Vital Signs: April 2017 Vol. 6, Issue 4

A message from Dean Cyril Clarke

Veterinary Medical Education

Dear friends and colleagues,

This month, faculty members at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine played an instrumental role in producing a new textbook devoted entirely to veterinary medical education. Dr. Jennifer Hodgson, associate dean for professional programs, and Dr. Jacque Pelzer, director of admissions and student services, served as editors of “Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide,” published by Wiley. The textbook will serve as a comprehensive resource for veterinary medical educators worldwide and promotes a practical, real-world approach to teaching veterinary skills and knowledge. It comprises 38 chapters written by 64 authors from eight countries and includes contributions from several of our own faculty, including Drs. Hodgson, Pelzer, and Karen Inzana.

This textbook has particular relevance to the ongoing process of implementing our new DVM curriculum. This curriculum integrates basic and clinical sciences into new courses organized around functions of body systems, incorporates team-based learning into every course, provides for early entry into the clinics, and converts the grading system to pass/fail. In addition to the current and former students, practitioners, veterinary medical association representatives, and other key stakeholders who played a crucial role in developing the new curriculum, our faculty have logged extra hours to ensure that they successfully prepare our students for the opportunities and challenges of 21st century veterinary medicine.

In addition to addressing issues relevant to curriculum, the new textbook touches on two other areas of particular importance to our college: outcomes assessment and admissions. Like other institutions around the country, we are working to improve our teaching and learning outcomes by systematically assessing both individual student success and our academic programs. We hope to not only improve the training and professional competencies of our own veterinary students, but also raise the profession’s educational standards by sharing these best practices. Similarly, we are raising the bar in terms of student admissions. In 2009, the veterinary college became the first U.S. veterinary school to employ an adaptation of the multiple mini-interview format — first implemented at a Canadian medical school. According to the latest figures from the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, we recently drew the second largest applicant pool in North America for the third year in a row and are making good progress in matriculating a student body that is academically excellent and representative of the diversity of people whom we serve.

At the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, we are proud of our innovations that have led to a new DVM curriculum, improved outcomes assessment, and a creative and successful admissions process. We are also pleased to have the opportunity to join with expert colleagues from all over the world to publish a textbook that highlights issues and advances relevant to these themes as well as many others that are important in veterinary medical education.

Dr. Cyril Clarke, Dean


Featured Stories

Jacque Pelzer (left) and Jennifer Hodgson (right) are the co-editors of "Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide."

Faculty release first textbook on veterinary education

Faculty members at the veterinary college have produced the first textbook specifically about veterinary medical education. Jennifer Hodgson, associate dean for professional programs, and Jacquelyn Pelzer, director of admission and student services, served as editors of “Veterinary Medical Education: A Practical Guide,” published by Wiley Blackwell.

“When we decided to work on this project, there were already quite a few textbooks on medical education — but none specifically about veterinary medical education,” said Hodgson, who is also a professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences. “While we do use medical education textbooks in our work and medical education and veterinary medical education have many similarities, we realized we needed a textbook which would highlight some of the differences and challenges faced by our profession.”

The textbook offers a comprehensive resource for veterinary medical educators across the globe and takes a practical, real-world approach for teaching veterinary skills and knowledge. It comprises 38 chapters written by 64 authors from eight countries.

“We wanted the textbook to have a global perspective,” said Pelzer, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences and completed a graduate certificate in veterinary medical education from the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College. “We have hopes that veterinary colleges in both developed and developing countries will be able to refer to it for ways to handle their curriculum and get a sense of what other colleges are doing.”

Throughout the 626-page textbook, the authors place boxes with corresponding icons to highlight main points, draw attention to the application of a tool or process, offer supporting information or details about a specific topic, reflect on a chapter, familiarize the reader with educational terminology or concepts, and describe concepts and theories.

Hodgson served as co-author of the first chapter on “Curricular Design, Review, and Reform,” while Pelzer served as co-author on a chapter on “Student Selection.” Karen Inzana, director of assessment and professor of neurology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, penned a chapter on “Curriculum Mapping.” Hodgson and Cyril Clarke, dean of the veterinary college, co-authored the final chapter on “Veterinary Medical Education: Envisioning the Future.”

Caitlin Cossaboom

Class of 2017: Caitlin Cossaboom to pursue dream job as disease detective

When she graduates with her doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree in May, Caitlin Cossaboom will cap the 11 years she spent pursuing her education goals at Virginia Tech and the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine to begin a new journey — starting her “dream job” as an officer in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Epidemic Intelligence Service.

Cossaboom, who hails from Salisbury, Maryland, has a long history as a Hokie. As a member of the Honors College, she earned bachelor’s degrees in both dairy science and animal and poultry sciences from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech in 2010. She then completed both a master of public health degree in 2014 and a doctorate in biomedical and veterinary sciences in 2015 through the college’s DVM/Ph.D. dual degree program.

Cossaboom’s doctoral work was under the direction of X.J. Meng, University Distinguished Professor of Molecular Virology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology. “I worked with hepatitis E virus, looking into zoonotic potential of a new strain of rabbit virus that we found,” Cossaboom explained. Her research, which identified the first strains of hepatitis E virus from farmed rabbits in the United States, was published in a 2011 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, by the CDC.

Read more about Cossaboom's accomplishments and view a video about how she achieved her dream to become a disease detective.

Sarah Bye

Sarah Bye receives 2017 Outstanding Graduating Student Award

Sarah Bye of Holicong, Pennsylvania, has received the 2017 Outstanding Graduating Student Award for the veterinary college. The award, which recognizes exceptional academic achievement and leadership by a graduating senior from each of the university’s colleges, was distributed during the Student Recognition Banquet on April 7.

Bye earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and French from Wellesley College in Massachusetts in 2010 and will receive her doctor of veterinary medicine degree in May. While at the veterinary college, Bye was a member of numerous campus organizations, including the Veterinary Business Management Association (where she was a gold business certificate recipient), Pathology Club, Integrative Veterinary Medicine Club, and Alpha Psi Veterinary Fraternity, where she also served as historian. She was also the Class of 2017 social chair.

In addition to her coursework, Bye worked evenings and weekends throughout the academic year as a large animal ICU student technician, which included duties such as monitoring and treatment of surgery and medicine patients, neonatal and isolation care, and assisting with large animal emergencies.

Read more about Bye’s accomplishments at the veterinary college.

The veterinary college's Outstanding Master's Degree Student was Noelle Muro (left) and its Outstanding Doctoral Degree Student was Shaohua Lei (right).

Graduate School awards students and faculty with top honors

Several students in the college’s Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences graduate program earned high marks at the 33rd Annual Virginia Tech Graduate Student Assembly Research Symposium last month.

Shaohua Lei of Yongzhou, China, was named the Outstanding Doctoral Degree Student for the veterinary college, and Noelle Muro of East Haven, Connecticut was named the Outstanding Master’s Degree Student. In addition, Lijuan Yuan, associate professor of virology and immunology, was named the Outstanding Faculty Mentor for the college. Read more about the college’s Outstanding Doctoral Degree Student, Outstanding Master’s Degree Student, and Outstanding Faculty Mentor.

From left to right, Kristin Eden, Lauren Sheehan, and Veronica Ringel won the gold, silver, and bronze awards for best oral presentation, respectively.

What’s more, several graduate students received awards for best research poster and oral presentation at the symposium: Dan Rothschild received the gold award for best poster presentation. Kristin Eden received the gold award for best oral presentation. Lauren Sheehan received the silver award for best oral presentation. Veronica Ringel received the bronze award for best oral presentation. Rothschild, Eden, and Ringel work in the laboratory of Irving Coy Allen, assistant professor of inflammatory diseases in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, whereas Sheehan works in the laboratory of Clay Caswell, assistant professor of bacteriology. Read more about the Virginia Tech Graduate School awards.

In addition to receiving their awards at the dinner, the students and faculty member will be recognized during the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on May 11.

Roberto Roca Hernandez is one of five Pierce College students in the Class of 2020.

From Los Angeles to Blacksburg: Five first-year students hail from Southern California college

Becoming a student at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine — which has the second highest applicant pool in the U.S. and an acceptance rate of less than 10 percent — can be a difficult proposition for anyone. But for five students in the pre-veterinary program at Pierce College, a two-year public college in Los Angeles, this dream has become a reality.

The five students — Roberto Roca Hernandez, Marie-Victorine McKeown, Matt Sandler, Elaina Valencia, and Tracy Wachbrit — joined the Class of 2020 last August. They found out about the program when Jacque Pelzer, director of admissions and student services at the veterinary college, visited the Pierce College Pre-Veterinary Club.

“I wasn’t looking into vet schools just yet, so I didn’t know about Virginia-Maryland as an option,” said Wachbrit, who previously studied horse racing in Kentucky. “Her passion for the school, the beautiful pictures, and the tight-knit community made it sound appealing, but I was sure I wanted to apply after senior students from Pierce came back from interviews in Virginia and confirmed it was a great place.”

Read more about the veterinary college’s relationship with Pierce College in the winter 2017 issue of TRACKS.

Phillip Pickett, professor of ophthalmology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, performs an eye exam on a service dog.

College to offer free eye exams for service dogs in May

For the 10th year in a row, the veterinary college will partner with the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO) and StokesRX to participate in the National Service Animal Eye Exam Event in May.

The veterinary college will offer complimentary eye exams for service dogs throughout the month at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, located on the Blacksburg campus.

The event aims to preserve the sights of the dogs serving the community, benefit those who depend on service dogs, strengthen relationships with practicing veterinarians, and gather information to help the future performance of working dogs.

Service dogs include guide dogs, handicapped assistance dogs, detection dogs, military and police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and formally trained and certified therapy dogs. Dogs must be active working dogs that were previously certified or are currently enrolled in a formal training program or organization to qualify.

Read more and learn how to register for the complementary eye exams for service dogs.

Alumni Corner

Terry Swecker (left), director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, presents Steven Shipley (right) with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Veterinary college names distinguished alumni award winners

The veterinary college has recognized two alumni with its Lifetime Achievement Award and Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

Steven T. Shipley of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was honored with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Established in 2014, the award recognizes alumni for their exemplary and sustained achievements in veterinary medicine and their positive impact.

Shipley, who graduated from the veterinary college in 1997, has had a long and distinguished career in laboratory animal medicine. He is currently the director of the Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency Training Program, the associate director of veterinary services within the Division of Laboratory Animal Medicine, and an associate professor in pathology and lab medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael Nolan

Throughout his career, Shipley has been active in publishing, presenting, and teaching and is credited with having a significant and positive impact on the advancement of laboratory animal medicine. Shipley has also given back to his alma mater by mentoring veterinary students through the Mentor Program, which is a partnership between the college and the Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia veterinary medical associations. He has also participated in the college’s admissions interview process since 2010.

Michael W. Nolan of Raleigh, North Carolina, was honored with the 2017 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. The award recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university since graduating.

Nolan, who graduated from the veterinary college in 2009, is currently an assistant professor of radiation oncology and biology at N.C. State College of Veterinary Medicine. He is one of only 78 diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Radiology’s radiation oncology specialty.

After earning his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Nolan completed an internship at NYC Veterinary Specialists. He then completed a residency in radiation oncology and earned a Ph.D. in radiation and cancer biology from Colorado State University.

Donna McWilliams

Florida veterinarian Donna McWilliams (DVM ’02) brings Ut Prosim to life

At an early age, Donna McWilliams knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. From the time she was in grade school, she was bringing home snakes and all sorts of animals. As an elementary student in Texas, she was paid to maintain a salt lick and water trough for a small herd of cattle. Her parents observed her natural interest in animals and were supportive. Her father was in the Navy, and she moved from Northern Virginia to Charlottesville to San Antonio as a young child.

McWilliams received two of her three degrees from Virginia Tech: a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1993 and her DVM degree in 2002. She earned a master’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis on neurological research, from Radford University in 1995. Her husband, Kevin, is also a Hokie.

As she tracked mixed animals in school, her first position was with a mixed animal practice in Galax, Virginia. She enjoyed working outside but was up all hours with emergencies. In 2003, she and her husband decided to move to Florida since both of their parents had relocated to the Sunshine State. She found that Florida desperately needed veterinarians due to the state’s exploding population.

Read more about how Donna McWilliams gives back to the community.

Around the College

New Master of Public Health Student Ambassador program focuses on outreach

The Master of Public Health (MPH) Program is pleased to announce the first cohort of MPH Student Ambassadors. The student ambassadors will represent the MPH program in recruitment activities with prospective students and take on efforts to expand MPH program’s outreach throughout the college, university, and beyond. Current MPH students, faculty and staff, and MPH alumni selected the student ambassadors. They include Kristina Jiles (PhD/MPH ’17), Mariah Malachi (MPH ’18), Laura Parkhurst (DVM/MPH ’20), Andrew Riddle (MPH ’17), Zana Shabani (MPH ’17), and Mari Shelton (MPH ’18). The MPH website has more details about each student ambassador.

Students recognized for scholarship at Spring Awards Ceremony

The college continued its long-standing tradition of recognizing student achievement and success at the Spring Awards Ceremony on Friday, April 7. Numerous student award winners were recognized for their scholarship, leadership, research, and community outreach. During the luncheon, the college gave out more than 300 scholarships and awards to students, thanks to the generosity of the college’s numerous donors.

Community Dog Wash brings “spring cleaning” to furry friends

Veterinary students held a Community Dog Wash at the veterinary college on Sunday, April 23. Presented by the college’s chapter of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association and the Class of 2020, the popular semi-annual event attracted community members and their dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Students, faculty compete in Talent Show to raise support for Stray Fund

The college’s second annual Talent Show fundraiser not only raised more than $2,100 for the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Stray Fund, but also let attendees see another side of their classmates and colleagues. Hats off to the student organizers, performers, sponsors, and celebrity judges for a successful fundraiser. Hosted by the Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the April 7 event featured numerous musical and other creative acts. Fourth-year student Aria Guarino took home the top prize, while second-year student Andrea Oliver was the runner-up and second-year student Marta Zlotnick was the lip sync battle winner.

Bob Duncan Memorial 5K supports veterinary pathology scholarship

The college’s 10th Annual Bob Duncan Memorial 5K was held on Saturday, April 8 on the Virginia Tech cross country course to honor Bob Duncan, a beloved professor who passed away in May 2007. Proceeds will benefit the Bob Duncan Memorial Diagnostic Veterinary Pathology Scholarship, which recognizes a fourth-year veterinary student for a commitment and zeal for diagnostic veterinary pathology. The event would not be such a great success without the help of the runners, walkers, organizers, sponsors, volunteers, and donors who made it possible.

Collaborative Research Network welcomes newest member

The Collaborative Research Network, which was established in 2014 to enable specialty practices in Virginia and Maryland to build unique partnerships with researchers at the college, has a new member: Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. The college will be partnering with Friendship to enhance cutting-edge clinical research to benefit patients in need of specialty care. Learn more about the Collaborative Research Network.

Foaling season begins at Equine Medical Center

With the arrival of spring comes foaling season! The Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia recently welcomed a beautiful dark bay colt named Noah. After a normal delivery and a couple of days at the center, Noah and dam Talloulah are healthy and back home at Winterfell Farm in Middleburg, Virginia.

Awards & Activities

Lijuan Yuan

Lijuan Yuan receives Graduate School’s Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award

Lijuan Yuan, associate professor of virology and immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, has received the Graduate School’s 2017 Faculty Outstanding Mentor Award.

Sponsored by the Graduate School, the new award, to be presented annually, recognizes excellence in mentoring graduate students. Students nominate recipients and one professor from each college is eligible to receive the award.

Yuan is an expert on rotaviruses, which are a common cause of acute dehydrating diarrhea in infants and young children and other young animals worldwide, and noroviruses, which cause most of the epidemic nonbacterial outbreaks of gastroenteritis around the world. Her laboratory is developing a gnotobiotic pig model of human enteric virus infection and diseases and is studying mechanisms of probiotics’ immune modulating effects on innate and adaptive immunity induced by virus infection and vaccines in human rotavirus infection and disease using an animal model. She also studies norovirus pathogenesis and immunity and evaluates norovirus vaccines and potential anti-norovirus drugs.

Yuan’s students called her a remarkable academic mentor and a compassionate individual who not only shares her joy in her work with students, but encourages their own passion for science. Students said she has the ability to take a student with little experience in the field and help them become well trained researchers. She also encourages students to develop a good work-life balance. Her students win awards for their work and have published widely in journals, and through her mentoring, have learned to become mentors themselves.

Yuan earned her bachelor’s degrees from Beijing University, her master’s degree from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing, and her Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Top row, left to right: Andy Xin, Dylan Devino, and Stuart Callahan. Second row, left to right: Meghan Dau and Jason Smith. Third row, left to right: Kristina Peacock, Julie Van Scoik, and Jennifer Malkus. Bottom row, left to right: Evymarie Prado-Sanchez, Kara Schneide, and Munsath Ashraf. Not pictured: Sara Beth Dodson.

Veterinary students receive 2017 Zoetis scholarships

Twelve students from the veterinary college have been named 2017 Zoetis scholarship award recipients. The award recognizes veterinary students with a history of academic excellence and commitment to leadership in the veterinary medicine field in partnership with Zoetis and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).

The second- and third-year veterinary student recipients, who were selected from a record number of 1,700 applicants from across the United States and the Caribbean, include:

  • Munsath Ashraf of Clarksburg, Maryland, a second-year student in the small animal track
  • Stuart Callahan of Mechanicsville, Virginia, a second-year student in the food animal track
  • Meghan Dau of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, a second-year student in the food animal track
  • Dylan Devino of South Hero, Utah, a third-year student in the food animal track
  • Sara Beth Dodson of Front Royal, Virginia, a second-year student in the small animal track
  • Jennifer Malkus of Forest Hill, Maryland, a second-year student in the food animal track
  • Kristina Peacock of Haymarket, Virginia, a third-year student in the equine track
  • Evymarie Prado-Sanchez of Harrison, New Jersey, a second-year student in the public/corporate track
  • Kara Schneide of Midlothian, Virginia, a third-year student in the food animal track
  • Jason Smith of Littleton, Massachusetts, a third-year student in the equine track
  • Julie Van Scoik of Chesterfield, Virginia, a second-year student in the food animal track
  • Andy Xin of Bel Air, Maryland, a third-year student in the public/corporate track

The 315 total recipients were evaluated for academic excellence, financial need, diversity, sustainability, leadership, and career path. Zoetis and the AAVMC hope the award will help lessen the financial burden placed upon veterinary students.

“Partnering with Zoetis enables us to help veterinary students offset the increasing costs of a medical education while providing these students with opportunities that might have otherwise been beyond their means,” said Andrew Maccabe, chief executive officer of the AAVMC. “These scholarships offer a way for students to manage every day expenses or study in-depth some of the most critical challenges our industry faces.”

The scholarship program operates as part of Zoetis Commitment to Veterinarians, a platform dedicated to supporting diversity and leadership among future veterinary professionals while offering financial support during their academic career. Since its inception eight years ago, the program has awarded nearly $6 million in scholarships to more than 2,700 qualifying students.

Dean Cyril Clarke with Hope House

Hope House named April Staff Member of the Month

Hope House, administrative and office specialist at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, is the April Staff Member of the Month. House, who is originally from Ohio, moved to Blacksburg from Virginia Beach in 2013, and later worked in the accounting department at the Inn at Virginia Tech. When she joined the veterinary college a little over a year ago, House made an instant impression on her coworkers with her constant cheery disposition. “Hope is extremely friendly and is always in a good mood,” wrote one nominator, who added that House can always be counted on to “brighten my mood” when it has been a long day.

Her caring, upbeat nature is also infectious and demonstrates genuine compassion for those around her. Because of this, another nominator said that House “should be recognized for her enthusiastic and positive attitude that makes our day better.” When she is not working at the veterinary college, she stays busy taking care of her two sons, ages 6 and 8, two dogs, and three cats.

Read more about the Staff Members of the Month.

More Awards & Activities

Virginia Tech recently recognized numerous veterinary college and affiliated employees for their years of service to the university:

  • Victoria Kok, head of the veterinary medicine library, for 45 years
  • Pamela Arnold, APL supervisor, for 35 years
  • Drema Foster, medical services business manager, for 30 years
  • Sandra Hancock, laboratory specialist and GLP quality assurance officer, for 30 years
  • Margaret Slusser, storekeeper supervisor, for 30 years
  • Angela Webb, office manager and academic programs coordinator, for 20 years
  • Richard Clutter, systems administrator, for 15 years
  • Andrea Collins, ICU manager, for 15 years
  • Lynett Cruise, director of human resources, for 15 years
  • Jennifer Robinson, fiscal technician, for 15 years
  • David Sampson, educational technologies specialist, for 15 years
  • Sheila Steele, executive assistant to the dean, for 15 years
  • George Woods, animal care technician, for 15 years
  • Kathy Farley, MDL administrative assistant, for 10 years
  • Robyn Fox, community practice technician, for 10 years
  • Karen Hall, animal resource manager, for 10 years
  • Pete Jobst, director of facilities, for 10 years
  • Elizabeth Jones, grants office assistant, for 10 years
  • Becky Jones, graduate program coordinator, for 10 years
  • Lyndsey Miles, large animal night ICU technician, for 10 years
  • Tami Quesenberry, community practice technician, for 10 years
  • Michael Sutphin, public relations coordinator, for 10 years
  • Stephanie Todd, laboratory specialist, for 10 years
  • Valerie Vaught, supervisor of diagnostic and support services, for 10 years

Irving Coy Allen, assistant professor of inflammatory diseases in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, received a $30,000 grant with a team from the University of Virginia to study host immunity following Zika virus infection. The goal of the collaborative project is to identify the unique molecular components of Zika virus-inducted inflammasome signaling. Allen’s laboratory was also awarded sponsorship funds from the Society of Leukocyte Biology to support the Virginia Tech Immunology Summer Journal Club, a program Allen started three years ago to keep graduate students engaged over the summer break through monthly meet-ups. Additionally, he oversees a grant program entitled “NIH K and New Investigator R01 Proposal Preparation Program,” which recently appeared in the Virginia Tech research newsletter.

Adinarayanan S., Culp R.K., Subramani R., Abbas K.M., Radhakrishna S., Swaminathan S. “Role of Bacille Calmette-Guérin in Preventing Tuberculous Infection.” International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 420-424, 2017. Available online.

Virginia Kiefer Corrigan, assistant professor of community practice in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, was selected to be a facilitator at the annual Veterinary Leadership Experience in Post Falls, Idaho from June 3-10. The event is organized by the Veterinary Leadership Institute. Corrigan also had an abstract accepted for a poster presentation on “Program Evaluation of a University-Based Animal-Assisted Intervention Program: A Preliminary Study” at the International Society for Anthrozoology meeting on June 22-25 in Davis, California.

Larry Freeman was conferred the title “associate professor emeritus of veterinary anatomy” at the April 3 meeting of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors. Freeman joined the college in August of 1978 and made numerous contributions to the college during his 38-year career.

Coutermarsh-Ott, S.L., Broadway, K.M., Scharf, B.E., Allen, I.C. “Effect of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium VNP20009 and VNP20009 with restored chemotaxis on 4T1 mouse mammary carcinoma progression.” Oncotarget. (In Press). IF: 6.63.

Dai R., Cowan C., Heid B., Khan D., Liang Z., Pham C.T., Ansar Ahmed S. “Neutrophils and neutrophil serine proteases are increased in the spleens of estrogen-treated C57BL/6 mice and several strains of spontaneous lupus-prone mice.” PLoS One. Feb. 13, 2017. Available online.

Daniel G.B. and Morandi F. “Veterinary Nuclear Medicine Short Course.” Virginia Tech, April 7-9, 2017.

Julia Gohlke, assistant professor in the Department of Population Health Sciences, was recently appointed a member of the Committee on the Evaluation of the Use of Chemical Dispersants in Oil Spill Response by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Andrew L., Hontecillas, R., Philipson, C., Tubau-Juni, N., Abedi, V., Heltzel, C., Philipson, N., Kale, S., Carbo, A., Uren, A., Dickerman, A., Michalak, P., Corl, B.A., Eden, K.Allen, I.C., and Bassaganya-Riera, J. (2017). “NLRX1 regulates effector and metabolic functions of CD4+ T cells.” Journal of Immunology. Mar 15;198(6):2260-2268. IF: 4.92.

Angela M. Ives and Andrea S. Bertke. “Stress Hormones Epinephrine and Corticosterone Selectively Modulate HSV-1 and HSV-2 Productive Infection in Adult Sympathetic, but not Sensory, Neurons.” Journal of Virology. April 2017.

Marcela L. Machado, Joao Henrique N Soares, M A K de Albuquerque Gress, D. dos Santos e Castro, K.T. Rosa, P.B. de Araujo Doria, and F.O. Ascoli. “Dose-finding study comparing three treatments of remifentanil in cats anesthetized with isoflurane undergoing ovariohysterectomy.” Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 2017.

Allison L. O’Kell, David C. Grant and Saeed R. Khan. “Pathogenesis of calcium oxalate urinary stone disease: species comparison of humans, dogs, and cats.” Urolithiasis. March 30, 2017.

Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, gave a presentation for the SCAVMA sponsored Fix the Debt symposium entitled “Empowering Yourself: Career Awareness, Professional Competencies and the Veterinary Entrepreneur.” Ragan also received a Department of Defense funded grant for $80,000 a project entitled “One Health Surveillance for Brucellosis in Armenia.” Ragan will be participating in a webinar with Tufts veterinary students entitled “Animal Health Industry Career Chat.” She is the only non-Tufts graduate invited to participate in a series of career chats with Tufts students. Ragan was also featured in the recently published book “Leaders of the Pack: Women and the Future of Veterinary Medicine.”

D. Phillip Sponenberg, professor of pathology and genetics, published a book on “Managing Breeds for a Secure Future.” This is the second edition of the book co-authored by Sponenberg.

Stadler K.L., Pease AP and Ballegeer EA (2017). “Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging Protocol of the Normal Canine Brain.” Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 4:41.

Mary Tomlinson (DVM ’12), a dairy farmer and large animal veterinarian at Healing Springs Large Animal Hospital in Galax, Virginia, was named the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s 2017 Farm Woman of the Year. She was honored during the VFBF Spring Conference, held March 17-19 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Valerie Vaught, radiologic technologist, was nominated for Virginia Tech’s 2017 Award for Safety Excellence. She received a certification of nomination at the April 11 awards ceremony at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

Andy A. Yanez, Telvin Harrell, Heather J. Sriranganathan, Angela M. Ives, and Andrea S. Bertke. “Neurotropic Factors NGF, GDNF and NTN Selectively Modulate HSV1 and HSV2 Lytic Infection and Reactive in Primary Adult Sensory and Autonomic Neurons” Pathogens. February 2017.

Upcoming Events

May 4 – Alumni Luncheon at DC Academy
Fairfax, VA
May 11 – Continuing Education: “Common Ophthalmic Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges Facing the Small Animal Practitioner” with Ian Herring
Bedford, VA
May 11-12Spring 2017 Commencement Ceremonies
Virginia Tech Campus – Blacksburg, VA
May 17Virginia Tech Staff Appreciation Day
Virginia Tech Campus – Blacksburg, VA
May 18 – Continuing Education: “Canine Hypothyroidism” with David Panciera
Blacksburg, VA (remote lecture available in Leesburg, VA)
May 18-21Central Veterinary Conference East with alumni luncheon on May 20
Virginia Beach, VA
June 18-20 – MVMA Summer Conference
Ocean City, MD
July 21-25American Veterinary Medical Association Convention
Indianapolis, IN
September 15-16 – Alumni reunions for Classes of ’87, ’92, ’97, ’02, ’07, and ’12
Blacksburg, VA


Vital Signs is published throughout the year by the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • Dean: Cyril R. Clarke
  • Assistant Dean for Advancement: Alison Wainwright Davitt
  • Managing Editor: Michael Sutphin
  • Web Editors: Alison Elward, Tiffany Tran
  • Assistant Editor: Kelsey Foster
  • Contributors: Lynn Blevins, Alison Elward, Kelsey Foster, Cathy Grimes, Hannah Menefee, Michael Sutphin
  • Photography/Videography: Lynn Blevins, Alison Elward, Bill Huckle, Nikolai Kolupaev, Donna McWilliams, Hannah Menefee, Althea Olinger, Lauren Surface, Michael Sutphin, Logan Wallace
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