not for Porter then for other families who have the same diagnosis.”

Michael and Sara Heatherly with Dr. Doug Martin


Grant Strengthens Veterinary Medicine in Rural Kentucky


he Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine is directing a program to strengthen veterinary services to designated underserved rural populations in Kentucky through a grant provided by the USDA’s Veterinary Services Grant Program and in partnership with Kentucky veterinarians. The grant allows the college to create a program to “develop, implement, and sustain private veterinary services through education, training, recruitment, placement, and retention of veterinarians and students of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Dan Givens, associate dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Objectives of the grant are: • Connect veterinarians serving in rural geographic areas where additional veterinarians are needed with veterinary students interested in working in those areas. • Provide quality educational opportunities for veterinary students in business management and sustainability in rural veterinary practice. • Provide quality continuing education at a reduced cost to veterinarians serving in designated rural areas of unmet needs. • Provide business management education and practice sustainability consultation to rural veterinary practitioners in underserved areas. • Facilitate and create networking opportunities that assist graduating veterinarians in transitioning into sustainable careers in rural underserved areas. Leading this project are Dr. Misty Edmondson, an associate professor of farm animal medicine in the


Department of Clinical Sciences, and Glen Sellers, a clinical lecturer teaching business practice management to veterinary students. “Their expertise will enhance student and practitioner recruitment and provide mentoring and career enhancement,” Dr. Givens said. The grant allows programs already in existence at the College of Veterinary Medicine—the college’s practice management rotation and preceptorship program—the opportunity for greater impact. The grant matches senior veterinary students interested in large animal veterinary medicine with rural Kentucky veterinarians where additional veterinary help is needed. Veterinarians will mentor senior veterinary students and can have their practice participate in the business practice management program. “The long-term goals of the program are to assist veterinarians currently serving in rural underserved areas as well as to work with current students to transition into sustainable careers in rural areas,” said Dr. Givens. “Adequately supporting current veterinarians and recruiting future veterinarians into sustainable careers will meet the needs to maintain the health and well-being of cattle, sheep, and goat populations and ensure the provision of a safe and wholesome food supply.” This program further solidifies an agreement between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which began more than 65 years ago, essentially providing for Auburn to serve as Kentucky’s veterinary medical program. Since 1951, Auburn has enrolled Kentucky students through a program managed by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), by which a set number of seats in each incoming class at the college is reserved for Kentucky students, and guarantees that Auburn charges

Kentucky students in-state rates, with the commonwealth providing Auburn the tuition difference. More than 1,900 contract spaces have been made available and filled with Kentucky students; currently 38 seats in each 120-member veterinary class are reserved for Kentucky students who pay resident tuition and fees. Veterinarian shortages in Kentucky have been identified within the last two years to include: • a 50-mile radius around Sandy Hook in Elliott County; • a 50-mile radius around Georgetown in Scott County; • a 50-mile radius around Morgantown in Butler County; • a 50-mile radius around Manchester in Clay County; and • a 50-mile radius around Columbia in Adair County. The areas identified are based on high cattle-to-veterinarian ratios, demographics indicating that many of the current food animal veterinarians are older and have limited their practice, or, are retired, and the number of practices which have a significant food animal focus but only one veterinarian, despite recruitment attempts. Auburn’s preceptorship program, for more than 40 years, has been a capstone educational experience for veterinary students. The eight-week training experience at the end of fourth-year students’ academic career provides clinical practice experience under the supervision of a practicing veterinarian. “Sustainability of the practice hinges on getting students in a practical setting, understanding life in a rural area, and that is where preceptorships and externships are important,” said Dr. Edmondson.

Another key component, and highly sought after by students and veterinarians, is the Veterinary Practice Management rotation, which exposes students to business practices, disciplines and strategies including accounting, economics, finance, hospital design, marketing, management, negotiations, human resources or labor relations, law and taxation. The business practice management rotation, taught as an elective course to veterinary students, has evolved to provide students practical business management knowledge as well as assist the practicing veterinarian through students taking an in-depth look at the business side of veterinary medicine. “Students, under the supervision of faculty, complete an in-depth analysis of the veterinary practice, write an extensive report, meet with the practice owner to discuss their evaluation findings, and present their ideas,” Sellers said. “The recommendations in the comprehensive report are specific to each practice and, we believe, provide the practice owner ideas that help increase work efficiency and overall profits. “This is truly a win-win for practice owners and students alike,” he added. “This opportunity gives veterinary students a view into a different side of the veterinary medicine world, the business side, allowing them to see and learn about practice management in a way they have not been able to see or learn before.”

“Through programs like this, students who want to practice large animal veterinary medicine or work in a mixed animal practice will have all the training they will need to be successful.” GEORGETOWN SANDY HOOK





O V E R CO M E S T R AU M AT I C A M P U TAT I O N , BEGINS A HEALING MISSION Pogo is a tiny pony—a “miniature” horse to be exact— with a big will to live and, apparently, a large destiny to fulfill. He was found by a Birmingham-based equine rescue organization this past June and brought to the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine for treatment following traumatic amputation of the left hind limb. Shelley Jones of the Helping Horses of Alabama organization rescued Pogo when he was spotted roaming free along a highway in rural Alabama. “The pony was in really poor condition,” Jones said. “He was essentially wild and had apparently been


running loose for a long time, was filthy, malnourished, and overall, in very bad shape.” Moreover, the little pony had been surviving on its own with a severe and terrible leg wound that had left him surviving on only three hooves. Pogo and two other miniature horses, it was learned, had been attacked by a pack of dogs, according to Jones. “Two of the ponies were killed in the attack,” Jones said. “Pogo had lost his left rear hoof and had been surviving for several months unattended and untreated with a severe and terrible-looking wound.”


Jones said they first believed the pony would have to be euthanized. “He was in such bad shape that we did not think he could survive,” she said. But Pogo’s determination and will to live soon changed their belief. “We saw that Pogo was a strong and determined fighter,” Jones said. “We were determined at that point to do whatever we could for him.” Pogo was evaluated by the Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery Service in June for “traumatic amputation of the left hind limb from his fetlock down to his hoof,” said Dr. Lindsey Boone, an assistant clinical professor at the AU College of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences and an equine surgeon. When evaluated by the equine surgery team, it was noted that the amputation had left exposed bone without adequate soft tissue protection. In order to save Pogo, faculty recommended surgical revision of the amputated limb and preparation for application of a permanent prosthesis.

Faculty operate on Pogo

Dr. Boone and her surgical team in the J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Teaching Hospital performed the surgery to repair Pogo’s badly damaged leg. “We removed the exposed bone, created a new skin flap to protect the amputation site and allow the site to heal properly,” she said. The procedure took about an hour and was successful. Pogo was fitted with a temporary prosthetic while his wound healed and, in July, he was fitted with his permanent prosthetic leg and is doing well. This little super pony is presently receiving rehabilitation treatment under the college’s Physical Rehabilitation Service. “Pogo was reluctant to use the prosthesis originally, but through the hard work of our Rehabilitation Service, Pogo is using the limb well,” Dr. Boone said. “Pogo is an amazing story,” Jones said. “I have never seen a horse fight so hard for its life. He apparently has a purpose and a reason for being alive.” Jones said their plans for Pogo, once he is fully recovered and rehabilitated to his prosthetic leg, will be to use him as a therapy animal.

Shelley Jones and Pogo

Helping Horses of Alabama is located in Bibb County. The organization was founded by Jones’ parents in 1984 and serves as a non-profit animal rescue group specializing in horses.

“We think he will make an excellent therapy animal and that he can do a lot to help people who have undergone limb amputations,” Jones said. “He will not be a pet. He has a much larger mission that that.”



FOOD ANIMAL FUND HONORS DR. CARSON The College of Veterinary Medicine invites alumni and friends to contribute to an endowed Fund for Excellence in memory of Dr. Robert Carson ’73, a long-time food animal faculty member at Auburn. Dr. Carson, who taught at the College for 36 years, retired Jan. 31, 2015, and passed away a few weeks later, on March 21, 2015. The fund, when fully endowed, will provide ongoing, annual support for the College’s food animal program, whether to help with equipment purchases, send faculty and students to professional meetings, help underwrite research, or to meet other needs. “Dr. Carson was a much-loved and highly influential faculty member to thousands of Auburn veterinary students,” said Dean Calvin Johnson. “He mentored most of our current food animal clinicians. He represented the line of our program that connected some of the most important names in food animal medicine, surgery, and theriogenology, and the college’s leadership over the past 125 years: Dr. Carson was a contemporary of Dr. Dwight Wolfe, and then before them, Dr. Hudson, Dr. Walker, Dr. Wiggins, Dr. Gibbons, Dr. Frank Woolf, Dean Sugg, back to Dean McAdory and to the start of the program with Dean Cary. “Dr. Carson earned an important place in Auburn history through his dedication to the College of Veterinary Medicine, and we are grateful for the personal and professional standards he set for our program.” To contribute to the Robert Carson Memorial Fund for Excellence, send a check made payable to the Auburn University Foundation to Diana Turner, 317 South College Street, Auburn AL 36849. All gifts are tax-deductible.






MAKE YOUR CHARITABLE IRA GIFT BEFORE DEC. 31! Want to make a lasting impact at Auburn? If you are 701/2 or older and have a traditional IRA, consider a gift to Auburn through the Charitable IRA Rollover. By rolling over part or all of your IRA's required minimum distribution (RMD) to Auburn University Foundation you can help reduce your taxes while also supporting your favorite causes at Auburn. RMD for non-IRAs must be taken directly from non-IRA accounts and are not eligible for the Charitable rollover

Gift Benefits: • Make a difference at Auburn University NOW • Counts toward your RMD and is not taxed as income • Limited to $100,000 /year per person • Easy - complete QCD (Qualified Charitable Distribution) form from IRA administrator *Rollover gifts are not tax deductible because tax has never been paid on the assets.



President Steven Leath and Janet Leath, Cathy and Rennie Bickerstaff, and Andrew Hopkins with Spirit

THE BICKERSTAFFS COLUMBUS, GA., COUPLE ‘THRILLED’ TO ASSIST WITH PRE- GAME EAGLE FLIGHT Since finding and rescuing a baby bald eagle that had fallen from its nest on their farm property near Phenix City, Ala., the Bickerstaffs of Columbus, Ga., have had a passion for the rescue and rehabilitation program at the Southeastern Raptor Center (SRC) at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. “Our love of Auburn goes even further back,” said Cathy Bickerstaff, whose husband, Rennie, is a 1970 alumnus of what is now Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business. “We have long been supporters of the business college and athletics,” Mrs. Bickerstaff said. “But ever since Andrew (Hopkins) came out and rescued that baby bald eagle, we have loved the Southeastern Raptor Center and supported it as well.” In recognition and to show appreciation for their support, the Bickerstaffs were invited to assist with the pre-game eagle flight to open Auburn’s 2017 football season against Georgia Southern.


“We really appreciate the support that the Bickerstaffs have provided to the center,” said Hopkins, a raptor specialist and one of the key SRC trainers central to the pre-game eagle flight program. “Asking them to be a part of the eagle flight was our way of saying thank you.” “We were thrilled to be asked to be invited to release Spirit prior to the Georgia Southern game,” Mrs. Bickerstaff said. “And we are so proud of the raptor program and of the wonderful veterinary college at Auburn for the work that they do and the recognition that they bring to Auburn.” The Bickerstaffs also were the bidding winners of the jess and lure auction for that game. “That added a permanent memento—along with the honor of participating in the eagle flight,” Mrs. Bickerstaff said.


DR. DAVID BILLER RECEIVES STATE VETERINARY AWARD Dr. David Biller ’80 was named recipient of the 2017 Award of Excellence in Resident Mentoring for the Department of Clinical Sciences in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Biller, a Kansas State professor and section head of radiology, is a 1980 graduate of Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The Department of Clinical Sciences believes mentoring is critical to the growth of individual

members and the department as a whole,” said Dr. Elizabeth Davis, interim department head. “Faculty mentors provide the foundation for development of the next generation of leading veterinary medical educators. The award allows our clinical residents and interns to honor faculty mentors who embody both the letter and spirit of mentoring.” Dr. Biller was nominated by Drs. Pax Harness and Katie Tucker-Mohl, who wrote, “Dr. Biller is deliberate with his demonstrated commitment to fostering intellectual, creative, scholarly and professional growth of mentees so they may function effectively with measurable success in the organization, resulting in career growth and personal development.”

DR. CAROLYN HENRY NAMED INTERIM DEAN OF MISSOURI CVM Dr. Carolyn Henry ’90 has been named interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri. Dr. Henry earned her doctor of veterinary medicine and master of science degrees, as well as completed a residency in veterinary oncology, at Auburn. She is one of four Auburn veterinary alumni currently serving in top administrative positions at colleges of veterinary medicine—the others are: Dean Calvin Johnson ’86 at Auburn; Dr. Jason Johnson ’03 at Lincoln Memorial; and Dr. Eleanor Greene ’73 at Texas A&M. Dr. Henry held a faculty appointment at Washington State University before joining the University of Missouri in 1997. While at Missouri, she has held a number of faculty and administrative positions and was MU’s first

board-certified oncologist. Since 2010, she has served as the faculty facilitator for the Mizzou Advantage One Health/One Medicine initiative within the Office of the Provost, fostering multidisciplinary research opportunities between human and veterinary medicine. She was appointed associate director of research for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in 2012, and has served as Missouri’s associate dean for the Office of Research and Graduate Studies since 2013. Dr. Henry has served on the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Board of Regents and is past president of both the Veterinary Cancer Society and the ACVIM Specialty of Oncology. In 2014, she was elected to the National Academies of Practice as a distinguished fellow and the Veterinary Medicine Academy as a distinguished practitioner and fellow. She is the 2017 recipient of the Robert W. Kirk Award for Professional Excellence from the ACVIM which recognizes outstanding achievements and dedicated service to the veterinary profession.



From left: Past-president Dr. Douglas Freeman, dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, President Dr. Phillip Nelson, dean of the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine, and President-elect Dr. Calvin M. Johnson, dean of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

AAVMC DR. JOHNSON INSTALLED AS PRESIDENT-ELEC T DURING NATIONAL SUMMER MEETING Dr. Calvin Johnson ’86, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, recently was installed as president-elect of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). Dr. Johnson is a 1986 graduate (DVM) of Auburn University and, in 1992, earned the Ph.D. in pathology and biotechnology from North Carolina State University. He achieved board certification in anatomic pathology by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) in 1993. Dr. Johnson served on the faculty of the University of Florida for 11 years before returning to Auburn. He served for six years as department head of Pathobiology and one year as acting dean before being named dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn in 2013. Other AAVMC leadership includes: Dr. Phillip Nelson, dean of the Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, California, as president; University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Mark Markel continues as treasurer and North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Paul Lunn was named secretary. Western College of Veterinary Medicine at


the University of Saskatchewan Dean Dr. Douglas A. Freeman transitioned to the immediate pastpresident position. At-large board members include Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Susan Tornquist, Region 1 (U.S.); University of Melbourne School of Veterinary Medicine Head Dr. Ted Whittem, Region III (Australia, New Zealand, Asia); and Pennsylvania State University Assistant Professor of Comparative Medicine Dr. Tiffany Whitcomb, representing departments of comparative medicine. New board liaisons (non-voting) include Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Dr. Bryan Slinker, representing the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU); and Mr. Aaron Colwell, representing the Student American Veterinary Medical Association. The AAVMC is a nonprofit membership organization working to protect and improve the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment around the world by advancing academic veterinary medicine. Members include 49 accredited veterinary medical colleges in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean Basin, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. The member institutions of the AAVMC promote and protect the health and well-being of people, animals and the environment by advancing the profession of veterinary medicine and preparing new generations of veterinarians to meet the evolving needs of a changing world.



Dr. Robert Gukich ’76 was presented the Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) Excellence in Preventive Medicine-Beef Award in recognition of his outstanding performance and contributions to veterinary medicine during the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) annual meeting. As part of the award, BI donated $1,500 to a veterinary program of Dr. Gukich’s choice, Auburn’s CVM, to support student scholarships. “We are proud to sponsor the Preventive Medicine Awards,” said Dr. Andy Bennett, dairy professional services veterinarian at Boehringer Ingelheim. “Dr. Gukich is a great asset to the industry and is very deserving of this award.” Dr. Gukich founded Lake Wales (Florida) Large Animal Services, which focuses on bovine and equine species. His practice serves cattlemen who own more than 50,000 brood cows, and most of his clients started with him more than 40 years ago. Dr. Gukich’s cattle clients are considered among the “Who’s Who” in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. As a founding member of Florida Cattle Ranchers, LLC, Dr. Gukich also raises fresh-from-Florida beef. Dr. Gukich earned a bachelor’s in animal science in 1972 and his DVM from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1976. Following graduation, he started Lake Wales Veterinary Hospital, which expanded into a six-man, mixed-animal practice. After 25 years, Dr. Gukich sold his interest in the practice to focus on bovine and equine species as the owner of Lake Wales Large Animal Services.

Dr. Robert Gukich ’76 and Dr. John Crews ’75 preventive medicine,” said Dr. John Crews ’75, associate professor of Agricultural Studies at Warner University and Dr. Gukich’s research partner. Dr. Gukich serves on drug advisory councils with nationally recognized pharmaceutical corporations. He has hosted numerous client educational meetings and has appeared on RFD channel’s “Cattlemen to Cattlemen” program as a featured guest to explain animal vaccines and vaccination protocol. He is a long-standing member of the AABP as well as the Society for Theriogenology, AAEP, AVMA, Florida Veterinary Medical Association, and the Academy of Veterinary Consultants.

The G7 ranch, named for himself, his wife Doris, and their five daughters, has more than 1,300 head of cattle on 6,500 acres. He also oversees a second property, a 4,000-acre ranch in South Florida. That ranch has been designated as a Florida Panther Mitigation Bank through the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The focus of his practice has always been



APPOINTED TO NATIONAL VETERINARY BOARD DR. MIST Y EDMONDSON NAMED TO IC VA BOARD OF DIREC TORS Dr. Misty Edmondson ’01 has been named to the International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA) Board of Directors by the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. The ICVA provides standardized examinations for use by state and provincial licensing boards as part of their licensure procedure for veterinarians. Established in 1948, it is charged with developing a standardized licensing examination for use by state licensing boards. Currently an associate professor of large animal medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences, Dr. Edmondson joined the college faculty in 2006. Prior to that, she worked in a mixed animal practice in rural Alabama for two years before returning to Auburn University to complete a residency in food animal theriogenology under the supervision of the late Dr. Bob Carson, and Drs. Dwight Wolfe and Gatz Riddell. A native of Elmore County where she grew up on a commercial cattle farm, she received an undergraduate degree from Auburn in 1997 and the DVM in 2001. She completed her residency and master’s degree in 2006 and became a Diplomate of the American College of theriogenologists in 2005.

Dr. Edmondson teaches numerous courses (including theriogenology, reproductive anatomy, urogenital surgery, production medicine, and others) to veterinary students as well as clinical rotations in food animal medicine and surgery, and advanced rotations in advanced beef production and advanced small ruminant medicine and surgery. She is also involved in theriogenology resident training through clinical instruction and graduate lectures and laboratories. Dr. Edmondson’s clinical interests include infectious causes of infertility in ruminants (trichomoniasis and BVDV), urogenital surgery, advanced reproductive technologies, and pain management. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners, Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, and the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association. She has been actively involved in research in the area of bovine and small ruminant reproductive health and pain management.

AVIAN RESEARCH RECOGNITION DR. GALLARDO ’11 RECOGNIZED AT AVMA MEETING During the American Association of Avian Pathologists Inc. meeting in July as part of AVMA, Dr. Rodrigo Gallardo ’11 received the Bayer-Snoeyenbos New Investigator Award for his research contributions to the field of avian medicine. Dr. Gallardo earned his veterinary degree from the University of Chile in 2004 and his doctorate in poultry molecular virology from the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. He serves as an assistant professor of population health and reproduction at the University of California-Davis. Dr. Gallardo is a diplomate of the ACPV.



Jockey Anthony Stephen and groom Jerry Dixon with War Eagle’s Love in the Keeneland paddock



FILLY OWNED BY DVM, NAMED FOR AUBURN, WINS AT KEENELAND A filly owned by Auburn College of Veterinary Medicine alumnus Dr. Bryan Waldridge ’91 recently won in her inaugural race at Keeneland in something of a Cinderella story. War Eagle’s Love was purchased by Dr. Waldridge last year for just $2,700 and considered to be a longshot. She ran in a claiming race where all the fillies were eligible to be bought and were non-winners. While Birdie, as she is nicknamed, is nominated for Breeders’ Cup races, no one is sure if her career will take her higher in the sport. She won the 1 1/16-mile race more than two lengths ahead of some fillies who’d had racing experience. This race ran around two turns, a difficult task for a firsttime starter. “We knew that she had a shot in this race, but you never know because the competition at Keeneland is tough,” Dr. Waldridge said. “We’re so proud of how she ran and came out of the race. Being able to share the win with so many others made it even more special. It’s fun to see my orange and blue silks on race day.” Dr. Waldridge, an internal medicine specialist at Park Equine Hospital at Woodford, volunteers as a veterinarian at Old Friends, a non-profit retirement center providing a dignified retirement for Thoroughbreds whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end. Founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic

Michael Blowen, Old Friends cares for more than 100 horses and is a living history museum of horse racing, attracting nearly 20,000 tourists annually. When the filly ran, she had an entourage from Old Friends Equine: trainer Tim Wilson, farm manager at Old Friends, and a number of the nearly 40 people who crowded the winner’s circle for the filly’s win were staff and volunteers at Old Friends. The nickname came with the horse and is a reference to the filly’s sire, Birdstone, winner of the 2004 Belmont Stakes. Her breeder is philanthropist, socialite and racehorse owner Marylou Whitney, who keeps her horses at Gainesway Farm. Ms. Whitney included a note with the filly’s registration papers that stated if she didn’t work out, then she would buy her back. Dr. Waldridge said he was surprised to acquire War Eagle’s Love last year, as he had been searching for an offspring of Birdstone. “My other racehorse was a Birdstone, so I decided to look for another during the sale,” he said. “Birdie had good confirmation and seemed to have a good temperament. “Luckily, her radiographs and upper airway scope were alright, and she sold for less than I expected.”


IN MEMORIAM ’48 Dr. Robert Hughes Hudgins, 100, of

’58 Dr. Henry Tyler Fairleigh, 97, of Louisville,

first veterinarians to practice in Iredell County, N.C.,

Air Force. After graduation, he opened a veterinary

working at a mixed animal practice from 1949 until

practice in Louisville’s St. Matthews community

he retired in 1986. Dr. Hudgins was the first member

and for more than 40 years treated dogs, cats and

of his family to attend college. He attended Mars Hill

any other animals brought to his attention. He

College before transferring to North Carolina State

was contracted by Lloyds of London to perform

University, where he received an undergraduate

an examination on Louisville Zoo’s first rhinoceros.

degree. He then came to Auburn, and told people for

He later opened three other hospitals, including

years his memory of being met at the Auburn Train

Louisville’s first 24-hour animal hospital. He had a

Depot by a man sitting in a wagon that was pulled by

zest for life that manifested itself in his love for travel

a mule. Ever grateful for his education, Dr. Hudgins

and friendly inquisitiveness towards people. He and

provided financial assistance to both NC State and

Jean House Fairleigh, who died in 2016 after they

Auburn. He was a veteran of World War II, serving

had been married for 70 years, traveled extensively

as a medical corpsman in Panama. He later had the

around the globe, visiting an array of countries and

opportunity to take an Honor Flight to visit the WWII

encompassing all seven continents. They developed

Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

a network of friends in London, where they also had

A member of the First Baptist Church in Statesville,

a home. He was a long-time University of Louisville

Dr. Hudgins was a charter member of the Statesville

football and basketball fan, traveling many miles on

Exchange Club, a civic organization he served

numerous occasions to support the teams. He split

through various leadership roles. He is survived by his

his loyalty with Auburn. His love for tennis was also

five children; eight grandchildren; two great-grand-

evident with his many trips to London for Wimbledon.

children, and twin great-great-grandchildren on the

Dr. Fairleigh served as vice president of the Kentucky

way as this magazine went to press.

Veterinary Medical Association and was a member of

Statesville, N.C., died June 9, 2017. He was one of the

’58 Dr. Donald Dean Bryan, 82, died June

3, 2017. Dr. Bryan served in the U.S. Air Force in Greenville, Miss., where he was the base veterinarian and achieved the rank of captain. He practiced veterinary medicine for 40 years in Columbia and Ardmore, Tenn.; and in Toney and Hazel Green, Ala. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Dianna Looney Bryan; and four children; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Ky., died Aug. 26, 2017. He was a veteran of the Army

the Greater Louisville VMA. He served as chair of the Kentucky Humane Society, as a board member of the Episcopal Church Home, and as chair of the Vestry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Louisville Boat Club, Pendennis Club and the RAC Club of England. He was a Rotary Club member. He was an ardent supporter of Harbor House of Louisville, an organization that supports the needs of the disabled. His good friend, Louisville veterinarian Dr. Pat Kennedy ’71, said of Dr. Fairleigh, “Henry…has

’58 Dr. Wiley Hales, 83, of Birmingham, died June

always been my favorite veterinarian and colleague.

his Auburn graduation, then practiced for more than

he owned and practiced at the original Fairleigh

21, 2017. Dr. Hales served in the U.S. Air Force after a half-century in Tuscaloosa. He was a member of the First Christian Church of Tuscaloosa, serving as an elder there for 42 years. He was a member and

He had the most progressive practice in town when Animal Hospital…. And he loved veterinary medicine, loved people and always was ready to try something new in life.” He is survived by three sons and three

former officer with the Tuscaloosa Lions Club, and


a member and served as president of the Alabama

’60 Dr. Charles Donald Baird, 80, of Birmingham

VMA. He received the 1991 Alabama Veterinarian of the Year Award. He is survived by two daughters; a sister; and two grandchildren.

died Sept. 25, 2017. Dr. Baird’s career, which spanned more than 50 years, included active duty in the U.S. Air Force. He operated Baird Animal Clinic in Bessemer and later Graysville Animal Clinic, both


IN MEMORIAM near Birmingham, before retiring in 2015. He was a

generous donor who coordinated the Class of 1962’s

long-time member of the Jefferson County VMA,

class fund in support of the library. Most recently,

a Rotarian, an elder in the Presbyterian Church, a

in 2016, he served as an external member of the

life member of the Auburn Alumni Association and

college’s Admissions Committee where he provided

a Golden Eagle. Dr. Baird is survived by a son; a

valuable insight into the selection of Auburn’s CVM

daughter; and four grandchildren.

Class of 2020. He related well to students, faculty,

’61 Dr. Paul C. Estes, 84, of Wakefield, R.I., died

July 22, 2017. A Kentucky native, Dr. Estes graduated from Berea College, then served in the U.S. Army. He studied veterinary medicine at Auburn and at Iowa State University, and he received a doctorate

and alumni. His warm, engaging personality will be remembered by us all.” He is survived by two sons and a granddaughter.

’63 Dr. Joseph Fred Whelan, Sr., 83, of Dickson,

Tenn., died Aug. 15, 2017. Dr. Whelan was a Kentucky

in pathology from Cornell University. He worked for

native and a U.S. Army veteran who practiced veter-

Pfizer in Gales Ferry, Conn., for years as a veterinary

inary medicine for 48 years. He lettered in track and

pathologist before retiring to Rhode Island. Dr. Estes

cross country at the University of Kentucky before

is survived by a son; two daughters; and a grandson.

coming to Auburn. Survivors include his wife, Jackie;

’62 Harvey S. Gosser, 79, of Auburn died

Oct. 12, 2017. He received his DVM in 1962 and a Master of Science degree in 1968 from Auburn

four sons; a daughter; and a stepson.

’65 Dr. William “Buddy” W. Johnson, Jr., 76,

died Sept. 16, 2016. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Dr.

before earning his Ph.D. from the University of

Johnson founded and owned Johnson Animal Clinic

Missouri in 1970. His academic career took him to

in Louisville, Ky., working there for 30 years. He was a

the University of Illinois (Champagne), LSU (Baton

member of Ascension Catholic Church. He is survived

Rouge), University of Georgia (Tifton) and finally

by two daughters; a son; seven grandchildren; and six

back to University of Missouri (Columbia), from


which he retired in 2001. Professionally, he served as secretary-treasurer (1987-1996) and president (1997) of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. In 1994, he received the Pope Award for distinguished service from that same group. Upon retirement, he and his wife, Barbara, returned to Auburn. He was a Rotarian for more than 30 years. The threads that tied all of his life together were his service to the Presbyterian Church and his family. Every geographic stop during his career was characterized by faithful devotion, as he served as a deacon and /or elder of his congregation in each location. Dr. Gosser was dedicated to the College of Veterinary Medicine, contributing to and holding membership in the Centennial Club. He encouraged members of the Class of ’62 to establish an endowment fund to support the Cary Veterinary Library at the College, a project that was his idea.“Dr. Gosser was an outstanding veterinary diagnostician and administrator throughout his career,” Dean Calvin Johnson said. “He stayed close to the College of Veterinary Medicine as a dedicated alumnus and

’66 Dr. David Ellis Cardin died Aug. 6, 2017.

After graduation, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became the only medical officer to serve two terms in Vietnam. After that war, he attended Missouri State University, earning a master’s in public health. He served in the Air Force for more than 20 years, retiring in 1990 as a full colonel. He and his wife, the late Dr. Bettie Joe Cardin, opened Ellis Memorial Animal Hospital. Dr. Cardin was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

’70 Dr. James K. “Jim” Boutcher, 76, of

Versailles, Ky., died Sept. 22, 2017. Dr. Boutcher spent 40 years caring for horses in Kentucky and in Japan. He was a lifetime member of the AVMA, the KVMA, the AAEP, former member and president of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners, the Florida VMA, the Farm Managers Club, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Club, and the Thoroughbred Club of America. He was named a Chapter Farmer by the Woodford County FFA and


IN MEMORIAM was a founding member of the Woodford County

After retiring from MSU, he worked as a consultant

chapter of Ducks Unlimited. He was a member of the

with Antech Imaging. He is survived by his sister and

First Christian Church of Versailles. Dr. Boutcher is


survived by his wife, Sally Meers Boutcher; a daughter and son; and two grandsons.

’74 Dr. G. Patrick Coffeen, 69, of Franklin, Tenn.,

’71 Dr. Eugene A. Zeller, 70, died on Oct. 7, 2017,

Army and was the first charter owner for Banfield

died Aug. 4, 2017. Dr. Coffeen served in the U.S.

in his native New Orleans. Dr. Zeller “poured his heart

Pet Hospital, opening up Banfield’s first hospital in

and soul into practicing his profession in the Uptown

April 1999. He was awarded Banfield’s Charter of the

New Orleans area for 46 years,” according to his

Year Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region in 2014. His

obituary. He established Freret Veterinary Hospital

interest in and pursuit of complex surgeries resulted

and then relocated to the present Maple Small Animal

in Banfield asking him to train and mentor a number

Clinic. He mentored many local veterinarians, most

of veterinarians. He practiced veterinary medicine for

notably his daughter, Dr. Emily Zeller Lemann. Dr.

41 years before retiring. In 2015, he trained for and

Zeller was a member of the AVMA, the Louisiana VMA

ran the Nashville Marathon to raise money for the

and the Southeast Louisiana VMA, which he served as

Banfield Foundation and its charitable causes. He is

president on three occasions. He also served on the

survived by his wife, Carol A. Wilcox Coffeen; one

board of the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of

son; three daughters; and a granddaughter.

Cruelty to Animals. He was a long-time member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and served on the church’s board of trustees. Dr. Zeller is survived by his wife, Carolyn Scherer Zeller; two daughters; and five grandchildren.

’72 Dr. Max Murray Cooper, 79, of Savannah,

’01 Dr. Brian Atwell, 44, died Aug. 10, 2017.

Originally from Florida, he lived the past 11 years in Maui, Hawaii. In addition to his DVM, Dr. Atwell also held a master’s degree in zoological science from Auburn. A United States Coast Guard captain, Dr. Atwell was a licensed pilot and certified dive master.

Ga., died March 11, 2017. A Tennessee native, Dr.

His obituary published in the Anniston Star described

Cooper served four years in the U.S. Air Force before

Dr. Atwell as a “dedicated and renowned veterinarian

graduating from the University of Tennessee and then

whose passion for animals was fostered through his

from Auburn with his DVM. Having grown up on a

work in both his professional and personal life. His

dairy farm, he often joked that he had had enough of

strength of character and unwavering work ethic were

cows, and so he focused his career on small animals.

demonstrated through his commitment to building a

He started the Island Veterinary Clinic on Wilmington

dependable and respected business.” He is survived

Island, Ga., and was loved and highly respected by

by his partner, Lizzie Immarino; his parents; and a

his colleagues, clients and patients. Dr. Cooper is


survived by a son and daughter and grandchildren.

’73 Dr. Michael Wesley Thomas, 69, of Starkville, Miss., died Sept. 3, 2017. A veteran of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, Dr. Thomas worked in private practice in Florida before pursuing a residency at Texas A&M University, where he earned board certification in radiology. He was a member of the AVMA, the Mississippi VMA, and a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Dr. Thomas held appointments at multiple veterinary colleges and concluded his career at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University.






VETTING By Dr. Tom Vaughan ’55 | Dean Emeritus


have to suppress a chuckle every time I hear the expression “vetting” used in reference to what amounts to a background check on a person, ranging from a handheld computer—used by the patrolman on a routine traffic stop, to the journalist checking out the subject of a possible news story. More professionally, nowadays, it may involve fingerprints, fiber analysis, and even DNA sequencing, all transmitted electronically at the bat of an eye. More recently, the adjective “extreme” has been added, which amounts to no more than the old term “due diligence.” How many people know the origin of the word and its full significance? Of Latin etymology, veteranus refers to old (vetus) + (-anus) = veteranus, or veteran, a person with long experience in military service, i.e., an old soldier.


With slight alteration by substituting one vowel, veterina, it becomes “beast of burden” or domestic animal and, hence, “veterinarius” and veterinarian. The terms “vet, vetted, or vetting” relates more to its veterinus root mainly meaning subject to a general physical examination. This meaning has been extended to provide a person with medical care, especially a physical examination or checkup. By further usage, Webster’s second definition means to inspect or examine with careful thoroughness and especially in the quality of an expert. In veterinary usage, it has been most commonly applied in conjunction with the horse being thoroughly examined for soundness of sight, wind, and limb, to determine his fitness or serviceability for the use intended—either under saddle or in harness.


In days gone by, horse-trading involved vetting a horse to see if he was as represented and worth the price, with the aphorism, caveat emptor (buyer beware) in which the two traders matched wits. To be bested in a trade was a source of embarrassment and to be kept secret against the risk of ridicule. A man might ask another his opinion, but usually relied on his own wits as a source of pride. “A man, in choosing a horse or a wife, ignores his family and friends’ advice.” In both instances, his judgment is influenced by his heart. To “buy a horse at the end of a halter” came to mean having bought it “as is, where is,” the transaction sealed with consideration ($) exchanged, signature, and the date of the sale; and that was that, no recourse, unless you wanted to challenge the seller to a duel. But that was then. Nowadays, it is no longer referred to as a “soundness examination.” Today, it is a “prepurchase examination,” performed ostensibly by an expert, and backed with all sorts of special examinations, often requiring days, and legal documents that provide recourse such as retribution, and that threaten litigation (at least by implication). Legal advice given in the March 2017 issue of Equus, pp. 48-49, includes wise recommendations such as the horse’s insurance records, show records, breed registration papers, previous medical records, previous prepurchase examinations, drug-screening tests, and a written disclosure statement signed by the seller, the seller’s agent, and your trainer if it applies. Legal remedies and statutory laws vary from state to state. Of course, these provisions represent

“extreme vetting” and understandably do not apply to the purchase of a backyard pleasure horse for the daughter. But the same principles hold true and offer smart guidelines to prevent the heart from overruling the head. Despite all the sophisticated means of examination and legal precautions, litigation for horse trades gone awry account for one of the major professional liabilities suffered by practicing veterinarians. Reams of advice have been written, hours of oral testimony, and years of experience, but the caution endures like a hardy perennial. I daresay the process of vetting our leaders of government as well as suspicious aliens would benefit from adherence to the same rigorous standards that veterinarians (should) apply to vetting a horse for soundness. Amen.

Respectfully, Yr humbl and obdt svt JTV

Non-Profit Org. US Postage PAID Permit No. 530 Montgomery, AL

Auburn Veterinarian College of Veterinary Medicine 1161 W. Samford Ave. | Building 8 Auburn, AL 36849-0001



Auburn University is an equal opportunity educational institution/employer.