Volume 16, Number 1 • Summer 2014
Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC)
Innovative • Collaborative • Transformative
Dean’s Message There’s no place like Aggieland in the spring and what a beautiful spring we had this year. The welcome rain resulted in lush green grass, overflowing tanks, and Texas bluebonnets in full bloom as far as the eye could see. As the wildflowers burst into color along the highway in spectacular form, I took some time to reflect on how our very own college is blossoming as well. At the beginning of May, we welcomed 134 new veterinary medical students into the profession, and 23 graduate and 186 undergraduate biomedical sciences students walked across the stage at commencement. You will read about some of these outstanding students in this issue. We have had a great spring semester, full of excitement and vigor. In April, we broke ground on our new Veterinary and Biomedical Education Complex, a state-of-the-art educational facility that will become the cornerstone of—and a grand entrance to—our veterinary medical campus. New classroom and laboratory space in the facility will be outfitted with the latest technological advances and will open a whole new world of innovations in education. In addition, this new complex is designed to create a community of scholars, learners, and constituents with gathering spaces to encourage broad collaborations, sharing of ideas, and informal fellowship. I can hardly wait for the doors to open. Not too far from the groundbreaking site, and on the same day, we celebrated the grand opening of the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex, described by many as the finest equine academic facility in the land. The complex will enhance equine teaching, research, and outreach at Texas A&M University for decades to come, and will firmly establish Texas A&M as a front-runner in equine academic programs designed to support the equine industry and produce the equine industry leaders of tomorrow. In July, we will open our new avian complex, with its exotic and wild bird aviary, and we look forward to excellent attendance at another grand opening this fall. This enviable facility will be a college resource that will advance the highly esteemed Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center along with our other avian programs well into the future. All of these new facilities represent the innovative, collaborative, and transformative characteristics of Aggieland and are destined to propel our college even further forward. Veritas, the innovative, web-based continuing education platform formed in partnership with Cornell University and Zoetis, continues to build. The continuing education modules on the Veritas platform are unique and interactive and the reviews from users have been excellent. Using innovative technology to deliver the expertise of our faculty to the rest of the world enables the CVM to further extend its reach beyond our college and beyond the borders of our state. Students also benefit from the high quality curricular materials produced with the technology. The One Health Initiative, designated as one of Texas A&M’s Grand Challenges, is another way our college is leading. Dr. Michael Chaddock, assistant dean of One Health, is doing a remarkable job encouraging scholars and teachers from multiple disciplines to collaborate in an effort to address the inextricable link between animal, human, and environmental health. It truly is “One Health, One Medicine, One World.” The excitement we feel each and every day, as we move forward into the next century, is indescribable. We have accomplished so much, and there is still more to be done. I am fortunate to work with such an enthusiastic team of people—faculty, staff, and students—who are making and will continue to make notable impacts in our world. At the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, change and innovation, in an environment of inclusion, is the culture. If you find yourself in Aggieland, be sure to stop by and take a look at how we are transforming the college. We look forward to seeing you soon at the “Happiest University in the Nation!”
Eleanor M. Green, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP The Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine 2•
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Contents 15 Biomedical Sciences Spotlight
Sharma receives Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award Undergraduate student receives prestigious NIH research position
18 Hospital Spotlight
Happily ever after: A second chance for Leon
20 One Health Spotlight
Students embrace One Health Hatching One Health
25 Research Spotlight
Genome sequence drafted: Project hopes to end decline of bobwhite quail Vivani’s innovative work: Solving the mystery of horse reproduction Questions & answers: Dr. Stephen Safe, Distinguished Professor Gaitedness of horses found across the world
30 International Spotlight
A unique study abroad: African safariexposes students to many species Biodiversity matters: An international look at One Health
34 Student Spotlight
Cows & cupcakes: Innovative fundraising and teaching In their own words: A series of student autobiographical sketches
42 Faculty/Staff Spotlight
An innovative approach to a moldy issue Ivanek-Miojevic collaborates on project to help curb rise of E.coli contamination in leafy vegetables Dr. Leon Russell: A career dedicated to One Health
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences continues battle against multiple sclerosis: English tea provides traditional setting for cutting-edge conversation
Research offers hope for spinal cord injuries: How a clinical trial in dogs may help human patients Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study brings world-class researchers to Aggieland
Chameleon (adaptive) leadership
54 Leadership Spotlight
Texas A&M breaks ground for the new Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC)
A man of honor: Dr. Joe Earl West ’54 DVM ’56
6 Facilities Update
50 In The Spotlight
Veterinary students participate with SPCA in ‘Animal Cops Houston’
2 4 5 57 77 86 87 90 91 95 96
Dean’s Message College Information Continuing Education Calendar Honor Roll College News A Message from TVMA Development News Mark Francis Fellows Alumni News In Memoriam Parting Shot Summer 2014 •
College Information College Administration Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Eleanor M. Green Associate Dean, Professional Programs Dr. Kenita S. Rogers ’86 Associate Dean, Research & Graduate Studies Dr. Robert C. Burghardt
CVM Today Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University 4461 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4461
Dr. Megan Palsa ’08 Christina B. Sumners ’11
Angela Clendenin ’91
Contributing Writers: Laura Alton Kristin Burlingame ’09 Stacy Cadieux Sara Carney ’15 Chris Copeland Dr. Jodi Korich Jennie L. Lamb Caroline Neal ’15 Dr. Dan Posey ’82 Dr. Guy Sheppard ’78 Kelly Tucker ’14 Gina Marie Wadas ’15
Assistant Dean, Biomedical Sciences Dr. Elizabeth Crouch ’91 Assistant Dean, One Health & Strategic Initiatives Dr. Michael Chaddock Assistant Dean, Finance Ms. Belinda Hale ’92
CVM Today is published by the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences for alumni and friends. We welcome your suggestions, comments, and contributions to content. Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dept. Head, Veterinary Pathobiology Dr. Linda Logan ’76 Interim Dept. Head, Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology Dr. John N. Stallone Dept. Head, Large Animal Clinical Sciences Dr. Allen Roussel Interim Dept. Head, Small Animal Clinical Sciences Dr. Sharon Kerwin ’88 Assistant Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations (Texas A&M Foundation) Dr. O. J. “Bubba” Woytek ’65
Permission is granted to use all or part of any article published in this magazine, provided no endorsement of a commercial product is stated or implied. Appropriate credit and a tear sheet are requested.
VeLisa Ward Bayer Jennie L. Lamb
Allison Blakley ’16 Cameron Coker ’12 Victoria Dominguez ’13
Chief of Staff Ms. Misty Skaggs ’93 Director, Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies Dr. Joe Kornegay ’72 Director, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Mr. W. Terry Stiles ’73 Executive Director, Communications, Media & Public Relations Dr. Megan Palsa ’08
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Texas A&M University 4461 TAMU College Station, TX 77843-4461 vetmed.tamu.edu Dean’s Office/Administration 979.845.5051 Admissions Office 979.845.5051 Development and Alumni Relations Office 979.845.9043 Continuing Education Office 979.845.9102 Public Relations Office 979.862.2675 4•
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies & Dept. Head, Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Dr. Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni
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Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate Advising Office 979.845.4941
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences 979.845.9053
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences 979.845.2828
Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences 979.845.9127
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology 979.845.5941 Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology 979.845.7261
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Administration 979.845.9026 Small Animal Hospital 979.845.2351 Large Animal Hospital 979.845.3541
4470 TAMU • Texas A&M University College Station, TX 77843-4470 Tel. 979.845.9102 Fax 979.862.2832 vetmed.tamu.edu/ce
CO ED N T U IN CA U TI IN O G N SC
All dates subject to change.
Office of Continuing Education
August 15–17, 2014 Diagnostic Cytology Conference Chairs: Drs. Claudia Barton & Kenita Rogers
August 22–24, 2014 6th Annual Canine Conference Chair: Dr. Audrey Cook October 17–19, 2014 16th Annual Emergency Medicine & Critical Care Chair: Dr. Medora Pashmakova
September 20–21, 2014 Equine Dentistry Seminar & Wet Lab Chair: Dr. Cleet Griffin November 7–9, 2014 Anesthesia & Analgesia Conference Chair: Dr. Elizabeth Martinez
March 7–8, 2015: 21st Annual Veterinary Technician Conference Chairs: Paula Plummer & Katrina LaCaze April 17–19, 2015: 19th Annual Feline Medicine Conference Chair: Summer 2014 •Dr. John August •5
A New Era: Ground is broken for the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC)
Top left: Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, presides over the groundbreaking ceremony. Top right: The Singing Cadets entertain the audience. Middle right: Members of the stage party include Mr. Jim Schwertner, Ms. Ricci Karula, Dr. Baxter Black, Miss Reveille VIII, and her handler, Ryan Kreider. Bottom: The audience responds with enthusiasm to the day’s festivities. 6•
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To celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in veterinary medicine for Texas, administrators from The Texas A&M University System, Texas A&M University, and the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) broke ground for the new Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex. The capital project represents a major expansion for the CVM and will also be one of the largest construction projects on the Texas A&M campus. “The new facility represents a tremendous opportunity to bring the latest in teaching technology to the CVM and to Texas A&M University,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “We are very excited that the Board of Regents and the administration of Texas A&M University decided to invest in the future of our college, our
faculty, and our students. The impact of having state-of-the-art teaching and clinical facilities will be felt not only by those who receive their education here in the future but also by those whom we serve.” The new building will house state-ofthe-art classroom and teaching laboratory space that will enhance the learning environment for students. Combined with the expansion of the small animal hospital, the new facilities will provide opportunities for innovations in teaching and will nurture collaboration and creativity. In addition, they are expected to be a notable factor in recruiting the best faculty, staff, and students. The $120 million needed for completion of both facilities will be funded solely from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), which was established in the Texas Constitution of 1876 as a public endow-
ment contributing to the support of the institutions of the Texas A&M and University of Texas systems. Green noted that the opportunity to launch a construction project such as this is once in a lifetime, and it was important to the planning team to look across the country at not only the current trends in classroom innovation and teaching technology, but also what new advances may be on the horizon. “We wanted to design a building that not only would meet our needs now but also would be flexible enough to meet our education needs in the next 50 years. In 2016, we will be celebrating our 100th anniversary,” said Green. “We will step into our new facilities as we step into a new century.”
Front row, left to right: Dr. Mark Hussey, Texas A&M University Interim President; The Honorable John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System; Mr. Phillip Adams, Chairman of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Karan Watson, Texas A&M University Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Mr. Jim Schwertner, Member of the Texas A&M University Board of Regents, and Miss Reveille VIII, with her handler, Ryan Kreider, are joined by other distinguished members of the stage party at the groundbreaking ceremony. Summer 2014 •
Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences Continues Battle Against Multiple Sclerosis
by Dr. Megan Palsa
Dr. Jane Welsh (second from right) visits with participants at the Brazos Valley Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Support Group meeting.
In keeping with the One Health Initiative and community outreach, Dr. Jane Welsh, Dr. Jianrong Li, and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM) multiple sclerosis student research group continue to wage war on multiple sclerosis. Through scientific exploration and through patient support and community outreach, this group of research scientists continues to explore new techniques and models in their attempt to discover new ways to advance the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Welsh and Li are professors in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences in the CVM. Together with their research teams, they hosted an event in early February 2014, fondly called the “English Tea”—a tradition since 1995. 8•
The event, held in the Mark Francis Room in the CVM, was part of the Brazos Valley Multiple Sclerosis Patients’ Support Group (BVMSPSG) meeting. On the 19th anniversary of the gathering, the subject matter presented and the research updates offered were once again explained in a manner easily understood by all participants. Since its inception, the tea has provided a forum for discussion of advances in MS and allowed graduate students to present their research to members of the support group, demonstrating the vital role that biomedical research plays in promoting improvements in health. In MS patients, the immune system attacks myelin membranes that surround axons of neurons, making it difficult for the nerves to conduct electrical impulses. When myelin is damaged as a result of
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MS, a scar forms in its place. These scars prevent nerve signals from traveling through the body. More than 80 percent of those diagnosed with MS suffered a highly stressful life event in the year preceding its onset. At the English Tea, Welsh lab researchers told participants that their findings suggest viral infections combined with stress are important factors in developing MS. The Li lab members presented their recent findings on critical roles for myeloid cells in triggering neuroinflammation and myelin damage in animal models of MS. Myeloid cells include several types of cells that regulate the immune response. Results from animal studies also suggest that drugs targeting specific signals in the brain can provide protection against myelin destruction.
The conversation was not one sided; members of the support group shared their unique perspectives on living with MS, which included suggestions on which medications to take, how to deal with depression, and finding the right doctor or neurologist to care for their needs. “The narrowing of the research focus on MS by the students and professors at the CVM holds hope that new interventions may be developed that will emphasize the good that medical treatment can achieve, while minimizing the awful side effects that may develop,” said MS patient Peggy Brannon, a registered nurse who holds a master’s degree in psychology. Although she now lives in Bryan and is on disability, Brannon has held a leadership role in the BVMSPSG and never misses a meeting. MS patient Steven R. Sadler, who was also in attendance at this year’s tea, said he appreciates the opportunity to interface with those actually working to find a cure. “The work being done at A&M is great,” Sadler said. “It allows us to see firsthand the research that is being done on MS, right here in our backyard, rather than reading about it in some type of printed journal or pulling it from the Internet.” He said the researchers seem “genuinely interested” in finding a cause and cure. “The students have taught me that there are compassionate young minds out there that are wanting to try and help those of us battling a chronic disease through their research.” Dr. Andrew Steelman has been attending these meetings for 10 years; he began when he was one of Welsh’s Ph.D. students. “For me, these meetings have been incredibly motivating and have really pushed me to conduct meaningful research that I hope will contribute to the understanding of not only MS pathogenesis, but also neuroinflammation in general.” Steelman also noted that a contact he made at the tea one year resulted in research funds for the society. “I met an individual who challenged me to ride in the MS 150, a bike ride from Houston to Austin. I trained, raised some money, and rode the ride with this particular person’s
Dr. Andrew Steelman, a postdoctoral fellow (center), talks to graduate students about their research during a break in presentations. daughter. It was inspiring to see the thousands of people riding at least 150 miles to raise money for MS research. Most impressive was the fact that the individual that I rode with had participated in the race every year since she was 12. It was truly a wonderful experience, which I would love to repeat.” First year Texas A&M medical student Lance Robinson attended the tea for the first time this year. He said he felt it was beneficial in that it helped him and other guests learn more about MS and that the patients can help direct some of the research by providing insight into the disease and its evolving symptoms. “It was enlightening seeing how devastating this disease is in person,” said Caleb Gottlich, an undergraduate. “We work with it at such a microscopic and unattached level that to see how our work could potentially help real people battling with this very real disease reminded me why I’m pursuing this field in the first place.” Another undergraduate student, Victoria Fielding, said the event helped her to stay focused. “Events like the MS Society Tea help me to stay grounded in the true purpose behind what we do. It’s so easy to put on the blinders and stay focused on what goes on in the lab from day to day and to lose track of the people that we are working to help.”
Li, who was trained in neurobiology at Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, has been attending the tea since joining the CVM in 2006. She has long-standing research interests in understanding why and how oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for making myelin along axons, become damaged in MS and in other cerebral white matter disorders. “The gathering has been a great motivation for us. In fact, it gives me a sense of urgency in finding new clues against this disease. One of our projects in particular is to identify drug-like compounds capable of promoting myelin repair by screening thousands of bioactive small molecules.” Welsh, whose background includes training at the University of London, King’s College Hospital and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, said she and her colleagues value the interaction as well. “The members of the BVMSPSG have greatly inspired our students and postdoctoral fellows and contributed to the development of research ideas,” she said. “We look forward to our annual meetings with them and also regular emails from them about current MS research—they really keep us on our toes!”
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The goal of his trial is to determine “ how best to treat dogs with this common injury, but in so doing he is gathering valuable data that can be used to benefit future human clinical trials.
Dr. Jonathan Levine 10 •
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Technicians fit sensors that will measure the dog’s limb movement.
RESEARCH OFFERS HOPE FOR SPINAL CORD INJURIES: How a Clinical Trial in Dogs May Help Human Patients by Christina Sumners Sciences at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Using dogs with naturally occurring neurological conditions, as opposed to rodents with induced injuries, gives a much more realistic view of how a drug might perform in humans. However, the study is also much more complicated because the researchers don’t have control over a number of factors. Unlike rodents, dogs vary widely in their genetics, the location and severity of the injury, and time before treatment begins. Human SCIs, of course, have similar variability. “If a drug doesn’t work on dogs, that is a good indication that it might not work in humans either,” Levine said. On the other hand, of course, something that does work well in dogs is very promising for human injuries. One of the ways to determine if a treatment works is to measure recovery of various functions, especially movement. Using infrared cameras that can track limb movements, Levine and his team measure how normal versus injured dogs walk. Then, in separate collaborative projects with bioengineers at the University of Louisville, the team can determine which muscles are activated. “It is a very collaborative process,” Levine said. “There are about 20 people, at a number of different institutions, who are vital to our entire program.” The study with the U.S. Department of Defense is a joint effort with investigators at UC San Using infrared cameras that track limb movements, Francisco Medical School. Scientists the team measure how normal versus injured dogs at University of Louisville, Methodist walk. Hospital, and UT Houston Medical
Dr. Jonathan Levine’s research on spinal cord injuries in dogs may one day help humans with similar injuries. The United States Department of Defense seems to think so, as they have funded a large-scale, three-year clinical trial of dogs with injuries resulting from intervertebral disc herniation. While humans with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) usually sustain these due to trauma, canine disc herniation does mimic certain facets of human injury. Importantly, canine disc herniation results in spinal cord bruising and compression, as is the case with trauma in humans. Additionally, the treatment for canine disc herniation is amazingly similar to that which is administered to humans with spinal cord trauma. “The animals get an MRI, they get surgery, and they get rehabilitation,” said Levine, who is an associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical
School are participating in an array of other projects. “Dr. Levine’s approach is a perfect example of One Health research,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “The goal of his trial is to determine how best to treat dogs with this common injury, but in so doing he is gathering valuable data that can be used to benefit future human clinical trials.” The drug Levine and his colleagues are evaluating in the U.S. Department of Defense canine clinical trial is a type of neuro-protective therapy, meaning it is thought to protect the cord by stopping events that happen soon after injury that actually make injury worse. Specifically, the drug blocks enzymes called metalloproteinases that are released after injury. These enzymes break down the extracellular matrix and allow white blood cells into the spinal cord, which only does more damage. However, these same enzymes can be useful at later stages of injury, after the body has started the healing process and has begun to form scar tissue. When the enzymes are inhibited at later stages, the patients tend to do poorly, which is why the drug therapy has to be timed perfectly. “If we can get to these dogs in the first 48 hours after their injury,” Levine said, “we can give this drug—and the dogs— their optimal chance.” If you have a dog or a patient you think might be a candidate for Levine’s clinical trial, please contact Alisha Selix (email@example.com) or Elizabeth Scanlin (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 979-845-2351.
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Dr. Leif Andersson
The Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS), established by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in December 2010, provides a catalyst to enrich the intellectual climate and educational experiences at Texas A&M. It is a mechanism for attracting world-class talent to the University. The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) has benefited from the program with the addition of Dr. Leif Andersson, a 201316 TIAS Faculty Fellow from Uppsala University, Sweden, to the Department of Veterinary Integrated Biosciences (VIBS). Andersson was chosen as a recipient of the 2014 Wolf Prize in Agriculture, often referred to as equivalent to the Nobel Prize. “Dr. Andersson is highly deserving of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture,” said Dr. David Threadgill, professor and director of the Whole Systems Genomic Initiative (WSGI) at Texas A&M. “He is the leading geneticist using the latest genomic tools to reveal the genetic control of many important production traits in agricultural animals. There is no other scientist who has been as successful over the last 10 years as Dr. Andersson has been in studying many different species and traits.” 12 •
As a TIAS fellow, Dr. Andersson has been collaborating with faculty in the CVM since November 2013 (see sidebar). His research involves comparing the genomes of many species of domestic animals to discover the molecular mechanisms and underlying traits that are important to human and veterinary medicine. Texas A&M University System Chancellor, John Sharp, who initiated the investment in TIAS, said, “We are all very proud of TIAS and specifically, Dr. Andersson. His work will influence the future of sustainable food production for the entire world.” Dr. Andersson analyzes interbreeding among species of domestic animals to identify the genes and mutations that affect specific traits. This research has led to the development of genomic and marker-assisted selection as a means to identify breeding stock with specific useful and economically important characteristics. These advances in livestock selection have replaced the more classic selection methods based on visible traits, and are an essential contribution to sustainable feeding of a growing world population. “I congratulate Dr. Andersson on being awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize. His breakthrough work in genomic technologies is an example of the positive impact that he and our Texas A&M University faculty are having on Texas,
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the nation, and the world,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, interim president of Texas A&M University. One area of Dr. Andersson’s research with potential crossover to humans is his work on the genetic basis of muscle physiology and motor coordination in horses. This has led to insights into how their genes affect their gait. These discoveries may also have important implications for human diseases such as cerebral palsy. “We are excited about Dr. Andersson’s recognition as a recipient of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “His international reputation and expertise in functional genomics, combined with the worldclass genomics faculty already in place at the CVM, will be integral in fostering innovative One Health collaborations and leading-edge discovery. Special thanks to TIAS and to our university leadership, who provided the opportunity to bring these world-renowned scholars to our campus. This effort, led by Texas A&M University Chancellor John Sharp and directed by Dr. Junkins, has provided a wealth of opportunity to Texas A&M and to the communities we serve.” The new Wolf Prize laureates will receive their awards in May from the president of Israel and Israel’s minister of education during a ceremony at the
Knesset Building (the seat of Israel’s Parliament) in Jerusalem. “I am extremely proud to be recognized with an international prize of this dignity,” Dr. Andersson said. Five or six Wolf Prizes have been awarded annually since 1978 to outstanding individuals in the fields of agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, physics, and the arts. According to the Wolf Foundation’s website, a total of 253 scientists and artists from 23 countries have been honored to date. This year, five prizes were awarded to eight individuals in four countries. Dr. Andersson is the fourth agriculture winner of the Wolf Prize associated with Texas A&M: Dr. Perry Adkisson won in 1995, Dr. James Womack in 2001, and Dr. Fuller Bazer in 2002. “This recognition of the excellence of his work is also reflective of the overall quality of the stellar talent TIAS is attracting as Faculty Fellows,” said Dr. John Junkins, distinguished professor of aerospace engineering, and founding director of TIAS. “Each year, TIAS is bringing the finest academics in the world to Texas A&M for collaboration with our faculty and students. Of the first 15 scholars that TIAS has brought to Texas A&M, two have won the Nobel Prize, one has been awarded the National Medal of Science, and now one has been awarded the Wolf Prize. Indeed, we are delighted by the ongoing contributions to our programs by all 15 of the highly distinguished scholars attracted to date as TIAS Faculty Fellows.” Andersson has also contributed to two major ongoing Texas A&M research projects: development of new mouse models for comparative genomics and animal genome re-sequencing. He has been instrumental in the latter by opening possibilities for collaboration with groups conducting next-next generation single cell sequencing (such as Evan Eichler at the University of Washington, Seattle; PacBio sequencing group at BioMedical Center Uppsala, Sweden). “We are extremely fortunate to be hosting Dr. Andersson as a TIAS fellow in our department, where he is a delightful and inspiring colleague,” said Dr. Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni, associate dean for undergraduate education, professor, and head of VIBS. “Dr. Andersson works across a broad range of species; this and his extraordinary powers of observation have been of tremendous value to faculty and students in the college.” Andersson directed the Animal Genetics component of the Nordic Centre of Excellence in Disease Genetics (NCoEDG) that was in operation until 2011 and his research group has done pioneering work in this field. NCoEDG involved investigators from Denmark, Finland, and Sweden working in five Nordic Universities pooling their expertise, methodological power, and resources to study the genetic background of metabolic syndrome, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and colon cancer. Dr. Andersson’s expertise in animal model development and experience with multi-institutional collaborative research in NCoEDG can provide exceptional insights as the CVM positions itself to become a major contributor to the WSGI and the One Health program. A world-renowned scientist who has published more than 330 scientific articles and has received six patents and filed applications for two more, Dr. Andersson has mentored 25 students to doctorate or professional degrees. He has also been uniquely elected to four major scientific royal societies in Sweden (Royal Swedish Society for Agriculture and Forestry, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala and the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund) and was recently elected as a Foreign Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Andersson has received numerous
other prizes: the Thureus Prize in Natural History and Medicine from the Royal Society of Sciences, the Linneus Prize in Zoology from the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, the Hilda and Alfred Eriksson’s Prize in Medicine from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and the Olof Rudbeck Prize from Uppsala Medical Society.
Dr. Andersson's CVM Collaborations Dr. Bhanu Chowdhary, Dr. Terje Raudsepp, and her graduate student, Sharmila Ghosh: • Re-sequencing of the horse pseudoautosomal region • Characterization of a deletion in the horse associated with a developmental disorder • Characterization of a deletion associated with equine cryptorchidism • Discovery of causative genes/mutations for the Dun coat color in horses Dr. Jim Womack, his postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Mi Ok Lee, and his graduate student, Jungfeng Chen: • Re-sequencing a NKlysin immunity related region in cattle genome Dr. Gus Cothran: • Equine gaits (Manuscript in press in Animal Genetics, follow up from a previous Nature paper, leading to a Texas A&M Genomics Seed grant) Dr. Loren Skow and graduate student, Erica Downey: • Bovine MHC (leading to a Texas A&M Genomics Seed grant) Dr. David Threadgill: • Mouse knockout models Summer 2014 •
CVM Veterinary students at the HSPCA (top, with HSPCA employees and Dr. Kenita Rogers and Dean Eleanor Green) are filmed as part of the television show “Animal Cops Houston.”
Veterinary Students participate
SPCA in ‘Animal Cops Houston’ with
A select group of Texas A&M veterinary students were recently given the unique opportunity to communicate their knowledge of various animal health issues during their participation with the Houston SPCA for Animal Planet’s filming for “Animal Cops Houston.” Animal Cops is a show featured on the Animal Planet network that follows and highlights the work of animal cruelty investigators. This particular series was set in Houston and followed the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (HSPCA) to investigate animal cruelty and take necessary measures to protect the animals. “This is the first time we have worked with veterinary students on an Animal Cops show, and witnessing their experi14 •
ences of working with the Houston SPCA agents and veterinary team gives us a new perspective on the work carried out at the shelter,” said David Terry, production manager for Animal Cops. “The presence of the students in the series really helps us layer our stories by weaving interviews from experienced professionals with reactions from those seeing animal cruelty for the first time.” Laura Saunders, a Texas A&M veterinary student who participated in the filming, explained her experience working and communicating alongside professionals on the show. “I think the big thing I learned was that you have to be able to communicate at a level where everyone will understand,” said Saunders. “There would be times during an interview where
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the film crew would ask me or the veterinarian what a specific term was and we would get the chance to further explain it. It was a great experience.” The students not only gained valuable communication skills and new experiences, but also learned about animal cruelty issues as they worked alongside this influential organization and ultimately helped to save many animals’ lives. “Working with the Texas A&M veterinary students on the making of Animal Cops Houston was a great experience,” said Terry. “We were, and continue to be, very impressed with the caliber of students coming to the shelter and the ‘can do’ attitude they bring with them.”
B IOMEDIC AL
S C I E N C ES
Texas A&M University Interim President Mark Hussey gives the Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award to Akanksha Sharma, a 2014 graduate of the Biomedical Sciences Program.
Sharma receives Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award by Caroline Neal Akanksha Sharma, a 2014 Biomedical Sciences program (BIMS) graduate from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), was awarded the Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award for the exemplary qualities displayed throughout her time as a student at Texas A&M University. The award provides public recognition to seniors graduating from Texas A&M who have demonstrated the qualities of leadership, patriotism, and courage exemplified by Robert M. Gates, who served as president of the university from 2002–2006, prior to being named the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Each college may nominate one student to be considered for the award by a special committee appointed by the president, and from these nominations the committee selects one recipient. “Akanksha is, without question, one of the most outstanding students I have taught at Texas A&M University,” said Dr. Tawfik Omran, clinical assistant professor at the CVM. “She is not only an excellent student, but she is also personally delightful.” Sharma graduated with a 3.9 GPA in biomedical sciences and a minor in psychology this May. She was not only the vice president of the Texas A&M Pre-Medical Society, but also worked with the Alzheimer’s Association philanthropy with the Pre-Med Society, volunteered at nursing homes in Bryan and Denton, Texas, and
even started ‘MIND WITH MUSIC’ to promote the use of music as a means of providing comfort and joy to seniors with dementia. In addition to this, Sharma also participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program with the Texas A&M Health Science Center and did clinical research at the Longview Cancer Center. “I am very thankful to the CVM for nominating me and the selection committee for evaluating my academic record as well as my volunteer and research activities,” said Sharma. “Receiving this award gives me even more impetus and encouragement to uphold the values symbolized by the award and to maintain the highest level of academic achievement and leadership along with serving the community to the best of my ability.” Sharma was presented with a $5,000 check and an appropriate plaque during her graduation ceremony. She has been accepted to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and will start her medical training in fall 2014. She plans to continue to participate in research in the field of oncology during her clinical training. “Akanksha Sharma is an outstanding individual who used her time at Texas A&M University to enrich her own educational experience and enrich the lives of others in her community,” said Dr. James D. Herman, clinical professor at the CVM. “She exemplifies the definition of selfless service as she uses her talents and passions for the benefit of others.” Summer 2014 •
B IOMEDIC AL
S C I E N C ES
Patali Shikhi Cheruku
Undergraduate student receives prestigious NIH research position by Angela Clendenin For most undergraduates at Texas A&M University, summers are a time to take a break from the rigors of long semesters in the classroom, perhaps find a summer job, and get ready for the next round of classes. However, even before arriving in College Station as Molecular and Cell Biology major, Patali Shikhi Cheruku, spent her summers in her father’s office pursuing interests that would eventually lead her to a post-baccalaureate position in a National Institutes of Health laboratory.
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Cheruku grew up as the daughter of a hematologist/oncologist who frequently referred patients to bone marrow transplant physicians. With her father’s help and encouragement, Cheruku was able to begin shadowing the transplant specialists the summer after her freshman year at Texas A&M. “For me, it was interesting to learn how the different molecules and cells within the blood system interact,” said Cheruku. “Spending so much time with my father gave me a greater focus, and because of him, I was able to get into the summer program at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio.
Once I began the program, doors started opening for me, and I knew I wanted to get involved in basic research.” As Cheruku began her search for a research program, she found Dr. Beiyan Zhou, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology (VTPP) in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). Zhou had arrived at the CVM just one and a half years earlier from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and brought with her a project investigating acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer affecting the blood system in approximately 70 percent of the infants affected by cancer. Additionally, Zhou had been working in the hematology research field for more than ten years studying transplants in both diseased and normal models. For Cheruku, and her growing interest in transplant medicine, it was a perfect match. “I was so happy to have the opportunity to join Dr. Zhou’s laboratory as an undergraduate,” said Cheruku. “I have been able to look at the blood system at the molecular level, and study how normal stem cells work in that system, how when one becomes cancerous, it becomes a seed for cancer. For me, it’s about finding a way to kill cancerous cells at the molecular level, and in the end helping find a way to stop this disease.” Under Zhou’s mentorship, Cheruku participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars program at Texas A&M, and has co-authored three papers, including one in the journal for the American Association for Cancer Research. Also as part of the program, Cheruku has traveled to make presentations. Recently, Cheruku won the Abstract Achievement Award for her poster presentation at a national hematology conference. “These national conferences are very large,” said Zhou, “with typically 30,000 attendees. It’s very rare for an undergraduate student to win such an award, but Shikhi has worked very hard since joining our lab, and has earned that recognition.” Zhou noted that Cheruku, after joining the lab in her sophomore year, has demonstrated her ability to work as an independent researcher. “For this year before her graduation,” said Zhou, “Shikhi has taken on her own project within the lab and has been a fantastic teacher of others. Through her strong example, I have been able to bring on additional undergraduate students who are all applying for the university research program, and will eventually also apply for graduate programs nationally. Shikhi has helped to demonstrate a very clear pathway for these students.” Cheruku’s hard work in the lab and her strong presentations in front of national audiences, as well as the experience that set her on this path in San Antonio, brought her to the National Institutes of Health program for post-baccalaureate students. Beginning in early June, Cheruku will join the lab of Dr. Andre LaRochelle in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for two years. “Dr. LaRochelle’s lab is working to create embryonic stem cells from adult stem cells to create hematopoetic (blood system) cells for transplants,” said Cheruku. “By using these created cells, patients could avoid rejection upon transplantation. The lab team is also working on developing drugs
that will cause cells to be released from bone marrow, allowing a clean slate for the transplanting of new healthy cells. The hope is that this will lead to patients being able to avoid chemotherapy and radiation treatments prior to a bone marrow transplant. It’s really very exciting to have the opportunity to see the translational side of things.” What is next for Cheruku after her time at the NIH? Once her NIH program is complete, she will begin applying for medical school with the goal of becoming a transplant specialist. “I want to have that patient contact after medical school and the time spent in specialty training,” said Cheruku when asked if she would also pursue a Ph.D. at some point. “The time spent in Dr. LaRochelle’s lab and the time I’ve spent with Dr. Zhou’s team has been a great way to get some experience before medical school. If at some point I decide to pursue a doctoral degree, I will have this experience to build upon.” As Zhou prepares to send Cheruku off to the NIH, she has added five more undergraduate students to her lab. “There will be a lot of opportunity for Shikhi when she is done,” said Zhou. “And her success underscores the reason I value supporting undergraduate research. It’s important to start students early to really learn the science, the techniques, and the study design. As faculty, we mentor them along a career path from technical proficiency to presentations and projects, to interviews for post-graduate opportunities. I have been fortunate to bring in a really strong group of undergraduates into my laboratory, and they have shown they are just as smart, or sometimes even smarter, than graduate students I have worked with at previous institutions.” Working together, Zhou and Cheruku have provided a strong example of the important role that research experience plays in defining the future of undergraduate students. As Cheruku departs for the NIH, Zhou will build upon Cheruku’s experience to enhance the learning opportunities for her current graduate students.
Patali Shikhi Cheruku (left) works with Dr. Beiyan Zhou (right) Summer 2014 •
H OS P I TA L
Happily ever after:
A second chance for Leon by Laura Alton Leon was only four months old when he entered my life. He was found wandering the streets of Wichita Falls, scared, underweight, and covered in demodex mange. Volunteering for Great Dane Rescue of North Texas, I transported him from the shelter to the veterinarian and later to my house to “foster.” It didn’t take long to realize that Leon had become part of my family of Danes and that I couldn’t give him up, so I adopted him. 18 •
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His mange was finally cleared up, but returned when he was about a year old. The mange was so bad that we went to a local veterinary dermatologist, but his condition only worsened, encompassing most of his belly and legs, as well as causing huge bloody cysts on his feet and in between his toes. The breaking point came on a holiday weekend when I called the dermatologist and told him that Leon was only getting worse. He didn’t want to see him, but said to wait through the weekend and see how he did. Over the week-
end, he worsened and his skin was blistering with blood and sloughing off in pieces. I frantically called Chastity Rogers, who was a friend of mine who worked at the Texas A&M veterinary school. She told me to bring Leon immediately to the emergency room at Texas A&M. I had always heard that you had to have a referral from your veterinarian to get in and that it was way too expensive to go there. I had no choice though but to load up the pup and make the three-hour trek to College Station. We arrived at 8:00 a.m. and were immediately greeted at the door by Lucy the receptionist. The students appeared and took Leon and then took time to hear my story. I was already impressed by the quickness of service. I really knew that Leon wasn’t a true emergency in that he was not going to die if we didn’t get seen that day, but thought we would certainly die if something didn’t get done quickly. The emergency veterinarian came out, and basically told me the same thing and that the dermatology department would see him sometime that day. He also told me that he wouldn’t charge me for the emergency visit since they really didn’t do anything (although I really felt like he had done a great service for us). I had packed a bag planning on not being seen that day and having to spend the night. During the day, many times I was asked if there was anything that they could do for me and the staff made me feel very comfortable. We were initially seen by Dr. Diesel and Amanda and the students, who were amazed at the sight of Leon’s skin. She fixed Leon up Leon and his family, with the portrait the author painted of him.
One of Leon’s first visits with Dr. Alison Diesel.
with medications and instructions for care and helped me get him back in my car to head home that day. Within five days, he made miraculous improvements, but his feet were not doing as well. We made subsequent visits at frequent intervals to see Dr. Patterson, who suggested that we do laser treatments to the pads of his feet to essentially burn all of the scar tissue and hair follicles. Amanda and the students taught me how to bandage his feet (all four of them) with bandages that went from his feet all the way to his shoulders. Of course, the first day he came out bandaged with Aggie colors and logo!! Every visit we were promptly cared for and always taken care of in a day so we could go back to Dallas that night. After great care from the entire staff and students, Leon made a full recovery! My experience at the Texas A&M veterinary school has been contrary to popular belief. It was easy to get in and was no more expensive than care would have been at my local vet. The experience with the staff though has been exemplary. From the time I walked in the door to the time we paid the bill and walked out, everyone was so great! I can’t say enough about the school. To show our thanks to everyone, I painted a portrait of Leon that will hang in one of the exam rooms of the dermatology department. Leon and I made the trip once again down to College Station to present it to Dr. Patterson and Dr. Diesel and Amanda. Again, treated just like old times! Thank you Texas A&M! Summer 2014 •
O N E H E A LT H
Ashton Richardson (left) and Jacob Hammond (right) are the presidents of the One Health Clubs at their respective colleges.
Students embrace One Health by Dr. Megan Palsa One Health is the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain sustainable optimal health for the ecosystem. It is a cultural and behavioral concept with socioeconomic elements and impact. Ashton Richardson is in his first year of veterinary school at Texas A&M University, and Jacob Hammond is a first-year medical student. Working collaboratively, they embody the concept of One Health. These two students, who are the presidents of the One Health Club at their respective colleges, have some specific ideas about how the One Health Initiative can create advances and learning opportunities in their respective fields.
The Texas A&M Choice Richardson is from New Orleans and is the president of the veterinary chapter of the student One Health organization. He chose the field of veterinary medicine—and Texas A&M’s program in particular—because of his interest in international and cultural development and in large animal/food animal medicine. “Coming out of my undergraduate work, I had the option to go to a few veterinary colleges, but my choice and reasoning for choosing A&M was, number one, because it has a premiere food animal program,” said Richardson. He stressed how the “amazing case load” coupled with the numerous faculty members who have done international work, especially Dr. Linda Logan, made the choice an easy one. “In Texas, we have one of the largest zoonotic divisions in our department of state health services,” Richardson said. “It feels 20 •
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like A&M was made for me; it fits very well with what I want to do.” The One Health association is just another step in that direction for Richardson. Collaborating with students from other disciplines on campus and learning how animal and human diseases relate to one another is key to international development, which is Richardson’s main interest. Hammond, who is from Alvin, Texas, became interested in medicine during high school when he took a class in his sophomore year called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID). The class was intended to assist students in their career selection and college choice. “I found that I really, really liked science,” Hammond said. “However, I found that I liked the application of science far more than the research side.” He noted, however, that working in the lab at Texas A&M during his senior year as an undergraduate deepened his fondness for research; he now says he enjoys both sides equally. Hammond’s tendency toward leadership began early in Boy Scouts, where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank available in the program. Setting his sights on a career in medicine and the opportunities for impacting society it would provide, he was happy to learn that Texas A&M had a biomedical sciences (BIMS) undergraduate program with a “good reputation for preparing people for medical school.” He enrolled and, after graduation, continued his education at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. “I still say, to this day, the BIMS program at Texas A&M is the best preparation for medical school in the country.”
Discovering One Health While the rigor of the BIMS program prepared Hammond for entry into medical school, it was his attendance at a seminar his senior year as an undergraduate that introduced him to a new way of thinking about medicine. The seminar, which explained the concept of One Health, focused on the relationship between human medicine, veterinary medicine, and environmental science. “One Health, to me, was just one of those things that clicked,” he said. “I thought ‘Wow, that makes sense; why aren’t we doing that?’” Throughout all of his biomedical sciences classes, he heard lectures about human medicine given by veterinary faculty members. “I understand that sounds a little strange, but it’s really not. A lot of the anatomy and physiology that we apply to animals is also applicable to people. So in getting my undergraduate degree, I learned about so many of these conditions that affect animals and people, and it just made sense,” said Hammond.
begin to see that we have the same vectors that transmit that disease. So, the proper approach is to understand the disease now, while it’s still in another country, and try to find ways to counteract it before it crosses our borders.” Hammond and Richardson both hope the student organizations will meet informally, perhaps as often as once a week, to discuss work related to One Health. “I don’t know how it is in medical school, but in the veterinary college, our curriculum is clinically based,” Richardson said. “As first-year students, we are learning what we are going to see as small animal practitioners, and it is easy to get lost in that sometimes and forget that there is a bigger world out there.” “That trend is changing as public health classes are being introduced into the program,” Richardson continued. “I certainly feel, however, that there is room for a greater understanding of One Health, and it is time for everyone to be involved in the discussion.”
Planting the Seeds to Advance One Health: A Community Garden Hammond said that many of their collaborative leadership discussions are currently regarding next steps, short- and long-term goals, and the kind of impact the students want to have on the world when they have completed their respective programs. “We have so many different ideas in the works,” Hammond said. “One of the things that we are thinking about is the community garden and the impact it has on the community, especially in places called ‘food deserts.’” He explained that a food desert is a public health term for an area where there is no real source of fruits and vegetables or other nutritious food. “An example would be a very small town that only has a few convenience stores…we are looking at how community gardens might affect those areas.” Students are beginning to realize there will be a need for medical and veterinary professionals in the future who are knowledgeable about One Health and how human and animal diseases intersect. “Our approach with our organization, first and foremost, is to provide a learning opportunity for medical and veterinary students so that we can be prepared to fill that need in the coming generations.” Richardson said they are investigating and providing service opportunities, in which students learn while assisting the community. “I agree with what Jacob was saying about the community gardens being an awesome way to affect our community,” Richardson said. “To provide them with fresh produce and a healthy diet and, at the same time, provide many opportunities for educating our colleagues about One Health; it is just an amazing way to show that almost any area of medicine has a One Health component.”
From Community Gardens to Global Conversations The fact that diseases travel so fast these days is another concern One Health faces. “They can spread across the entire globe in just 24 hours,” Richardson said. “It’s really a good idea to be proactive and start learning about these diseases that could potentially cross our borders. If you look at diseases that present themselves in countries outside of the United States, you will Summer 2014 •
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Hatching One Health by Kelly Tucker Hitchcock’s classic movie The Birds aside, birds don’t usually inspire terror in humans. Avians can be troublesome for car windshields, but terrifying? Not likely. That perception changes, however, if they’re carrying bird flu, which re-emerges regularly in Asia, leaving dozens of human bodies in its wake. Closer to home in Texas, West Nile virus, a pathogen often heralded by dead blue jays, can ravage the human nervous system when mosquitoes help it jump from birds to humans. Diseases transmitted between animals and humans, known as zoonoses, don’t just travel on wings. Pregnant women are often warned to avoid cat litter, which can carry the parasites responsible for toxoplasmosis. The bacterium behind leprosy happily infects armadillos as well as humans. Even man’s best friend can unwillingly be guilty of spreading rabies and a bevy of other infections to humans. But there is another—and perhaps more important—side to the connection between animals and humans. Dogs and other companion animals are regularly welcomed into hospitals and other care facilities to brighten patients’ moods. Walking or playing with Fido, either at home or in a park, can improve the health of both the human owner and the pet. Humans have lived and worked with animals for thousands of years, so it is little wonder that they benefit each other in many ways. The health of humans and animals, it seems, is more connected than most people might realize. In addition, the environment affects and is affected by living creatures. Dr. Michael Chaddock, assistant dean for One Health and Strategic Initiatives at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), considers One Health to be the intersection of these three areas of life. “One Health is human health, animal health, and the connection between health and man-made and natural environments,” said Dr. Chaddock. “It’s the convergence of those three.” The beauty of One Health is its breadth and there is room for all schools and colleges at Texas A&M to be involved. With so many players involved, One Health can be difficult at times to understand but easy to describe using examples and stories. The best way to begin to appreciate its scope and potential is to start at the beginning.
Origins One Health doesn’t have a solid birth date, but history records several sparks of insight that helped form the concept. Hippocrates, that eminent ancient Greek physician and father of Western medicine, discussed the impact of the environment on human health in his writings. Several centuries later, the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides proposed that kashrut laws outlining kosher animal products were created mainly to protect human health.
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Although rudimentary veterinary medicine existed from the start of animal husbandry, the connection between animal disease and human disease wasn’t formally established until the late 19th century by German physician Rudolf Virchow. He first became interested in the link between human and animal diseases while studying the parasitic roundworm Trichinella spiralis. His term for diseases transmitted between humans and animals, “zoonoses,” would later become the official name for this important One Health concept. With his new understanding of the human-animal relationships related to infectious diseases, Virchow became one of the first major advocates for public health and the need for cooperation and communication between human and animal health professionals. “Between animal and human medicine there are no dividing lines—nor should there be,” Virchow wrote when making his case for his new way of seeing healthcare and living creatures. “The object is different but the experience obtained constitutes the basis of all medicine.”
Institutionalization The ideas constituting One Health gained further traction in the 20th century. In particular, James H. Steele, D.V.M., M.P.H., became the father of veterinary public health and American champion of the idea that zoonotic diseases warranted serious concern (and resources). Steele became interested in zoonotic disease transmission during his veterinary education when several classmates were infected with Brucella microbes, the microscopic agents of brucellosis. While serving the United States during World War II as a sanitarian in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, he researched infamous zoonoses, including rabies and bovine tuberculosis. Following the war, Steele persuaded the U.S. surgeon general that zoonotic diseases posed a sleeping threat to human health. After a two-year study of outbreaks produced compelling evidence for Steele’s claims, the impressed surgeon general amended the United States Public Health Service regulations to create a Veterinary Medical Officer position in 1947. That same year, Steele founded the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) Veterinary Public Health Division. This new animal-centric branch of the CDC would eventually tackle outbreaks of rabies, brucellosis, salmonellosis, Q fever, bovine tuberculosis, and leptospirosis. Other countries and the World Health Organization followed Steele’s lead. The link between animal health and human health had been firmly established, but it still lacked a name. The convergence of public health, the environment, human medicine, and animal medicine finally got its name in 1965 in Veterinary Medicine and Human Health by Calvin Schwabe, another veterinarian. Schwabe wrote of “One Medicine” in his proposal that human health professionals and animal health professionals join forces to fight and control zoonoses. The term evolved into “One Health, One World”
Connection between health and natural/man-made environments
Animal Health or just “One Health” at a 2004 interdisciplinary symposium, and the designation was complete.
Going Global Ten years ago, One Health had a solid history, government programs, and, finally, a catchy name. The next decade saw the implementation of One Health begin to enter the international community’s eye. In 2007, the American Medical Association passed a resolution to create an official partnership between human and animal medicine and the American Veterinary Medical Association established a task force to “study the feasibility of an initiative that would facilitate collaboration and cooperation among health science professionals, academic institutions, governmental agencies, and industries to help with the assessment, treatment, and prevention of crossspecies disease transmission and mutually prevalent, but non-transmitted, human and animal diseases and medical conditions.” The next year, the United Nations (UN) Food
Human Health and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO), and several other major international organizations teamed up to create a strategy for incorporating One Health principles in programs against emerging infectious diseases. The CDC created its One Health Office in 2009 as a point of contact for animal health organizations. In 2010, the Hanoi Declaration, which charged the world with adopting One Health principles and lessons learned from the H5N1 (avian flu) outbreak, was unanimously adopted by 71 countries. The inaugural International One Health Congress was held in Australia in 2011, and a second Congress was held two years later. Both meetings were attended by 60 or more countries that reaffirmed their commitment to making One Health an integral part of their public health programs.
Back in Aggieland Texas A&M University began its own program, the One Health Initiative, in 2011 through a collaboration of the Summer 2014 •
O N E H E A LT H
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences and the College of Medicine at the Texas A&M Health Science Center. Since then, the Initiative has developed partnerships with nearly every college and major department at Texas A&M University. The Initiative defines One Health as “the collaborative effort of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally to attain sustainable optimal health for the ecosystem.” That definition underscores the need for professionals in fields ranging from human medicine to veterinary medicine to environmental science to work together for the benefit of all life forms, not just those in their individual disciplines. In the summer of 2012, Dr. Chaddock became the assistant dean for One Health and Strategic Initiatives. “As a veterinarian I have always embraced One Health, and I think that is because for many years I practiced in a rural area of Michigan and did both large and small animal practice,” Chaddock said of his interest in One Health. He recalled clients describing their own medical problems to him and using his knowledge of veterinary medicine to make connections between the human client’s condition and the health of the client’s animal. Dr. Chaddock’s words underscore the Initiative’s main goal of strengthening the connections between human and animal medicine. Citing stories and examples as the best tools for conveying the importance of One Health to the general public, Dr. Chaddock described specially built dog parks as one of the ways One Health has become part of modern life and medicine. Such parks reshape the environment to encourage dog owners to exercise, improving the physical and mental health of both the humans and their pets. Similarly, criminal rehabilitation programs that have prisoners care for animals can improve the mental well being and life skills of the prisoner and provide care for the animal as well. “I think that stories tell what we’re trying to say,” said Dr. Chaddock. “The way we’re looking at One Health here at Texas A&M is a little different. It’s not just human health, animal health, or environmental health; we’re looking at the environment we’re presented with—good or bad—and how it affects the health of humans and the health of animals.” The environment of Texas A&M, for that matter, has proven crucial for the Initiative’s success thus far. “Here at Texas A&M, we’re very blessed that our health science areas—veterinary, human, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy—are working together in One Health” said Dr. Chaddock. “We’re all in this One Health boat working together on classes, student experiences, opportunities for researchers to collaborate, and outreach to the communities, and that is unique to Texas A&M. Most other universities have a One Health program, but they don’t have the breadth and diversity of programs across their campuses and the transdisciplinary collaborations that we do.” For example, the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and College of Medicine (COM) we will begin piloting a program where medical students and veterinary medical students will be learning and working side-by-side in developing community 24 •
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Dr. Mike Chaddock
emergency preparedness programs. During the summer of 2014 students from the CVM, COM, and School of Public Health will team up with students from the University of California, Davis, and travel to Nicaragua and develop and implement transdisciplinary One Health programs for a rural community. But the Initiative is not stopping at just creating interdisciplinary connections. A certificate program that gives professional students a solid background in One Health principles will be initiated in 2015. In addition, a weekly high-impact learning community that exposes freshmen to One Health ideas introduces Aggie undergraduates to the concept’s integrated approach to health. Providing students with information about One Health can help them be part of its future efforts not just at Texas A&M, but in national and global settings as well. Although outbreaks of zoonoses like tuberculosis and bird flu were unpleasant ways to discover the extent of the health connections between humans and other forms of life, the resulting awareness has benefitted healthcare and will continue to do so. One Health has already helped medical professionals view public health differently, leading to better prevention and response programs. Its importance was highlighted when Texas A&M designated One Health as one of its six grand challenges, or research areas, that receive attention and monetary support. “I truly believe that as we look at One Health, we must take into account all three areas—human health, animal health, and the environment,” said Dr. Chaddock. “In my mind, it’s not One Health if you look at only two. I challenge students and researchers in the One Health Grand Challenge to use a complete One Health concept, which at times can be challenging because it’s natural to gravitate toward human health.” One Health may have taken centuries to spread its wings, but the idea and its advocates are ready to start soaring.
R ESE A RC H
A bobwhite quail
Genome sequence drafted:
Researcher hopes to end decline of bobwhite quail Story courtesy of Texas A&M Communications
The iconic bobwhite quail, a favorite among hunters and wildlife enthusiasts throughout the United States, has literally flown the coop. Its numbers have been decreasing alarmingly for decades, but a groundbreaking project led by a team of Texas A&M University researchers could prove to be a big move toward understanding historic and future bobwhite population trends. Dr. Chris Seabury and research associates Yvette Halley and Eric Bhattarai, along with members of the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center at Texas A&M’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) Drs. Ian Tizard and Donald Brightsmith, have completed the firstever draft genome assembly for a wild bobwhite quail named Pattie-Marie. Their work is published in a recent issue of the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The project, which took two years to complete, also involved colleagues from the University of Missouri (Drs. Jerry Taylor and Jared Decker), Texas A&M AgriLife Research (Drs. Charles Johnson and Dale Rollins), Texas A&M’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences (Dr. Markus Peterson), and two private-industry scientists (Dr. Scot E. Dowd and Paul M. Seabury). “By sequencing and assembling the bobwhite quail genome, the team produced the most comprehensive resource currently available for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research in the bobwhite,” Chris Seabury says. One of the most prized American hunting birds and a cultural icon among outdoor enthusiasts, the bobwhite quail has undergone a mysterious decline that has been documented for more than 50 years. Once present by the millions in the Midwest, South, and Southwest, bobwhite numbers are now down as much as 80 percent in some areas. In Oklahoma, declining bobwhite quail numbers are especially alarming, with one study relating that decline to the
number of quail hunters, which has dropped from 111,000 in 1986 to only 30,000 last year. The bird was recently named the No.1 bird in decline in North America by the Audubon Society. In Texas, equally serious declines have also been noted. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department figures, the bobwhite quail has declined every year since 1981. At present, there appears to be no single or specific reason for the decline. Loss of natural habitat, changes in land use, pesticides, bird diseases, and even climate change have all been mentioned, but no definitive explanation has been discovered for the quail decline. “Our study is important because prior to this, we had no ability to use whole-genome technologies to monitor levels of genetic diversity over time, define the genetic relationships among existing populations, or draw important inferences regarding bobwhite physiological interactions with their environment,” Chris Seabury explains. “We now have a formal resource for studying the bird and identifying new or perhaps even more specific reasons for its serious decline. This resource gives us a way to look at new population and management strategies, but also a means to conduct very detailed molecular studies focusing on ecotoxicology, reproduction, and physiology. “Now we can peel back new layers of science to thoroughly look at many different levels of the quail problem, including the utilization of whole-genome information for monitoring modern genetic diversity, reconstructing historic population trends, and even considering genetic similarity in relation to the translocation of wild bobwhites to suitable habitats.” The study was funded by private donations from Joe Crafton, members of Park Cities Quail, and the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation.
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R ESE A RC H
Dr. Leticia Vivani
Vivani’s innovative work:
Solving the mystery of horse reproduction by Christina Sumners Although human in vitro fertilization (IVF) has been successful since the 1970s, similar reproductive technology in horses has lagged behind. Success rates stubbornly hover between zero and 30 percent, and only two live foals have been born using IVF. The main problem seems to be with the ability of sperm to penetrate the egg. Ongoing research, much of it at Texas A&M University, has led to the ability to successfully mature horse oocytes in vitro. However, achieving in vitro sperm capacitation—which involves a series of changes that sperm must undergo in order to be able to fertilize an egg—has proven to be more complicated. A solution may soon be at hand, though; Dr. Leticia Vivani, a Ph.D. student working jointly in Dr. Katrin Hinrichs’ and Dr. Dickson Varner’s labs at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Bio26 •
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medical Sciences (CVM), is working on the reasons behind this problem. “We are trying to understand the factors that regulate the process of sperm capacitation,” Vivani said. “Of course, this happens perfectly well when we breed a mare, but not when we try to mimic this in vitro. We do not know the reason, but I am almost sure there is something ‘special’ within the mare reproductive tract, something that might not be needed in other species, but that makes stallion sperm undergo all these changes.” Hinrichs’ lab has determined that for some reason, equine sperm are different from those of other species. For example, incubation conditions that successfully induce hyperactivation (the whip-like tail motion needed to penetrate the egg) and subsequent fertilization in other species fail to do so with equine sperm. “There can be so many things that can be affecting capacitation, and there is very little
research done on equine sperm physiology,” Vivani said. “This is good, in a way, because anything you do is new, is innovative, but at the same time, the research can be very challenging and frustrating.” Some progress is being made in understanding equine sperm capacitation. In 2009, by inducing hyperactivated motility with a substance called procaine, researchers at Cornell University achieved the highest fertilization rate to date (61%). Unfortunately, this is not a practicable solution for embryo production because procaine is toxic to the embryos. “This was nevertheless an important finding,” Vivani said, “because it showed us that the failure of IVF was likely due to a sperm-related problem. We now know that there is something difficult about inducing appropriate equine sperm motility in vitro, and that may be why IVF rates have been so low.” Vivani, who earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree in her native Argentina in 2001 and her Master of Science degree at the University of Massachusetts in 2010, has long wanted to study at Texas A&M with this team of researchers. “I have been fascinated with equine reproduction, and the reasons behind the failure of IVF in the horse in particular, since my DVM graduation,” Vivani said. “Therefore, I’ve been dreaming of working with Dr. Hinrichs and with Dr. Varner since I was in Argentina. I had been writing to them and calling them for years before I was eventually able to make it work to come to Texas A&M, first as a visiting researcher and then as a Ph.D. student.” She began her program in May 2012 and plans to graduate in 2016.
ONE HEALTH “Horses are an excellent model for human comparative studies. Mice, for example, do not age as women do, but the changes that mares undergo are very similar to women’s changes with aging,” Vivani said. “When mares reach a certain age, their reproductive efficiency decreases as a result; changes in hormone levels, follicular development, and oocyte quality are very similar in older mares and older women. So it’s a great model for human medicine.” Just as in human medicine, owners of horses for whom natural reproduction has failed turn to assisted reproduction technologies. In horses, this often means using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a technique of “bypassing” standard IVF by injecting a sperm directly into the egg (see sidebar). The ICSI technique is also sometimes used in humans, especially when more traditional IVF has not worked. At the moment, the only way to successfully produce a horse embryo in vitro is through the use of ICSI, which many breeders are increasingly using. “However, is not the most physiological way,” Vivani said, “and is not always practical, as it requires time, sophisticated equipment, and trained personnel. That is why I focus on how to make IVF work.” Ironically, the One Health approach, which usually means translating findings from animals into human medicine, works backward in this case. IVF works well in humans, and has for more than 30 years. However, it is not yet successful in horses, and perhaps going back to the basics of reproduction can help explain why that is the case.
“In the beginning basic research was hard for me,” Vivani said, “because I was trained as a veterinarian and I just wanted to see results. My advisor for my master’s degree, who is a basic researcher, made me stop and ask why things work or not, and I’m very grateful that he did.” In fact, the IVF technique was pioneered through basic research that led to the discovery of capacitation. “Dr. Hinrichs and other researchers like her have focused on really understanding physiological processes related to reproduction,” Vivani said. “For many years we, working in equine reproduction, tried one thing and if it didn’t work, we tried a completely different thing without trying to figure out why it didn’t work, and this process explains why there is so little information in this area.” Despite all of the challenges, Vivani says that she finds her work extremely satisfying, partly due to her excellent mentors. “Dr. Hinrichs and Dr. Varner are so encouraging with their students and really value their work,” Vivani said. “They always encourage me to learn as much as I can. Studying with them has been a wonderful experience—truly a dream come true.
What is ICSI? Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, is a relatively new assisted reproduction procedure in which fertilization occurs outside the mare in a modification of in vitro fertilization. A mature, unfertilized egg, or oocyte, is penetrated by a single sperm cell. In theory, a single valuable stallion can have thousands of offspring using this method, as it works with frozen thawed sperm or freeze-dried sperm that could potentially be frozen for hundreds of years. The egg is held up against a pipette, and it is aspirated so suction holds it in place. A microsurgical needle contains the single sperm cell, which is physically injected into the oocyte. The embryo begins to develop in vitro, and it is transferred into the recipient mare. Although this procedure works well, it requires expensive, complicated equipment and skilled professionals. Therefore, not every farm or ranch can have the ability to use this technology. Furthermore, some research has indicated that embryo development might be negatively affected by this method of fertilization.
Summer 2014 •
R ESE A RC H
Questions & answers:
Dr. Stephen Safe, Distinguished Professor Dr. Stephen Safe
by Sara Carney Dr. Stephen Safe is a distinguished professor in the Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). In the past, Safe has researched the mechanisms of environmental toxins and their effects in humans and animals. Currently, Safe is focused on understanding and developing treatments for cancer that do not harm healthy cells. SC: What are you working on now? As I understand it, your research is involved in environmental toxicology and cancer. SS: I started doing toxicology research with dioxins, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and all sorts of related environmental toxicants and tried to understand their mechanism of action and toxicology. It turned out that these molecules act through a receptor—the Ah receptor— and this can induce toxicity. In some cases, the responses can be protective. For example, the environmental toxicant TCDD (dioxin) causes liver toxicity in most species. However, TCDD also 28 •
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inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells and tumors. We are developing “non-toxic” analogs of TCDD for cancer chemotherapy. We have three different ongoing projects, targeting three different factors in cancer cells and tumors. These factors are important for tumor growth and metastasis. We’re trying to develop drugs to target those three factors. Our focus has been on the design of new agents that will preferentially kill cancer cells but spare non-cancer tissue. SC: It sounds like your research has any number of One Health implications that would be relevant to the public. How do you communicate your research to the public? SS: My focus is on publishing our results in respected cancer journals and interacting with cancer patients individually. People understand that cancer is complicated, and what we’re trying to do is target genes or proteins in cancer cells that will kill the cancer cell but spare, as much as possible, normal cells. In addition, we have also been investigating the mechanisms of action of some widely used drugs—like aspirin and metformin—and have discovered common mechanisms among several different classes of anti-cancer agents. SC: Okay, so you’re interested in finding that common link? SS: If you don’t understand how a drug works, then it is difficult to design a clinical application. SC: Is this something that could be carried over into the veterinary world? SS: Oh, absolutely! We’ve done some work with Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles with the anti-inflammatory drug tolfenamic acid in canine cancer cells used in cultures, and we get very similar results to what we observe in human cancer cells. I think our work with tolfenamic acid could be used in veterinary medicine for cancer chemotherapy. SC: How has the research changed over time? Have you seen any trends in your career? SS: Everything is far more sophisticated, because we know the genome and what affects the genome and what genes are important. The tools we have now are outstanding. But when you think of it, the overall mortality rate from cancer is still high and only slowly improving; the new drugs on the market have made an impact, but a lot still needs to be done. Many of the drugs we use now are based on the same principles that were discovered almost 50 or 100 years ago— these include using highly toxic drugs that kill cancer cells but have lots of adverse side effects. This approach has been successful to some extent, but we need to develop drugs that specifically kill the cancer cell but spare the other cells. That’s essentially what we’re trying to do. SC: What are some of the challenges that you face in your research? SS: The challenges that I have now are the same the challenges that everybody else has—funding. I’ve always been well funded by the National Institutes of Health, but now it’s just desperate. Funding is really, really tight.
SC: That must be difficult, especially with something you’ve been working on so long. SS: The annoying thing is—and I’m sure this is true for many other scientists—you think what you’re doing now is the most exciting and are frustrated by the difficulties in obtaining adequate funding support. SC: Have your interests evolved as you learn more from your research? SS: Yes, I started off as a chemist and got into environmental chemistry and then environmental toxicology. And this ultimately resulted in my studies on molecular toxicology, endocrinology, and oncology. Some people focus on specific
topics over their whole career and do a great job, but I’ve done it differently. SC: Do other labs or researchers pick up where you left off? SS: All the time. You’ll get papers to review and think, “Hey why are they doing this? It was reported several years ago.” Well, they discovered something new and interesting that we missed or someone else missed. That’s the way science is. SC: Is that exciting to see? SS: Well sometimes it is, and sometimes you think, “Shoot! Why didn’t I do that?”
Gaitedness of horses found across the world by Christina Sumners The smooth movement of gaited horses is caused by a genetic mutation that can be found across the world, according to a recent study. The paper, “Worldwide frequency distribution of the ‘Gait keeper’ mutation in the DMRT3 gene,” was published recently in the journal Animal Genetics. “We have previously demonstrated that a single mutation in the DMRT3 gene has a large impact on gaitedness in horses, and it was therefore named ‘Gait keeper,’” said Dr. Leif Andersson, one of the authors of the article and a Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study Faculty Fellow collaborating with researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). This gene codes for a protein in a specific subset of neurons in the spinal cord that coordinates the movements of the animal’s legs. The mutated version of the gene causes a truncation of the DMRT3 protein, a genetic “mistake” that allows horses to pace and amble. “The CVM has a reputation as a world leader in genomic research,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “The collaborative efforts of our genomic scientists will continue to make an impact, not only in the equine industry through studies such as this one, but also in human and other species, through the application of the lessons learned from this investigative approach. This study is yet another example of contributions to One Health.” This recent research shows that the mutation arose only once and then spread across the world via positive selection, Andersson said. In other words, early humans probably noticed that some horses had the ability to move in unique ways, and they then selected those horses for breeding, most likely because they offered a smoother, more comfortable ride, called a “running walk” in some breeds. Horse breeds that are known to perform these “ambling gaits” are referred to as “gaited,” and the researchers found that the mutated version of the gene is common in these breeds. They analyzed genes of 4396 horses from 141 breeds and found that the mutation is spread across Eurasia from Japan
to the British Isles, in Iceland, in South and North America, and in breeds from South Africa. “During such ambling gaits the horse has at least one foot on the ground, which means that the vertical movement of the rider is minimal,” Andersson said. “For instance, Paso Fino is a breed from Latin America in which the frequency of the ‘Gait keeper’ mutation is nearly 100 percent. It is claimed that the Paso Fino gait is so smooth that you can have a glass of wine in your hand without letting it spill!” “Now that we have the genetic tools with enough power, we are beginning to find unexpected insights into how genes influence movement,” said Dr. E. Gus Cothran, a clinical professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at the CVM and another of the article’s authors. “Dr. Andersson and I are hoping to continue this work with the goal of understanding how other genes can influence the basic gait pattern inferred by DMRT3.”
Icelandic Horse in flying pace. The pacing horse moves the two legs on the same side of the body in unison. Photo: Freyja Imsland. Summer 2014 •
I N T E R N AT I O N A L
Students on their African safari study abroad learned how to safely immobilize wild animals.
A unique study abroad: African safariexposes students to many species by Christina Sumners Like so many of their fellow students, five Texas A&M veterinary students signed up for a summer course. However, they wouldn’t be spending that time sitting in a classroom in College Station; their learning experience was a 16-day African safari. Each student received more than $1000 in scholarship funds for the course from the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) through the International Advisory Committee. 30 •
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“I wanted to go on the study abroad trip to Africa to look into other possible career opportunities and gain more veterinary experience in a unique way,” said Kathryn Head, one of the students on the trip. The group made the most of their 12-hour layover in London, visiting the medical ward of the London Zoo and even getting in some sightseeing. After another long flight, they arrived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa before driving to the nearby Amakhala Game Reserve where they would stay for the next 16 days.
“I wanted to go on the safari study abroad trip because I was interested in getting some more hands-on experience with exotic and wildlife species,” said Cordell Rech, another of the students on the trip. “I’ve been interested in doing zoo medicine or wildlife medicine for several years now, and I wanted to see what that entailed. What better place to do that than in Africa with some of the best known exotic species?” “The availability of the animals is incredible,” said Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon, a clinical assistant professor at the CVM and the faculty leader of the trip. “Nowhere in the United States are there that many in one place.” The students learned the basics about the wildlife species—including lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, buffalos, cheetahs, giraffes, and zebras—they would encounter in Africa before moving on to techniques for safely immobilizing those animals. They learned about darts and dart guns and practiced loading darts (with water) and firing them at a target. The students even had the chance to learn how to shoot from a helicopter (in this case, they shot a paintball at the roof of a truck) to immobilize an animal. “It was such an amazing trip with so many amazing opportunities and I’m so glad I went,” Rech said. “From learning the pharmacology behind the drugs we were using to dart gun practice to actually immobilizing the animals, everything had a point and helped us understand what was needed. Placing ear catheters was a ton of fun and so was helping with the treatments from casting/splinting animals to removing thorns. This trip gave me a greater respect for the veterinarians who do this work year-round and those who work in the field versus a zoo setting.” “Going on the trip to Africa gave me more insight on being a wildlife veterinarian. Veterinary procedures on wild
The study abroad included lessons on the darts and dart guns that veterinarians use in the preserve. animals can be stressful,” said Head. “Time is of the essence, so I learned to work quickly and efficiently within my team and gained confidence in myself in the process.” The students also heard lectures from Dr. Peter Buss, a wildlife veterinarian currently with Veterinary Services for South African National Parks and based in the Kruger National Park. Dr. Buss covered topics such as the physiology and pharmacology of wildlife immobilization and speciesspecific considerations for immobilization. “I learned more about veterinary drugs, like tranquilizers and sedatives, and the physiology behind them than I thought I would,” Head said. “That information will definitely help me in my pharmacology class this coming school year.” Other topics covered included wildlife diseases, the history of wildlife and conservation issues in the area, and flora and environment of the reserve. The group also assisted with one conservation project in particular, a program that aims to collect and identify DNA samples of the endangered Black and White Rhinos in order to better protect them. In addition to Blue-McLendon and the students from the CVM, participants included a student from UC Davis, a veterinarian from Africa, and an anesthesia veterinarian from Brazil. “The students had the opportunity to meet and make connections with so many new people, said Blue-McLendon, “and the experience of being immersed in another culture will last a lifetime.” For example, the group visited a nearby AIDS orphanage to learn more about the plight of these children in the context of the HIV pandemic in South Africa. The group also took advantage of Port Elizabeth’s proximity to the ocean to study marine life. Following lectures about ocean environment and species by Dr. Jennifer Gush, the director of the Conservation Centre on Amakhala and a Ph.D. graduate in marine life, the students went on a boat cruise on the ocean. They were lucky enough to see dolphins, whales, African penguins, and various sea birds. “My experiences in Africa were absolutely amazing and unforgettable,” said Head.
The students learned how to safely work with zebras. Summer 2014 •
I N T E R N AT I O N A L
An international look at One Health by Angela Clendenin “My children need to see a world that has the beauty and wonder of species that we live in now,” said Dr. Donald Brightsmith, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “Biodiversity and ecosystems matter because we’re all part of it.” Brightsmith has been passionately pursuing research aimed at gaining a better understanding of the delicate balance of ecosystems, and the many species that rely on them, through his work with the Tambopata Macaw Project based in Tambopata, Peru. Also, as co-director of the Applied Biodiversity Science Program at Texas A&M, part of an integrated research and teaching grant, Brightsmith oversees multiple projects that advance understanding of the majestic macaws that feed on the clay licks near the research station and also provide educational opportunities for government officials, naturalists, and other researchers to learn more about the importance of conservation. With a growing logging enterprise in many heavily forested areas in Peru, as well as increasing urbanization, there are a number of threats to the native species of plants and animals that depend on the heavily wooded area for food and shelter. Those that live in developed countries are often insulated from the impacts of ecosystem degradation, so Brightsmith, his collaborators, and a team of volunteers are
The health status of young macaws, such as the one pictured above, is documented to provide a better understanding of parenting and nesting habits, as well as nutrition needs of these young birds. 32 •
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working to measure the impact of environmental change on multiple species. “We are working on research projects that we hope will help define the direction for conservation and education efforts so that future generations will be able to appreciate the unique role each species plays in a successful ecosystem,” Brightsmith said. “When you tip the balance away from healthy ecosystems, the environment can collapse for animals and humans. We spend a lot of time documenting the surroundings, measuring how things are working in protected areas, and monitoring the animals. We learn the scale at which different species live.” Using satellite telemetry to track the macaws that frequent the nearby clay licks, Brightsmith and his team have been able to identify that many of them fly out of the protected area, which is currently the size of Connecticut, and over urban areas, extending their territory much further than previously thought. Information like this may then be used by governments to determine appropriate boundaries for designated protected areas. Natural resources and feeding habits are also important to improving conservation efforts. Brightsmith has been studying the feeding of macaws at the nearby clay licks. Contrary to similar clay licks in Costa Rica, the ones near Tambopata appear to fulfill a different nutritional need for the Peruvian macaws. “In Costa Rica, the clay licks are made up of different minerals than those in Peru,” said Brightsmith, “and appear to fulfill a need for high sugar content. The clay licks near Tambopata were created when the ocean encroached into the soil leaving a higher sodium content. So this difference in nutrient need is key to understanding the successful protection and growth of the macaw population. If we don’t do our part by increasing what we know about macaws and their behaviors, we can push this species and others to the point of being ecologically extinct, which means they are unable to fulfill their full ecological purpose for being in the ecosystem. At that point, we lose something valuable for future generations.” However, Brightsmith’s work is about more than just macaws. Peccaries and other species that live in close proximity to the clay licks have led to new questions for the researchers and volunteers at the Tambopata station. “We recognize that herbivores in the area, like the peccaries, serve as seed dispersers, as do other species of birds,” said Brightsmith. “We observe them as they visit the clay lick area to try to gain a better understanding of the role the clay lick serves as a sodium source, and then we question how the concentration of herbivores near a sodium source can potentially change seed/seedling forest dynamics.” Through outreach efforts based in Tambopata, like the Amazon Field School, and with additional volunteer opportunities, Brightsmith is finding new ways of looking at conservation by bringing people into the picture.
“By keeping a broad focus on what we are doing here,” said Brightsmith, “we are able to create new perspectives on conservation where we can look at what we are doing from both anthropological and biological points of view.” Brightsmith also encourages the next generation of conservation researchers to embrace this One Health approach through his teaching role in the Schubot Center for Exotic Bird Health located within the CVM. The Center is under the leadership of Dr. Ian Tizard, distinguished professor of immunology in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. Tizard, through his own teaching and research efforts, also recognizes the inextricable link between animal, human, and ecosystem health that is at the core of the One Health Initiative. “Of all emerging diseases, approximately 70 percent are zoonotic, meaning they affect both humans and animals,” said Tizard. “Also, nearly 95 percent of emerging diseases are derived from animals. While we have known, for example, that sick birds can lead to sick cats, which in turn lead to sick humans, we are taking a much deeper look at disease chains. In doing so, we cannot be too narrow in the approach.” Work within the Schubot Center not only includes Brightsmith’s parrot and conservation projects, but also genomics of multiple species of birds and a growing number of projects focused on waterfowl. “We have a constituency of aviculturists,” said Tizard. “We need to deliver to the concerns of bird enthusiasts and bird owners. There are an awful lot of questions to answer out there when it comes to providing evidence-based information to improve the health and welfare of birds whether wild or domestic.” One of the more pressing concerns for the researchers within the Schubot Center is that it appears some ecosystems are approaching a tipping point. Tizard pointed out that these ecosystems are witnessing less genetic diversity, increased predatory stress, increased environmental stress, disease introduction, and nutrition stress. “Our focus has been on the health of populations of birds, be it captive or wild,” said Tizard. “We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with clinical specialists here at the CVM, and that provides added depth to what we are able to accomplish from a research perspective.” One important study that Tizard says represents the growing focus on avian infectious diseases and the interplay between animal health and the environment is the Center’s work on proventricular dilatation disease (PDD), which the Center conclusively proved is caused by the avian bornavirus. PDD was primarily thought of as a lethal disease affecting large parrots. It is described as a devastating and complicated disease to study. However, once avian bornavirus was determined to be the cause, it has led the research team at the Schubot Center in some interesting directions. “We have now seen the virus in a number of waterfowl species,” said Tizard. “In fact, nearly 10 percent of Texas ducks have tested positive for the virus. This disease, which spreads
The Tambopata region (above) is known for its biodiversity. At the heart of it, researchers like Dr. Donald Brightsmith, work feverishly to ensure the balance of the ecosystem remains intact for future generations. similarly to influenza, has the potential to wipe out a species, and even small changes in the environment can increase the risk for this disease in some species.” Avian bornavirus affects the vision and eyesight of infected birds, and may be shown one day to be the reason birds often fly into planes and other obstacles. The virus also poses other questions for the Schubot team. Researchers in the Center are trying to determine how the virus is able to infect parrots and waterfowl—two genetically different species. At the same time, some birds are able to live with the virus while others get sick. Of particular concern is if this disease occurs in wild birds, and if it is able to jump between both wild and domestic birds. This finding would have huge implications for avian release and recovery programs as it would become important to determine if the birds released back to the wild are healthy and disease-free, and if not, what the impact on the environment and other wild bird populations would be. The team is also investigating the reported appearance of the virus in populations of ground squirrels in West Texas, which would be a significant jump in species to monitor. “There is no denying that the health of animals, humans, and the ecosystem are linked,” Tizard said. “For this reason, researchers like Dr. Brightsmith and others have to continue to use this One Health perspective to ensure that we have a healthy and sustainable level of biodiversity of all species for future generations to enjoy.” Whether through improving conservation and outreach, or solving the complexities of avian diseases, the work of the Schubot Center is essential to advancing knowledge for future generations of researchers, as it extends the research and clinical expertise from the CVM to Tambopata and beyond. Summer 2014 •
Spotlight Navarrette did her first master’s degree in reproductive physiology, in which she studied dairy cattle.
Cows & cupcakes:
Innovative fundraising and teaching by Dr. Megan Palsa Students working together to create community and healthy environments for people and animals is an everyday occurrence in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), but Ashley Navarrette, vice president of the DVM class of 2017, took a unique approach. She pioneered a project to provide livestock and training to developing countries, garnering over $7,000 for the cause. The purpose of the benefit, held on April 6, 2014, was to raise funds for Heifer International. Navarrette came up with the idea because, as an undergraduate, she worked with the nonprofit organization Heifer International, which is dedicated to ending world hunger and promoting sustainability. She liked Heifer’s philosophy. “They don’t give people a fish, they teach people how to fish,” she said of their training efforts. 34 •
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Navarrette was motivated to raise funds for the organization because she realized that although she’d been on campus for over four years, she seldom saw classes participate in “strict philanthropy,” something that interested her. She felt that a large part of being in the veterinary profession was about charitable work and that giving back was important. She met with fellow officers from her class and tossed out the idea of a Heifer International Benefit. They were in favor of the idea. “It was actually interesting, because it attracted a diverse group of individuals from our class,” she said. “Not necessarily the ‘go-getter-gunners,’ but the ones who just wanted to do it to give back to the people.” She didn’t ask for a huge time commitment—the whole event came together between February and the April 6 benefit date. She divided her workers into various committees such as multimedia, entertainment, dinner, and sponsorship. “I gave them their jobs and they just went,” she said.
Ashley Navarrette (left) presents a check to Kendra Penry of Heifer International.
Why Heifer International? Navarrette said Heifer International representatives train members of the community on how to care for the animals provided by the organization, something that ties into her veterinary philosophy. “They teach how to give vaccinations, how to treat basic things like respiratory disease, and how to do simple things like hoof trimming. It’s basic husbandry training—not just saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to give you this heifer or this goat so you can create a micro economy,’ but it’s also saying ‘We’re going to make sure you can take care of the animal.’”
Meet fundraising goal–check! As the benefit date drew near, Navarrette became a bit discouraged. She and the other officers had set a goal of $700. “We had two weeks of ticket sales; I wanted to have a conservative goal,” she said. That amount would pay for one heifer and the animal husbandry training to go with her. The Wednesday before the event, the total raised was only $500. “I’m thinking, ‘Oh no, this is going to be bad.’” Then a funeral in California took Navarrette away from College Station, and classmate Brittany Thompson took over ticket sales. On Friday, she messaged Navarrette that 150 tickets had been sold, almost 100 of which had gone that day. “So I started doing the math, and I thought, ‘Oh, we are way above our estimation.’” Navarrette said she was very happy with the $2,000 that seemed likely, but “the money just kept rolling in,” not just in ticket sales, but from donations, including faculty and staff who would just walk by and hand her a check. “Everything lined up perfectly, but all at the last minute. I was stressed, but it all worked out really well,” said Navarrette. The team raised $3,600 and and an additional $3,600 was added by an anonymous donor who, if the animals went to
Cambodia, would match the contribution. “So our event will help Cambodians,” Navarrette said. “Instead of giving them $3,600, we will contribute $7,200!” This specific project is “super interesting,” she said, because the donor is especially motivated to help Cambodian women achieve higher status in the community and make them self-sustainable. The goats, therefore, will be earmarked for women. “I didn’t realize until recently that Heifer works to empower women to help them become self-sufficient.”
A bit of background Navarrette is from the small town of Sanger, California. “No one knows where it is, so we just say it’s southeast of Fresno,” she said. She did her undergraduate work at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, where she majored in animal science with a minor in dairy science. Navarrette earned her first master’s degree in reproductive physiology, studying dairy cattle, and her second in biomedical sciences with an emphasis on veterinary physiology and pharmacology. She applied to veterinary school as a nonresident but was not accepted. “I had four options for residency: I could marry a Texas resident, make and develop a business, own land with a house…and I can’t remember the fourth,” she laughed. “So I decided to try the business thing.”
Innovation: Teaching with cupcakes Navarrette used cupcakes as rewards when she was teaching reproduction in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M. “One day I thought, ‘why not use cupcakes to teach endocrinology?’” Navarrette said. “We’d go over endocrine, neurocrine, neuroendocrine, and paracrine pathways. One student would represent an Summer 2014 •
More about Heifer International… Heifer International goes all over the world, but some countries are doing so well, they don’t need as much help anymore, according to Kendra Penry, program coordinator for Heifer International. “As for the countries we are planning to pull out of,” she said, “they are all still in operation until all projects are completed, but we are planning to leave Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Thailand, Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone. There are different reasons for each one, but primarily the idea that we are working with the poorest of the poor and the countries we are leaving no longer demonstrate the same level of need that they did when we entered the country. Hunger and poverty are the root causes of many of the issues the world currently faces, such as human trafficking, exploitation, war, mass migration, and more. To be working with an organization that is so dedicated to eradicating a root cause is extremely empowering.” “Additionally, the longevity of Heifer International (it has been around for 70 years) means that this organization has the experience and knowledge to make a real difference in the world,” she said. “The actual work that I am doing—education and community engagement—is incredibly important and is something I have really enjoyed. The young people I have had the privilege to talk with are extremely passionate and motivating for me to continue doing the work I am doing. I know that we have the capacity to end global hunger and poverty, but it will only happen if we have an educated and engaged population, starting with children and students, and to have the opportunity to be making that happen is an honor.” 36 •
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Navarrette started her own cake business, in which she creates custom designs, including this “Pug Cake.” organ, such as the pituitary gland, and would hold the cupcake, which represented a hormone released by that organ,” Navarrette said. Another student would represent the target organ, and Navarrette would show how the hormone (or the cupcake) had to pass from one student to the other, with their arms representing the blood stream. The person who ended up with the cupcake got to eat it. “Another way I’d use cupcakes was to shotgun questions to the students and award a cupcake of choice for correct answers,” Navarrette said. When the challenge of creating enough cupcakes for all of her ambitious students became unrealistic, she began to have classes compete against each other; the class with the higher average on an exam was rewarded with cupcakes the next week. Thus when the opportunity to start a business, and therefore establish residency, presented itself, a cupcake business was a natural. Navarrette went through the application process, established her business, and reapplied to Texas A&M as a resident. She was soon interviewed and accepted.
Moving Forward Future plans for Navarrette include making the Heifer International Benefit a yearly event, eventually evolving into a more formal, gala-type occasion. She also said that this year’s event was supported predominantly by faculty but that students, mostly members of the first-year class, got involved at the last minute. “I think a great improvement for next year will be getting other classes involved, and we want to hit more of the community too.” She said she will try to include animal science undergraduates also. As for post-graduation professional goals, Navarrette said she would like to establish her own practice, be mobile, and possibly specialize in reproduction consultation. “I’m really interested in mobile practice, because it’s so much easier for people. I really like driving and traveling, so a mobile business would be a good fit for me,” she said. “My goal, in my four years here, is to get as much training as possible,” Navarrette said, “so I don’t have to say ‘no’ to any job, and I’ll feel comfortable with every aspect of veterinary medicine.”
In their own words:
A series of student autobiographical sketches as told to Kristin Burlingame
Betsy Helbing DVM ’17 Some people think that you need to have a bachelor’s degree in animal science or biomedical sciences (BIMS) in order to be accepted to veterinary school. Although this is generally advisable because these degrees cover the prerequisites needed to apply, you can still get in with an undergraduate degree in something unrelated. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2011 with a degree in finance. I decided to pursue finance because I have heard many doctors and veterinarians say that they do not know much about business, but wish that they did. I also thought it would be a good degree to have in case I decided to not pursue a medical career. Since anatomy was not required either through my degree or as a prerequisite, I knew that I would need to take an anatomy class before starting veterinary school to catch up to my classmates. I took Dr. Anton Hoffman’s summer anatomy workshop, which I would suggest for anyone who has never taken anatomy. It’s a condensed semester of anatomy, and it transitions you well into veterinary school. I was able to meet a lot of people, too. I wasn’t always interested in medicine, but after getting into an accident at a Texas A&M Fish Camp event during the second week of my undergraduate career, I lived in a rehabilitation hospital for three months. From watching and interacting with my doctors and physical therapists, I became very interested in how the body can work and heal. I found myself wanting to read up on medical cases. It was then that I knew I wanted to go into medicine, but I was not sure which field. I fell in love with veterinary medicine because of my love for animals and for their owners. A lot of people say they want to go into veterinary medicine because they do not like interacting with people, but I enjoy talking to clients and watching their animals grow up. You get to know the owners very well, and it almost feels more personal than human medicine. Plus, in veterinary
medicine, you are able to do so many different surgeries, whereas in human medicine you tend to specialize more. Even though I missed my whole first year of college, I earned my finance degree, and even some of my prerequisites, in three years. After graduation, I moved back to Austin and started shadowing and then working as a veterinary technician at a clinic while completing the rest of my prerequisites. Something that surprised me at the clinic was that people would come in because their human doctor believed that a disease had infected their child from the family dog—whether or not the disease was actually transmissible through that route. It impressed upon me the idea that if a medical doctor could actually talk to a veterinarian, they could more efficiently discuss possible causes and transmissions. This is where the One Health Initiative could play a big role in both human and animal medicine. After two years of working and finishing prerequisites, I was able to finally start as a veterinary student! I am currently the president of the class of 2017, and in this role I lead bimonthly officer meetings and help other officers with their duties, including raising money through fundraisers and different events. My finance degree has helped me with this, because we need a financial base set to start fundraising. I like to make financial statements so that we know how much money is going out and coming in. As we get the funds, we can throw events for our class and participate in projects like a fundraiser for Heifer International, a program where we send a veterinarian and a heifer to a developing area that needs them. Next year we will start a mentor/ mentee program for the new class of veterinary students. My focus as president changes depending on the needs of our class.
I have been amazed by the level of commitment our professors provide to us. Many of them are willing to help us in any way they can; some even offer to come in on the weekends. I’ve also been happy with how much information I have retained. In undergraduate classes, you tend to learn something for an exam, and then it’s gone immediately after. But in veterinary school, you continually build upon what you learn. You can study the same disease through many different perspectives. I can remember almost everything I was taught last semester. In the future, I would like to have my own small animal neighborhood practice. However, I would like to also be able to do surgeries, such as splenctomies, cruciate ligament repairs, and perineal urethrostomies, so that, in cases where my clients cannot afford referrals, their animals can still be treated. Healing animals is my main goal, but getting to know their owners and developing relationships with their families is an added bonus that I also hope to accomplish.
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Rikki Karkula DVM ’15 Although I am originally from Sanger, California, I am very familiar with Texas. I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, before beginning veterinary school. I am currently a third year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) pursuing a career in equine medicine. I am very excited about the ways I can have an impact on my profession, other than making a difference for my equine patients by practicing medicine. I want to take an active role in organized veterinary medicine. Throughout my student career I have had the opportunity to be involved in the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA). Because of my involvement with SAVMA, I have had a unique experience as a veterinary student. I have been able to learn about the industry outside of school and interact with students and veterinarians across the country. In March 2013, I became the president-elect of the national SAVMA, so I spent the following year training for the role and also attending American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) meetings to observe how the process works. I became the president of SAVMA in March 2014 and now serve as a delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates, representing SAVMA and also attending executive board meetings to offer student input. It is a large time commitment, but it is a step toward pursuing my dream of impacting veterinary medicine through the legislative side of the profession. Last year, I was able to advocate for stricter regulations regarding soring in Tennessee Walking Horses by attending the AVMA Student Legislation Fly-in held in Washington, D.C. Our goal was to
make the practice illegal in general, rather than only in the certain instances covered by the law as it is currently written. After graduation, I want to become highly involved in the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and continue to be involved in the AVMA so that I can help make advancements in the field of veterinary medicine through advocacy, policies, and regulations. I have also had the pleasure of being involved in One Health events at the CVM. The One Health Initiative is gaining momentum in all medical and environmental science fields. To me, the definition of One Health is ecologists, veterinarians, and human medical doctors working together toward a common goal of advancing human and animal health and preserving the ecosystem. It is a wonderful initiative because it is a cooperative effort to improve future developments for all fields of health and science. I think it is important to get involved while a veterinary student. Try to gain as much experience as you can and see as many things as possible, because doing so might change your mind about what aspect of veterinary medicine you want to pursue. The more opportunities you have to get involved, the better prepared you will be for your chosen field and the more chances you will have to network and create relationships. We are all in this profession because of a shared passion for
Rikki Karkula and her pets
animals, so enjoy this time of learning and building friendships. I feel that we receive a first-class education here at the CVM. The amount of hands-on experience we get is incomparable. Because of it, I have been introduced to some really interesting innovative programs. One of these is a lameness locator for horses. With the help of sensors that are placed between the poll, on the hips, and on one of the front legs, we are able to see differences in gait motion while the horse is moving. We can then track improvement after medical treatment and compare plots before and after. This helps us determine possible problem locations. It is awesome to not only work with the amazing equine clinicians but to also see how technology can be utilized.
Jennifer Le DVM ’15 If I had any advice for prospective veterinary students, it would be that everything happens for a reason, and persistence is the key to accomplishing your dreams. Because I did not get into veterinary school on my first attempt, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in business administration at the University 38 •
of Houston. This turned out to be a great decision because I was able to get a lot of extra experience not only in the business world but also in the veterinary world. My MBA opened a lot of doors for me, and if I had gotten into veterinary school on my first try, I never would have pursued it. Now I am a veterinary student pursuing
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a career in small animal medicine and equine medicine. If I had given up after my first try, I would not be here. As a Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) ambassador, I get to share my experience with prospective students. I know how hard it is to get here, so the ambassador
program is close to my heart. I love giving tours and talking to potential students because they’re so excited—as a third year student, motivation is a little low, so it is fun to remember how enthusiastic you were when you started and how lucky you are to be here. I have even seen students in the class of 2017 that I gave tours to when they were considering veterinary
school; it makes me so happy to see them achieve their goals. In addition to being an ambassador, I am also the president of the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA). As president, I get to use my background in business to help others in my class. We do not receive much business instruction in veterinary school—only during third year—so it is nice to help people outside of school. I’ve been to the national conference in Orlando twice, and I’ve been able to bring speakers from it to the CVM. This has gotten great feedback from the students. Through my participation in the VBMA, I also get to stay on top of my business degree, rather than losing it while focusing on the veterinary medicine aspect of my education. Speaking of my education, I’ve gotten to learn about some pretty innovative procedures here. One that I’ve come to really like is a minimally-invasive procedure for treating patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA. PDA is a congenital defect where the right side of the heart does not close off from the left side as it should. By using a catheter, veterinarians, and even human doctors, can go in and close the separa-
tion. The knowledge of this technique, which can be used on both humans and animals, comes from the collaboration between human and animal doctors. In the future, I hope to own my own practice and help educate the public about disease prevention. I would like to be able to go out into the community and do programs like the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) does for children and the public in general. In fact, the CVM has added a Houston SPCA rotation, which is great because I started off volunteering at the Houston SPCA before veterinary school. I’ll get to end there as a fourth year, so it has all come full circle. I really love veterinary school. It is a completely different environment from my other professional program. Veterinary school provides more of a family-type atmosphere; you are around your classmates so much, and you get to know everyone very well. Some of my classmates are going to be my friends for life. Whether we got in on our first try or after several, we are all in this together so that we can not only heal animals but also help contribute to the greater good of the world as well.
Ashton Richardson DVM ’17 My interest in veterinary medicine actually came from going through Hurricane Katrina. I am from New Orleans, and mine was one of the many families affected by the flooding from the storm. After Ashton Richardson
losing everything, we relocated to Baton Rouge, where we lived with seventeen other people in one house. It was a really stressful time. My dad was away working for a while, so I basically had to look out for my mother and my grandmother while he was gone. When he returned, he realized how hard everything had hit me, and so every day, after football practice, he started taking me to a stable where I could ride, groom, and care for horses. My dad has always been an animal fanatic, and working with the horses was something that he and I did together, just the two of us. It was very therapeutic, and it caused me to fall in love with veterinary medicine and to want to pursue it as a career. I attended Auburn University for my undergraduate degree, where I played football. My heart lies, however, in public health combined with food animal production and international development. To me, the One Health concept is a comprehensive way of approaching human, animal, and environmental wellbeing, and as a future veterinarian, I see it as
an opportunity for me to impact human health through better animal health. For example, there are developing countries in Africa where thousands of children die each year from rabies. This is completely preventable. In Africa, rabies in animals is limited to the canine population, so if there was a veterinary infrastructure set up to vaccinate dogs, we could save these children. Additionally, from a food production standpoint, there are a lot of children who do not get enough protein in their diets. This causes them to not develop proper cognitive functions. These children are physically stunted, volatile, unstable, and are often the ones that are recruited as child soldiers. So, by being able to provide a healthy protein source, you can provide social stability and prevent mass migrations that cause even more competition for resources. When it comes to the environment, I have been inspired by the works of Allan Savory, a biologist from Rhodesia, who is studying holistic raising and management
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Spotlight and how to use the natural grazing patterns of cattle to reverse desertification. So the whole One Health Initiative can also be viewed as a way to improve human lives from a socioeconomic standpoint, as well. My goals for the future are ambitious. After earning my doctoral degree in veterinary medicine, I want to also earn degrees in epidemiology and economics for international development. I want to go back to Louisiana to an area called Donaldsonville, which is one of the poorest parishes in the state. There is a lot of potential there for economic development through livestock, so I want to cultivate a livestock production scheme to help the community flourish economically. This will also help me to develop my veterinary skills. A little farther down the road, I would like to move onto international work and establish a clinic in a developing country in a community whose economy is based on livestock. I want to help
make their cattle more prolific, whether through better husbandry or simply through better vaccinations so that they can increase production, and then help them find markets for that increase in production. Afterwards, they can take that money and reinvest it in the community in schools and hospitals. There are veterinarians here at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) that are doing some really innovative things that I think I will be able to incorporate into my goals. Dr. Leif Andersson is doing some groundbreaking work with husbandry and selecting for favorable genetics in food animals, and Drs. Linda Logan and Clay Ashley have given me a lot of guidance on international work. Finding out about Texas A&M’s international research has been very eye opening. My advice for students applying to veterinary school is to be open to modifying your study strategies; don’t expect
to follow the same routine you did as an undergraduate. You will be introduced to a volume of information that you are not used to taking in. Also, take time to go into the clinics because your first year is heavy with coursework, and you can lose your grasp on the hands-on practical knowledge. There is so much science when you begin; go get physical experience with animals so that you can discover where your interests really lie. Coming to veterinary school has been the key to a whole new world for me. I knew that I wanted to work with animals and practice medicine somewhere, but I found out that veterinary medicine is so much more. There are so many different avenues you can take. The CVM is a place of discovery, and if you are prepared to work hard, you can find not only which track you would like to follow but also who you are.
Sabina Sheppard DVM ’15 I have been an Aggie since the beginning of my college career. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and then I graduated in 2010 with a master’s degree in the same field. Becoming a veterinarian has been my dream. I have always wanted to help animals, and even though it took me four tries to get in, I did not give up and used the time to broaden my experiences. I worked in a research lab at Texas A&M, at the Winnie Carter Wildlife Center, and volunteered with horses as well, which was great because I knew nothing about horses beforehand. Taking a different path than expected is not a bad thing, and all of my experiences helped me when I got into veterinary school. Plus, I was able to earn some money, something that is hard to do while you are a veterinary student! Now that I am a third year veterinary student, I can appreciate all of the different opportunities I have had. Because of working in the research lab, I decided to take a research course as an elective, and through it I toured different labs here at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). This exposed me to veterinarians who do clinical work. I was able to see some 40 •
incredible projects, like one that studies gait analysis in dogs through the use of sensors placed on the dog while it runs on a track. Health concerns, like back or hip problems, can be detected through the sensors. I also went to an equine lab that does stem cell collection from horses. The whole concept of using the body’s own cells to treat diseases instead of drugs is so new and exciting. If you utilize your elective courses wisely, you can learn exciting things about the profession! The One Health Initiative is one of these exciting concepts that is expanding. One Health is veterinarians, physicians, and environmentalists all working together to promote global health for people, animals, and the environment. I worked with an oncologist for three years here at the CVM, and it drove home the One Health concept for me because we worked with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in developing therapies for us to use on our canine patients at the hospital. I got to help collaborate on both the animal side and the human side. It is particularly exciting because these same therapies will also be used on people. Hopefully between the two, we can revolutionize cancer treatments.
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During my time in veterinary school, I have had a unique opportunity to get involved with a club called Veterinary Students One in Culture and Ethnicity (VOICE), which started at Cornell University and is sponsored by Zoetis. VOICE works to promote diversity in the veterinary profession. I am president for both the national VOICE organization Sabina Sheppard
and the chapter here at the CVM. We host events like salsa nights and multicultural potlucks, and we also help the CVM’s student chapter of the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association (LGVMA) club with its events. Our focus this year is on disabilities and catering to clients and staff members with physical and mental disabilities. Every student is a member for free, since we are a sponsored organization.
If I could tell future CVM students anything, it would be that even if it takes you multiple attempts to get in, you are no less of a veterinary student than your peers who get in immediately. It can be challenging to get in, and being rejected can make you feel like you’re failing in some way or not reaching your goal. Just keep your ultimate end goal in mind. When you finally accomplish it, you’ll feel more inspired and you’ll remember how hard
you worked to get to where you are. And once you get in, grades are important, but don’t let your classes weigh you down. Get to know your classmates and broaden your horizons. You may have an idea of what you want to do coming into veterinary school, but that could all change before you reach fourth year. Stay open minded, and stay involved.
Cassandra Tansey DVM ’15 I am a third year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). Originally from Fort Worth, I received my bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Rice University before applying to veterinary school. Sociology gave me a different perspective that other veterinary school applicants usually do not possess, and I pursued it for my undergraduate degree because it was something that I enjoyed. As president of Texas A&M’s Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA), I dedicate a lot of my time to advocating for organized veterinary medicine. In this capacity, I bring in speakers for general student body meetings that are geared toward professional development. My role as president gives me the opportunity to encourage veterinary students to get involved in their profession. I am also a founding member, and the only student member, of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI), which empowers women for leadership positions in veterinary medicine. Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. Dean of Veterinary Medicine, is also a founding member. I believe the One Health Initiative is a way to advance human health by improving animal health and environmental health. Due to the ease of transit for humans and animals across countries and oceans, public health is becoming even more important. Some recent epidemics that have been around in animal populations for a long time are now making a jump into the human populace, so veterinarians are able to share their medical expertise with human practitioners, who can incorporate that knowledge with their own for the health of people and societies.
Eventually I would like to work in comparative and lab animal medicine and conduct my own research. I hope that my findings aid the One Health Initiative by translating into human medical advances. I additionally look forward to being an advocate for animal welfare for the animals involved in lab work—a necessity to minimize the stress and negative effects to their health. Since becoming a student at the CVM, I have had the chance to learn about many different innovative approaches at Texas A&M. One of my favorites is Dr. Garry Adam’s computer program that aims at predicting interactions between a pathogen and a host cell, which promises farreaching possibilities toward vaccine development. I have also been impressed with the Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies’ (TIPS) new device, which is currently being tested on dogs, that is working to minimize seizures in people. It measures electrical signals to predict a seizure that may be forming and works to shut them down. My advice to future veterinary students is to focus on other things besides just good grades. While grades are important for your application, experiences like interning at a zoo can help you discover which track of veterinary medicine you would like to pursue, in addition to making your application more unique. Also, utilize the knowledge of your professors. When they are teaching us
in the classroom, I sometimes forget that they are highly respected in their fields until I see them presenting their research at conferences like those the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) hosts. Finally, your classmates are a great support system. They experience many of the same things you do during school and will eventually become your colleagues. After all, veterinary school is not just about studying and grades; it is also about gaining new experiences and creating lifelong networks with people who are as passionate about animals as you are.
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Cassandra Tansey and her pet
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Dr. Phillips and his colleagues with their African hosts.
An innovative approach to a moldy issue by Gina Marie Wadas Dr. Timothy D. Phillips always knew he wanted to be a scientist. When he was a child, he would disassemble his toys because he wanted to know what made them work. “I never had a toy that was in one piece,” said Phillips. “I just had a toy box full of pieces. My mother would routinely throw the box away and when I got home from school, I’d pick it back up. You would have thought I would have been an engineer!” Phillips is a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University in the Department of Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) at the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) and has a professional interest in food safety and environmental toxicology. He has a keen interest in aflatoxins, a common food contaminate that is derived from fungi molds, and how to develop a sustainable treatment for humans and animals suffering from the acute effects of aflatoxin toxicity. Aflatoxin molds can grow on food products (most commonly seen in maize) while they are ripening in farmland fields and in storage after they are harvested. However, mold growth can become exacerbated when drought conditions occur. Aflatoxicosis, aflatoxin poisoning from mold ingestion, is seen globally but is most prominent in developing countries in the tropical and semitropical zones, where other 42 •
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factors such as famine, hunger, and malnutrition are prevalent and there is often a lack of food safety standards. Humans and animals of all ages are susceptible to aflatoxin poisoning, but young children and animals are the most vulnerable. Aflatoxicosis damages the liver and immune system, but is also anti-nutritional, leaves individuals susceptible to diseases, has been linked to liver cancer, and can cause death. In order to treat acute aflatoxin poisoning in humans and animals, Dr. Phillips has proposed an innovative, simple, practical, and ancient therapy: oral clay ingestion. Although clay ingestion may be considered a new and odd behavior in modern cultures, geophagy (dirt or clay eating) is a common practice in certain African cultures where Phillips is conducting his research and where aflatoxicosis is common. The medicinal use of clay ingestion has been used for centuries and across every continent. It was used to treat a variety of gastrointestinal and skin conditions such as diarrhea, skin infections, and healing wounds, as well as a treatment for toxin exposure. When orally ingested, the clay works as a binding agent in the gastrointestinal tract to prevent the uptake of the toxins in the body’s blood, tissue, and organs. Choosing the correct clay to treat aflatoxicosis is important. The chemical structure of the clay is important because
to chemotherapy treatments, although more work is needed before these treatments become a reality. “Dr. Phillips’ process of scientific discovery and invention has been visionary, methodical, and application-driven,” said Dr. Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni, associate dean of undergraduate education and head of VIBS. “He is a man of grace and humanity who conducts his work under the highest principles of personal and scientific ethics.”
More about Dr. Phillips... Dr. Phillips visited Ghana in 2012. it has to have a high affinity for binding with aflatoxin without interfering with the body’s normal vitamin and mineral uptake. During his research in Africa, Phillips and his team analyzed several clays common in the region and sold in the village marketplace. Their hope was that the region’s own indigenous clays could be used to treat aflatoxicosis. Unfortunately, none of the clays analyzed fit the criteria, so Phillips used a processed calcium montmorillonite clay (called NovasilTM) that is produced by BASF. His research showed that NovasilTM binds—on a molecular level—to aflatoxins in the gastrointestinal tract. This then prevents the toxins from being able to interact with cells in the body, which, in turn, prevents aflatoxicosis. The poultry, livestock, dairy, equine, and aquaculture feed industries worldwide now use Phillips’ clay-based therapy to mitigate the effects of aflatoxins. He hopes to use this same strategy to treat populations at high risk for aflatoxin exposure and aflatoxicosis—the more than 4.5 billion people and their animals living in climates suitable for mold growth and the presences of aflatoxicosis. He and his team have finished clinical intervention trials in adults and children in Ghana, which have shown very promising results. Phillips and his colleagues are currently working on two more clinical intervention trials with clay, one in San Antonio, Texas, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health; the other, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is in in Kenya. Phillips said that these studies have indicated that inclusion of this clay in food will act to mitigate the problem in vulnerable populations. His long-term goal is to possibly include these clays as an additive to common processed foods, vitamins, snacks, and other items to prevent aflatoxicosis in the same way that iodine was added to salt to prevent goiter. “When you are working in developing countries, you try to come up with sustainable, practical technologies,” said Phillips. “I am optimistic that the clay-therapy in Africa will continue to work because it is simple, practical, culturally acceptable, environmentally benign, and a sustainable technology.” Phillips also sees alternative applications for the clay therapy other than in food safety. Those who suffer from chronic gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease may benefit from clay ingestion, as well as those suffering from intestinal distress due
Dr. Timothy D. Phillips is a distinguished professor who holds the Reed Endowed Chair in Toxicology in the Department of Integrative Biosciences at the CVM. His innovative research has led to several awards and professional recognitions. He received The Walston Chubb Award in 2009 from the Sigma Xi research society, which has been recognizing creative scientists and engineers since 2006. In March 2014, he received the Society of Toxicology Translation Impact Award for his continued work in improving public health. In addition to being a professor and researcher, Dr. Phillips is also a mentor, member of several organizations, and editor for Food Additives & Contaminants. His research has also led to several patents and the formation of two companies; Salient Pharmaceuticals and Texas Enterosorbents, Inc. Dr. Phillips emphasizes that the aflatoxicosis research he has been involved in is a collaborative, team effort among many individuals and organizations. He has worked with individuals from Texas A&M University including current and former graduate students, as well as post-doctoral researchers. He has also worked with individuals in Africa, the state of Georgia, the National Institutes of Health, USAID, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USDA/NRI, BASF, CPRIT, and ARP & CONACYT. He is very grateful to all those involved in the research and their dedication and commitment to public health.
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Ivanek-Miojevic collaborates on project to help curb rise of E. coli contamination in leafy vegetables by Dr. Megan Palsa Dr. Renata Ivanek-Miojevic of Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) is among many researchers who studied a variety of environmental and manmade factors in an effort to reduce E. coli contamination of spinach and other leafy vegetables. In keeping with the university’s One Health Initiative, Ivanek-Miojevic collaborated with researchers from the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences and the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the CVM; the Department of Statistics and the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Texas A&M University; the Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Weslaco; the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock; Tarleton State University, Stephenville; and the Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. One Health is a worldwide strategy for expanding interdisciplinary collaborations and communications in all aspects of health care for humans, animals, and the environment. It is believed that the synergism achieved will advance health care for the 21st century and beyond by accelerating biomedical research discoveries, enhancing public health efficacy, expeditiously expanding the scientific knowledge base, and improving medical education and clinical care. Produce-related food safety concerns have been on the rise due to large-scale outbreaks related to contaminated produce, including leafy greens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1998 and 2008, there were 68,000 illnesses thought to be caused by food contamination. Of these, the most common were those from poultry (at 17%); leafy vegetables, 13%; beef, 12%; and fruits/nuts, 11%. Not only were leafy greens responsible for a significant portion of disease causing contaminants, but the number of illnesses thought to have been caused by the greens was on the rise, jumping from 6% (1998 to 1999) to 11% (2006 to 2008). In this study, IvanekMiojevic and her team suggest that easily obtained National Resources Information (NRI) data is currently being underutilized in the fight against contamination of produce. They sought to discover how farm worker hygiene, weather, and fertilizer types jointly affect contamination. Spinach samples were collected Dr. Renata Ivanek-Miojevic from 12 farms in Colo44 •
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A field of spinach
rado and Texas; variables were then extracted describing the local temperature, precipitation, and wind speed, as well as soil characteristics and proximity to roads and water bodies, all from NRI databases. Information regarding farm management and environment were obtained from a number of the farms. The variables were evaluated using a mixed-effect logistic regression model with random effects for farm and date. The model identified precipitation as a single NRI predictor of spinach contamination with E. coli, which indicated that the likelihood that crops will be contaminated increases with more rainfall. The model also identified the farm’s hygiene practices as a protective factor; manure application and state were identified as risk factors. Overall, the findings highlighted the use of NRI rainfall data in predicting contamination and showed that farm management, environment, and weather factors should all be considered in development of good agricultural practices and measures to reduce the threat of E. coli contamination. The researchers concluded that all of these factors should be considered in development of good agricultural practices and measures to reduce produce contamination at the preharvest level and that future studies of microbial contamination of leafy greens should focus on these factors. Ivanek-Miojevic, an assistant professor at the CVM, holds a Ph.D. in comparative biomedical sciences (epidemiology) from Cornell University, an M.S. in veterinary epidemiology from the LSHTM & Royal Veterinary College, University of London, and a D.V.M. from the University of Zagreb, Croatia. She supports the One Health concept by contributing her significant body of research on diseases that impact pigs, dogs and cats, dairy cows, salmon, and other animals in an effort to prevent such contamination from threatening the food supply. Ivanek-Miojevic has won a variety of awards and distinctions, including the Outstanding Young Faculty Research Award in the CVM and membership in Honor Scientific Research Society Sigma Xi, and she is currently a distinguished professor with the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing, China. She is also a member of MENSA.
Dr. Russell’s career has included teaching at both the CVM and the Texas A&M College of Medicine.
Dr. Leon Russell:
A career dedicated to One Health by Kelly Tucker Dr. Leon Russell, professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), has made a career of working in One Health. In fact, his career stretches back before the term was even coined. “One Health is the health of all humans and animals and where they meet each other,” said Dr. Russell. “It’s medicine applied to humans, of course, but it’s also the basic principles of animal medicine and the diseases transferred between humans and animals.” Dr. Russell’s 50-plus-year career at Texas A&M has included research in several One Health areas, including toxicology, epidemiology, and zoonotic diseases. One zoonotic disease in particular—rabies—had impacted him as a child in Missouri. The family dog, a Chow Chow named Teddy, disappeared when Dr. Russell was seven years old. The family later learned that Teddy had developed rabies, and both Dr. Russell and his older brother underwent painful postexposure treatment. The experience helped him develop an interest in the rabies virus, which would eventually become the focus of much of his work. “When I joined the faculty of Texas A&M in 1959, I got involved in the rabies vaccination program for veterinary, ani-
mal science, and wildlife students,” said Dr. Russell. “There weren’t very good rabies vaccines for humans then, but they were doing phase III trials for rabies vaccines in veterinary students and some wildlife students.” Since then, Dr. Russell has become an expert on rabies and its prevention. His research on the virus and the disease it causes has included developing the first inactivated rabies vaccine approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for vaccinating horses, surveying wild skunks and raccoons for the disease, and creating an oral bait for vaccinating coyotes in the wild. Dr. Russell’s career has also included teaching courses at both the CVM and the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Such cross-disciplinary teaching helps exemplify how One Health can weave together human and animal medicine to improve both fields. By working at the intersection of human health, animal health, and the environment, Dr. Russell and his career have demonstrated the need for making One Health a regular part of not just medicine, but other related disciplines as well. “One Health is very important. We have to support it,” said Dr. Russell. “Somehow, we’ve got to get other professions involved in it. We need to broaden it out to other scientific fields.” Summer 2014 •
Veritas, an innovative online learning platform, offers continuing education modules designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of practicing veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
EDUCAT IONAL TECHNOLOGIES by Angela Clendenin & Dr. Jodi Korich
At Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), the faculty and staff have a long tradition of offering a world-class education to veterinary students. However, as the knowledge base for veterinary education continues to expand, it has become challenging to introduce new information and skills into a packed curriculum. To help solve this problem, the CVM is harnessing new educational technologies and teaching approaches to help realize learning efficiencies. In 2012, the CVM joined forces with Zoetis (formerly Pfizer Animal Health) and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine to launch a groundbreaking education initiative, known as Veritas. Veritas is a unique public-private partnership that leverages the strengths of academia and industry to explore new technological approaches to solve the challenges of veterinary education. “While Veritas courses are primarily designed for a continuing education audience, we have found these materials integrate beautifully into Texas A&M’s curriculum,” said Dr. Jodi Korich, the director of The Center for Educational Technologies, who leads the Veritas effort at the CVM. “It turns out that the same principles we use to design time-efficient courses for busy veterinarians, also allow us to deliver medical education more efficiently to our students.” Veritas currently produces a variety of innovative educational resources ranging from interactive case studies to procedural training videos and self-paced learning modules. All Veritas resources are designed for online delivery. However, this is not the passive online lecture-capture to which people 46 •
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Dr. Jodi Korich, the director of The Center for Educational Technologies (left) and Dr. Kenita Rogers, associate dean for professional programs (right) have been developing new strategies to integrate the power of Veritas’ interactive learning system into the veterinary medical curriculum.
Veritas has had a presence at multiple conferences, such as the North American Veterinary Conference, shown here. have grown accustomed. Media-rich and highly interactive, Veritas represents the next generation of veterinary education. Veritas courses promote interactive discovery, where learners apply information, make decisions, and receive feedback to help them practice clinical decision-making. “Research shows that interactive case studies improve learning outcomes. Whether it’s students in the classroom or veterinarians in practice, case studies allow learners to immediately bridge the gap between theory and application, speeding up the learning process,” said Korich. In the words of Dr. Kenita Rogers, associate dean for professional programs, “There is a push underway in veterinary education to provide more opportunities for student-centered learning where students are more actively engaged in the learning process. Veritas case studies are helping Texas A&M to reach this goal. We are trying to teach the students clinical reasoning skills that will serve them well throughout their veterinary careers.” Since the launch of the Veritas initiative, nine faculty members in the CVM have worked with the team at The Center for Educational Technologies to develop courses addressing a wide variety of companion and food animal topics. These courses are available for continuing education on the Veritas website at VeritasDVM.com. Additionally, many of the participating faculty members have also incorporated the courseware into their teaching. For example, in October 2013, The Center for Educational Technologies worked with Dr. Ashley Saunders, associate professor of cardiology, to design an experimental teaching methodology that utilized the three case studies she developed for Veritas in her third year cardiology elective. According to preliminary data collected, students strongly preferred the interactive case-based teaching methodology over traditional didactic lecturing. Also, their test scores were improved. “The results were astounding,” said Korich. “I have been involved in teaching veterinary students for over 13 years and I have never seen students so engaged in learning. The atmosphere in Dr. Saunders’ classroom was magical, and the only complaint we
heard from students was that they wished more of the curriculum was delivered this way.” Other faculty members have also found creative ways to incorporate Veritas resources into their courses. For example, some clinical faculty members are using cases to augment hospital rotations, helping to ensure uniformity of core caseload. The CVM is committed to graduating practice-ready veterinarians and continuing to support the educational needs of veterinarians throughout all stages of their careers. Through the Veritas program, Texas A&M is adapting state-of-the-art educational technologies to accomplish both goals. Under the direction of Drs. Kenita Rogers and Jodi Korich, the CVM has ushered in a new era of veterinary education—one that holds the promise to improve learning outcomes for both students and veterinarians for many years to come.
Ashley Saunders, DVM Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Cardiology), Associate Professor, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
Finding novel ways to bring the latest information in cardiology to the classroom and to practitioners has been very important to me. Delivering this content via online methods requires a significant amount of time and a good team to put together quality content that is meaningful and relevant. After working with The Center for Educational Technologies to develop Case Studies in Cardiology: The Coughing Dog, I gained a new appreciation for the time, effort, and quality put into these modules. To make an effective case study, we had to make sure the thought process is clear and to consider multiple options for working through a
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case that might not have been obvious, but are reasonable. It was a fantastic experience to work with the team from a creative standpoint in regards to content, thought process, images, video, and audio. In the end, the module developed was one that I have been able to integrate into my third year cardiology elective. We divided the class into groups of six students, which allowed them the opportunity to work as a team and learn from each other. I was able to then work through the case information with them and periodically give them time to answer questions, ask questions, and watch brief educational videos that had been prepared to provide more information about certain concepts. Providing the information in this format takes more work from the instructor’s perspective, but it is worth it. The students enjoy it, and we have been able to show that it is a more effective way for them to learn information. In addition, it gives the instructor insight into the thought processes of the students and allows the instructor to identify any confusing issues or misconceptions and then address them immediately. The nucleus of people and technology that has been assembled at The Center for Educational Technologies to support the Veritas initiative is an enormous asset for our college and our students.
Audrey Cook, BVM&S Diplomate American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Associate Professor, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
When I began working with the Veritas team on the Hyperadrenocorticism course, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My original impressions of online content delivery were that content can be variable and production standards can be disappointing. However, I am very pleased with how the course turned out. There is quite a bit of work that must be done to produce high-quality content like that found on Veritas. Faculty must be creative regarding images, diagrams, etc. Early on when working with the team at The Center for Educational Technologies (CET), I recognized that I needed to take the time to explain what I was trying to say, so that it would be
Veritas features online interactive case studies. 48 •
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effectively used in the course. The CET team understands the veterinary field and has been very helpful in finding new ways to get my message through. I have been able to integrate the Veritas course I authored in the classroom to help enhance the learning environment. My third year students are required to take one of the modules, and many of them choose to do the second module on their own, which I think is a testament to how engaging the lessons delivered via this platform are. As faculty members, we are always reminding students that they have a responsibility to be lifelong learners, and this is facilitated by forward-thinking teaching methods such as the Veritas model. This move to online, self-directed learning using clever visuals is the way forward. I hope that eventually the current traditional model of someone lecturing to a large class will be abandoned. Also, the opportunity for students to access Veritas materials developed at other institutions is key. Veritas opens up so many doors for faculty, students, and practitioners for collaborative relationships. From the beginning, I was a bit unsure of online content delivery of continuing education. As I worked with The Center for Educational Technologies on a Veritas course for canine extraction techniques, I developed more confidence in online courses as I gained a better understanding of how they are produced and manJohnathon R. Dodd, DVM aged. While working on my module, one of the biggest Diplomate American lessons I learned is how to more Veterinary Dental College, accurately describe a technique Clinical Professor, or procedure. For so many new Texas A&M College techniques and procedures, of Veterinary Medicine being able to see it as it is being & Biomedical Sciences performed helps in enhancing the understanding of the procedure and in building confidence in the student to perform the procedure. The Veritas platform offers module authors multiple options to share information, whether it be through videos, photos, or illustrations. Pulling them together into one online course enables people with different learning styles to be engaged in the lesson. For my modules, I have been able to make the most use of videos to teach important techniques in dental extraction, and it has had a positive impact on both students’ and practitioners’ understanding of how to do the procedure. An added benefit has been that these continuing education courses may be completed at home or on free time, without having to schedule time to travel to a conference.
Lessons from the Canine Dental Extractions Veritas module
This makes knowledge and training available and accessible to many more people than other more traditional methods of face-to-face continuing education. In the past, there was little consensus on how best to approach CPR in veterinary medicine. In the Basic Life Support course developed for Veritas, I was able to author a course based on the new evidence-based RECOVER guidelines developed by The American College of Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care (ACVECC) and the Veterinary Daniel Fletcher, Ph.D., Emergency & Critical Care DVM Diplomate American College Society (VECCS). From an instructional design point of of Veterinary Emergency view, the challenge I faced was & Critical Care, how to design a course that not Assistant Professor, only imparts the information, Cornell University but also provides an opportuCollege of Veterinary nity for students to practice Medicine applying what they learned. Working with the Veritas team, we were able to develop a five-module course that utilizes multiple interactive technologies to ensure participants know how to consistently apply the principles they learned to ensure a high standard of patient care. The result is the first-ever small animal CPR course, endorsed by ACVECC and VECCS, to provide certification for those who successfully complete all five modules. Since its release in 2012, the course has been very popular with both veterinary teaching hospitals and private practices. To date, over 1,118 veterinarians and veterinary technicians have enrolled in the course. Recently, I learned that the Texas A&M University Small Animal Teaching Hospital has made the course required for their interns, residents, and veterinary technical staff in the teaching hospital. I am thrilled to know that my course can have such a positive impact on patient care at Texas A&M. Looking ahead, I am eager to start the next phase of our collaboration with our Veritas partners at Texas A&M, as we work together to build a library of critical care case studies for use in teaching veterinary students and for supporting continuing education.
Veritas Continuing Education Convenient: Veritas courses are designed with busy veterinarians in mind. All courses can be taken anytime, paused and resumed, and repeated as many times as desired. Peer reviewed: All Veritas courses are reviewed by specialists, so veterinarians can trust that the information is evidence-based and free of commercial bias. Accredited: Veterinarians who successfully complete Veritas courses are eligible for Continuing Education (CE) credit towards their state licensure through the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) provided by the AAVSB.
Dr. Audrey Cook shares a smile with one of her patients. Cook is one of the early content developers of Veritas programs.
Veritas helps learners practice clinical decision-making. Summer 2014 â€˘
Pictured with Dr. Joe E. West ’54 DVM ’56, and his wife, Carrie West MBA ’88, are their endowed scholar, Lindsey Shipp ’14 (left), and the Class of ’56 endowed scholar, Katy White ’14 (right), at the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Dinner and Reception.
A Man of Honor:
Dr. Joe Earl West ’54 DVM ’56 by Dr. Megan Palsa Cotulla is a small town located south of San Antonio and north of Laredo in the dusty Texas prairie. The Nueces River flows through the southern part of the community during its southeastern journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Founded as a railroad town in the early 1880s, its economy has also included sheep and cattle ranching; recent years have seen local growth in the oil and gas industries. Cotulla seems like a typical Texas small town, but it boasts a number of famous former residents. The short story writer O. Henry lived on a nearby sheep ranch in the 1880s, and President Lyndon B. Johnson briefly taught in a local school in the late 1920s. Our own Dr. Joe Earl West ’54 DVM ’56, a retired clinical pathologist and Air Force colonel, was born and raised in the Cotulla area. 50 •
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HOWDY The eldest of four boys and one girl, Joe West, the son of Joe and Jozie West, lived with his family “way out in the country with the cactus, mesquite, and rattlesnakes.” His rural upbringing in Cotulla would later factor into his decision to become a veterinarian. West developed an interest in Texas A&M University (then known as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas) as a young boy listening to radio broadcasts of Aggie football games with his father and brothers. A fateful trip to the school in the spring of 1950 introduced him to the famous Aggie spirit and the Corps of Cadets. “It was an eight hour bus ride, as I recall, from south Texas near Laredo, we changed buses in San Antonio and we stopped at all the little pit-stops along the way—Caldwell, Dimebox, and San Marcos—and finally arrived about 10 o’clock at night on campus,” West said. “There was no room in the inn, as the saying goes, but this was the Aggieland Inn. The fellow at the desk asked me where I was going and I told him to see the college and so he picked up the phone and made a phone call. About five or 10 minutes later, this black, shiny sedan rolls up and a fellow gets out and he said, ‘Uh, are you Joe Earl West?’ I said, ‘Yes sir.’
He said, ‘Well, I’m Dr. Harold Redmond ’38. My wife and I would like for you to spend the weekend with us while you’re visiting A&M.’ I mean can you imagine that? From there I just fell in love with campus.” After graduating valedictorian from Cotulla High School later that spring, West enrolled as an agricultural education major, joined the Corps, and became the first member of his family to attend college. West’s first chemistry class resulted in his memorable— and somewhat confusing—introduction to the slide rule. From the back of the large auditorium that served as the lecture room, he watched his classmates use “little white sticks” throughout the class while he tried to keep up by writing feverishly. “On the way back to the dorm I ran into an Aggie I had met earlier that day,” West said. “I asked him, ‘What the heck was that little white stick that you were using during the lecture?’ He said, ‘Oh, Joe, that’s just a slip stick,’ so we walked a few more steps and I said, ‘Did you say slip stick?’” A friend later explained that the “sticks” were slide rules and how they were used, but the incident drove home the fact that college would force him to “up his game big time for academics.” One spring afternoon, he decided to take a break from his agricultural studies and walk across campus to visit an older student from his hometown; that visit changed West’s life plans forever. The young man, a veterinary student, was studying with a set of bones on his desk and a thick anatomy textbook in his hands when West walked into the room. The bones were nothing new—West had seen such remains regularly in his family’s pasture during the drought of the 1940s–1950s—but the book fascinated him. “I sat down and I paged through that book and I was captivated,” he said. “I was just about at the end of my first semester as a fish and I said to myself, ‘I have a background in this; this is what I want to major in, I want to become a veterinarian.’ “The rest is history.”
EDUCATION & NEXT STEPS The remainder of West’s six years as an Aggie student was both enjoyable and rigorous. He remained in the Corps for his first two years before leaving his cadet companions to better focus on the rigorous curriculum of veterinary school. He played Fish baseball, was a member of the Southwest Texas A&M Club, Vice President of the YMCA cabinet, and President of the Student Chapter of the AVMA. As a senior yell leader, he helped welcome Coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant to the campus in February 1954. After completing his veterinary education in 1956, West took off for Skokie, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where he completed a small animal internship. As he began to consider what he wanted to do for his veterinary career, he remembered his patriotic upbringing, his former professors who had served during World War II, his time in the Corps of Cadets, and his previous ambition of joining the Air Force. When he learned about the Air Force’s Veterinary Corps, the decision to join the Air Force was easy. West began active duty in 1957. While stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in southern Nevada, his primary responsibilities were veterinary public health. Although he saw pets
of service families at the base’s veterinary clinic, his main duties were inspecting for food service sanitation and foodborne illness prevention. West’s next assignment was at the Hanford Laboratories in Richland, Washington, where he realized he wanted to continue his graduate education. He applied for, and was accepted into, a masters of science degree program in radiation biology at the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. His graduate class—a diverse group of Army, Navy, and Air Force physicians, veterinarians, and biophysicists—studied data from
Katy White: Class of ’56 Scholarship Recipient I grew up in north Dallas, and I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a small child. I started working in veterinary clinics when I was 16 years old and continued to work and extern at clinics up until starting my fourth year of veterinary school. I was a biomedical sciences major here at Texas A&M University and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in 2010. I came to Texas A&M for my undergraduate degree because I wanted to get into veterinary school. Once I got here, I fell in love with the school. I am proud to be part of the Aggie family and wear my ring every day. I know that the friends I have made here and mentors I have gained will be there for me no matter where I go or end up. I am starting an internship at the VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital in June. I hope it helps me become a better doctor, and I think the experience will be useful as I plan to apply for an ophthalmology residency this next year. The West family are very kind people. They are truly interested in helping the next generation of Aggie veterinarians succeed in what is becoming a competitive market. They have a fascinating life story that has left them with much wisdom and interesting stories to tell.
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Spotlight the casualties of the atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. After completing the program, West traveled to Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, and accepted a position in holistic medicine. He taught Air Force Medical Service personnel fundamentals of atomic medicine, mass casualty management, and personal protection precautions. A learner at heart, West pursued a Ph.D. in comparative pathology at the University of California at Davis (UCD) in 1965. After graduating in 1969, he received a six-year assignment at the National Naval Medical Center to the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
INTERNATIONAL ASSIGNMENT An achiever and a scholar, West was quickly promoted and assigned to Ramstein Air Base in West Germany as the Command Veterinarian for U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He was responsible for the staffing and equipping of 20 veterinary hospitals and clinics in seven countries. Still in the midst of the Cold War, the climate was tense. “We were stationed west of the Berlin Wall,” he said. “It was basically a war without shooting, very tense. It was all business.” West returned to the United States with the Command Surgeon and rotated back with him to the United States Air Force Inspector General’s office at Norton Air Force Base in California with its Air Force-wide medical facility audit responsibilities. The assignment would be his last before his retirement as a colonel from the Air Force in 1979.
BACK TO TEXAS A&M After his Air Force retirement, West served two years as a faculty member at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University. Being part of the original faculty for this new college “was a privilege and an honor.” During that same time, Dr. Eleanor Green, who would later become the dean of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, was one of the large animal clinicians at Mississippi
State. West enjoyed his time there, but returning back to Texas was always his long-range plan. “I knew I wanted to come back,” he said. “Every time we were on leave, I’d come back to campus and visit our veterinary school and the Association of Former Students.” West returned to Texas A&M in 1982 when a clinical pathology position opened at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab (TVMDL). He would work at TVMDL for the next 18 years as a clinical pathologist, supporting practitioners and the animal industry in Texas. During that time, he served as president of the local Brazos Valley Veterinary Medical Association and Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice. Also, he was the Texas delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). West also helped form the Association of Former Yell Leaders in 1995 and served as its first president. He is still an active member and proudly supports the association.
HALL OF HONOR West retired from the TVMDL in September 2000. He remained close with the Corps of Cadets and served as a company faculty advisor. In 2001, he gave the keynote speech for Campus Muster and in 2001 was selected as an Outstanding Alumnus of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. In 2011 he was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University. West was recently named as one of the ten 2014 Corps Hall of Honor inductees in recognition of his life’s work and achievements—an incredible honor. The Corps Hall of Honor was established in 1993 to pay tribute to former students of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets who have lived a life that exemplifies the Aggie spirit. They must also possess the values upon which the Corps is founded: honor, loyalty, service, patriotism, faith, honesty, and leadership. To date, 102 former cadets have been inducted. “I had no idea I was even under consideration,” he said of finding out about the award. “The Corps is where I learned all the traditions and established life-long bonding. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it the same way.”
SCHOLARSHIP West and his wife, Carrie, have given back to the university in numerous ways. They are always focused on student success and celebrating excellence. “Carrie and I felt that giving back is the Aggie way,” West said. “I have benefitted so much from the incredible opportunities we’ve had that we felt once we were able, and we worked on that incrementally, we could give a scholarship. And of course, we structured our veterinary scholarship first. Being the class agent for class of ’56, our class decided that they wanted to sponsor a scholarship too. Lindsey Shipp was awarded the West scholarship this year and Katy White was the recipient of the class of ’56 scholarship. We also have an endowed Sul Ross Corps Scholarship. I am grateful to the Association of Former Students, the Corps of Cadets, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, my country, my wife my children, my classmates, and others. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Carrie (left) and Joe West with Dr. Eleanor M. Green (right) 52 •
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West and his wife, Carrie, met while he was working on his Ph.D. in comparative pathology at UC Davis and they married in 1967. Carrie, a microbiologist at UC Davis, went on to earn her MBA from Texas A&M after their return to College Station. “I
have a wonderful family. My brother Dale, class of ’57, was an Air Force pilot and flew in Vietnam. My other brother Milton, class of ’61, was a P.E. major. He coached for a number of years and then became a realtor, and he flourished in farm and ranch sales. We have two generations of Aggies now, and I started it all in September 1950, as Fish West! My younger brother Robbie passed away at the age of 14. His death was a huge family loss. I still miss him today. My brothers, Dale and Milton, and our one sister, Mary Lee, are all very successful in their careers,” he said. “Carrie and I have four children: Katherine, Gary, April ’92, and Jeremy ’95; and three grandchildren. We are so proud of them,” he said. West attributes his success to the people who have crossed his path, as well as those who have walked alongside of him. “I thank God daily for my many blessings: family, friends, and Aggies everywhere,” he said.
CONCLUSION West’s life and career, from his upbringing in Cotulla to his work in the Air Force to his time at Texas A&M and TVMDL,
Dr. Joe Earl West ’54 DVM ’56 show the important role of veterinary medicine in the lives of people around the world. Whether the goal was to teach and research the biomedical effects of nuclear weapons or protect the men and women serving the United States from foodborne illnesses, West’s input as a trained veterinarian was invaluable. His life’s work as an Aggie veterinarian truly exemplifies Texas A&M’s core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service.
Lindsey Shipp: Dr. Joe West Scholarship Recipient I am originally from the Dallas–Fort Worth area (Colleyville) and graduated from Texas A&M in May 2010 with a bachelor of science degree in wildlife and fisheries sciences. I have been married three years and my husband has supported us working in College Station as I finished my DVM degree. (I graduated in May 2014.) I am a third generation Aggie (my grandfather was part of the main campus class of ’53), so I have always wanted to come here. I feel that Texas A&M has a very unique culture and heritage that I hold very dear to me. The CVM in particular has a very accepting and welcoming environment. My professors and clinicians have been very supportive of all different types of goals and study tracks. Lastly, I have been very impressed with the amount of alumni support. I do not think that the CVM could be as successful without the tremendous support from the former students. The generosity and spirit of giving is definitely something I will be taking with me. After graduation, I am heading back to Dallas to work at MetroPaws Animal Hospital as an associate. They see small animals, pocket pets, and urban chickens. My husband and I hope to one day own a clinic together—he has a finance degree and would manage the business. We would like to become heavily involved in our community and work closely with rescue and low cost animal organizations to help serve and educate underprivileged areas. The West family is a phenomenal example of selfless service. They are constantly promoting the support of students and education. They use every opportunity to inform others about the needs of the CVM and its students. Their generous support and active interest in my life has been the cherry on top of my outstanding experience here at Texas A&M. My husband and I cannot thank them enough.
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L E A D E R SH I P
Chameleon (Adaptive) Leadership by Dr. Dan Posey The first time I saw a chameleon, I was fascinated by its ability to change. It was impressive to see how it could adapt within its environment. I knew that these characteristics were a metamorphosis of adaption, and it was an eye-opening experience for me to witness his innate abilities. No, I wasn’t at the San Diego Zoo looking at my first Mediterranean chameleon, but was in my first year of private veterinary practice watching my employer handle a crucible experience. Our ability to learn leadership is an ongoing process influenced by our relationships and experiences. Most of us learn our leadership style through modeling the people that we have encountered in our lives: coaches, teachers, or a first 54 •
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boss. We use their leadership techniques, and through life experiences we find out if these styles work for us. Leadership development is a complex process and is usually acquired through our individual experiences. Do you remember the first time you stepped out from your peers and took a leadership role? This first venture into leadership could have occurred on the playground or during your first team sport or during your first job. The conventional wisdom in leadership development is that through these experiences we learn 80 percent of our leadership skills. The other 20 percent of leadership development is divided equally between mentoring and the educational processes. My thoughts on leadership have changed dramatically over the years. Authoritative leadership is where most of us begin. We witness leaders who dictate direction, determine
group goals, and control shared resources without any meaningful participation from their team. This leadership style moves the team toward their vision. “Come with me,” is a phrase that might sum up this leadership style. Authoritative leadership works best when a program or company is changing directions. The authoritative leaders are usually self-assured and possess the single-mindedness of their clear vision. They inspire others toward their goals through their vibrant enthusiasm and passion for the vision. The downside to this important leadership style is the perception that this leader is a “know-it-all” and sometimes uncaring, due to his or her dictatorial methods from the executive level. This type of leadership is generally easily recognized and imitating this type of leader was relatively simple. The adaptive leader, on the other hand, understands that the true dynamics of all leadership are based on the concept of service to others. Adaptive leaders realize that leadership is less about their needs and more about the needs of the people and their organization. Successful adaptive leaders employ a repertoire of leadership styles that they can use to change to meet the demands of the situation. How do we become adaptive leaders? The first is to acquire a basic understanding of the different types of leadership styles. We have already discussed the authoritative leader, and the next most common is the coaching leader. The coaching leader is very recognizable by his or her one-on-one focus on assisting individuals. There are great examples in the sports world of these mentoring leaders like Tony Dungy, a former National Football League coach. His impact went well beyond the confines of the gridiron. His coaching leadership style was centered on mentorship of people within his organization, but his impact was felt well beyond. The coaching leader commits his or her time and resources toward assisting individuals in their performance and developing the individual’s goals to align with the organization’s goal. The adaptive leader looks for times when this coaching style would be most effective. The coaching leaders are attuned and receptive to the needs of the individual and look for opportunities to help them. The most negative impact of the coaching style is that this type of leader can be perceived as being intrusive or meddling at the individual level. Affiliative leadership, first described by Daniel Goleman in 2002, has its emphasis at the team level. This leadership style focuses on facilitating team dynamics and cohesiveness. There are great examples of this leadership style being implemented in veterinary practices that have more than two people assessing and addressing the health needs of clients and their animals. This is the foundation of most leadership training. The focus of the training is to understand team dynamics, manage conflict, and increase harmony. This is a very collaborative leadership style, but the focus is at the working level of the team. When this leadership style is done well, it results in low employee turnover, joyful working environments, great patient care, and effective health teams. When the affiliative leadership style is under-utilized or is done badly, the results can be disastrous: team communication becomes strained, interpersonal relationships suffer, and the organization’s climate becomes stressful or even
Dr. Dan Posey toxic. The undesirable attribute of the affiliative leadership is that the effect is at the team level and doesn’t impact individual performance, which sometimes leads to individual mediocrity. Visionary leadership is most effective when there is a need for change. The adaptive leader calls upon his or her visionary leadership skills when starting in a new job or working on a new project. The direct goal of the visionary leader is to convey the importance of this new direction and to make sure the team not only understands the vision but also is able to articulate it. The best attribute of this leadership style is that the overreaching vision is defined, but there is also a freedom within this leadership style that allows people to be innovative, creative, and to take risks to attain the new vision. A great example of this type of leadership was Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple. His vision was simple to understand: “Get a computer in the hands of everyday people.” He gave his employees lots of creative freedom to achieve his dream. The shortcomings of utilizing this leadership style are that it doesn’t reach the individual level of the organization and can make it difficult for the leader to hear and understand the contrarian’s point of view. Adaptive leaders have the ability to use all four of these leadership styles—authoritative, coaching, affiliative, and visionary—in their leadership service. They have to be chameleon-like and not only understand the environment that they find themselves in but also be able to change their leadership style depending on that environment.
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COMING SOON…A CELEBRATION OF
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Honor Roll CVM promotion and tenure class announced Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, along with Dr. Sandee Hartsfield, Professor and Head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (VSCS); Dr. Linda Logan, Professor and Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB); Dr. Allen Roussel, Professor and Head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS); and Dr. Evelyn Tiffa-
ny-Castiglioni, Professor and Head of the Department of Veteriary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS), are pleased to congratulate the following Texas A&M Collge of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) faculty whose promotions and tenure were recently confirmed by Chancellor John Sharp and the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents, effective September 1, 2014.
“Accomplishments such as these represent an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous impact and difference that each of you make daily in serving our students, clients, our state, and nation!” said Green. “Excellent faculty and outstanding staff are the hallmarks of this college, and we couldn’t be prouder. Congratulations again to our colleagues on their accomplishments and recognition.”
Dr. Renata Ivanek-Miojevic, VIBS Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Wesley Bissett, VLCS Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Michael Criscitiello, VTPB Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Scott Dindot, VTPB Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Waithaka Mwangi, VTPB Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Christopher Seabury, VTPB Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles, VSCS Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Juan Romano, VLCS Awarded Tenure; Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Gregory Johnson, VIBS Promotion to Professor
Dr. Debra Zoran, VSCS Promotion to Professor
Dr. Vijay Venkatraj, VIBS Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Tracy Norman, VLCS Promotion to Clinical Associate Professor
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Honor Roll Champion donkey Fortunato beats the odds A difficult beginning is not always predictive of an unfortunate life. Dr. John Stallone and his wife’s award-winning miniature donkey, “Fortunato,” is living proof of this supposition. Soon after Stallone moved to the College Station area in 1998 to begin his job as associate professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University (CVM), where he is now the interim head of the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, he and his wife Jan discovered the fascinating world of miniature donkeys. It didn’t take long for the Stallones to fall in love with these endearing and gentle creatures and, after the birth of Fortunato, to realize just how much luck one certain jack can hold. Italian for the word “lucky,” Fortunato began earning his name right from the start. After Stallone noticed that his prized jenny, Raspberry Sparkle, was having trouble delivering her foal, they rushed her to the Large Animal Hospital to seek help. Once there, they discovered that the foal was a breech birth—simply put, that he was coming out bottom first instead of headfirst. After a trying night in the emergency clinic, Drs. Brinsko and Hardy were finally able to turn the foal around and deliver him normally, only plaintively to discover that he wasn’t breathing. Disappointed that their efforts to save the foal were fruitless, they focused
their attention on tending to Raspberry Sparkle. It was then that someone took notice of Lucky’s struggle to breathe, and they immediately resuscitated him, managing to save his life. “His name is Lucky because he overcame overwhelming odds to survive his difficult birth,” said Stallone. “Lucky is truly lucky.” From that moment on, he has certainly lived up to his name. At only three years of age in May 2014, Lucky has already won two prominent awards. During his participation in the 2014 Ft. Worth Livestock Show this past January, he was awarded “Champion Jack,” where the judges consider various physical attributes, and they were clearly fond of Lucky’s striking sorrel coloring and excellent conformation. Additionally, he achieved the High Point award for his age class in the Ft. Worth Livestock Show the previous year, accumulating Dr. John Stallone with Fortunato more points for all
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Fortunato and his mother, Raspberry Sparkle of the events than any other donkey in his class. “The High Point award at Ft. Worth is rather impressive because it is based on performance events as well as conformation,” said Stallone. “He is very curious and a fast learner, and is always ready to try new things, which is good for a show donkey.” Stallone’s roots reach back to the Sicilian village of Campobello di Mazara, home of his maternal and paternal grandparents. Sometime after he and his wife acquired their first miniature donkeys, Stallone’s father recalled stories about his own father working in the fields of Sicily with his cart and “little donkey,” probably an ancestor to the miniature donkeys that the Stallones now breed and train on their mini-ranch in Wickson Valley. Though it took Stallone over 50 years to realize that miniature Mediterranean donkeys are closely entwined in his roots, he now fully embraces the cultural tie. The Stallone’s mini-ranch, Rancho di Campobello, is named in honor of his grandparents’ village. An ancient Latin phrase states “fortes fortuna adiuvat,” translated in English to mean “fortune favors the brave.” This can certainly be said about the Stallone’s prized Fortunato. Brave, intelligent, and truly fortunate, Lucky will undoubtedly continue to reap success throughout his life despite his difficult beginnings.
Honor Roll AAVMC honors Kornegay with Recognition Lecture award at its annual conference After receiving his veterinary degree ing they are caused by from Texas A&M, Kornegay spent mutations in a gene on three years in private practice in Ohio the X chromosome. His and Texas followed by six years in research has defined key residency (neurology and pathology) clinical and pathologic and graduate (master’s and Ph.D.) features of GRMD to training at the University of Georgia better understand the causes of the disease and College of Veterinary Medicine. Upon completion of this training, he served analyze possible treaton the faculty of the College of Veteriments. In recent years, nary Medicine at North Carolina State Kornegay’s laboratory University for 11 years before moving and collaborators have to the College of Veterinary Medicine studied various treatat the University of Missouri where he ments in affected dogs, eventually became the college’s dean. and results of these preHe moved to the University of North clinical studies should Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006 and guide the use of similar to his current position at Texas A&M treatment strategies in University in 2012. In both of these poDMD patients. sitions, his responsibilities have focused “We are proud of on research. Dr. Kornegay and his Kornegay is a diplomate and past recent recognition by president of the neurology specialty of the AAVMC,” said Dr. the American College of Veterinary InEleanor M. Green, the ternal Medicine (ACVIM) and currentCarl B. King Dean of ly serves as ACVIM’s president-elect. Dr. Joe N. Kornegay Veterinary Medicine. “Dr. Kornegay has made exceptional “Dr. Kornegay’s work Dr. Joe N. Kornegay, Texas A&M contributions to veterinary medicine has been a cornerstone example of University professor in the departas an academic dean, skilled clinician, what we’ve come to embrace as the ments of Veterinary Integrative Bioscivisionary leader, and accomplished One Health approach and has helped ences and Veterinary Pathobiology at researcher,” said Dr. Evelyn Tiffanyto demonstrate the importance of the the College of Veterinary Medicine & Castiglioni, professor and head of the connection between human and aniBiomedical Sciences (CVM) and the Department of Veterinary Integrative mal health. His research with canine Institute for Neuroscience, was recently Biosciences. “The list of recipients of DMD patients is at the forefront of a selected for the Recognition Lecture the AAVMC Recognition Lecture reads revolution in biomedical sciences in award by the American Association of like a who’s who of veterinary mediwhich purebred dog populations are Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). cine. I have had the honor of knowing ideal subjects for identifying specific This is an honor given to an individual some of the individuals on the list, genes associated with diseases that whose leadership and vision has made and I know that Dr. Kornegay brings affect both dogs and humans, such as a significant contribution to academic additional honor to an already distincancer, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, veterinary medicine and the veterinary guished company.” heart disease, and many others.” profession. The award was presented during the AAVMC Annual Conference on March 15, 2014, at the Westin Alexandria in Alexandria, Virginia. “Dr. Kornegay’s work has been a cornerstone example Kornegay spoke about his research of what we’ve come to embrace as the One Health in a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and how this approach and has helped to demonstrate the importance relates to the broader concept of “One Health,” in which human and animal of the connection between human and animal health.” medicine are inextricably linked. For more than 30 years, Kornegay ~ Dr. Eleanor M. Green, has studied a spontaneous canine disease termed golden retriever muscular the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine dystrophy (GRMD), which serves as an animal model for DMD in humans. Both conditions are X-linked, meanSummer 2014 •
Honor Roll Outstanding staff members awarded for their service The Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) held its annual Staff Awards Ceremony September 31, 2013, recognizing staff members for their many contributions to the success of the college. Dr. Jeffrey Musser, clinical associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, welcomed attendees as emcee and entertainment was provided by Anna Morrison and Lauren Pluhar on the guitar. In addition to recognizing the 55 staff members who had reached anniversaries of five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 35, or 40 years—and who, collectively, had amassed 775 years of service to the college—awards were also presented to 10 people in recognition of their exceptional work ethic and passion for their jobs. The 2013 Staff Awards recipients were: Robin Alderete, Veterinary Pathobiology; Gail Broussard,
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Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital; Nathan Brown, Dean’s Office; Lin Bustamante, Veterinary Integrative Biosciences; Kim Daniel, Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology; Josh Freeman, Veterinary Pathobiology; Kathy Glaze, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital; Kimberly Koehler, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital; Roberta Pugh, Veterinary Pathobiology; and Judy Walters, Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology. The awards were presented to employees based on nominations from their colleagues, which were reviewed by staff and faculty members serving on the Staff Awards Committee. In addition, Deb Anderson, hospital business manager, received the 2013 Pearl Enfield Staff Leadership Award. Pearl Enfield was a highly professional and committed mainstay of the administrative staff in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (then
called the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health) from 1990 until her unexpected death in 1996 at age 51. In her honor, the Pear Enfield Award was established to recognize a staff member who exhibited the same caliber of professionalism and dedication to the college as Enfield. Each recipient was presented with a plaque noting his or her achievement along with a monetary award. “This is truly one of my favorite days of the year,” said Dean Eleanor M. Green, as she congratulated the award winners and thanked all of the staff for their hard work and dedication to the CVM. “Success in any organization is about its people, and we have exceptional people in our college whose contributions play an important role in our ability to realize our vision of excellence.” 2013 CVM Staff Award recipients
Honor Roll Ying wins award from the American Heart Association
Wei Ying Research conducted at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) may eventually explain and help prevent the chronic health conditions that often accompany obesity. Wei Ying, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology Department (VTPP) at the CVM, won an American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Award for his work in this area. The award, spread out over two years, totals $50,000. “This is a prestigious award for a graduate student,” said Beiyan Zhou, VTPP assistant professor and co-chair of Ying’s Ph.D. committee. “We are excited to see Wei Ying recognized for his talent, future potential, and the quality of this work in a supportive research environment,” Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, said. “This work is important with implications in many species. This award speaks to his excellence as well as that of his faculty mentors.” “I’m very lucky,” Ying said. “Not many students would have these opportunities.” Ying, who works in Zhou’s lab, came to the CVM from the Animal Science Department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He originally wanted to create leaner, higher quality beef, and that interest led him to his current research into human weight gain and obesity.
“Obesity is an epidemic worldwide that contributes to adverse health outcomes, including insulin resistance, type II diabetes mellitus, obstructive sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, stroke, hypertension and certain types of cancer (such as colon and breast cancers), and cardiovascular diseases that are collectively referred to as metabolic syndrome,” said Fuller Bazer, Regents Fellow, Distinguished Professor & O. D. Butler Chair, Physiology of Reproduction, Department of Animal Science and co-chair of Ying’s Ph.D. committee. “Ying’s study represents the true spirit of the One Health Initiative,” said Dr. Bhanu Chowdhary, Associate Dean for Research & Graduate Studies at the CVM. “The interdisciplinary research focus he and mentors have developed will potentially lead to discoveries that improve the health of both animals and humans. It is an important area of research with broad impacts on human and animal health, and this recognition from the American Heart Association is well-deserved.” Specifically, Ying is focusing on the role of tiny RNA strands called microRNA that are thought to indirectly lead to metabolic syndrome. These little pieces of genetic material influence the abundance of a type of cell called the macrophage. Although macrophages are a normal and important part of the immune system, in obese people they seem to have the negative effect of
increasing the inflammation that can lead to insulin resistance and development of metabolic syndrome. “The fellowship received by Wei Ying from the American Heart Association will allow him to conduct in-depth studies on roles of microRNA 223,” Bazer said. MicroRNA 223 can affect the number of a certain type of macrophage that has the opposite result of most macrophages; it favors an antiinflammatory state in white fat deposits and, in turn, actually reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome. Ying’s research will also explore how key molecules influencing the development of obesity are regulated to reduce proliferation of “white adipocytes” that make up white fat deposits, in which inflammatory macrophages exist. The three criteria for the American Heart Association award are the student’s potential, the research environment (including mentors and institutional support), and the research proposal (including its significance and originality). Ying has all three. “He has outstanding potential,” said Stephen Safe, Distinguished Professor in VTPP and a member of Ying’s Ph.D. committee, “and is guided by Dr. Beiyan Zhou, who is making exciting new discoveries about the role of noncoding RNAs in the cardiovascular system.” Bazer, Safe, and Guoyao Wu, who is a Distinguished Professor in Animal Nutrition in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, wrote letters of reference for the award and act as Ying’s mentors. “These three distinguished professors give me so much support,” Ying said. “I’m very grateful to them.” “What he’s doing is original,” Zhou said. “After all, the discovery of microRNA was only about 10 years ago.” “When you are doing something you like, you don’t mind spending 16 hours a day working on it,” Ying said. “I absolutely love what I’m doing. I’m very proud to have won this award.” Ultimately, he hopes to develop improved therapies to decrease inflammation and insulin resistance in obese individuals, which would then prevent them from developing metabolic syndrome.
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Honor Roll Mwangi receives Montague–CTE excellence award Dr. Waithaka Mwangi, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) was named a Montague Center for Teaching Excellence Scholar for 2013–2014 on September 30, 2013. The Montague–Center Teaching Excellence (CTE) Scholar award has been given annually since 1991 to one tenure-track faculty member from each college, based on early ability and interest in teaching. Awardees receive a $6,500 grant to encourage further development of undergraduate teaching excellence. Mwangi said the grant money will be used to acquire contemporary computer-based technology and teaching platforms that will enable him to teach better and to help him acquire new teaching skills and ideas by attending training that is focused on equipping him to be more effective in undergraduate teaching. “In being recognized as the CVM’s Montague–CTE Scholar, Dr. Mwangi has clearly demonstrated a commitment to enhancing the teaching of immunology to undergraduate students,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Dr. Mwangi’s students leave well-prepared for the rigors of a professional curriculum due to his engaging and dynamic teaching methods.” Mwangi has been teaching the undergraduate-level course Introduction to Immunology since 2007. The class, mostly taken by biomedical science students, tries to familiarize the students with the basic features of the immune system and how it functions. “Dr. Mwangi is one of the most passionate and inspiring professors I have ever had class with,” said An-
Dr. Linda Logan (left), Professor and Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, congratulates Dr. Waithaka Mwangi, along with Dr. Eleanor M. Green. gela Bordin, who took the graduate version of Dr. Mwangi’s Immunology course. “Somehow he is able to infuse his students with that passion about immunology.” “Dr. Mwangi is an excellent teacher with great knowledge of his field,” said Megha Bijalwan, a former student of Mwangi’s. “He is very approachable and always ready to help.” Other students echoed this sentiment; many noted how much Mwangi seems to truly care about his students and their education. “Winning this award means a lot to me. I am a product of great teachers who captivated my passion for learning,” said Mwangi. “Being selected for this award is a great encouragement to
“Dr. Mwangi is one of the most passionate and inspiring professors I have ever had class with. Somehow he is able to infuse his students with that passion about immunology.” ~ Angela Bordin, a graduate student in Dr. Mwangi’s immunology class
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me, and it has motivated me to put my best efforts in imparting knowledge to students by guiding them and equipping them with skills that will help them to take charge of their learning.” “I enjoy imparting knowledge to students to enable them realize their dreams,” Mwangi added. “Motivating students to be engaged and to love learning is a source of joy and gratification since educating students is the catalyst that is transforming young minds to become world-class innovators.” The Montague–CTE Scholars awards are named in honor of Kenneth Montague, Texas A&M class of ’37, a distinguished alumnus and outstanding trustee of Texas A&M Foundation, who had a long and storied career in the Texas oil industry. The award is designed to benefit Aggies who are lifelong learners and contributors to their communities. The object of the Center for Teaching Excellence is to stimulate the development of innovative teaching strategies and technologies at Texas A&M University and to recognize excellence in teaching early in a faculty member’s career.
Honor Roll CVM students win AABP Quiz Bowl Championship The American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) Student Quiz Bowl team from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) won the national quiz bowl competition at the 46th Annual Conference of the AABP on September 20th, 2013, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The team members were third-year veterinary students Jayton Bailey and Bryan Weaver and fourthyear student John David Nicholson. Teams from many North American veterinary schools competed in the tournament, with some entering more than one team, for 27 teams in total. Each team generally has four members, but the team from the CVM, even with only three members, won the entire competition for the first time since participating in the Quiz Bowl. “We are proud of our students for winning, but not surprised they did,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the CVM. “Their performance reflects their hard work, dedication, and commitment to learning. This win also reflects the quality and dedication of our outstanding food animal faculty, who prepared them for this competition, as they do for their veterinary
careers. Congratulations to the team for earning this special award and for exemplifying the excellence in education for which Texas A&M University and our college are known. Where else but Texas, #1 in the nation in cattle? Where else but Aggieland?” The format is a single elimination tournament with brackets that pits teams together to move on to the next round until a champion is determined. The teams sit on opposite sides of a table and members have a buzzer to press when they are ready to answer. “The questions asked during the competition were mainly in the areas of bovine medicine as well as beef and dairy production,” said Weaver. The first team to buzz in gets a chance to answer the question. If they miss the question, the other team has a chance to “steal.” Over 200 conference attendees watched the final match between Texas A&M and Ohio State University. “The Texas Aggie team was down to the Buckeyes at one time by over 30 points and rallied back to win the competition,” said Dr. John Davidson, former CVM faculty member and AABP President-Elect.
“We are very proud of the students on the team and the faculty members who taught them in the classroom and coached them during their preparation,” said Dr. Allen Roussel, professor and head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. “In addition, I know that these young men were great representatives for Texas A&M University, not only as Quiz Bowl Champions but also as gentlemen and professionals.” “This win represents many hours of hard work and study,” said Dr. Kevin Washburn, associate professor at the CVM and faculty advisor to the group, “and demonstrates how well our students retain the knowledge picked up from their formal training here at Texas A&M.” Typically, the students that go to the conference from A&M are automatically on the Quiz Bowl team. The three members of this year’s team had varied reasons for attending the conference: Nicholson and Weaver were both student delegates, and Bailey was presenting a case. “To be the first team from Texas A&M to win is really exciting,” Bailey said. “It was great to be able to represent A&M in this way.”
Jayton Bailey, John David Nicholson, and Bryan Weaver at the AABP Quiz Bowl. Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll Curtis receives AAVP award for research Texas A&M Ph.D. student Rachel Curtis developed a way to educate the public while enlisting their help in tracking an emerging disease that threatens wildlife and humans. Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and can cause a variety of symptoms and can even lead to sudden death. Currently, no cure exists. The parasite is transferred among humans—or animals—by “kissing bugs”, named after their tendency to bite around the mouth. Curtis, who is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) Merit Fellow, is a member of the epidemiology research team in Dr. Sarah Hamer’s laboratory at the CVM. As a first-year Ph.D. student, Curtis traveled to Chicago in July of 2013 for the opportunity to present her ongoing research at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP) annual meeting. Even though it was her first major oral presentation, she won first place in the Best Student Presentation competition among other graduate students at the event. “Rachel’s success is a tribute to her hard work and dedication, and the support from her faculty mentor,” said Dr. Robert Burghardt, associate dean for research and graduate studies at the CVM. “Our graduate students and faculty are exceptional, and committed to the excellence that defines our research programs.” “I was happy to be there to hear her presentation and to support her,” said Hamer, Curtis’ advisor and assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences (VIBS) at the CVM. “I’m very fortunate that she’s a part of our team.”
Curtis tracks this disease in nature to determine the risk of becoming infected with Chagas disease. A better understanding of this disease could lead to interventions that break the infection cycle and reduce the disease risk. “As of January first of 2013, it became a notifiable disease, so if a person or a veterinarian diagnoses Chagas disease in a patient they have to report it to the state,” Curtis said. “Our efforts are augmenting the Texas Department of State Health Services’ ability to track this disease.” To track Chagas disease, Curtis has to collect blood samples, trap wild animals alive, and catch kissing bugs. Initially, she struggled to catch enough bugs because they were hard to find. She turned to the community for help. “As soon as we started talking to land owners and the public, they’d say ‘oh yeah, I had one of those in my house yesterday’ or ‘I found some in my barn’ or ‘they were in my dog kennel’,” Hamer said. Curtis developed the Citizen’s Science initiative to educate the public about Chagas disease and ask the public to collect these hard-to-find
“Rachel’s success is a tribute to her hard work and dedication, and the support from her faculty mentor. Our graduate students and faculty are exceptional, and committed to the excellence that defines our research programs.” ~ Dr. Robert Burghardt, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies 64 •
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Rachel Curtis bugs. On the Hamer laboratory Web site, Curtis provides the public with educational pamphlets, pictures, and articles. “Rachel really started this initiative up,” said Hamer. “The public has been really eager to send in these bugs to her. She’s had almost 600 bugs submitted to her this way.” “Although she is very early in her dissertation research, her studies on Chagas disease in the southern United States are already yielding new insights into maintenance of the Chagas parasite in nature,” said Dr. Evelyn TiffanyCastiglioni, associate dean for undergraduate education and professor and VIBS department head. “I’m grateful for all the financial support that the college, the department, and Dr. Hamer have given,” Curtis said. “Without all of the financial resources there would have been no way for the research or for the award to be possible.”
Honor Roll Rogers receives national honor for diversity initiatives Creating a learning environment where students from all walks of life come together and learn from each other’s experiences in an atmosphere of mutual respect is at the very core of being an Aggie. Dr. Kenita Rogers, associate dean for professional programs at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), received the National Faculty of the Month Award from the National Residence Hall Honorary in recognition of her efforts to improve the diversity and enhance the learning environment in the CVM. “Dr. Rogers is truly deserving of this honor,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the CVM. “The North American Veterinary Medical Education Consortium (NAVMEC) outlined
“Through Dr. Rogers’ outreach, our students leave the college more equipped for success in a multicultural society. Her inclusive approach in the classroom setting and beyond has demonstrated our commitment to ensuring that every student is valued and appreciated for what he or she adds to the learning experiences of others.” ~ Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine in its recent report on the future of veterinary medical education, seven core competencies that all veterinary students should have upon graduation. Diversity is one of these core competencies. As part of our commitment to
ensuring that diversity was addressed throughout the curriculum, Dr. Rogers was asked to take on the additional role of Director of Climate and Diversity for our college. Her efforts to foster inclusivity and to celebrate the diversity have created a welcoming and collaborative environment that not only serves as an example to the rest of the university, but also as an example across the nation.” In addition to including diversity elements as part of the classroom experience for students in the CVM, Rogers has encouraged the formation of student organizations representing different cultures. Most recently, the student chapter of the Lesbian Gay Veterinary Medical Association was recognized by the CVM, and with support from administration, chapter leaders have taken on national leadership roles. “We have so much to learn from one another,” added Green. “Through Dr. Rogers’ outreach, our students leave the college more equipped for success in a multicultural society. Her inclusive approach in the classroom setting and beyond has demonstrated our commitment to ensuring that every student is valued and appreciated for what he or she adds to the learning experiences of others. We thank the National Residence Hall Honorary for recognizing the tremendous impact that Dr. Rogers has made on our students, our college, and our university.” The National Residence Hall Honorary represents the top one percent of student leaders at the more than 400 colleges and universities that are members of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls.
Dr. Kenita Rogers and Dr. Eleanor M. Green Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll Brown receives SEF Award of $15,000 Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences student Daniel Brown has been selected to receive the Simmons Educational Fund (SEF) National Business Aptitude Award. The award is given to senior students to bring attention to the importance of business education in veterinary practice. This year’s case study was to present a new, modern marketing plan for a veterinary practice. Brown was selected from among 30 national and international candidates based upon his exceptional response. The SEF awarded Brown with $15,000 and an all-expense paid trip to the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando. The award was presented at the National VBMA meeting.
“It’s exciting to see the student’s submissions for a marketing plan for a veterinary practice. What you see today in a marketing plan is not what you would have seen even just five years ago. Our award winner shows us that business education is more important than ever in veterinary medicine.” ~ David King, DVM, CVA, a Simmons professional and SEF trustee “I am honored that my project was selected and attribute any success on my part to the great education I’ve
David King (left) presents the SEF award to Daniel Brown. 66 •
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received at Texas A&M,” said Brown. “The SEF business case competition gave me a great opportunity to work through a real-life scenario and put together a plan for marketing a practice. I know a lot more now than I did just a few months ago about online marketing and feel confident I’ll get to apply a lot of what I learned in the not so distant future.” After graduating from Texas A&M, Brown plans to move to the California Bay Area to work with his dad as a small animal veterinarian. His interests include surgery, practice management, and veterinary consulting. The SEF Business Aptitude Award is offered to a third year veterinary student at each veterinary school. Regional winners are chosen for the $3,000 award. The SEF regional winners then go on to the SEF national competition for a chance to win $15,000. The award program is promoted by each Simmons & Associates’ region. Since its inception 12 years ago, the SEF has donated over $1 million to the veterinary profession. “It’s exciting to see the student’s submissions for a marketing plan for a veterinary practice. What you see today in a marketing plan is not what you would have seen even just five years ago.” said David King, DVM, CVA, a Simmons professional and SEF trustee. “Our award winner shows us that business education is more important than ever in veterinary medicine.”
Honor Roll Wilson-Robles appointed to scientific advisory board Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) has been appointed to serve on the Small Animal Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for the Morris Animal Foundation (MAF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to investing in research. The work of MAF and their investment in research has a global impact on animal health. Wilson-Robles, a veterinary oncologist, is an assistant professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (VSCS) at the CVM. “Dr. Wilson-Robles is widely recognized for her excellence in patient care and clinical research,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the CVM. “She oversees multiple clinical trials in veterinary oncology that will one day lead to improved therapies in humans and animals. We are proud that her efforts have been recognized with this important opportunity to advance veterinary research and One Health initiatives.” Wilson received her first grant from the MAF several years ago for a project involving canine osteosarcoma (OSA) and the identification of tumor initiating cells in the cell cultures of canine OSA. Her work serving on the SAB requires time and effort to ensure that the MAF funds are used to support high quality research and to provide critical feedback to unfunded investigators improving their research proposals. “She has endeavored to investigate spontaneous tumors in animals with the goal of defining innovative and effective treatments, while collaborating with medical oncologists to discover potential applications to management of human cancers,” said Dr. Sandee
Dr. Heather Wilson-Robles Hartsfield, professor and head of VSCS. “Her expertise will be very valuable to the MAF small animal scientific advisory board.” Each member appointed on the SAB serves a four-year term and contributes more than 100 volunteer hours. In
She has endeavored to investigate spontaneous tumors in animals with the goal of defining innovative and effective treatments, while collaborating with medical oncologists to discover potential applications to management of human cancers.” ~ Dr. Sandee Hartsfield, Professor
addition to the time spent volunteering, these elite board members must review and provide written comments for approximately 16 grant proposals submitted to the foundation and devote up to three days for an in-person grant review meeting. Integral to the advancement of veterinary medical research, the SAB ranks proposals for scientific merit, relevance, and impact. “I believe that we, as veterinarians, have a very important role to play in the One Health Initiative and we can only do that by continuing to perform high quality research,” said Dr. WilsonRobles. “MAF is one of the few entities that help to financially support veterinary clinician scientists, and because of this, I am happy to help them in any way I can.”
and Head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll CVM students awarded competitive fellowships The only two Zoetis-Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Fellowships for Advanced Study awarded this year went to residents at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). Dr. Sarah Schneider, who passed her anatomic pathology board exams last month, and Dr. Sabrina Vobornik have both been at the CVM completing their post-DVM residencies. With the help of the fellowship, they began Ph.D. programs in the fall of 2013. Zoetis, Morris Animal Foundation, and the college will each contribute $20,000 per year for four years toward each recipient’s expenses. “We are so proud of these students,” said Dr. Robert Burghardt, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the CVM. “In addition to completing demanding residency programs, they are building upon their knowledge base to advance veterinary research, which may one day lead to improved quality of life for animals.” Both Schneider and Vobornik would ultimately like to pursue careers in academia, so they thought the fellowship requirement for recipients to work in some area of animal health research for at least four years following completion of the Ph.D. would be a good fit. “I love teaching,” Vobornik said, “but I also love research. Ideally, when I am done with my Ph.D., I’d like to work at a college of veterinary medicine, both teaching and doing research.” In addition to research opportunities at academic institutions, both Vobornik and Schneider will have the opportunity to get exposure to other
Dr. Sarah Schneider 68 •
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“In addition to completing demanding residency programs, they are building upon their knowledge base to advance veterinary research, which may one day lead to improved quality of life for animals.” ~ Dr. Robert Burghardt, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies careers paths. Fellows will spend two or three months during the fellowship at Zoetis’ research facility at Kalamazoo, Michigan. “I’m really very excited about it,” said Schneider. “Although I do think I want to work in a university setting, it will be great to get some industry experience as well.” “Securing funding for graduate student stipends is challenging, particularly when trying to provide a Ph.D. opportunity for veterinary residents, who have already spent seven or more years continuing their post-baccalaureate education,” said Dr. Mary Nabity, Vobornik’s faculty mentor. “Therefore, this fellowship was instrumental in retaining two highly motivated and bright students for their graduate studies, and I’m excited to have Sabrina join my laboratory.” Vobornik, who earned her DVM from Oklahoma State University, has been a Clinical Pathology Resident at the CVM for the past two years. She studies chronic kidney disease in dogs with the hope of eventually developing less invasive diagnostic tools for the disease. Schneider earned her DVM at the University of Tennessee before working in private practice and finally doing her Anatomic Pathology Residency— which she finished at the end of June— at the CVM. Her Ph.D. research will focus on a group of golden retrievers with muscular dystrophy. One of the muscles affected by the disease is the heart, which tends to create cardiomyopathy, potentially leading to heart failure. Schneider would like to study how the expression of genes in the heart muscle is different in these dogs, with the ultimate goal of learning how to identify the disease earlier and potentially stop it from progressing.
“Sarah expressed an interest in studying cardiac effects of muscular dystrophy,” said Dr. Joe Kornegay, Schneider’s faculty mentor. “Through these studies, she’ll be building on experiences from both practice and the pathology residency. We’re excited by the commitment that has been made to Dr. Schneider and know that she’ll make us all proud.” “Texas A&M has some very good resources for studying heart disease,” Schneider said. “The facilities, the people—it all just comes together very well to be a wonderful place to do this research.” The research track record of the applicants’ academic institution was a major criterion in the evaluation of the proposals, and the CVM had to demonstrate a strong commitment to animal welfare in its research activities. “It wasn’t an easy application process,” Schneider said, “but everyone was so helpful, and I’m very grateful.” “I’m so appreciative of my mentors and all the people who helped me apply for this fellowship and who made this possible,” Vobornik said. “It still feels surreal.”
Dr. Sabrina Vobornik
Honor Roll Rodriguez among first NCVP Merial Residents in Veterinary Parasitology Dr. Jessica Rodriguez, a veterinarian and graduate student at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), has been selected as one of the first Merial Residents in Veterinary Parasitology from the National Center for Veterinary Parasitology (NCVP). The NCVP’s goals are to train graduate veterinarians in clinical, applied veterinary parasitology while providing balanced, science-based consulting expertise on parasite treatment and prevention strategies. This unique program awards funding to Rodriguez and other selected veterinarians for salary and benefits while pursuing their Ph.D. and residencies in veterinary clinical parasitology. “There are currently four NCVP residents and two affiliate residents nationwide,” said Rodriguez. “This year there were two awarded.” Through the NCVP, Rodriguez received $100,000 for two years, and will be eligible for another two-year renewal. Under the direction of Dr. Karen Snowden, professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the CVM and a leading veterinary parasitologist and current Diplomate of the ACVM, Rodriguez will continue her research on Heterobilharzia americana, an important trematode pathogen of dogs. In addition to her Ph.D. research, Rodriguez will gain clinical parasitology experience and training toward board certification in parasitology. “I have known Jessica Rodriguez since her undergraduate days at Texas A&M, and she has always been a model for academic excellence,” said Snowden. “Completing a Ph.D. and a residency in veterinary parasitology is almost unique in our academic field, and Dr. Rodriguez is building a great career path through this program.” “With the resurgence of support for neglected tropical disease, many of which are parasitic, Dr. Jessica Rodriguez should have a bright future as a researcher contributing to global health initiatives,” said Dr. Linda Logan, professor and head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology.
The application material for the NCVP involved Rodriguez and Snowden designing a training program to broaden the breadth of parasite knowledge. This program will also include Rodriguez’s parasitology training at the veterinary colleges of Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University, the University of Prince Edward Island, and Colorado State University. “I will also be required to teach veterinary parasitology as well as publish continuing education articles on veterinary parasitology,” said Rodriguez. “We appreciate industry partners such as Merial for recognizing the important impact clinical research makes on advancing the veterinary profession, and for honoring the hard work of our students,” said Dr. Robert Burghardt, associate dean for research & graduate studies. “Dr. Rodriguez is one of a select few to pursue a Ph.D. and a residency, both of which will place her on the leading edge of the One Health Initiative, working to advance the global health of humans, animals, plants, and the ecosystem.” Bringing together partners from academia and industry to address emerg-
Dr. Jessica Rodriguez ing issues, the NCVP seeks to serve the veterinary profession by developing future leaders, like Rodriguez, to promote outstanding, clinically relevant veterinary parasitology research.
“With the resurgence of support for neglected tropical disease, many of which are parasitic, Dr. Jessica Rodriguez should have a bright future as a researcher contributing to global health initiatives.” ~ Dr. Linda Logan, Professor and Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll Zhou awarded NIH, ADA grants for diabetes research Dr. Beiyan Zhou, assistant professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology (VTPP) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), recently received a $1.54 million grant from The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)—part of the National Institutes of Health-to study the role of microRNA in diabetes. The grant, which is spread over five years, comes soon after Zhou won a Junior Faculty Award from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The award from the ADA, which is designed to provide support to junior faculty who are establishing their independence as researchers, will provide $120,000 per year for three years (2013–2015) for the direct cost of research. Zhou’s application was supported by letters of recommendation from scientists at institutions across the United States, including Harvey Lodish, professor of biology and professor of biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Zhou’s postdoctoral advisor; Daniel Linzer, provost of Northwestern University; Rajesh Miranda, associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics, Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience at A&M; and Stephen Safe, Distinguished Professor in VTPP. “Dr. Zhou is an outstanding member of our faculty, both in her research and her mentorship of our graduate students,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “We congratulate her on earning these awards in recognition of her outstanding research endeavors. Faculty members such as Dr. Zhou continue to raise the bar of excellence in scientific discovery, and we are fortunate to have her here at the CVM. Not only is her work highly relevant, it is well-aligned with One Health, one of the grand challenges for Texas A&M.” “Diabetes is one of the leading causes of mortality in the United States and worldwide,” said Zhou, who joined the CVM in September of 2009. “Most of the current insulin-sensitizers and anti-diabetic drugs focus on improving diabetic symptoms, but not curing diabetes,” Zhou said. “My 70 •
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Dr. Beiyan Zhou long-term career goal is to provide the basis for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat insulin resistance-related diseases, such as Type-2 diabetes.” “Dr. Zhou’s novel approach to finding a solution for the epidemic of diabetes is moving this type of research to a whole new level,” said Dr. Bhanu Chowdhary, then the associate dean for research & graduate studies at the CVM. “The future of scientific discovery that addresses the ongoing health problems for people and animals will be led by innovative researchers such as Dr. Zhou. We are excited to see her efforts recognized through these highly competitive grants and awards. We are proud to have her as a faculty member, colleague and outstanding mentor for undergraduate and graduate students.” Macrophages, which are an important and normal part of the immune system, undergo a “distinct phenotypic switch,” known as macrophage polarization, from one that is anti-inflammatory in lean tissues to one that is proinflammatory in obese tissues. This inflammation can then cause trouble with insulin resistance, which then, in turn, leads to Type-2 diabetes. The polarization of macrophages in fat tissue is regulated by a specific microRNA called microRNA-223 and
by the protein Peroxisome proliferatoractivated receptor gamma (PPAR -gamma), but the interactions between the two, and just how they affect macrophages, remains unclear. Zhou’s research seeks to understand just how this regulation happens, with the ultimate goal of perhaps being able to regulate and stop the chain that leads to diabetes. Targeting the microRNAs in macrophages to inhibit macrophage-mediated inflammation could offer a novel approach to preventing or treating insulin resistance and insulin resistance-associated diseases, such as Type-2 diabetes. “I’m so appreciative of all of the support I have received here, both scientifically and from the department,” Zhou said. One of the criteria for the ADA award is institutional support. Guoyao Wu, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Robert Chapkin, Regent Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science; and Safe all supported Zhou in her application for the NIH grant. “I believe the strength and expertise of this team contributed to the success of the funding,” Zhou said. “I’m very proud to receive the award.”
Honor Roll Dindot awarded grants for autism research Work underway at Texas A&M University, sponsored by two foundations with a deep interest in autism, may one day provide clues to one type of autism. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a set of complex developmental disorders characterized by persistent deficits in social communication and interaction, as well as restricted behaviors, interests, or activities. Dr. Scott Dindot, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VTPB) at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), recently received two grants to create mouse models of chromosome 15q duplication syndrome (Dup15q syndrome), one of the most frequent known genetic mutations in those with ASD. In this disorder, an individual has too many copies (as many as seven or eight) of a series of genes located on a region of chromosome 15q (hence the name Dup15q). Oddly, only duplications on the chromosome inherited from the mother seem to determine whether an individual will be affected. Rarely are paternally derived duplications seen in patients with autistic-like behaviors. This is because genes within 15q, including one called UBE3A, are subject to genomic imprinting, a phenomenon where the allele from one parent is active and the one from the other is silent. In the brain, the UBE3A gene is active only on the maternal chromosome. Therefore, scientists believe that an overabundance of UBE3A in the brain causes the neurological deficits seen in patients with Dup15q syndrome. Mouse models are essential to advance understanding of the biological processes that cause ASDs, as well as to test potential therapies. A good model—which Dindot is trying to create—has both construct validity (meaning that they carry a mutation in a known risk gene) and face validity (some physical or behavioral resemblance to the human disorder). The first grant, from the Dup15q Alliance (a nonprofit run entirely on grants and donations with over 900 affiliated families from around the world), for $40,000 has allowed for the creation of Dindot’s first mouse model
of Dup15q syndrome. Although the first mouse was an important initial step, more than one model is needed. The second grant, from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI), for $85,000 will help Dindot and his team to generate and characterize a series of five more mouse models of Dup15q syndrome. In the brain, the gene codes for at least three separate isoforms, or types of UBE3A, each a slightly different protein with very subtle variances in their amino acid sequences. However, researchers don’t currently understand what these differences mean. “Each line of mice we are generating will overexpress a particular UBE3A isoform,” Dindot said. “This will allow us to determine the role of each isoform in the development of Dup15q syndrome.” Furthermore, mouse models of human genetic conditions express, in some instances, different characteristics, depending on the genetic background of the mouse the researchers originally used. This can be a particularly important issue when performing behavioral studies in mice. So, to account for the effect of the “background strain,” (as the genetic backgrounds are called) Dindot and his colleagues are making each of the three models using two very different strains of mice, for a total of six. The Texas A&M Institute of Genomic Medicine will be assisting in this collaborative effort. Once these models are molecularly validated, (in other words, shown to be expressing high levels of UBE3A in the brain), they will be made widely available to the scientific community through a partnership between SFARI and The Jackson Laboratory, a nonprofit genetics research organization that maintains a vast database of mice that can be ordered and used by scientists around the world. “Dr. Dindot’s work on mouse models for Dup15q syndrome has the potential to unlock new pathways of discovery for treatments and therapies for autism spectrum disorders,” said Dr. Robert Burghardt, associate dean for research & graduate studies. “These two grants recognize the importance of his work, and the tremendous expertise that is
Mice play a key role in Dindot’s autism research. brought together through this collaborative effort.” The development of an inducible UBE3A transgenic mouse model will facilitate studies of the behavior associated with UBE3A over-expression in the brain on a cellular level. The model could also be used to test potential therapies and to determine the period of development during which a therapeutic intervention could be optimal. “Dr. Dindot’s research encompasses basic, clinical, and translational research and is, therefore, ideally suited for the Veterinary Medicine setting,” said Dr. Linda Logan, professor and head of VTPB. “Given that most successful investigators tend to take either one path or the other, it is very difficult to find a high quality scientist who can fluently speak the languages of basic science and clinical research. Dr. Dindot has been successful in both arenas, which is a rare accomplishment. The impact and scope of his current work along with his passion for research bodes well for his future endeavors and I am confident that he will continue to be successful in his scholarly pursuits.” “We are very grateful to the Dup15q Alliance and SFARI for providing funds to generate these mouse models of Dup15q syndrome,” Dindot said. “I would like to particularly thank Kadi Luchsinger and Guy Calvert at the Dup15q Alliance, Alice Luo Clayton and Marta Benedetti at SFARI, and Larry Reiter at the University of Tennessee, who is a co-principal investigator on the Dup15q Alliance grant. This is an important project; we are humbled and honored to be a part of it.”
Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll Koinis receives ABV research support from Morris Animal Foundation Texas A&M second-year veterinary student Anastasia Koinis was recently selected to receive a Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholar program award supporting her summer research project on avian bornavirus (ABV). Each year, the Morris Animal Foundation funds the Veterinary Student Scholars (VSS) program to help provide students hands-on exposure to veterinary medical research. “I have worked for the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center for the last couple of years and became interested in the ABV research they have been doing,” Koinis said. “I plan to use the award to help pay for veterinary school and living expenses.” The VSS program awards grants up to $4,000 to veterinary students who hope to establish a career in clinical or basic animal health and/or welfare research. Students are carefully chosen based on their academic standing, a
proposed research project consistent with the foundation’s guidelines, and endorsement from a research mentor. “Our college encourages not only our graduate students, but also our undergraduate and veterinary students, to engage in research programs and to seek external funding awards to support their research,” said Dr. Robert Burghardt, associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “The faculty in our college has provided strong mentorship to students like Anastasia, and as a result, our students who participate in research programs continue to be recognized nationally and internationally for their efforts.” Her research project investigates the synergism between an antiviral drug with a flavonoid on the avian bornavirus; this virus causes a fatal neurological wasting disease in parrots.
Preliminary results suggest that the combination may increase the antiviral activity. “While in her first year of the professional veterinary program, I was able to interact with her and observe her skills in the Veterinary Microbiology course, where again she impressed me with her abilities and knowledge,” said Dr. Jeffrey Musser, Koinis’ mentor. “I could think of no better student to assist me in our research on viral diseases in birds, so I approached Morris Animal Foundation and forwarded her as an MAF Veterinary Student Scholar candidate.” This program provides a unique opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of veterinary medicine, as well as provide research experience before beginning a career of their own.
Anastasia Koinis attended the groundbreaking for the new aviary with her parents. 72 •
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Honor Roll Phillips wins Translational Impact Award from Society of Toxicology Texas A&M University’s Timothy D. Phillips, Ph.D., ATS, has won the 2014 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Translational Impact Award for his work on improving public health. The Translational Impact Award was developed in 2009 by SOT, a professional association of more than 7,700 toxicologists, to distinguish scientists whose research is in improving human health in areas of toxicological concern. Phillips was formally presented with this peer-nominated award at SOT’s 53rd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo in Phoenix, Ariz., on March 23, 2014, and he delivered a lecture at the meeting on March 26, 2014. The SOT Translational Award recognizes Phillips for his pioneering research with dioctahedral smectite clays in the U.S. and Africa. His research shows that the clays, which were used as medicine more than 2,000 years ago, can bind and render toxins, such as aflatoxin B1, harmless. Toxins like aflatoxin B1 are food-borne and are associated with liver disease and cancer. They cause the most damage in places like Asia and Africa, where food shortages lead people to eat contaminated food or feed it to their livestock, which means the toxicants are then passed along to humans through the animal’s milk or meat. “Dr. Phillips is an internationally recognized leader in food safety and toxicology,” said nominator Dr. JiaSheng Wang, head of the Department of Environmental Health Science at the University of Georgia. “His research endeavors on detoxification of food-borne toxins with clay-based technology have greatly impacted food and feed safety.” Phillips discovered that certain clays can be added to one’s diet, without harmful effects, to prevent the human digestive system from absorbing the aflatoxin. It is estimated that up to 10 percent of the world’s animal feeds now contain a clay-based sorbent that Phillips’ research developed. Clinical trials are underway to see if the product is safe for human use as well. Phillips and his team are also conducting
research to see if clay can also serve as a solution for polluted drinking water. “Dr. Phillips’ research is exemplary and is in perfect alignment with Texas A&M University’s One Health grand challenge— the recognition that animal health, human health, and environmental health are inextricably linked,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Dr. Phillips is playing an important role in advancing the boundaries of One Health and in developing new ideas to ensure a safer, healthier world for animals and humans. We congratulate him on this prestigious and well-deserved award.” Phillips has been named a distinguished professor at Texas A&M University and holds the Reed Endowed Chair in Toxicology in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Since joining the faculty in 1979, he has published more than 185 papers. Phillips received his B.S. from
Dr. Tim Phillips Mississippi State University and his M.S. in science education and chemistry and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi.
“Dr. Phillips’ research is exemplary and is in perfect alignment with Texas A&M University’s One Health grand challenge— the recognition that animal health, human health, and environmental health are inextricably linked.” ~ Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine
Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll Abbott receives Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award researcher who has made sustained according to colleagues and former Dr. Louise Abbott, a professor in contributions to neuroscience and students. A former student wrote that the Department of Veterinary Integraneuroanatomy for more than three Dr. Abbott’s “most noticeable personaltive Biosciences (VIBS) at the College decades” and whose commitment to ity trait is her unbounding fervor for of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical teaching makes her stand out even in biological science,” through which Sciences, was one of two professors at a department and college filled with she is able to “communicate complex Texas A&M University to win the 2014 superb teachers. scientific principles in a manner which Presidential Professor for Teaching “Our students are so fortunate to is manageable for students, yet chalExcellence Award, the most prestigious have a professor the caliber of Dr. Ablenges them intellectually.” faculty honor bestowed by Texas A&M. bott to guide them in the classroom,” A current student noted that all The other was Dr. Kim Quaile Hill of said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl of her students “feel privileged to be the College of Liberal Arts. B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. taught by someone so involved and Texas A&M Interim President Mark “Her engaging teaching style and her willing to go the extra mile to make Hussey made the announcement of commitment to innovation and coltheir learning experience rich and the 2014 recipients of the award, which laboration have enabled us to create a rewarding.” Another said, “she treats includes a $25,000 stipend to each dynamic learning environment for our her students as colleagues,” and that winner and the lifetime title of “Presistudents. Congratulations to Dr. Ab“her passion shines through her teachdential Professor for Teaching Excelbott on this well-deserved award.” ing and transforms the curriculum. lence.” The two professors selected Dr. Abbott received a B.A. in biology Her attitude creates a fun, fascinating, for the awards this year were formally from Whitman College, a Ph.D. in zoolinteresting and productive learning introduced at the university’s spring ogy from the University of Washington environment.” commencement ceremonies. and DVM degree from Washington A colleague called her “a distin“Dr. Abbott and Dr. Hill epitomize State University. guished mentor and productivepthe high-quality teaching that we hold in such esteem here at Texas A&M,” Hussey said. “They are now appropriately recognized as in the forefront of our teaching ranks, joining a select group of faculty on whom this special honor has previously been bestowed.” The Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence Award was established in 2003 to underscore the importance of teaching at a major research university, Hussey noted. Dr. Abbott, a professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences who joined the university in 1994, is an internationally renowned scholar in developmental toxicology with special focus on the effects of mercury on the developing nervous system. From left to right: Dr. Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni, professor and head of the Department of Veterinary Even in the largIntegrative Biosciences; Dr. Louise Abbott, Presidential Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Department est and most difficult of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences; Dr. Karan Watson, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic courses, she excels, Affairs; and Dr. Mark Hussey, Interim President of Texas A&M University 74 •
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Honor Roll Bouganim receives Bayer Excellence in Communications award Dr. Odeliah Bouganim, a recent 2014 DVM graduate from the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), is the recipient of the Bayer Excellence in Communications Award (BECA) from Texas A&M University for her display of compelling communication capabilities. “Winning this award is an honor,” said Bouganim. “Not only am I practicing with the medical knowledge and clinical experience brought to me by the CVM and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, but I am practicing with the communication skills necessary to build a relationship with my clients and furry patients.” Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study created the BECA to bridge the perceived gap in client-doctor communications. They realized that by further
“The ability for a veterinarian to communicate effectively is such an important attribute in service to our clients and care of their animals and allows us to show our clients that we are passionate and compassionate about our profession.” ~ Dr. Dan Posey, Director of Special Programs advancing veterinary student’s communication skills, they can improve the future of animal health care and client relations. “Discovering the history of the problem and clinical signs revealed by the owner will clue a doctor into the big picture and greatly help lead to the solution,” said Bouganim. “Just as im-
Dr. Odeliah Bouganim
portant, effective communication skills will offer me increased opportunities to one day own a successful veterinary practice.” Competitors submitted a 20-minute video of themselves in a clinical setting with a patient to an independent panel of nationally-renowned Bayer Communication Project-trained faculty members, who then used a standardized score sheet to carefully evaluate the submissions. In this setting, the students communicated with the owner according to the Calgary-Cambridge Guide, while leaving the client both confident in the veterinarian and educated on the disease process. “In order to competitively win this award, I emphasized key skills of communication such as asking general open-ended questions, building a close rapport between myself and the owner, and making sure the owner felt heard and understood,” said Bouganim. Of the 27 colleges to select a BECA winner from their student applicants, 16 videos were submitted to compete for the BECA scholarship. The powerful communication displayed by Bouganim’s video granted her the collegiate award as well as the additional $2,500 scholarship. “The ability for a veterinarian to communicate effectively is such an important attribute in service to our clients and care of their animals and allows us to show our clients that we are passionate and compassionate about our profession,” said Dr. Dan Posey, director of special programs at the CVM. “Bayer Excellence in Communication Award focuses on the aspect that communication is the cornerstone of rewarding client relationships.” Summer 2014 •
Honor Roll Chaki receives prestigious fellowship from the American Heart Association Sankar P. Chaki, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate working under the guidance of Dr. Gonzalo Rivera in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), has been awarded a two-year postdoctoral fellowship from the American Heart Association. This prestigious, highly competitive award will provide more than $100,000 to support Chaki’s project on molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the formation of blood vessels. Chaki’s proposed research focuses on understanding how new blood vessels form from the remodeling of pre-existing ones, a process called angiogenesis. During angiogenesis, endothelial cells (the cells lining blood vessels) undergo a series of changes that alter their shape and their ability to respond to chemicals that promote vessel development. Some of these chemicals allow endothelial cells to invade surrounding tissues to begin the complex task of forming new structures that will expand the existing vascular network. “It’s very new,” Chaki said. “We’ve generated some preliminary data, but there is still much to be learned from these key cellular processes driving blood vessel formation. I have plans to tackle this fascinating problem using a broad range of tools to improve our understanding of angiogenesis from the molecular to the organism level.” Chaki hopes that his work could help to improve understanding of vascular formation in aggressively growing tumors. “Sankar is a distinguished colleague and collaborator,” said Rivera, Chaki’s postdoctoral mentor since 2009. “His initiative, dedication, and advanced training have been instrumental in the development of this line of research in my laboratory. I have no doubt that this award will foster the development of Dr. Chaki’s career as an independent scientist.” “I am lucky to receive this important award,” Chaki said. “I appreciate the guidance from my mentor, Dr. Gon76 •
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Dr. Sankar P. Chaki zalo Rivera, as well as the support and advice from Drs. Robert Burghardt,
Rola Barhoumi, Andreea Trache, and Linda Logan.”
“Sankar is a distinguished colleague and collaborator. His initiative, dedication, and advanced training have been instrumental in the development of this line of research in my laboratory. I have no doubt that this award will foster the development of Dr. Chaki’s career as an independent scientist.” ~ Dr. Gonzolo Rivera, assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology
College News MSU and A&M celebrate inaugural ‘Dog Bowl’ the respective veterinary medical teaching hospitals are the preferred health care providers for Reveille and Bully.” Working with faculty and administrations at both veterinary colleges, former Texas A&M and MSU head football coach, Jackie Sherrill, came up with the idea of having a yearly competition called the Dog Bowl: A Taste of Victory. Recently, the official Dog Bowl trophy arrived at the CVM in celebration of our victory and this newly formed match-up between the two veterinary colleges. The veterinary college of the winning football team will get to keep the Dog Bowl trophy on display for the year. “This fun competition just seems fitting as the two colleges are so interwoven. Dean Eleanor Green was on faculty at MSU at one point, and I’ve worked at both universities,” Sherrill said. “The two schools have a lot in common and the trophy competition signifies that.” As the gridiron competition continues between the two universities, future plans for the colleges of veterinary medicine will include alumni tailgate events and other activities. “This is all in good fun and we look forward to seeing how this all evolves,” said Dr. Kent Hoblet, dean of the MSU-CVM. “Texas A&M has a great veterinary college and we’ve shared a lot academically over the years and now we get to throw football into the mix. I see this as an opportunity to collaborate even more.” With a higher concentration of veterinary colleges than any other conference in the country, the Southeastern Conference boasts premiere college sports and a region with a strong focus on animal care. Dog Bowl 2 is slated to take place at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, on Oct. 4, 2014. Dr. Eleanor M. Green proudly shows off the “Dog Bowl” trophy. Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine and the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences teamed up this past football season to celebrate our long-standing traditions in sports and veterinary medicine. With a win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Kyle Field, we celebrated our first ever Dog Bowl victory. The football teams faced off on Nov. 9, 2013, in College Station. Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M and a founding faculty member of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State in the 1970s, is a strong supporter of Texas A&M’s move into the Southeastern Conference. Dean Green said, “These two universities have much in common—school colors of maroon and white, fans with undying loyalty, passion for football, Coach Jackie Sherrill as a head football coach, colleges of veterinary medicine, and even canine mascots, each of which receives superb veterinary care. The faculty, staff, and students of
Left: Dean Kemt Hoblet with the Mississippi State University mascot, Bully. Right: Dean Eleanor M. Green with the Texas A&M mascot, Miss Reveille VIII. Summer 2014 •
College News Smithsonian mobile Animal Connections exhibit explores the human-animal bond From the cows that provide the milk for a bowl of cereal to the deer nibbling on a shrub in the park, and from sea lions working with their trainers at the zoo to puppies chasing balls in the yard, the connections humans have with animals are vast. This special relationship is explored in a new mobile exhibition from the Smithsonian. “Animal Connections: Our Journey Together,” a custom-built exhibition housed on an 18-wheel truck that expands into 1,000 square feet of space, was at Texas A&M University at College Station Feb. 20–21, 2014. “The affection that people everywhere have for animals sparked our enthusiasm for an exhibit about veterinary medicine that would inspire lively conversations about the human– animal bond,” said Lori Yarrish, acting director of SITES. “Animal Connections” was created by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) to mark the 150th anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 2013. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of founding sponsor Zoetis, Inc., and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AMVF). “Of the more than 74 million American households that include pets, nearly two-thirds consider their pets family members,” said Dr. Clark Fobian, president of the AVMA. “The deep connection Americans have with
animals and the pivotal role veterinarians play in that relationship are wonderful and worthy of celebration.” Divided into five sections, the exhibition focuses on animals in the home, on the farm, at the zoo, in the wild, and at the veterinary clinic. Visitors are offered a variety of ways to learn through informative displays, dynamic videos, and interactive experiences. In the home section, visitors will learn how to select the right pet and the possible dangers to pets, such as household items like plants and holiday decorations and feeding pets food prepared for family members. A display in the farm section highlights the mobile clinics that large-animal veterinarians stock with a variety of tools—from dental speculums to cow magnets—to ensure they are prepared for any procedure. A virtual clinic at the center of the exhibition provides visitors the opportunity to play veterinarian. Through touch screens, they can examine and diagnose what ails their virtual patients—a dog, a piglet, and a cheetah. “At Zoetis, we work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals,” said Christine Jenkins, Chief
Veterinary Medical Officer-U.S. Zoetis, a company that discovers, develops and manufactures veterinary vaccines and medicines. “As part of our commitment to veterinarians, we are proud to join with the Smithsonian and the AVMA in supporting ‘Animal Connections’ as a means to inspire young people to pursue careers in veterinary medicine and its allied professions.” The free exhibition explores the shared responsibility for animals’ health and well-being. It also highlights the varied roles veterinarians play in the health of animals. Videos showcase that even suburban areas have a great diversity of wildlife—from the squirrels trying to break into a birdfeeder to a bear lounging in a hammock. “At the AVMF, we are committed to advancing the well-being and medical care of animals,” said Michael Cathey, AVMF executive director. “This exhibition will not only help inspire the next generation of veterinarians, but improve current animal care through a better understanding of the role animals and veterinarians play in our lives.”
Local school children visited the Animal Connections mobile exhibit while it was stationed at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University. 78 •
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College News Computed tomography image selected for cover of Journal of Veterinary Cardiology
Medical imaging saves lives. Mammograms find breast cancer, ultrasounds show the extent of injuries after an accident, and MRIs detect brain aneurysms. Diagnostic imaging is also an increasingly important tool in veterinary medicine. When a canine patient with a heart murmur was referred to the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), a team led by Dr. Ashley Saunders used a computed tomography (CT) scanner and a software program to create a three dimensional model of the patient’s heart. The images were used to help the team develop a detailed treatment plan for a complex problem: correcting an uncommon heart defect that was causing the murmur and associated health problems. The dog’s case was highlighted in a recent issue of the Journal of Veterinary Cardiology. Due to the unique aspects of the case, successful treatment, and the overall clarity and quality of the accompanying images, one of the three-dimensional reconstructed images of the heart defect was selected as the journal cover. “The images allowed us to visualize the dog’s anatomy, identify the abnormalities, and make quick decisions about his surgical plan,” said Saunders, an associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (VSCS). “The information from these images helped us perform a successful
procedure that resulted in an excellent outcome for the patient.” “At Texas A&M, we work to put the very best tools in the experienced hands of our clinicians,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Our Diagnostic Imaging and Cancer Treatment Center is a leading-edge facility that enhances our ability to treat difficult cases and to provide an advanced level of care. The article and cover photo are a tribute to Dr. Saunders and to our excellent cardiology team. The collaborations they establish, and the advanced technology they use in their daily patient care, allows them to make a positive difference in the lives of those we serve.” The CT scanner used for the angiogram study is housed within
the Diagnostic Imaging and Cancer Treatment Center at the CVM, one of the only facilities of its kind. The 3D reconstruction was performed with software at the Texas A&M Institute for Preclinical Studies (TIPS). Access to these resources and this technology aids veterinarians at the CVM in providing the very best patient care and saving animals’ lives. “Being featured on the journal’s cover is a notable accomplishment,” Dr. Sandee Hartsfield, professor and head of VSCS noted. “Only a limited number of submitted papers are recognized with a cover image, and both the articles and the images must be of the highest quality.”
Dr. Ashley Saunders examines a canine patient. Summer 2014 •
College News Veterinary students from around the country attend the SCAAEP Skills Lab at Texas A&M The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) Student Chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (SCAAEP) held their annual Skills Lab at the CVM on January 18. Students from the University of California-Davis, Louisiana State University (LSU), Colorado State University (CSU), and Texas A&M University participated. 2014 lab sessions included: Alternative Medicine, Stallion Collection, Emergency and Critical Care, Equine Dentistry, Arthroscopy, Field Anesthesia, Lower Limb Surgical Procedures Endoscopy, Bandaging, Splinting, Rectal Palpation with Laparoscope Assistance, Laceration Repair, Ultraso-
nography, Ophthalmology, Abdominal Exploratory, Introductory Lameness, Advanced Lameness, Joint Infection, Farrier Skills, Mare Reproduction, Field Necropsy and Pathology, and Emergency Response. Erik Black, from Texas A&M, said, “I’m a first-year student and I know that this is the most extensive wet lab including all veterinary schools across the country. This helps me get hands on experience and is a great way to connect with other veterinary students.” “I came to this event before and I found it to be very educational,” Travis Holland, from LSU, said. “So I decided
One of the lab sessions included farrier skills.
Dr. Leslie Easterwood lectures to a group of students. 80 •
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to return and learn even more this time.” “I’m here to get useful hands-on practical experience with procedures I expect to do once I graduate,” Kevin Lavelle, from CSU, said. “We do have an equine symposium at Colorado State, but not nearly as intensive as this one.” Michael Forrester, from Texas A&M, said he wanted to see what veterinarians providing internships in their practices might be looking for in potential interns. “I am a first-year student, and I want to see some of the techniques applied practically,” Forrester said.
Students examine a radiograph.
College News CVM represented at the Houston Cat Show by students interested in feline medicine For the past several years, representatives of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) have been attending the Houston Cat Club Annual Charity Cat Show. At this year’s show, held January 4, 2014, veterinary students interested in feline practice staffed one of more than 40 booths and answered questions from the public about veterinary medicine, the college, its teaching hospital, and its programs. “It was fun to talk to kids of varying ages because our advice changed depending on how old they were,” said Lexie Kremenezky, president of the CVM student chapter of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and one of the organizers of the booth. “At one point we spoke with a girl who had just started as a freshman at A&M, and our advice was to focus on grades and getting experience in a clinic. The next minute we were talking to a 10-year-old girl who wanted to be a vet, so we told her parents about the CVM’s annual open house.” “We had many visitors at our booth,” said Dr. John August, professor of feline internal medicine at the CVM and
the faculty advisor for the group, “and the students represented the CVM wonderfully well.” The students also enjoyed learning more about cat shows and the cats that compete in them—an aspect of feline practice many had never seen before. In addition to the judging circles, the show included a cat agility area, a trick course in which cats performed various stunts, a cat costume contest, and designated “Pet Me” cats. “To my knowledge, we are the only veterinary college in the United States with a separate feline internal medicine service in the teaching hospital,” said August, “so compared to other schools, cats are a prominent part of our educational and patient care programs.” CVM representatives greet a guest during the show.
The CVM booth at the Houston Cat Show. Summer 2014 •
Vet School Open House March 29, 2014
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White Coat Ceremony April 4, 2014
Parents’ Day April 5, 2014
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Commencement May 8, 2014
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College Picnic May 30, 2014
Patricia Gerling’s Retirement Party June 2, 2014 After 35 years at Texas A&M, Patricia Gerling retired on June 2, 2014. Gerling began her career at the chancellor’s office shortly after her college graduation in 1979, and has been part of the administration of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences since December 2012.
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A Message from TVMA Technology in association management A great deal has changed in the association world over the last 20 to 30 years. One of the biggest changes has been that people no longer join an association simply because “it’s the right thing to do,” as was so often the case for the vast majority of professionals in years past. Nowadays people want to know why they should join and want a clearly defined return on investment, often asking, “What exactly is it that I’m getting in return for my annual dues?” Making things even more challenging is the fact that professional associations are no longer the sole source of many of the services they offer. Others, including the private sector, are now offering many of the services that once were the exclusive province of associations. For these reasons, associations such as the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) must offer high-quality benefits that are of true value to members. Technology, perhaps more now than ever before, has become a critical part of that equation. Interestingly, while almost everyone acknowledges the importance of technology when it comes to the viability of associations, most associations (and most businesses in general) are not
TexVetPets.org, a new website to be launched by the TVMA in conjunction with the TVMF, is designed specifically for the Texas pet-owning public. 86 •
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spending as much on technology as they should. In Race for Relevance, a recent book regarding the future of associations, the authors suggested that most associations should be spending approximately seven to eight percent of their budgets on technology, including staff. The fact is that the associations are typically spending about four percent of their budgets on technology. While an additional three to four percent of the budget might not sound like much, the fact is that a great deal could be accomplished with those extra dollars. I am pleased to say that leadership at TVMA recognized this need when a new strategic plan for the association was developed in 2012. A number of critical strategic issues were identified in the development of the plan, from increasing membership to better communications. When discussing those key issues, it became readily apparent that technology would play a key in accomplishing our goals—so much so that technology itself became one of the critical strategic issues within the plan. As stated in the plan, in order for TVMA to continue to be a truly effective representative of the profession, it “must commit to developing and adhering to a cohesive plan for seeking out, acquiring, and utilizing the best and most appropriate technology available.” So what has TVMA done since identifying this critical need? Quite a bit actually. When deciding how each of the goals within the strategic plan would be achieved, the role of technology was always front and center in the discussions. For example, when determining how to increase membership and the level of participation amongst members, it became apparent rather quickly that it would be extremely difficult to do so using TVMA’s current association management software (AMS). While fairly inexpensive and easy to use, the fact was that it was simply not powerful enough to meet TVMA’s needs and was actually holding us back. For that reason, we began an intensive search for new association management software that would not only meet the demands of today but also be flexible enough to meet future demands as well. After months of research, demonstrations
and conversations with vendors, TVMA recently decided upon a new software system. While not inexpensive, the newly selected AMS will allow TVMA to provide the type of service to our members that they expect and deserve. The conversion to the new AMS has already begun, and we anticipate the new system to be fully functional later this year. This same routine of identifying how technology could assist in meeting key goals was repeated across every department within TVMA. Identified in the communications plan was a real need to better communicate with the public. For years, TVMA has made attempts to reach out to the public in an attempt to promote the profession and the need for quality pet healthcare. However, the cost of such efforts was such that it made it almost impossible for an organization of TVMA’s size to do so very effectively. Thankfully, because of the huge leaps forward in technology in recent years, TVMA now has the ability to do so on a limited budget. In the next few months, TVMA, in conjunction with the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF), will launch a new website designed specifically for the Texas pet-owning public, with all of the information on the site provided by Texas veterinarians. The look, feel, and functionality of TexVetPets.org will be on par with the best websites currently available and will go a long way toward reestablishing veterinarians as the public’s primary source for information related to animal health. I could go on and on about the new technology being adopted by TVMA to meet its goals. I am truly thankful that TVMA’s leadership has seen the need for acquiring new and better technology and has made the commitment to doing so. However, to be fair, I must say that technology is not the answer in and of itself to the difficult questions facing associations; it is more of an enabler. Technology provides us the assistance necessary to implement our plans and achieve our goals, allowing the association to be as successful as it can possibly be.
~ Chris Copeland, JD, CAE, TVMA Executive Director
Development News Opportunities to support the CVM are abundant
Chastity Carrigan, Dr. O.J. “Bubba” Woytek, Dr. Guy Sheppard, and Noell Vance It is an unbelievably exciting time for the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). The grand opening of the new Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex has been held, and on the same day, ground was broken for the Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC). Construction on the new aviary is rapidly progressing, expansion of the Stevenson Center has been completed, and architects are hard at work on the Small Animal Hospital project. We hope that you have also taken note of the announcement of the creation of the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology, a partnership between the CVM, Texas Heart Institute, and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund. This center is in the process of creating functional organs in a laboratory, increasing the likelihood that replacement organs can be custom made from the cells of a patient and eliminating the possibility of transplant rejection. It’s enough to make one dizzy. In the midst of all of this activity, we have not lost sight of the fact that we also have the finest faculty, staff, students, donors, and supporters in the country. None of what has been accomplished would be possible without these exceptional people, and we are
excited about the possibilities for the future. If all of this is not enough, our centennial celebration is right around the corner. In honor of this auspicious occasion, we are looking for at least 100 veterinarians who will pledge an endowment level gift to lead the college into the next 100 years as a member of our Centennial Committee. Membership may be obtained by making a current gift, by pledging a gift over a period of time, or even by establishing a planned gift of $25,000 or more. There are many creative ways to make such a gift, and we welcome the opportunity
to visit with you about the options. We are grateful for the supporters who have already joined this group, and we hope that you will give strong consideration to adding your name to the list. We have also had the privilege of hosting a number of DVM graduating classes for class reunions this year, and we have enjoyed it tremendously. If your DVM or BIMS class would like to have a reunion around a baseball game in the spring, a football game watching party this fall, or just some time together at one of our beautiful parks in the community, please let us know. We will be happy to assist. Finally, we would ask you to please keep an eye out for clients or friends who might have an interest in making an investment in the transformative work that is ongoing at the CVM. The opportunities for student, faculty, and program support are limitless, and the multiple new facilities on our campus provide substantial naming opportunities. Please let us know if you would like to learn more.
O. J. “Bubba” Woytek, DVM ’65
Asst. Vice President for Development
Senior Director of Development
Guy A. Sheppard, DVM ’78 Director of Development
A rendering of the Small Animal Hospital renovation. Summer 2014 •
Development News Grand opening of the new Equine Complex marks expansion, growth for Texas A&M Equine Initiative
The ribbon is cut to open the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex. Texas A&M University celebrated the grand opening of the Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex. This $32 million dollar facility is the first phase of a planned $80 million dollar project of the Equine Initiative. The equine complex was named in honor of Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 to recognize his contributions to the field of veterinary medicine and his love for Texas A&M. The new complex represents one of the core efforts of the Texas A&M Equine Initiative, which was formed to bring together equine research, teaching, extension, and outreach in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).
“This new facility solidifies Texas A&M University’s position as a national leader in equine programs—in equine sciences and veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “The considerable support from current leaders in the equine industry, all friends of Texas A&M, clearly indicate the importance of our university serving the significant equine industry, locally to globally. This premier facility will help us not only serve but also significantly impact the future of the industry. In addition, this state-of-theart facility honors Dr. Hildebrand, one of the revered graduates of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.”
“This facility provides an outstanding home for the work of our two colleges and the Texas A&M AgriLife agencies. Together, we are raising the profile of equine sciences across Texas,” said Bill Dugas, acting vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences. The new complex brings together academic and non-academic departments, industry partners, and a vast array of equine professionals in a unique collaborative and innovative environment. “This equine complex will help develop future leaders for the equine industry, as well as provide a new home for some well-known Aggie traditions,” Dugas said. The complex provides support for teaching, research, extension, and outreach initiatives dedicated to equine programs. These premier facilities will also positively influence the recruitment and retention of the best faculty and students. This environment better equips faculty and students to perform at their best, resulting in an equine program that will foster the development of equine academic leaders and graduate the industry’s future leaders in equine sciences and veterinary medicine. “We are thankful for the partnership of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M Athletics, and the equine industry for making this vision a reality,” said Jim Heird, executive professor and coordinator of the Equine Initiative. “Together we can not only advance new knowledge for the benefit of horses and horse owners but also enhance Texas A&M’s rich equine traditions.”
The Thomas G. Hildebrand, DVM ’56 Equine Complex
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Development News The Century Class Endowment: Enabling another 100 years of veterinary excellence
The CVM Class of 2016 in time. Your contribution will help, not just one, but many students for years to come. You can contribute to the endowment by mailing a check with the enclosed form or give online with a credit card (instructions on back).
We, the Class of 2016, “The Century Class” of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), have made it our mission to give $25,000 in scholarships to the school upon our graduation in May 2016. It is our desire to invest in the education of future veterinary students and set a precedent of selfless giving for the next hundred years. Scholarship Eligibility Scholarships will be awarded to veterinary students at the CVM according to criteria set by the Class of 2016. All funds will go to providing students with greater financial opportunity in light of rising education costs and imminent debt. Partner With Us We need your help. Please consider partnering with us through monetary support to ensure our goal is achieved
Suggested Gifts You can give a one time gift or continuous monthly gifts for as long as you wish. Suggested amounts are $50, $100, $500, or $1,000. If you are a veterinary clinic, we encourage you to consider honoring the lives of beloved pets by donating in their memory. Clients will be consoled, knowing that their pet’s life will continue to enrich lives long after they are gone. Friendly Competition If you would like a particular member of the Class of 2016 to receive recognition for your contribution, please include that student’s name with your gift. The student who raises the most support will be recognized at graduation and will take part in the ceremony of gifting the endowment to the CVM. Your Support Thank you for your consideration and partnership in providing future generations with the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career in veterinary medicine. As current students, we understand the value of scholarships our endowment will provide. We are grateful to all those who have enabled us to follow our dreams, and we are
“It is a source of moral support. Someone other than my parents believes enough in me to financially invest in my goals. There are some days that we all need that extra confidence.” ~ Erin Fuchs, CVM ’16 proud to be “The Century Class.” As we look toward graduation and our careers as veterinarians, we are excited to give back to the institution and students that will continue to build our profession. Please contact a member of the Class of 2016 or visit the website below for more information about how to donate. You may also call the CVM Development Office at 979-845-9043.
Scan the QR code to visit: vetmed.tamu.edu/ 2016ClassFund Summer 2014 •
Mark Francis Fellows The Mark Francis Fellows recognizes donors who have given $1,000 or more to the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Donors are grouped into two alphabetical lists: New Members and Members Advancing to Higher Levels of Giving. The following donors are honored for their cumulative giving from September 1, 1991 through December 31, 2013.
Ms. Victoria R. Gibralter Dallas, TX
Ms. Jann E. Schroeder Mission, TX
Drs. David L. & Jeannette G. Hall Houston, TX
Mr. James H. Godwin Houston, TX
Mrs. Michel Shanks Houston, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Arthur B. Haws Austin, TX
Dr. & Mrs. James M. Greenwell Plano, TX
Mr. & Mrs. James Simmons Cypress, TX
Dr. Whitney Hall McAllen, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Gary T. Svetlik Shiner, TX
Mrs. Jennie L. Hardesty Cuero, TX
Mr. & Mrs. James C. Swaim Ft. Worth, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Sandee Hartsfield College Station, TX
Mr. & Mrs. John M. Ward Fulshear, TX
Ms. Valerie L. Hawkins Houston, TX
Mr. Daniel L. Whiteman Ft. Worth, TX
Dr. David W. Heflin Mission, TX
Ms. Nina O. Zilkha Houston, TX
Mr. Luis J. Bakker Guito, Ecuador Mr. & Mrs. Kenneth R. Batson Bryan, TX Mr. & Mrs. Larry T. Biedenham San Antonio, TX Mr. & Mrs. B. Darren Blanton Dallas, TX Dr. & Mrs. Ray M. Bowen Houston, TX
Dr. George W. Jury Lubbock, TX
Members Advancing to a Higher Level of Giving:
Mr. & Mrs. Michael J. Kern The Woodlands, TX Dr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Kerwin College Station, TX Mr. & Mrs. Matthew S. Key Katy, TX Dr. & Mrs. Dwight D. King Wharton, TX Dr. & Mrs. Wallace L. Kleb Houston, TX David R. Klein & Marcia B. Allen Cardiff by the Sea, CA
Ms. Kristin Kevern Austin, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Christian R. Abee Paige, TX
Mr. & Mrs. James C. Ledlow, Jr. Houston, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Samuel W. Knippa Seguin, TX
Drs. David W. & Karen S. Baxter Flint, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph N. Marshall Carthage, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Jennings C. Lambeth Shelbyville, TN
Dr. Janice D. Boyd College Station, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Jason P. Lawhorn Houston, TX
Dr. James H. Bray Houston, TX
Ms. Michelle Lilie Pearland, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Patrick M. Breen Florence, TX
Dr. Jodi Baxter Long Angleton, TX
Dr. Troy L. Cobb Dallas, TX
Ms. Charlotte P. Massman Dallas, TX
Dr. Carolyn Conn Austin, TX
Mr. Carl R. McCallum Addison, TX
Dr. & Mrs. David T. Costello Kaufman, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Charles Pipes Garland, TX
Ms. Annie G. McConnell San Antonio, TX
Ms. Louise Courtelis Paris, KY
Ms. Carla R. Pope The Woodlands, TX
Mr. Ishmael McCullough Odessa, TX
Dr. & Mrs. Rody P. Cox Dallas, TX
Mr. & Mrs. William J. Meitzen The Woodlands, TX
Ms. Bernice Daniels Lawrence, KS
Mr. & Mrs. Joe Merritt Argyle, TX
Mr. & Mrs. David M. Doll Houston, TX
Mr. Roland K. Nordin Dallas, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Robert T. Edge Dallas, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Robert Nunnally Ellaville, GA
Mr. & Mrs. Paul F. Gardner Austin, TX
Mr. & Mrs. James C. Powell Wimberley, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Joe Golding Cedar Rapids, IA
Mr. & Mrs. Robert W. Gasson Houston, TX
Mr. & Mrs. Thomas J. Reeves Cherokee, TX
Dr. Donald E. Goodman Navasota, TX
Mr. Vergel L. Gay Bryan, TX
Ms. Linda McKee Robison Pompano Beach, FL
Dr. & Mrs. Landis K. Griffeth Dallas, TX
Dr. Douglas C. Bronstad McKinney, TX Mr. & Mrs. Matthew D. Brown College Station, TX Anthony Brusate Lexington, KY Joey Carter Plano, TX Dr. Charles D. Collins Lake Jackson, TX Ms. Kiki Cortelis Paris, KY Mr. Kenneth W. Crouch Missouri City, TX Mr. Benjamin K. Cudd Golden, CO Dr. Kermit G. Cudd Gainesville, FL Dr. Anne M. Emshoff San Antonio, TX Mr. Hill A. Feinberg Dallas, TX Dr. & Mrs. P. Jed Ford Keller, TX Mr. & Mrs. William J. Gardiner Houston, TX Dr. & Mrs. Jose O. Garza El Paso, TX
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Mr. S.C. & Dr. Georgia E. Myers Odessa, TX Dr. Walter F. Norvell Mount Orab, OH Dr. William H. O’Brien Somerville, TX Dr. & Mrs. Billy Y. Parker Ft. Worth, TX
Dr. Jules B. Puschett Houston, TX Dr. & Mrs. William A. Roach College Station, TX Ms. Linda S. Schmuck Houston, TX Dr. Rance K. Sellon Pullman, WA Dr. & Mrs. Guy A. Sheppard College Station, TX Ms. Melanie D. Typaldos Buda, TX Mr. & Mrs. Martin E. Walker Ogden, UT
Alumni News CVM Outstanding Alumni, Rising Star honored The Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) honored seven of its alumni for their contributions to the veterinary medical profession at a dinner held on April 4th as part of Homecoming activities at the CVM. The recipients of the 2014 Rising Star Award and the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Awards were nominated by fellow alumni, in recognition of their leadership and service. “We take great pride in recognizing our former students and the impacts of their contributions on our college, our state, our nation, and the world,” said Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. “Through their ongoing commitments to service, leadership, and education, these incredible veterinarians are outstanding ambassadors not only for the CVM but also for our profession.”
Dr. Aaron Rainer & Dr. Eleanor Green 2014 Rising Star Award Recipient Dr. Aaron C. Rainer ’06 Dr. Aaron C. Rainer graduated from Texas A&M University in 2006, with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree and a Master of Public Health degree. From 1999–2002, he worked as a meat safety assurance inspector for the Texas Department of Health. He was a researcher with the Michael E. DeBakey Institute from 2003–2004. He started in private practice in 2006, and since 2009, he has been an associate veterinarian at Rose-Rich Veterinary Clinic. Since 2012, he has also been a partner at the Animal Emergency Center of Temple-Belton.
Rainer has received the following honors: 2010 Emerging Leader from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA); 2008 Recent Graduate Practitioner of the Year from the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA); the 2006 Buck Weirus Spirit Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Life Programs at Texas A&M; a Mayoral Recognition of Service award from the City of Temple in 2005; and elected as the CVM Class President from 2004–2006. He is a current diplomate candidate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine. Dr. Rainer has been an active TVMA member since 2002. He is a member of several committees, including the TVMA Executive Committee as chair of the Council on External Affairs; the Communications Action Team serving as Co-Lead; the Task Force for Rebranding the TVMA Annual Conference serving as Chair; the Public Health Committee; the Business Alliance Committee; the Legislative Committee; and the Task Force on One Health. His past member committee service includes the Recent Graduate/ Student Liaison Committee, acting as Chair from 2008–2011; the Task Force on the TSBVME (State Board) Rules; Budget and Finance Committee; Board of Directors–North Central Texas District Director; and Board of Directors–Gulf Coast District Director. He continues to support the CVM as a mentor to the classes of 2011, 2015, and 2018. Rainer is a past member of the North Central Texas Veterinary Medical Association, and a current member of the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association, and the AVMA. He served as a member of the Community Services Advisory Board for the City of Temple. He also served as the Marketing Chairman and a member of the Board of Directors for the Tem-Bel Division of the American Heart Association. He and his wife, Laurin, have two children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family. 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award Recipients Dr. Charles “Doc” N. Anderson ’81 Dr. Charles “Doc” Anderson graduated from Texas A&M University with a
Dr. Charles Anderson & Dr. Eleanor Green Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 1981. He had the distinct honor of serving as class president for all three years of veterinary school. He has since served as a small animal veterinarian in Waco, Texas. After over 20 years of advocacy for small business through service on statewide committees with the Texas Association of Business and the National Federation of Independent Business, as well as an appointment by Governor Rick Perry to the Texas Small Business Advisory Council, Anderson was elected to represent District 56 of the Texas State Legislature in 2004, which includes Waco and McLennan County. He has been re-elected four times. Anderson has served for five terms as Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock. He has also served on other committees during his tenure as a state representative, such as Investments and Financial Services, Elections, House Administration, and the House Select Interim Committee on Energy and Environment. Additionally, he holds appointments to the statewide Agricultural Policy Council, the multinational Energy Council, and agricultural, energy, and environmental task forces in both the National Conference on State Legislatures (NCSL) and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Anderson is a Board Member of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute (TCCRI), and State Agricultural and Rural Leaders (SARL), an international organization. Anderson’s legislative highlights include: securing new headquarters Summer 2014 •
Alumni News funding for Company F of the Texas Rangers in Waco, major legislation concerning school bus safety belts, punishment for child predators (Jessica’s Law), legislation banning the hallucinogen Salvia divinorum, and a state constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2011, to extend property tax exemptions to the surviving spouse of veterans who had already gained such exemption due to their 100%, serviceconnected disability. In 2013, for his efforts to preserve and enhance key local and state institutions, such as the Waco Center for Youth, Texas State Technical College, and rural transportation networks throughout Texas, Anderson was honored by the Cenikor Foundation and the Association for Community Transit. He was also recognized as the Texas Auctioneers Association Legislator of the Year. Anderson is also consistently ranked in the top tier by organizations dedicated to reviewing “pocketbook” issues for Texas taxpayers, including Texas Conservative Coalition, Americans for Prosperity, the Texas Association of Business, and Young Conservatives of Texas. He and his wife Sandie have been married for 32 years and have a son and three grandsons. Dr. Jimmie Don Aycock ’70 Born in Bell County, Texas, Dr. Jimmie Don Aycock graduated from Moody High School in 1965 as the class valedictorian. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1969, with Phi Kappa Phi honors from Texas A&M
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University, where he also received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1970. He served as a captain in the United States Army until 1972, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He owned and operated veterinary clinics in Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Harker Heights through 1998. During that time, he offered opportunities and encouragement to many young people with an interest in veterinary medicine and because of his mentorship, many went on to become practicing veterinarians. He has also been involved in ranching and real estate development. He is a past treasurer of the Central Texas College board of trustees in Killeen. He is also a former member of the Killeen Independent School District board. He is the former president of the Comanche Hills Utility District and the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3. Aycock has been a director of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce and a past president of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as the director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and the Killeen Quality of Life Committee. Aycock is a member of Rotary International, and a deacon and Bible teacher at First Baptist Church of Killeen. He was elected to the Texas Legislature in 2006. He represents House District 54, which includes the western portion of Bell County and Lampasas County. He is currently the chairman of the Public Education Committee and a member of the Culture, Recreation, and Tourism Committee. In addition, he served as an appointed member of the Appropriations subcommittee on Education. Throughout his tenure as a representative, he has worked on a number of issues important to veterinary medicine. Aycock has been married to his high school sweetheart, Marie, since 1967. They are ranchers and raise Registered Belted Galloway cattle. They have two children, Jim and Michelle, and four grandchildren. Aycock enjoys fishing, elk hunting, and horseback riding. Dr. Charles L. Hall ’64 Born in Larue, Texas, Dr. Charles L. Hall received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M
Dr. Eleanor Green & Dr. Charles Hall University in 1964, and is a member of the Phi Zeta veterinary honor society. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M. During his undergraduate studies, he was a walkon running back for the football team and was one of Coach Bear Bryant’s famous “Junction Boys.” Hall served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1955–1957. He then worked as an assistant co-agent for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service prior to completing his DVM degree. Afterwards, he entered private veterinary practice in Palestine, Texas, before joining the CVM faculty in 1967. As a respected veterinary neurologist and clinician, he gave over 50 professional presentations and authored or co-authored 14 scientific publications. He served as the co-principal investigator of a three-year study researching the comparison of combination anticonvulsant therapies in the treatment of refractory epilepsy. His teaching responsibilities included courses in both the departments of Large and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and those designated as Veterinary Medicine Interdisciplinary courses. Hall actively mentored students and consulted with practicing veterinarians on a routine basis. In 1985, he helped prepare clinical neurology questions for the National Board Examination. He was honored with numerous teaching awards, including a Faculty Achievement Award from the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1971, a Faculty Achievement Award from the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) in 1976, a Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the As-
Alumni News sociation of Former Students (AFS) in 1976, a College-Level Teaching Award from the AFS in 1990, and the John Milliff Endowed Veterinary Faculty Award in 1993. The graduating DVM class of 1995 selected Hall as their commencement speaker. He is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, the American Heartworm Society, the American Veterinary Neurology Association, the Texas A&M Chapter of the Society of Neuroscience, the Brazos Valley Veterinary Medical Association, the TVMA, and the AVMA. Hall and his wife Diana have four daughters and two sons. He enjoys a variety of diverse hobbies and activities, including gardening, photography, carpentry, mountain climbing, swimming, sailing, and racquetball. Dr. Dale S. Lonsford ’72 Dr. Dale S. Lonsford graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971 and a DVM in 1972. He was a member of the gymnastics team in 1968 and the captain of the polo team during the National Intercollegiate Polo Matches in 1969. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corp from 1972–1975. In 1978, Lonsford established the Center Animal Hospital, which he later merged with the Animal Hospital of Deer Park. The practice has been known as the Deer Park Animal Hospital since 1985. He earned accredited hospital status from the American Animal Hospital Association in 1986. In 1997, he became a charter member of Texas Group One, a group of veterinarians who scrutinize each other’s clinics,
Dr. Dale Lonsford & Dr. Eleanor Green
staff, and records to maximize each member’s quality of practice. He was also the charter owner and operator of the Banfield Pet Hospital in Pasadena from 2002–2012. He has been a member of and served in several board positions for many professional organizations. Lonsford served the Greater Houston Large Animal Practitioners Association in all officer positions from 1979–1982, and was Chairman of the Board of the Animal Emergency Clinic-Southeast in 1983. He was a board member, officer, and finally president, of the Harris County Veterinary Medical Association from 1979–1986, and a board member of the Harris County Veterinary Medical Foundation from 1987–1990. He is a charter member and was a board member of the Texas Chapter of the Delta Society from 1988–1990. From 1989–1995, he was the district director for the Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) for Harris County and Chairman of the Board from 1995–1996. Lonsford served on the Executive Board of the TVMA from 1995–2001, was its president in 2000, and has participated as a member and/or chairman of a multitude of TVMA committees. He served as a board member of the Texas Veterinary Political Action Committee from 2003–2006. He served as a Member at Large on the Council of Veterinary Service for the AVMA from 2002–2008. Throughout his career, Lonsford has mentored future veterinary professionals by providing externships for DVM, veterinary technician, and health occupation students. He is also a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, a past member of the CVM Development Council, and has been recognized as a Mark Francis Fellow. He and his wife, Yolanda, have three children and six grandchildren. Dr. Daniel E. Scott ’54 Born and raised on his family’s cattle farm in Murchison, Texas, Dr. Daniel Scott graduated from Texas A&M University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1954. He attended college on an Agriculture Opportunity Award Scholarship, was a member of the Corps of Cadets, and made the distinguished student list each semester, while still finding time for deer hunting and playing handball and varsity baseball at Texas A&M. Upon
Dr. Eleanor Green & Dr. Daniel Scott graduation, Scott was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He served in its Vet Corps for two years and was promoted to captain. In 1957, Scott began practicing veterinary medicine in Tyler, Texas with Dr. Justin Pinkerton. In the fall of that year, he entered the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. While studying human medicine, he continued to practice veterinary medicine during the summers and on holidays. He graduated in the top 5% of his class in 1961. After completing a two-year internship in Salt Lake City, Utah, Scott returned to Dallas where he completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology as well as a fellowship in maternal fetal medicine at Parkland Hospital. He joined the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School faculty as an assistant professor in 1966, and was appointed chair of the OB/GYN department and director of residents at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas in 1978. He was elected president of the Texas Perinatal Society in 1982. The trustees of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas honored Scott with a distinguished professorship in OB/GYN in 1998. In 1973, Scott began to realize his vision and life-long dream of breeding and raising Pinzgauer cattle. He had much success with these maroon and white cattle while raising many national champions, including Haller War Dance, DSP Medicine Man, and DSP Bando. His ranch is currently home to almost 50 Pinzgauers and 75 F1 and F2 Pinzgauer-Angus crosses, as well as some full blood Angus cows. Scott was the first Pinzgauer breeder to import fullblood polled Pinzgauer Summer 2014 •
Alumni News Cattle into the United States from Calgary, Canada. After practicing human medicine for 20 years, Scott retired in 1998 to his Red Oak Ranch—where he was born and raised—to practice veterinary medicine and devote his time to cattle ranching with his wife of 56 years, Pat. Their “greatest blessings” are their three daughters, Debbie, Pam, and Holly, and their five grandchildren. Dr. Ed Smallwood ’69 Dr. Ed Smallwood also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M. After receiving his DVM, he taught anatomy and radiology at the CVM until 1981, when he moved to NC State University’s new College of Veterinary Medicine as professor of anatomy. From 2003–2013, he served as the director of CVM Alumni Relations.
Dr. Eleanor Green & Dr. Ed Smallwood Since 2002, he has been a part-time professor at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada, West Indies. In 2013, he retired from NC State and was named Professor Emeritus. Dr. Smallwood has served as an officer in many professional organizations, including president of the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists and president of the World Association of Veterinary Anatomists. He is a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association, and served as National Secretary-Treasurer of the Phi Zeta Honor Society for 24 years. As an active Rotarian, Dr. Smallwood has received the North Raleigh Rotary Club’s Outstanding Rotarian 94 •
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of the Year Award, and served as club president in 1993–1994. Dr. Smallwood has received numerous recognitions and teaching awards, including election to the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers and Chairman of the NC State Faculty Senate. His many teaching awards include the Texas Veterinary Medical Association’s Faculty Achievement Award, the Texas A&M University Former Students Association Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award, the Norden Distinguished Teacher Award, the North Carolina State University Alumni Distinguished Professor Award, and the NC State Recipient of the UNC Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2002, Dr. Smallwood was honored with the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association’s Distinguished Veterinarian Award. He has also served on the board of directors of the North Carolina Physicians’ Health Program, and as a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Health Program. In 2013, the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Foundation established and endowed “The Dr. James Edgar Smallwood Endowed Scholarship for Student Excellence.” Smallwood has authored five books, numerous book chapters, over 30 publications in refereed journals, and 35 other publications. He has served on many academic and veterinary committees, and has given numerous continuing education and outreach presentations. He and his wife, Kay, have three daughters, one son, and four grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing, square dancing, and wood sculpturing.
Dr. Eleanor M. Green, the Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine, presides over the Outstanding Alumni ceremony. The College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences annually recognizes graduates from the DVM professional program who have made significant contributions to society through veterinary medicine and who have not only brought honor and recognition to themselves but also to the college. Graduates of the CVM may be nominated for the Outstanding Alumni and Rising Star Awards. A resume, or curriculum vitae, that summarizes major career accomplishments and two letters of support are required to nominate an alumnus or alumna. Additional information or letters may also be helpful to the selection committee. Nomination packets may be found online at http://vetmed.tamu.edu/ or by contacting Noell Vance, Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator, at 979-845-9043 or nvance@cvm. tamu.edu.
CVM Outstanding Alumni present at the ceremony.
Class of 1941 Perry D. Stein, 98, of San Antonio, TX, died Oct. 13, 2013. Class of 1943 Tyrrel E. DeVolin, 92, of El Paso, TX, died Dec. 12, 2013. Howard W. Dickmann, 94, of Perryville, MO, died Apr. 29, 2014. Floyd L. Gunn, 94, of Bryan, TX, died May 10, 2014. A.C. Kaltwasser, 92, of El Campo, TX, died Nov. 29, 2013. Gerald W. Parker, 93, of San Antonio, TX, died Feb. 2, 2014. Albert M. Pickard, 92, of Raymondville, TX, died Jan. 15, 2014. Class of 1945 Russell S. Stanger Jr., 91, of Brazoria, TX, died Feb. 27, 2014. Class of 1946 Col. Earl W. Grogan, 87, of San Antonio, TX, died Aug. 11, 2013. Class of 1947 John M. Bryan, 90, of Farmington, AK, died Jan. 11, 2014. Class of 1948 Charles A. Banker Jr., 87, of Chappell Hill, TX, died Aug. 31, 2013. William W. Bay, 89, of Bryan, TX, died May 29, 2013. Jerome B. Kearby, 87, of Hot Springs Village, AK, died Sep. 23, 2013. Class of 1949 Oscar H. Browning, 88, of Waco, TX, died Jun. 26, 2013. Robert L. Clifford Jr., 92, of DeBerry, TX, died Dec. 17, 2013. Stewart McConnell, 90, of College Station, TX, died Dec. 4, 2013. George R. Thomasson, 88, of Hesperia, CA, died Oct. 13, 2013. Class of 1951 Charles H. Aiken, 88, of Georgetown, TX, died Feb. 11, 2014. Thomas W. Matthews, 90, of Luling, TX, died Jul. 15, 2013 James R. Prine, 88, of Stayton, Oregon, died May 13, 2013. Class of 1952 Otho C. Collins Jr., 89, of Midland, TX, died Apr. 23, 2014. James D. Carroll, 89, of Corsicana, TX, died Nov. 24, 2013. Class of 1953 William W. Lockridge, 81, of Lexington, KY, died Jun. 8, 2013. Class of 1954 Carl D. Griffin, 86, of Corpus Christi, TX, died Nov. 5, 2013. Class of 1955 Samuel W. Levingston, III, 83, of Houston, TX, died Feb. 7, 2014. Class of 1956 Henry C. Dismukes, 90, of Luling, TX, died Jul. 22, 2013. George G. Tolbert, 82, of Southlake, TX, died Mar. 9, 2014. Class of 1957 Floyd M. Jones, 84, of Bryan, TX, died Aug. 13, 2013. Class of 1958 Anthony J. Grezaffi, 79, of New Roads, LA, died Jun. 8, 2013. Class of 1959 Floyd M. Jones, 84, of Bryan, TX, died Aug. 13, 2013.
Class of 1960 Richard J. Thomes, 78, of Irving, TX, died May 30, 2014. A scholarship to honor Dr. Thomes and his memory has been established at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. For more information please contact the Development Office at 979-845-9043. Class of 1961 Thomas L. Wolfle, 77, Cambridge, MD, died Jun. 28, 2013. Class of 1962 A.M. Easterling Jr., 75, of Centerville, TX, died Dec. 30, 2013. Robert L. McMillan, 77, of Midland, TX, died Apr. 4, 2014. Class of 1963 Billy C. Bullock, 84, of Winston-Salem, NC, died Nov. 4, 2013. Kenneth C. Herbst Sr., 74, of Boerne, TX, died Jul. 10, 2013. Class of 1964 Robert Harben, 79, of Amarillo, TX, died Apr. 6, 2013. Class of 1965 Lionel G. Garcia, 77, of Seabrook, TX, died Jul. 8, 2013. Class of 1966 Clifton Daniels Jr., 71, of Bloomburg, TX, died Jul. 7, 2013. Class of 1969 Marsha J. Dewalt, 68, of La Porte, TX, died Oct. 13, 2011. Class of 1971 John C. New, 65, of Knoxville, TN, died Oct. 15, 2013. Robert S. Wilson, 69, of Tyler, TX, died Dec. 27, 2013. Class of 1972 Arthur E. Erwin, 64, of Midland, TX, died Jul. 4, 2013. Class of 1977 Thomas R. McCabe Jr., 64, of El Paso, TX, died Apr. 14, 2014. David W. Stormer, 62, of Muenster, TX, died Mar. 21, 2014. Class of 1978 Donald H. Scarbrough, 59, of Palestine, TX, died Aug. 9, 2013. Class of 1984 Jim Ahumada, 54, of Dallas, TX, died Aug. 29, 2013. Class of 1987 James H. Marek, 51, of Industry, TX, died Apr. 9, 2014. Class of 1989 Thomas Devin, 63, of College Station, TX, died Apr. 7, 2014. A scholarship to honor Dr. Devin and his memory has been established at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. For more information please contact the Development Office at 979-845-9043. Class of 1992 Gregory G. West, 49, of Fort Worth, TX, died Oct. 25, 2013. Class of 1994 Lecreca A. Taliaferro, 46, of Haslet, TX, died May 8, 2013. Class of 1997 Barbara Nichols, 62, of Dallas, TX, died Dec. 25, 2013. Amanda D. Noble, 40, of Houston, TX, died Sep. 19, 2013.
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