Vital Signs

November 2010


Instructional addition design receives approval

Dear friends and colleagues,

We have exciting news to report at VMRCVM: the second part of the transformation and expansion of the college's main campus has reached the next stage of reality. We are pleased to announce that the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors has given final approval to the designs for the college's new Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition (VMIA). The approval, which was granted at the Board of Visitor's November 8 meeting, caps more than a year and a half of intense planning of the building's designs.

Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors recently approved the designs for the college's new Veterinary Medicine Instruction Addition (VMIA).

As you read this, we are in the process of selecting a contractor for the project. Construction on the addition should begin next fall - just as construction on the college's Infectious Disease Research Facility is completed - and will last for approximately 18 months. When completed, the 22,000 square-foot addition will help us physically accommodate the expansion of our class sizes and faculty. By adding 30 to 40 new offices and renovating existing office space, the VMIA will help alleviate a critical shortage of office space at the college. Importantly, the addition will also provide much-needed instructional space and state-of-the art laboratories to accommodate an increase in the size of the VMRCVM student body.

A rendering of the final design, which proudly incorporates Hokie Stone as a key visual element in the facade, can be viewed to the right.

There are still opportunities for you to be a part of the financial development of the instructional addition, and I encourage you to be an active part in the future of college. The design and construction cost of the new addition will total approximately $14 million, and we are still seeking donors to participate in this funding. Additionally, we have recently renovated and reseated the first-year classroom to receive more students - and opportunities exist for you to become part of this renovation. To help pay for the expansion of the college to accommodate more students, a naming opportunity for the new seats is available.

The college's focus on the future continues to sharpen as the transformation of our main campus in Blacksburg moves forward. We thank our stakeholders, including the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, for their ongoing support. As always, I look forward to hearing your feedback and input.

With best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season,

Gerhardt G. Schurig, DVM, Ph.D.
Dean
 

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In This Issue

 

 

Featured Stories


Toxicology expert receives prestigious research award

Dr. Marion Ehrich

Dr. Marion Ehrich (left), professor of pharmacology and toxicology, was recently awarded the prestigious Pfizer Award for Research Excellence by Dr. Roger Avery, senior associate dean for Research & Graduate Studies.

Dr. Marion Ehrich, professor of pharmacology and toxicology, was awarded the prestigious Pfizer Award for Research Excellence during ceremonies associated with VMRCVM's 22nd Annual Research Symposium, held at the college's Blacksburg campus last month.

"Dr. Ehrich's research excellence and the impact of her research results on the field have made her a recognized world leader in the field of neurotoxicology," said Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the college. "Her career in research epitomizes the excellence in research we all strive to achieve."

The Pfizer award, established in 1985, is a nationally recognized award sponsored by Pfizer Animal Health, a division of healthcare giant, Pfizer, Inc. The purpose of this award is to "foster innovative research, on which the scientific advancement of the profession depends, by recognizing outstanding research effort and productivity."

Ehrich, who serves as co-director of the Laboratory for Neurotoxicity Studies at the college, is a pioneer in the use of in vitro systems for mechanistic studies and safety assessment in neurotoxicology. Additionally, Ehrich is a well-respected and recognized global leader in the mechanisms of organophosphorus ester-induced delayed neuropathy.

Ehrich joined the veterinary college faculty in 1980, and she has maintained a sustained extramurally funded research program on the acute metabolic and toxic effects of pesticides and mycotoxins. Over the course of her career, Erich has been awarded millions of dollars in funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and numerous industry sectors to conduct cutting-edge research in the field of neurotoxicology.

She has published more than 170 peer-reviewed research articles and reviews in prestigious journals in her field.

Ehrich is past president of the Society of Toxicology, and she has been sought after to serve on many prestigious national advisory committees and panels, such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and as an expert consultant for many government agencies and industry.

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Leading Department of Defense veterinarian joins VMRCVM faculty

Dr. Gary Vroegindewey

Dr. Gary Vroegindewey has joined the faculty of the college's Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Gary Vroegindewey, former director of the U.S. Department of Defense Veterinary Service Activity and assistant chief in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, has joined the faculty of the college's Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine.

Vroegindewey brings to the college a wealth of global health experience ranging from working in key roles with dairy production in South America, food safety in Egypt, and Avian Influenza global planning to developing international training programs for the Middle East. He currently serves as an advisor to the Committee on International Veterinary Affairs-American Veterinary Medical Association and is the incoming chairman of the International Affairs Committee- Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. He was awarded the 2010 AVMA XIIth International Congress Prize for contributions to the understanding of global veterinary medicine.

In his new position, Vroegindewey will develop and teach new courses, creating experiential opportunities for students and graduates, and build strategic partnerships among the public, private, and professional sectors. In addition, he will lead branding, marketing, and communications capability programs to promote the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Vroegindewey is joining us as we expand the activities of the center," said Dr. Valerie Ragan, director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. "He is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in veterinary public health and disaster management and brings incredible experience in leadership and organizational development."

Vroegindewey has served in a variety of senior Veterinary Corps positions, including as director of Department of Defense Veterinary Services with policy, oversight, and interagency coordination of veterinary services worldwide through more than 700 Army veterinarians and 2000 support personnel and culminating as Assistant Chief of the Veterinary Corps in the Office of the Surgeon General-Army. He has published numerous articles on veterinary professional development and has delivered more than 200 presentations on food safety, disaster management, One Health, global strategic environment, and international public health. He is past president of the American Veterinary Medical History Society.

Vroegindewey began his career in 1978 in private clinical practice including service as associate, partner, and owner of multiple practices. He received a BA in Zoology from the University of Missouri and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri-College of Veterinary Medicine n 1978. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and holds a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the Army War College.

VMRCVM's Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, located on the University of Maryland College Park campus, trains veterinary students from North American veterinary colleges for careers in public practice.


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AVMA revises Veterinarian's Oath to stress importance of animal welfare

veterinarian's oath

VMRCVM graduates recite the Veterinarian's Oath.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has revised the Veterinarian's Oath-which all graduates of U.S. veterinary schools take-to stress the importance of animal welfare.

The revision, approved by the AVMA Executive Board at its meeting this month, is as follows: "Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge."

"The Veterinarian's Oath reflects every veterinarian's aspirations for themselves and the veterinary profession," says Dr. Bruce Nixon, Chair-Elect of the Animal Welfare Committee. "It's a promise that each veterinarian makes at graduation, so these words have tremendous meaning. The Animal Welfare Committee recommended these changes to emphasize that veterinarians have responsibilities not only to animal health but also to animal welfare."

"These changes make it clear that the scope of veterinarians' efforts toward improving animal welfare include not only treatment, but also prevention of suffering and promotion of good welfare, which is consistent with today's approach to veterinary practice," adds Dr. Gail Golab, Director of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Division.

For more information, please visit www.avma.org.

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New seat-naming opportunity available at the college

Seat naming

A naming opportunity for the new seats in classroom 125 has been created at $5000 per seat, payable over five years.

The first-year classroom has been renovated and re-seated to accommodate future growth of the college.

To help pay for the expansion of the college to accommodate more students and to give supporters a way to make a lasting personal mark, a naming opportunity for the new seats has been created at $5000 per seat, payable over five years. A pdf of the new seating is available online to help supporters select seats and determine how their names will appear on the brass plaque. The completed seating form should be mailed to the college's Office of Development.

Ongoing support is crucial to veterinary medical education and the future growth of the college. Learn more

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Pet portraits with Santa: This Saturday, December 4

Pet portraits with Santa

The Pet portraits with Santa event will be held on Saturday, Dec. 4.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine will offer its annual opportunity for pets to meet and get photographed with Santa Claus this Saturday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the college's Blacksburg campus.

Cats, dogs, and exotics (no reptiles) are welcome. All pets must be contained or on a leash.

Photographs will be taken at the veterinary college. Signs will direct visitors to the event and ample parking will be available. Packages of portraits will be offered and details will be available on-site. The photos can be picked up at the college.

The program is being presented by the college's Omega Tau Sigma service fraternity, a veterinary student organization that provides a variety of community services.

For more information, please contact Julie Gillem.

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VMRCVM's regional veterinary collaboration moving forward

VMAs

Regional veterinary medical association presidents visit Blacksburg. (l to r) Dr. Bill Tyrrell of the VVMA, Dr. Tom Isaac, Jr., of the WVVMA, Dr. Gerhardt G. Schurig, dean of the college, Dr. John Kable of the MVMA, and Dr. Patricia Bennett of the DCVMA.

The Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA), Maryland VMA, West Virginia VMA, and the District of Columbia VMA recently met on the college's Blacksburg campus to discuss ways to improve relations among the groups. On Oct. 15, leaders from the four VMAs held a first-of-its-kind planning meeting. Among highlights of the meeting, the groups discussed partnering for a joint conference that would be held next fall in the Washington, D.C. area. The four VMAs also considered offering members of each VMA "member rates" to attend regional partner meetings.

Expressing his support for the collaboration, Michael Watts, VMRCVM Alumni Society president, said, "We have always been proud of the regional cooperation that is characteristic of our alma mater. It is only natural that the VMAs of the states where most of us live would come together for the benefit of all veterinarians in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C."

Last summer, the MVMA meeting in Ocean City was opened to the DCVMA and also the Northern Virginia VMA, offering a public practice continuing education series.

Historically, the VMRCVM has enjoyed a good relationship with both the VVMA and MVMA. Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the college, continues to support this relationship and to expand relations with the WVVMA and the DCVMA in the spirit of improving regional cooperation.

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Awards & Honors


Awards & Accolades Roundup

Dr. Jennifer Barrett, assistant professor of equine surgery at the equine medical center, received a grant from the Virginia Horse Industry Board (VHIB) to continue her research using platelet rich plasma (PRP) to promote healing of orthopedic injuries in horses.

Alison Elward, web communications manager in the Office of Public Relations & Communications, was chosen as VMRCVM's Staff Member of the Month for November 2010.

Dr. Caroline Kiss, assistant professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, achieved diplomate status with the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

Dr. Michael S. Leib, C.R. Roberts Professor of Small Animal Medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. Martha M. Larson, professor of radiology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. David L. Panciera, Anne Hunter Professor of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. Gregory C. Troy, Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Dr. W. Edward Monroe, professor of internal medicine in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and Dr. John H. Rossmeisl, Jr., associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, were among the coauthors of the paper Diagnostic Utility of Abdominal Ultrasonography in Dogs with Chronic Vomiting in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Dr. David S. Lindsay, professor of parasitology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology, attended the Brazilian Congress of Veterinary Parasitology, Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. He gave two invited presentations.

Dr. Harold McKenzie, associate professor of equine medicine, and Dr. Martin Furr, professor and Adelaide C. Riggs Chair in Equine Medicine received a grant from the Virginia Horse Industry Board to examine how antibodies administered via aerosol to horses' lungs can help reduce the incidence and severity of lung diseases. They will work with internal medicine resident, Dr. Dale Beebe.

Carolyn Sink, supervisor of VTH Diagnostic & Support Services, was one of four recipients of the Virginia Tech Outstanding Performance in Labs Award.

Dr. D. Phillip Sponenberg, professor of pathology and genetics in the Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology, spoke at the annual meeting of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

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2010 Research Symposium award winners

Congratulations to the award winners from the VMRCVM's 22nd Annual Research Symposium, held at the college on Friday, Nov. 19. During the symposium, graduate students in their last year of study presented research in 15-minute time slots. All other graduate students participated in the research symposium with some selected to present in posters.

Prizes were awarded for the best oral and poster presentations in masters and Ph.D. student categories.

Pfizer Award for Research Excellence
Dr. Marion Ehrich
Dr. Marion Ehrich
Professor of pharmacology & toxicology
Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology
 
 
Research Staff Co-Worker
Recognition Award

Ed Wilson
Ed Wilson
Facilities Maintenance Technician
Outstanding Contribution
Award

Sandy Hancock
Sandy Hancock
Laboratory Specialist
 
Outstanding MS Poster
Catherine Lenox
Catherine Lenox
Outstanding MS Poster
Robin Fontenot
Robin Fontenot
 
Outstanding PhD Poster
Thomas Cecere
Thomas Cecere
Outstanding PhD Poster
Deena Khan
Deena Khan
 
Outstanding MS
Presentation

Erik Noschka
Erik Noschka
Outstanding MS
Presentation

Sara Smith
Sara Smith
 
Outstanding PhD
Presentation

Hedie Bustamante
Hedie Bustamante
Outstanding PhD
Presentation

Neeta Jain
Neeta Jain
 
Outstanding PhD
Presentation

Shobana Raghunath
Shobana Raghunath

View the full award photo gallery.

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VMRCVM farrier participates in World Equestrian Games

Travis Burns, VTH farrier

Travis Burns, VTH farrier, served as an official farrier at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3.

Travis Burns, farrier at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, served as an official farrier at the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., from Sept. 30 through Oct. 3.

The World Equestrian Games are held every four years, comprised of the world championships for eight equestrian sports. Burns was chosen to participate after being selected by the American Farriers Association (AFA).

The selection process included a rigorous application to ensure that the farriers were qualified and capable of maintaining the hooves of the world-class horses participating in the international event.

At the World Equestrian Games, Burns was part of an onsite team that provided services to the world's best eventing riders. He also spent time promoting the AFA to the public while educating them on the duties of a farrier.

During the games, he had the opportunity to work with farriers from all over the world. In observing and communicating with other farriers, Burns said he experienced differences in shoeing strategies and learned new techniques. "It really pushed me to become a better farrier every day," he said.

Burns began working at the veterinary college last February. Dr. David R. Hodgson, Department Head of the Large Animal Clinical Sciences, said, "It has been an honor having Travis join us as the inaugural farrier for our podiatry service. His unique skill set was highlighted by him being chosen for the prestigious position as an onsite farrier for the World Equestrian Games."

Burns holds a number of responsibilities at the college, one of which is providing services to clients with a need for specialized farriery in a therapeutic situation. Burns assists with teaching in both clinical situations as well as in the classroom. He also serves as a resource and ambassador on behalf of the college for other regional farriers.

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EMC presents distinguished service award to Beverly "Peggy" Steinman

Peggy Steinman

Peggy Steinman was awarded the EMC's 2010 Distinguished Service Award on Oct. 14.

In recognition of her unwavering dedication, extraordinary generosity, and exemplary service to Virginia Tech's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center, Beverly "Peggy" Steinman was awarded the 2010 Distinguished Service Award on Oct. 14.

As he presented the award to Steinman, Dr. Nathaniel White, Jean Ellen Shehan Professor and director of the medical center noted, "this award was established in order to recognize and honor those individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service and dedication to fulfilling the equine medical center's mission. Peggy has - for more than 20 years - generously and tirelessly provided expert leadership and keen business advice to this faculty, staff, and college. She has helped us attain an advanced level of achievement in service, teaching, and research. We are in her debt."

Shelley Duke, chairperson of the equine medical center's council and vice rector of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors, added, "From the beginning, Peggy seemed to have formed a special bond with the [center] and its mission. We have worked together for many years, and her commitment is evidenced by the innumerable things she does for the people and programs on the center's campus. She is energetic, dependable, diligent, and wise, and I rely on heavily on her for advice and guidance. It is a pleasure and an honor to work with Peggy."

In addition to serving on the center's council and executive committee, Steinman is chairperson of Steinman Enterprises, a group of companies headquartered in Lancaster, Pa., which includes Lancaster Newspapers, Lancaster Farming Inc., Lancaster County Weeklies Inc., Delmarva Broadcasting, Steinman Coal Company, and Steinman Park Restaurant.

Upon receiving the Distinguished Service Award, Steinman said, "I am honored to be given such a prestigious award. The hospital has always done - and continues to do - a wonderful job with its dedicated staff. It gives me great pleasure to keep supporting the [equine medical center] and to see the remarkable results it consistently achieves." Learn more

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Scenes from the college

The VMRCVM Veterinary Teaching Hospital ophthalmology team recently treated an injured peregrine falcon and bald eagle under the supervision of Dr. Phillip Pickett, professor of ophthalmology in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences. Great job by Dr. Pickett and the ophthalmology team, who worked with the Wildlife Center of Virginia in treating the injured birds.

peregrine falcon bald eagle

View the full photo gallery.

Learn more about the peregrine falcon and bald eagle at the Wildlife Center of Virginia website.

 


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