Vital Signs
May 2007


Building our Capacity to Serve

Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig Dear Friends and Colleagues,
 
Probably the greatest challenge we face is to develop the resources we need to expand our facilities, grow the college, and prepare for the future. Our space shortages are compelling, no matter what program you consider.
 
We need more instructional space to provide better working facilities for our faculty and more instructional space for a student body that will be increased in size. Similarly, we need more hospital space to support our growing clinical services and what will eventually become a larger fourth year class. Finally, we need to enlarge our research facilities, especially in areas that will support our sentinel programs in infectious disease and translational research.
 
As you will see in the story below, we are making solid progress in our work with the university administration to plan and finance the facilities we must have in order to be successful in the future.
 
It is important that all of us...as employees and students who work every day in the college to “friends” of the college who help support and guide us from afar.... understand the “systemic” nature of both the challenge and the solution.
 
Society needs more veterinarians. We are already facing serious shortages of veterinarians in public health, food safety and other key areas in “public practice.” By some estimates, we may face a critical shortage of 15,000 veterinarians by 2,025. This may seem like a few years off; however, funding and building new infrastructure and training these new classes of veterinarians will obviously take several years.
 
There are only 28 colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States and they produce only 2600 veterinarians a year. All of us who appreciate the critical role veterinary medicine must play in society in the years ahead understands the urgent need to move quickly to avert this potential crisis.
 
This summer, I will again be working closely with my colleagues in the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and the American Veterinary Medical Association to build Congressional support for the Veterinary Public Health Workforce Expansion Act on Capitol Hill. If passed, this bill will dramatically affect our ability to meet society’s future needs.
 
But we must also help ourselves. A reality for universities like ours is about half of the capital construction that must be financed in the years ahead will need to come from private support. Earning that support from donors and organizations who want to make a difference is something that will require the very best of each and every one of us every day that we are on the job.
 
We must all strive to help our programs become more relevant and more meaningful to the people we serve, whether we are prolonging the life of a beloved dog or cat, inventing a new vaccine or teaching a student the art and science of our profession. It is equally important that we continue to expand our circle of friends, and help them understand the important work we are doing in our classrooms, our laboratories and our hospitals. These things will help us achieve the public and the private support we need to do what must be done.
 
Doing good work and building relationships that can help move our college forward share an important common denominator: our people. When I think about the quality of the people we have in our midst and consider the task at hand, I look to the future with confidence. I hope you all have an enjoyable summer and I thank you for all you are doing for the VMRCVM.
 
Sincerely,  


Gerhardt G. Schurig
Dean


A Three Phase Building Program

Plans for Expansion at VMRCVM Physical plant and facilities constraints are one of the most difficult challenges faced by the college. The space crunch is becoming a critical issue in many sectors of the college’s academic, research and clinical programs. But important signs of progress are emerging in the college’s long-term capital development plan.
 
Three projects, each designed to enhance strategic programmatic development, are now in various phases of planning, design and budgeting. Funding to support the expansion of the college's physical plant complex will come from a variety of public and private resources.
 
The first of these is a $8 million research facility that is presently configured to be sited adjacent to the teaching hospital complex. Once termed the “NIH building” because of a funding formula that involved a $4 million investment from the Commonwealth of Virginia to support infectious disease research and matching funds from the National Institutes of Health, this building is now being funded exclusively from state and university funds as a result of NIH construction program funding problems.
 
As presently conceived, this building will include BSL-2 research facilities on the second floor, and include additional seminar and conferencing space on the first floor. Infrastructure will be put in place that will enable this first floor space to be converted into animal holding or laboratories at some point in the future. Groundbreaking for this project could come as early as Fall 2008.
 
Probably the most severe and the most visible space problems facing the college are in the instructional areas. The second major building project will involve the addition of a $12 million instructional facility that will help alleviate two major problems: a lack of instructional space and an inadequate faculty office situation.
 
The nation’s 28 colleges of veterinary medicine produce only about 2600 graduates per year, and experts predict a shortage of up to 15,000 veterinarians by 2025. Clearly, the colleges must increase their capacity to train and produce additional numbers of veterinarians.
 
Increasing the college’s instructional space will enable it to increase the number of students in each class from 90 to up to 130 students in the years ahead. It will also help resolve a problematic faculty office situation that underserves our faculty, is causing faculty recruitment and retention problems and could become an AVMA accreditation issue.
 
This new building will include space for approximately 40 new faculty offices and enable the college to upgrade and renovate the existing offices.
 
Final architectural planning is underway and the university is requesting funding for the Instructional Building from the state in the university's capital outlay plan for the 2008-2010 biennium. The college expects to begin construction in 2010. Partial funding will also come from capitation funds (“rent” paid by the state of Maryland for Virginia to educate Maryland students) and private funding raised through development.
 
The final building envisioned as part of the college’s major capital development initiative is a $70 million Translational Medicine Building that will provide a significant expansion of the teaching hospital and introduce new research space that will support the development of the college’s translational medicine programs.
 
The expansion of VTH space will help alleviate general space shortages and provide room to train an enlarged senior class. Tuition revenues generated through increased class sizes are expected to support the hiring of additional faculty and staff and contribute to meeting the overall cost of the facility.
 
This complex will include a 20,000 square foot addition to the VTH on the first floor, and include basic and clinical research laboratories on the second and third floors.
 
The Translational Medicine building is on the university’s capital outlay plan for the 2010 - 2012 biennium. The $70 million cost of the complex will include $35 million in state funding and $35 million raised by development.
 


College Graduates Class of 2007

VMRCVM Class of 2007 Graduates The number of veterinarians trained by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine surged past the 2,000 mark during recent graduation ceremonies honoring the class of 2007.
 
Eighty-eight new veterinarians were awarded diplomas and sworn into the profession, bringing the total number of VMRCVM DVM graduates to 2,020. The college also awarded nine Ph.D. degrees, 14 M.S. degrees and seven Certificates of Residency during the ceremony. That brings those totals to 89 Ph.D. degrees and 188 M.S. degrees.
 
After opening the ceremony with a moment of silence in honor of Dr. Bob Duncan, a faculty member who died suddenly on May 3, VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig briefly addressed the catastrophic events of April 16 at Virginia Tech when a deranged gunman shot more than 50 people, killing 32.
 
“Sorrow will live in our hearts and our memories for a long time, but we will also remember the inspiring examples of courage, strength, resolve, and humanity that are also a part of this,” he said.
 
Schurig predicted that after the university community has time to heal, it will once again be able to focus on the great achievements in discovery, learning and engagement that have made Virginia Tech a world-class university.
 
Schurig suggested that one way to honor the victims of the tragedy is to focus on achievement and enhancing the university that the victims had chosen to invest their education and their careers in.
 
“Perhaps by reaching for even higher levels of performance and achievement we can truly pay tribute to those who have perished,” he said. “This seems a noble goal.”
 
Following those remarks, Schurig introduced Dr. Greg Hammer, a long-time friend of the college who will become president of the American Veterinary Medical Association in July. Dr. Hammer congratulated the graduates, discussed the importance of the modern veterinary profession, and urged them to become active community leaders in addition to accomplished professionals.
 
The colorful pageant continued with rituals such as the administration of the “Veterinarian’s Oath,” the “Hooding Ceremony,” and the presentation of numerous awards and honors.
 
Dr. David Panciera, professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences (DSACS), was invited to address the graduating class and he shared anecdotes and advice that brought laughter and reflection.
 
Dr. Greg Svoboda, president of the Maryland Veterinary Medical Association, welcomed the new graduates into the profession on behalf of organized veterinary medicine and Dr. Lauren K. Keating, president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, administered the “Veterinarian’s Oath.”
 
Hillary H. Chase, the valedictorian of the class of 2007, was honored with the presentation of the Richard B. Talbot Award, and Dr. Lesley A. Colby was honored as the Outstanding Young Alumnus.
 


Dr. Lesley Ann Colby named Outstanding Recent Alumni

Dr. Lesley Ann Colby Dr. Lesley Ann Colby has been named the recipient of the 2006-2007 Outstanding Recent Alumni Award for the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She was honored during the college’s 2007 commencement ceremony.
 
Dr. Colby epitomizes the best qualities of a graduate of the VMRCVM, according to Dr. David Moore, assistant vice-provost for research compliance for Virginia Tech and associate professor in the VMRCVM’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.
 
“Dr. Colby has garnered national and international recognition for her tireless efforts on behalf of veterinary medicine in general, and the specialty of laboratory animal medicine in particular,” said Dr. Moore. “Her actions have influenced veterinary students across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean, and set the mark for future generations to aspire to, in service to the next generation of lab animal veterinarians.”
 
Dr. Colby is a three-time graduate of Virginia Tech. She received her B.S. in animal science in 1992, her DVM in 1996 and her MS in veterinary science-bacteriology/immunology in 1997. She was also a post-doctoral fellow in laboratory animal science in the VMRCVM from 1999-2002. In 2005, she was board certified as a diplomate by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.
 
Since 2002, she has been a clinical assistant professor in the Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine in the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan. She also held teaching appointments during her time at the VMRCVM. In addition, she has practiced mixed, small animal and exotic veterinary medicine.
 
“Dr. Colby throws herself into multiple projects and she sees all of those projects through to completion, assuring that the results are laudable, and something she can be proud of,” said Dr. Moore.
 
Dr. Colby is actively engaged in the veterinary profession through membership in a range of professional societies, serving as a reviewer on three different editorial boards of professional journals, organizing national seminars and forums, and serving in various administrative, clinical, and committee capacities at the University of Michigan. She has authored numerous articles in scientific journals and has been invited to give presentations around the country. She also serves as a consulting veterinarian to Molecular Imaging Research, Inc. in Ann Arbor.
 
To be eligible for the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, recipients must be graduates of the past ten years and each should have distinguished him or herself professionally in his/her career or in rendering service to the university since graduating. The faculty of each college nominates and decides upon the recipient for their individual college.
 


Binder Recieves Outstanding Student Award and Others

Daniel Binder Daniel Binder, of Melville, New York, a 2007 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, was recently honored by the university as the outstanding student in the VMRCVM for the 2006-2007 academic year.
 
The Virginia Tech Alumni Association annually sponsors the Outstanding Student Awards, which recognize exceptional performance by a graduating student from each college within the university. Students and faculty of each of the eight colleges select the recipients.
 
Binder, who previously earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia, has served as a research assistant in the Center for Comparative Oncology and has conducted research projects in veterinary clinical ophthalmology.
 
Binder has excelled academically and ranked fourth in his graduating class. In addition to the Outstanding Student Award, he was presented with several additional awards during the VMRCVM Graduation Awards Luncheon held May 11, 2007.
 
These awards include: the American College of Veterinary Opthamologists’ Senior Award, the Auxiliary to the American Veterinary Medical Association Award, the Charles J. Gose, Jr. Endowed Award, the Jefferson Area Veterinary Medical Association Award, and the Roseanne Robertson Memorial Award for Ophthalmology. He has also been elected to membership in the National Society of Phi Zeta, Chi Chapter.
 


Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine Offers Online Prep Course

The college’s Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM) recently conducted an online preparatory course for veterinarians preparing for board certification by the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine (ACVPM). The Center coordinated this course in collaboration with Western Kentucky University.
 
“We recognize that many of the diplomates of the ACVPM are in public and corporate veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Katherine Feldman, assistant director of the CPCVM and a leader of this prep course. “Therefore, we are furthering our mission by enabling veterinarians to pass the board examinations.”
 
While the Center has offered similar prep courses in the past, this is the first time it delivered the course using distance-learning technology, according to Dr. Feldman. The change was made to better meet the needs of the individuals interested in taking the course and to take advantage of the rapidly developing instructional technology. Thirty-eight veterinarians participated from around the nation and the globe, including registrants from Kuwait, Iraq, and Australia.
 
The course was taught using Blackboard, a common online course management system, and was coordinated by the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach (DELO) at Western Kentucky University. Experts in the varied subject areas of veterinary preventive medicine were invited to guest lecture from the comfort of their own offices, some from as far away as California and Montana.
 
Each week, the featured presenter provided approximately 1.5-2 hours of PowerPoint presentations that were posted to the course website; participants had access to the presentations at any time during the course. Presenters also conducted an interactive online chat, conference call or other interactive discussion during the scheduled week of their presentation.
 
Topics that were covered include epidemiology and biostatistics; food safety; environmental health; toxicology; public health policy and administration; infectious diseases; and current topics in veterinary preventive medicine.
 
“We hope the pass rate for the examination offered in mid-June will increase for those who participated in this review course,” said Dr. Feldman.
 
For more information on the prep course, please contact Dr. Katherine Feldman at kfeldman@umd.edu
 


Feldman Attends US Army Veterinary Corps Educator Tour

Dr. Katherine Feldman Dr. Katherine Feldman, assistant director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (CPCVM), recently represented the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) at a U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Educator Tour. The event was held April 15-18 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.
 
“I was impressed with both the welcome the Army showed us, and the opportunities for professional development and advancement in many different areas within the profession available to Army veterinarians,” said Dr. Feldman.
 
The tour showcased the career path and training of Veterinary Corps Officers in the U.S. Army for representatives from each of the 28 colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States. Fort Sam Houston is the home of all Army medicine and has the highest concentration of Veterinary Corps Officers in the world.
 
The tour began with opening remarks and an overview of the Veterinary Corps by Brigadier General Michael Cates. Other highlights of the tour included the animal medicine training facility, the food safety and defense facility, the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Center at Lackland Air Force Base, the Institute for Surgical Research, the Army Medical Department Museum, and a field demonstration of tactical veterinary capabilities. The visit culminated with an awards dinner on the night of April 17.
 
In addition to providing health care to government animals and the pets of service men and women, Army Veterinary Corps Officers are responsible for a variety of programs. These include such tasks as ensuring the safety and security of Department of Defense food supplies, research and development in a wide range of focus areas and supporting veterinary public health programs around the world.
 
“After participating in this tour, I feel I can better inform students and my colleagues about the opportunities provided by the military and possibly correct some misconceptions about life as a military veterinarian,” said Dr. Feldman.
 
Established in the early 1990’s, the college’s Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine helps provide public training experiences with government agencies like the FDA and private organizations such as Sea World for veterinary students from the VMRCVM and other veterinary students from around the nation.
 


First Annual Lisa Marie Tedora Lecture Held

Lisa Marie Tedora The first annual “Lisa Marie Tedora Lecture” was held April 25 in Classroom 100 on the Blacksburg campus of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM). Dr. Susan Barnes of the Animal Emergency Hospital and Referral Center in Leesburg, Virginia gave the inaugural lecture on “Gastric dilatation and volvulus syndrome (GDV)”.
 
The Lisa Marie Tedora Lecture Series in Critical Care/Emergency Medicine is supported by the Lisa Marie Tedora Memorial Fund. These annual lectures are held each spring and address cutting edge issues, diagnostics and treatments related to critical care/emergency veterinary medicine. All lectures are offered to VMRCVM students at no charge.
 
“We’re very pleased to see the first lecture in the ‘Tedora Memorial’ series come to fruition, as it has been made possible by a collective effort by Lisa's family, co-workers and friends,” said Amanda Hall, assistant director of development for the VMRCVM, whose office oversees the administration of the memorial fund.
 
The fund was established by memorial donations made by family and friends in memory of Dr. Lisa Marie Tedora. Dr. Tedora, a member of the VMRCVM’s class of 2000, passed away on April 22, 2006 in her home in Manassas, Virginia after a courageous battle against melanoma.
 
Tedora was a graduate of Yale University where she received her B.S. in English. During her time at the VMRCVM, she focused specifically on equine and small animal medicine.
 
After graduation, Dr. Tedora practiced veterinary medicine at Animal Emergency Hospital and Referral Center in Leesburg, Virginia. She was a member of the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and she founded the Creature Comforts Veterinary Care practice to provide acupuncture services to companion animals. She was also an avid horsewoman and was a member of the Virginia Dressage Association.
 
“The lecture series serves as a cheerful reminder of how Dr. Tedora’s life was spent, helping animals and people and being dedicated to emergency medicine and critical care,” said Hall. “We look forward to growing the Lisa Marie Tedora Memorial Fund to continue to make these lectures possible.”
 
If you are interested in contributing to the Lisa Marie Tedora Memorial Fund or desire more information, please call 540-231-4259 or visit www.vetmed.vt.edu/development/waystogive.asp and click the link for the online giving page.
 


VMRCVM Hosts Parasitology Meeting

Parasitology Meeting Worms and parasites may make for unpleasant conversation, but they remain a major health and productivity threat for both companion and agricultural animals.
 
Veterinarians have a variety of “de-worming” agents at their disposal, yet these organisms often develop a resistance to the drugs that have been devised to control them.
 
Strategies for dealing with the development of this drug resistance was one of the topics discussed when more than 30 scientists from scientific and educational institutions from throughout the southeastern United States and Caribbean convened at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech for the 2007 spring meeting of the Southern Consortium for Small Ruminant Parasite Control (SCSRPC).
 
The mission of the SCSRPC is to develop and validate novel methods for sustainable control of gastrointestinal nematodes in small ruminants and to educate stakeholders in the small ruminant industry on methods and recommendations for gastrointestinal nematode control, according to consortium participant Dr. Anne Zajac, associate professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.
 
The annual meeting allows participants the opportunity to discuss ideas and collaborate on projects for parasite control in small ruminants.
 
“Internal parasites of small ruminants are the biggest health problem goat and sheep producers in the U.S. face,” said Zajac. “The problem has become very serious recently because there is widespread drug resistance in the most important worm, Hemonchus contortus, also known as the barber pole worm.”
 
The barber pole worm sucks blood from its host, which can cause the animal to become anemic and die. Other symptoms include loss of weight, poor growth, unthriftiness, and a marked decrease in milk production.
 
The SCSRPC was established to develop new ways to effectively control these parasites by preserving effective drugs and slowing the rate of development of drug resistance.
 
For more information on the SCSRPC, please visit their website: www.scsrpc.org
 


19th Annual Research Symposium Focuses on Virology

Research Symposium Virginia Tech has made a commitment to develop academic depth in the study of host-pathogen-environment interactions as an approach to infectious disease control and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine is playing a central role in that effort.
 
So choosing virology as the theme of the college’s 2007 Research Symposium was a timely and natural thing to do.
 
Several virologists recruited as part of a “cluster hire” project supported by the Commonwealth Research Initiative made presentations during the opening phases of the symposium, and appropriately, Dr. X.J. Meng, one of the college’s leading scientists in this effort, was awarded the annual Pfizer Award for Research Excellence during related ceremonies.
 
After opening comments from Dean Gerhardt Schurig and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Roger Avery, four members of the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) made presentations on some of their research initiatives.
 
Dr. Chris Roberts, associate professor, DBSP, began the faculty seminars with a presentation entitled “The Viral ‘Predisposed State’: Host Pathogen Reponses Leading to Viral: Bacterial Synergistic Enhancement of Disease.”
 
Dr. Lijuan Yuan, assistant professor, DBSP, followed with “Determinants of Protective Immunity Against Rotavirus Studied in the Gnotobiotic Pig Model of Human Rotavirus Infection and Disease.”
 
Dr. X.J. Meng, associate professor, DBSP, then gave a presentation entitled “Emerging and Zoonotic Viruses of Veterinary and Public Health Importance: Mechanisms of Replication and Pathogenesis and Vaccine Developments.”
 
Finally, Dr. Elankumaran Subbiah, assistant professor, DBSP, concluded the faculty seminars with his presentation entitled “Genetically Engineered Newcastle Disease Virus as an Oncolytic Agent.
 
As is traditional, graduate students in their last year of study presented their research in fifteen-minute time slots in the morning as part of a faculty adjudicated awards competition and other students participated in a poster session. Awards were provided for best presentations and best poster session in the Basic and Clinical Science categories.
 
The first place award for graduate student presentations went to Oscar Peralta; second place was awarded to Jennifer Gillespie; and the third place award was presented to Amy Wang.
 
The first place award for the graduate student poster session competition went to Claudio Gutierrez; second place went to Murali Mallela; and third place went to Naveen Surendran.
 
Two other awards which recognize staff performance and achievement within the research and graduate studies division were presented during the concluding ceremony. Cindy Booth was honored with the Research &amo; Graduate Studies Dedicated Service Award and Alba Hall was honored with the Outstanding Co-Worker Award.
 
Begun in 1989 to showcase the college’s research accomplishments and activities, the college’s annual research symposium is considered one of the oldest continuing research symposia at the university.
 


Dr. X. J. Meng Honored with Pfizer Award for Research Excellence

Dr. X.J. Meng Dr. X.J. Meng, a physician and Ph.D. virologist in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) at Virginia Tech, was awarded the prestigious Pfizer Award for Research Excellence during ceremonies associated with the college’s 2007 Research Symposium.
 
“Dr. Meng is a prolific researcher whose work enjoys an international reputation,” said VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. “His research initiatives in virology serve at the nucleus of a major research initiative at Virginia Tech and we are very pleased to see him honored in this way.”
 
Meng, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP), operates a world-renowned laboratory in the college’s Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases (CMMID) that is exploring Hepatitis E virus as well as several other zoonotic diseases.
 
His research interests include studying the molecular mechanisms of viral replication and pathogenesis, developing vaccines against viral diseases, the study of emerging and re-emerging zoonotic viral diseases, human, swine and avian Hepatitis E viruses, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and porcine circovirus.
 
Meng is also serving on a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Scientific Review Team for the Drug Discovery and Mechanisms of Antimicrobial Resistance Study Section. Members of study sections review grant applications submitted to NIH, and make recommendations to the appropriate NIH committees and advisory boards.
 
Prior to joining the VMRCVM in 1999, Meng served as Senior Staff Fellow of the Molecular Hepatitis Section of the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
 
Dr. Meng earned an M.D. from Binzhou Medical College in Binzhou, Shandong, People’s Republic of China; a M.S. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Virus Research Institute, Wuhan University College of Medicine, Wuhan, Hubei, Peoples Republic of China; and a Ph.D. in Immunobiology from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Preventive Medicine at the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
 


Kaur Leaves University Veterinarian Post

Dr. Kaur Taranjit Kaur has resigned as University Veterinarian and director of Laboratory Animal Resources in order to accept a position as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.
 
Kaur received a prestigious five-year National Science Foundation CAREER grant in 2003 to develop a “wholistic” system for the integration of technology, research, and education. She will be departing for Tanzania soon to conduct field research on a year-long research project designed to establish a health monitoring system for chimpanzees in the region.
 
“It has been a busy and exciting time working with you all … as we strive to increase the university’s research profile,” Kaur wrote in a note to the university’s faculty. “I wish you all the best with your research endeavors. I hope you like the new Life Sciences vivarium — I think you will.”
 
David M. Moore, associate vice president for research compliance, will serve as acting University Veterinarian and director of Laboratory Animal Resources. Contact David Moore about matters related to those positions at 231-4991.
 


New Security Protocols Being Implemented

Employees who have been with the VMRCVM since the mid 1980’s may remember a time when all employees were required to wear identification badges at work.
 
Those regulations were relaxed after the retirement of founding Dean Richard Talbot, but they are being implemented again as part of a series of new security protocols designed to shore up security in the college.
 
“We are a biomedical research institution and medical center,” notes VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. “Unfortunately, we live in a era when we need to be more vigilant in protecting our college from threats ranging from theft to terrorism.”
 
A comprehensive new security program has been devised for the college and will be fully implemented during the summer of 2007.
 
A central component of the new security program is to have every employee and student realize the personal responsibility they have to help maintain a safe and secure environment in the college.
 
Employees and students will be encouraged to recognize and address outsiders on premise who are not wearing an appropriate identification badge. Employees are also required to participate in one of two security seminars offered by the Virginia Tech Police Department. Those who cannot schedule the seminar must go through the security orientation experience through a video presentation.
 
During the first security seminar, Veterinary Teaching Hospital Administrator Dr. Rick Hiller and Officer Jeff Allen of Virginia Tech’s Crime Prevention Unit addressed a crowd of several hundred college employees and students on the new program.
 
Hiller explained the impetus for the new program and discussed some of the new procedures and protocols associated with it. Officer Allen then explained that with 30 to 40,000 people on campus at a given point in time, Virginia Tech functions as a small city. And like any city, he said, a variety of crimes can occur.
 
Those threats include threats to life and property, theft, workplace violence related to domestic incidents and work grievances, and terrorism.
 
Allen explained that all employees will be issued identification badges with magnetized strips for electronic lock deactivation that are very similar to the Hokie Passport identification cards. Employees will be required to wear them at all times in all places while in the VMRCVM. Plans call for the installation of seven to eight new doors with electronic locks that will require badges for activation.
 
Visitors will have to sign in and sign out through various entry points in the complex and should be escorted while they are on the premises.
 


Exchange Program with Chilean University Enhanced

Valdavia, Chile Three senior VMRCVM officials recently traveled to Valdavia, Chile as part of the continued development of a comprehensive exchange program with the University of Austral.
 
VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Dr. Roger Avery and Dr. Bettye Walters, Director of International Programs, met with their counterparts to refine a November 2005 Memorandum of Understanding that created a comprehensive exchange program.
 
The exchange program will now include three components, according to Dr. Walters, who is based on the VMRCVM’s College Park, Maryland campus.
 
One phase is designed to create an “Honors Research Program” that encourages University of Austral students to become more interested in research.
 
The Veterinary Clinical Student Exchange Program is designed to enable veterinary students at each institution to undertake clinical experiences through programs operated at the counterpart school, according to Dr. Walters.
 
For example, rising VMRCVM third year student Melinda Cep will spend six weeks in Chile this summer working with an aquaculture program that produces salmon. Similarly, Chilean veterinary students might undertake clinical experiences with American based Banfield hospitals and others.
 
A third component of the program is designed to foster exchange experiences for graduate students studying at each university, Walters said.
 
VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig began working on the exchange relationship with the University of Austral several years ago. Both the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech are now involved with the program.
 


More Owners Selecting Equine Elective Surgery

Equine Surgery A greater number of owners are choosing to have elective surgeries, typically defined as non-emergency procedures, performed on their horses at Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. The center’s five board certified surgeons completed almost 500 such treatments in 2006 as compared to only 400 similar operations one decade earlier – a 20% increase since 1996.
 
Dr. Nat White, Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and Director at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, reports that clients now have a variety of options for addressing ailments and afflictions that, although not life-threatening, can inhibit their horse’s performance or reduce the quality of the animal’s life.
 
“Non-emergency conditions such as bone chips and ligament injuries, can be treated more effectively than in the past,” said White. “This is an exciting time for equine surgeons because new technologies and techniques are allowing us to correct many of these abnormalities and return horses to full health.”
 
According to Dr. Kimberly May, medical/science writer for the American Veterinary Medical Association, the ease with which information concerning these modalities can be accessed through resources such as the Internet has contributed to the rising number of clients opting for elective treatments.
 
“Animal owners are becoming more educated about their animals’ health and well-being, and they may be more likely now to opt for a surgery that may not be life-saving, but will improve the animal’s quality of life,” said May.
 
Advancements in both diagnostic technology and clinical application have made it easier for surgeons to diagnose and correct equine maladies through various means including arthroscopy, tumor excision, cisplatin bead implantation, ventriculocordectomy, enucleation and suspensory tendon splitting. New anesthetics and modern monitoring techniques make elective surgery safe with improved prognosis.
 
“We are discovering injuries that previously went unnoticed because we did not have the diagnostic capabilities that are available today such as MRI,” said Dr. Ken Sullins, professor of equine surgery. “New surgical tools, including lasers and scopes, are making these injuries much easier to detect and treat.”
 
Also adding to the appeal of elective surgeries is the expanded availability of minimally invasive surgical methods.
 
“Not only are the patients more comfortable, but these minimally invasive techniques cause considerably less damage to soft tissue and involve a shorter recuperation time,” said Dr. Sarah Dukti, clinical assistant professor in emergency care and equine surgery.
 
The unique university setting allows faculty members at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center to pursue cutting-edge treatments that may not be found in a standard practice.
 
“All patients are different,” said Dr. Alison Smith, clinical assistant professor in anesthesia. “You need people with different experiences and educational backgrounds to maximize care and to introduce new and innovative techniques for the horse world.”
 


EMC Helps Sponsor Horse Council's Legislative Trail Ride

Dr. Martin Furr Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center recently helped sponsor the Virginia Horse Council's 2007 Legislative Trail Ride. The two-day event, which was held May 11-12 in Leesburg, is intended to raise awareness of the Virginia Horse Industry among local and state legislators.
 
As part of the Legislative Trail Ride, legislators and other invited guests attended a barbecue at the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center on the evening of Friday, May 11. Remarks were shared by EMC Council Chair and Virginia Tech Board of Visitors member Mrs. Shelley Duke and the event featured, food, fellowship, tours of the facility and educational activities for children with a focus on veterinary medicine.
 
About a dozen members of the Virginia General Assembly attended the event, as well as more than 20 officials from Loudoun County, Faquier County and the City of Leesburg.
 
Legislative Trail Ride The Legislative Trail Ride is an annual family weekend that has been held at various locations throughout Virginia for 27 years. This year, the trail rides were held at historic Morven Park in Leesburg.
 
The Virginia Horse Council is a nonprofit organization formed by horsemen for horsemen. The membership and Board of Directors represent all breeds. More information about the Virginia Horse Council is available online at www.virginiahorsecouncil.org.
 


College Dealing with Aftermath of Virginia Tech Tragedy

Daisy Faculty, staff and students in the VMRCVM, as well as those from throughout the Virginia Tech community, are continuing to deal with the aftermath of the April 16 tragedy.
 
As was the case around the university, many people rose to respond to the demands of the emergency with acts of selfless dedication and compassion.
 
“I am very proud of how our people responded to this emergency,” said VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig. “Many of our faculty, staff and students rose to do whatever it took to keep our essential services in operation under extremely difficult circumstances, and many others reached out to help others affected more directly by this catastrophe.”
 
While the university was closed for a week, the college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, like any other hospital, had to continue operations and care for sick and injured animals. Many employees devoted extra time to make sure all duty stations were covered.
 
Students involved in the Animal Welfare Foster Program took animals over to West Ambler Johnston, the residence hall that was the site of the first two murders, to provide informal pet therapy for some of the students, according to Anna Barnes, a member of the Class of 2008.
 
The college is conducting a review of internal communication procedures in an effort to determine if any improvements in protocols and employee training can refine its emergency response systems.
 


VMRCVM’s Bob Duncan Passes Away

Dr. Bob Duncan Dr. Robert Duncan, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech passed away suddenly on May 3.
 
Known to many in the college and university community as a congenial and engaging professional with a great enthusiasm for the outdoors, Bob is survived by his wife Susan and ten-year old daughter Taylor.
 
“Dr. Bob Duncan was a very capable and highly respected veterinary pathologist, and additionally, was an excellent teacher, mentor, and role model for our students and junior faculty,” said Dr. Lud Eng, head of the DBSP. “He was both a friend and a colleague to everyone who knew him, and his absence from our college community will be grievously felt by all.”
 
Whether dressing up as Santa Claus for the annual Omega Tau Sigma “Pets with Santa” photo project, joking with colleagues and students while wearing one of his trademark bolo ties, participating in the annual “Relay for Life,” or working on cases in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Bob was deeply engaged in many parts of community life in the VMRCVM.
 
After earning his undergraduate and DVM degrees from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Bob spent several years in private practice in Pennsylvania. In 1986, he entered a combined graduate degree/clinical residency program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He concluded a clinical residency in veterinary pathology and was awarded a Ph.D. in Comparative and Environmental Medicine from the University of Tennessee in 1991. He earned board certification from the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 1993.
 
From 1991-1996, Bob served as director and diagnostician of the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Wytheville Regional Diagnostic Laboratory.
 
He joined the faculty of the VMRCVM at Virginia Tech in 1996, where he has spent the last 11 years teaching veterinary pathology in the DVM professional program, clinical residency, and graduate degree programs in the biomedical and veterinary sciences. Bob also worked in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s Necropsy (animal form of human autopsy) Service, where he characterized the disease states and injuries that led to patient mortality, and the Biopsy Service, where tissue specimens and other samples were used to diagnose disease.
 
As a student, he received a number of honors, including the C.L. Davis Foundation Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Veterinary Pathology, and the Phi Zeta award. He was also awarded the Norden Distinguished Teaching Award, which is the highest honor the college bestows for teaching excellence. He had served as faculty advisor for Omega Tau Sigma (OTS), a veterinary service organization since 1997. Dr. Duncan was a member of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Charles Louis Davis Foundation for the Advancement of Veterinary Pathology.
 
The Bob Duncan Memorial Diagnostic Pathology Award has been established in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in order to honor Bob's life and contributions. Donations to the memorial scholarship fund should be made out to "VA Tech Foundation, Inc." (with "Bob Duncan Memorial" included on the check memo line) and forwarded to Dr. Frank Pearsall, director of development in the VMRCVM. For more information, call 231-4259.
 
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