Vital Signs: September 2013
Vol. 2, Issue 2
Dear friends and colleagues,
I am writing this Vital Signs column just a few days away from stepping down as dean. Right now, I am in the final stages of packing up my belongings and moving them to the Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases in order to make space for incoming Dean Cyril Clarke. So, after close to 10 years as dean, I am going back to a building and an office I occupied for many years earlier in my career. Not only am I returning to research, but I will also be quite involved in developing approaches for Virginia Tech’s global activities as an international programs strategist. I look forward to these new activities and challenges.
As I was “cleaning up” the dean’s office, I was able to find and look through the yearly reports on college achievements since I became dean. It is amazing how much we accomplished during this time — new programs, new buildings, partnerships, relationships with the veterinary medical associations, and so on. All of these, I believe, have positioned and established the college well at the national scene.
But most importantly, these achievements illustrate great teamwork among our executive board members and faculty and staff in general. For this I have to thank everybody! Teamwork has been the foundation of our advances and success, and I believe the new dean will also adopt this approach to further propel our college among the top ranked veterinary schools in the United States.
I am often asked why I stepped down. This action was cemented in my firm belief that changes in leadership must happen every so often to refresh and evolve an institution’s approach. The time had come for us. On a personal level, each passing year also represents a significant amount of time in one’s life. If you do the same thing year after year, you will eventually run out of time to do the things you wanted to do and achieve later. I did not want this to happen to me. I will continue to contribute to the college in my new role, but will also pursue some yet-unexplored roads which I wish to travel.
Gerhardt G. Schurig, DVM, Ph.D.
- College cited among most affordable veterinary schools
- New doctoral program to focus on translational biology, medicine, and health
- Biomedical researcher releases books on innate immunity, allergic disease
- Veterinary Teaching Hospital maintains blood bank for animals
- Extension veterinarians to host beef cattle conference in Staunton
- Dr. Valerie Ragan works to expand partnership in Chile
- April Hylton named interim associate dean of administration
- Development news: Friends of the college continue to give
Welcome to the College
Around the College
- Reception honors Dean Schurig’s 10 years of service
- Veterinary students host Community Dog Wash
- Public health faculty member takes eye-opening tour of Malaysia
Awards & Activities
- Graduate student receives Fulbright fellowship to continue his research in Latvia
- Dr. Nathanial White honored with emeritus status
- More Awards & Accolades
- Recent Presentations
- Recent Publications
Virginia and Maryland residents have access to one of the most affordable veterinary educations in the country, according to recent figures from the Veterinary Information Network. The latest rankings of 31 veterinary schools in the United States and Caribbean place the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in the No. 4 spot for total in-state cost. (Editor’s note: Since this article was written, the college has risen in the Veterinary Information Network rankings to the No. 3 spot for total-in state cost.)
This figure includes the cost of in-state tuition and living expenses. The rankings also place the college in the No. 1 spot for affordable living expenses.
Virginia Tech has a new doctoral program in translational biology, medicine, and health that has already received national praise. In August, the Association of American Medical College named the new program as a semi-finalist for its second annual Award for Innovative Institutional Partnerships in Research and Research-focused Training.
Established this summer by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, the interdisciplinary program emphasizes the concept of translational medicine — the transformation of scientific discoveries into diagnostics, therapeutics, and health-promoting behaviors and policies.
An immunologist in the veterinary college has compiled two new books designed to give biomedical researchers the latest protocols to study innate immunity and allergic disease using mouse models.
Irving C. Allen, assistant professor of inflammatory disease in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, served as editor of “Mouse Models of Innate Immunity: Methods and Protocols,” published in July, and “Mouse Models of Allergic Disease: Methods and Protocols,” published in August. Both are part of Springer’s “Methods of Molecular Biology” series.
Giving the gift of life through blood donations is not only confined to humans. Dogs and cats regularly donate blood to the veterinary college’s blood bank.
A critical supply of blood must be maintained year round at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital where both emergency and routine surgeries are daily occurrences. Dogs and cats have different blood types just like humans, so it is necessary to keep a supply of all canine and feline blood types on hand.
Dr. David Grant, associate professor of internal medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and veterinary technician Melanie Gevedon are in charge of maintaining the hospital blood bank.
Cattle producers, veterinarians, students, and industry personnel from across the country have the opportunity to participate in a conference of the Applied Reproductive Strategies in Beef Cattle program. The two-day educational event will be held Oct. 15-16, at the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center in Staunton, Va.
“Reproductive technology holds the key that will allow beef producers to quickly achieve the best genetics suited to their cattle production goals,” said Dr. Dee Whittier, professor of large animal clinical sciences at the college and veterinarian for Virginia Cooperative Extension.
The Virginia Tech Office of Outreach and International Affairs has a new publication, Outbursts, and one of the college’s own is featured in the inaugural publication.
Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center of Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, shares her experiences from a recent trip to the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia in the August issue of Outbursts. The article highlights Ragan’s work to expand a partnership between the veterinary college and the Chilean university that brings students from both countries to each other’s campuses.
The veterinary college has named April Hylton of Floyd, Va., as its interim assistant dean of administration. Hylton, who is currently the director of human resources at the veterinary college, will oversee the college’s budget, financial operation, personnel, capital planning, and construction activities.
She assumed these new responsibilities on Aug. 1, following the retirement of Mike Harness, associate dean for finance and administration, after 38 years of state service. Harness will continue to work on a part-time basis during the leadership transition at the veterinary college.
This past month has seen a variety of philanthropic vehicles used by friends of the college.
An anonymous couple has created an estate gift of their valuable farm to create an endowment at the college to support students pursuing a career in large animal medicine. They are aware of the challenges in that arena and want to make a difference.
The Dorothy A. Metcalf Charitable Foundation has continued Mrs. Metcalf’s support of her named Professor of Informatics, Dr. Jeff Wilcke, and the Center for Animal-Human Relationships with an additional $50,000, bringing the total to date to almost $2 million.
Long-time friend of the college, Garnett Smith, and his family have continued their outright giving to support the Smith Family Special Compassion Fund, which helps others with expenses from some of the more complex medical procedures available at our Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Welcome to the College
Dr. Kemba Clapp of Madison, Wis., has joined the college as an assistant professor of radiology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. She comes to the college from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she completed a diagnostic imaging residency at the School of Veterinary Medicine.
As a new member of the college’s radiology team, Clapp will use her experience in both small and large animal radiology to provide diagnostic imaging support for clients at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
Even when she was a veterinary student, Dr. Lauren Howard knew that she wanted to provide care for animals both big and small after graduation. Today, the Class of 2000 graduate from the veterinary college does just that as an associate veterinarian at the Houston Zoo.
Howard treats a range of species, from an endangered toad population in the greater Houston area to the zoo’s elephants.
“I am one of four full-time veterinarians at the Houston Zoo,” explained Howard, who received the college’s Outstanding Alumna Award in 2010. “We provide care for all of the species at the zoo — mammals, reptiles, birds, and sometimes even invertebrates.”
Around the College
Awards & Activities
A graduate student who helps develop stem cell treatments for horses at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., will travel to the Baltic region of Northern Europe to do similar research in human medicine.
Daniel W. Youngstrom of Marlborough, Mass., a Ph.D. candidate in biomedical and veterinary sciences, received a fellowship under the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to pursue studies in Latvia.
Youngstrom will spend nine months in Latvia’s capital city of Riga at the Cell Transplantation Center, a research laboratory affiliated with the University of Latvia and the Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital. He will characterize adult human stem cells and their potential uses to treat osteoarthritis — a complex process that results in joint degradation and chronic pain.
Dr. Nathanial A. White II, professor of equine surgery in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, has been conferred the title of “professor emeritus” by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.
A member of the Virginia Tech community since 1985, White was the Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Surgery from 1987 to 2003 and the Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and director of the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center from 2003 to 2012.
A Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, White has made significant contributions to the understanding of colic and orthopedic disorders in horses through his work in equine surgery focusing on diagnosis, surgical correction, and post-operative management of these debilitating disorders.
Dr. Tom Inzana, the Tyler J. and Frances F. Young Chair of Bacteriology, has received a new, $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study “Biofilm formation by Pasteurella multocida and its co-habitive interaction with Histophilus somni in vitro and in the bovine host.”
Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, was reappointed to the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association Executive Board as director-at-large.
Thomas Brickler, a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, won a competitive travel award to attend the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology’s Neurodevelopmental Workshop in Okinawa, Japan, in July. He was the only graduate student to receive the travel award.
Three members of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences successfully passed the exam and are now Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Radiologists. These include Dr. Ann Bettencourt, radiology resident; Dr. Kemba Clapp, assistant professor of radiology; and Dr. Jeffrey Ruth, assistant professor of radiology.
Dr. Andreas Bachelez, clinical assistant professor of small animal surgery in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, is now a Diplomate in European Colleges of Veterinary Surgery. He has been a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Dr. Michele Borgarelli, associate professor of cardiology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, was elected president-elect for the European Society of Veterinary Cardiology.
Dr. Tom Inzana, the Tyler J. and Frances F. Young Chair of Bacteriology, is serving on the organizing committee for the “Third Prato Conference on the Pathogenesis of Bacterial Diseases of Animals” in Praco, Italy slated for October 2014.
Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, traveled to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan to meet with the dean of the veterinary college, veterinary faculty, and the rector of the Kyrgyz Agrarian University to explore the possibility of “twinning” with the veterinary college to improve the curriculum training for veterinarians needed to serve in the Kyrgyz National Veterinary Services. Ragan had been contacted by a veterinarian at the World Bank asking for the center’s assistance in this effort.
Ragan also traveled to Yerevan, Armenia to meet with the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture faculty to continue assisting them with training and enhancement of the Armenian veterinary infrastructure as part of a grant and ongoing partnership between the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service. Earlier this year, Cassie Wedd, then a fourth-year combined DVM/MPH student in the public and corporate track, spent a month in Armenia as part of this work, researching the understanding of zoonotic disease transmission at the human/animal interface. Ragan anticipates including additional students from the college in the project in the coming year.
Keren Rozensher, a third-year veterinary student, traveled to France this summer to continue working on a partnership initiated last summer by Ragan, between the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine and its equivalent, l’Ecole National de Services Vétérinaires in Lyon, France — the only other such public veterinary practice center in the world. Rozensher worked with faculty in France to compare programs and explore opportunities for collaboration and potential student and faculty exchanges. She also traveled around France to meet with students on externships in various agencies to learn about their programs and experiences. Potential collaborative opportunities as a result of her work are currently being explored.
Dr. Ansar Ahmed, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, visited a number of veterinary schools this summer, including the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) in India. He met with the vice-chancellor of the Indian university on Sept. 3 to discuss potential adjunct appointments and faculty exchanges to further enhance collaborative interactions with our faculty, especially in the area of regenerative medicine and infectious diseases. TANUVAS is working on a new regenerative medicine center building.
Ryder, C., T. Modise, A. Bandara, R. Jensen, G. Berg, and T.J. Inzana. 2013. Characterization of a Complemented, O-Antigen Mutant of Type A Francisella tularensis that is Attenuated and Protects Mice against Tularemia. InterSci. Conf. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2013, Denver, CO.
Dr. Michelle Theus, assistant professor of neuroscience in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, presented a manuscript on “Pronounced hypoxia in the subventricular zone following traumatic brain injury and the neural stem/progenitor cell response” at the National Neurotrauma Symposium in Nashville, Tenn., in August.
Yuan L, Wen K, Giri-Rachman E, Li G, Kocher J, Yang X, Wang H, Bui T, Weiss M. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG modulates autophagy function in T cells and myeloid cells as mechanism for adjuvant effect in rotavirus vaccine induced effector T cell responses. Late Breaking Abstract P2.10.23. 15th International Congress of Immunology. August 22-27, 2013, Milan, Italy.
Yang X, Li G, Wen K, Wang H, Kocher J, Pelzer K, Ryan E, Yuan L. Dietary rice bran supplementation protects against rotavirus diarrhea and enhances the protection rate of human rotavirus vaccine in gnotobiotic pigs. Abstract. 32nd American Society for Virology Annual Meeting. July 20-24, 2013. The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania.
Wen K, Wang H, Li G, Yang Y, Kocher J, Giri-Rachman E, Bui T, Yuan L. Evaluation of probiotic adjuvant Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for human rotavirus vaccine in a novel neonatal human gut microbiota associated gnotobiotic pig model. Abstract. 32nd American Society for Virology Annual Meeting. July 20-24, 2013. The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania.
Kocher J, Bui T, Wen K, Li G, Liu F, Yang X, Tan M, Xia M, Jiang X, and Yuan L. Simvastatin increases susceptibility to human norovirus infection by down-regulating Th1 and up-regulating regulatory T cell responses. Abstract. 32nd American Society for Virology Annual Meeting. July 20-24, 2013. The Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania.
Yuan L, Wen K, Wang H, Li G, Yang X, Kocher J, Giri-Rachman E. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG enhances virus-specific effector T cell responses induced by human rotavirus vaccine in neonatal human gut microbiota associated gnotobiotic pigs. Abstract. Immunology 2013TM AAI Annual Meeting. May 3-7, 2013. Honolulu, Hawaii.
Wu S, Liu F, Zhang Y, Li G, Wen K, Yuan L, Jun Sun. Probiotic LGG mono-association suppresses virus-induced autophagy in gnotobiotic swine intestine. Digestive Disease Week, May 18-21, 2013. Orlando, FL.
Drs. Natalia Guerrero and Noah Pavlisko presented at the 19th International Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Symposium and American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, Sept 7 - 11, 2013.
Dr. Michelle Borgarelli presented Pulmonary hypertension as secondary complication of left heart disease in dogs; Panel discussion: can signalment, history or physical examination findings increase the index of suspicion for pulmonary hypertension? ECG for Dummies (Master class for residents) at the ECVIM-CA Congress in Liverpool, Sept 12-14, 2013.
Dr. Jonathan Abbott presented Echocardiographic assessment of the canine right heart: reference intervals and repeatability at the ECVIM-CA Congress in Liverpool (Sept 12-14, 2013).
Dr. Sandra Diaz, Dermatology Presentation for Piedmont VMA, June 13, 2013 Lynchburg VA – VTH and Novartis
Dr. Ed Monroe, Endocrinology, June 20, 2013 Abingdon VA,VTH- Merial
Dr. Maria Killos, Intra-Operative Analgesia/New Pain Meds & Trouble Shooting Anesthesia. MVMA Annual Meeting, Ocean City MD, June 24, 2013
Dr. Andreas Bachelez, Use of Arthroscopy in the diagnosis and treatment of common orthopedic disease; Common Orthopedic Diseases of the Forelimb: Localization and Diagnosis; Biceps and Supraspinatus Disease in the Canine Shoulder. MVMA Annual Meeting, Ocean City MD, June 24, 201.
Dr. Andreas Bachelez, Arthroscopy and Cranial Cruciate Rupture Surgeries. Danville, VA. VTH and Elanco, Aug 21, 2013.
Inzana, T.J. 2013. Identification of Phase Variable Genes that may Contribute to Nontypable Haemophilus influenzae Nasopharyngeal Colonization in the Human Host Contributes to our Understanding of Specific Host-Pathogen Interactions. Journal of Infectious Diseases, doi: 10.1093/infdis/jit243.
Karwacki, M.T., D.E. Kadouri, M. Bendaoud, E.A. Izano, V. Sampathkumar, T.J. Inzana, and J.B. Kaplan. 2013. Antibiofilm activity of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae serotype 5 capsular polysaccharide. PLoS ONE, 8(5): e63844
Pronounced hypoxia in the subventricular zone following traumatic brain injury and the neural stem/progenitor cell response.: Baumann G, Travieso L, Liebl DJ, Theus MH. Experimental Biology and Medicine. 2013 Jul 1;238(7):830-41.
Bui T, Kocher J, Li Y, Wen K, Li G, Liu F, Yang X, LeRoith T, Tan M, Xia M, Zhong W, Jiang X, Yuan L. 2013. Median infectious dose of human norovirus GII.4 in gnotobiotic pigs is decreased by simvastatin treatment and increased by age. J. General Virology. 94:2005-2016.
Wu S, Yuan L, Zhang Y, Liu F, Li G, Wen K, Kocher J, Yang X, Sun J. 2013. Probiotic LGG mono-association suppresses virus-induced autophagy in gnotobiotic pig intestine. Gut Pathog. 5 (1):22-28.
Kemp, SD; Panciera, DL; Larson, MM; Saunders, GK; Werre, SR. A Comparison of Hepatic Sonographic Features and Histopathologic Diagnosis in Canine Liver Disease: 138 Cases. Journal Of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 27 (4):806-813; JUL 2013
Williams, JM; Panciera, DL; Larson, MM; Werre, SR. Ultrasonographic Findings of the Pancreas in Cats with Elevated Serum Pancreatic Lipase Immunoreactivity. Journal Of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 27 (4):913-918; JUL 2013
D’Amico, LL; Lanz, OI; Aulakh, KS; Butler, JR; McLaughlin, RM; Harper, TA; Werre, SR. The effects of a novel lateral extracapsular suture system on the kinematics of the cranial cruciate deficient canine stifle. Veterinary And Comparative Orthopaedics And Traumatology, 26 (4):271-279; 2013
RL Hood, RT Andrianir, S Emch, JL Robertson, CG Rylander and JH Rossmeisl published “Fiberoptic Microneedle Device Facilitates Volumetric Infusate Dispersion During Convection-Enhanced Delivery in the Brain” in 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 45:418-426 (2013).
JH Rossmeisl, C White, TE Pancotto, A Bays and PN Henao-Guerrero published “Acute Adverse Events Associated With Ventral Slot Decompression in 546 Dogs With Cervical Intervertebral Disc Disease” in Veterinary Surgery (2013) 1-12.
Sacornrattana, O; Dervisis, NG; McNiel, EA Abdominal. Ultrasonographic findings at diagnosis of osteosarcoma in dogs and association with treatment outcome. Veterinary And Comparative Oncology, 11 (3):199-207; SEP 2013
Haggstrom J, Boswood A, O’Grady M, Jons O, Smith S., Swift S, Borgarelli M, Gavaghan B, Kresken-J-G, Patteson M, Ablad B, Bussadori CM, Glaus T, Kovacevic A, Rapp M, Santilli RA, Tidholm A, Eriksson A, Belanger MC, Deinert M, Little CJL, Kvart C, French A, Ronn-Landbo M, Wess G, Eggertsdottir A, O’Sullivan ML, Schneider M, Lombard CW, Dukes-McEwan J, Willis R, Louvet A DiFrusci R. Longitudinal Analysis of quality of life, clinical, radiographic, echocardiographic, and laboratory variables in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease receiving pimobendan or benazepril: The QUEST Study J Vet Int Med 2013 Sep 6
- October 10 — Continuing Education: “GI Surgery”
- Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, Staunton, VA
- October 11 — DVM Program Admissions Counseling Session (Maryland)
- Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center, University of Maryland campus
- October 18 — Class of ’88 25th Reunion
- Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke, VA
- October 18 — VVMA / MVMA Mentor Workshop
- Blacksburg, VA
- October 24 - Continuing Education: “Forelimb Orthopedic Disease”/“Treatment of Feline Diabetes Mellitus”
- Bulls Steak House, Forest, VA
- October 29 - Continuing Education: “Commonly Performed Arthroscopic Procedures in Dogs at VT and Laryngeal Paralysis”
- Pasquale’s, Beckley, WV
- November 8 – 10 — Potomac Regional Veterinary Conference
- The Greenbrier Resort — White Sulphur Springs, WV
- November 16 — VA-MD Vet Med Homecoming Tailgate
- VA-MD Vet Med Oak Grove — Blacksburg, VA
For More Upcoming Events…
Vital Signs is published throughout the year by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
- Dean: Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig
- Produced By: Office of Public Relations and Communications
- Director: Sherrie Whaley
- Content Editor: Michael Sutphin
- Web Editors: Alison Elward, Jesse Janowiak
- Contributors: Michael Sutphin, Sherrie Whaley, Carla Craft, Lori Greiner, John Pastor
- Photographers: Alison Elward, Michael Sutphin, Logan Wallace, Sherrie Whaley, Doug Margulies