Vital Signs
October 2005

Message from the Dean

Dr. Gerhardt G. SchurigDear Friends and Colleagues,
Welcome to the first edition of the new electronic version of our "Vital Signs" newsletter. We plan to produce this newsletter on a monthly basis. It is designed to keep you informed about the progress of a college that is committed to reaching new levels of performance and achievement within the world of veterinary medicine.
We have recently concluded a wonderful celebration of the college's first 25 years, and now it is time for us to get on with the business of building for the future. As you will see in the weeks and months ahead, we are going to be doing this in a variety of ways, from taking concrete steps toward expanding our facilities, to establishing new ways for us to increase the production of new knowledge.
An essential part of our plan for success is to inspire the passion and performance of our own people through recognition and reward, and to increase the capacity of our enterprise with the help and support of an ever-growing community of friends. Assistant Dean for Administration Mike Harness detailed some of our efforts to address the former in a "town meeting" held in late September, and this newsletter is just one example of a number of efforts we are mounting to address the latter objective.
This is an exciting time for our college and for the profession of veterinary medicine. I hope you join me in looking forward to a new era of progress for our college.
Gerhardt G. Schurig
In This Issue...
Administration Addressing Space Crunch
Veterinary Community Rallies in Wake of Katrina
VMRCVM Wraps Up 25th Anniversary Celebration
Wei Assumes leadership of UMD CANR
Avery named Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
New DVM/MPH Program Established with UMD Baltimore
Avian Influenza H5N1 Continues to Threaten Public Health
Harness Hired as Assistant Dean for Administration
Suthers-McCabe Earns Nation's Highest Human Animal Bond Award
Huckle Earns Pfizer Research Award
Pleasant Earns National Teaching Award
AGC, Virginia Tech Kick Off Greyhound Health Website
New Graduate Degree Program Name
Names in the News

Administration Addressing Space Crunch

College officials are taking measures to address the college's space-crunch as it plans for the future. Three separate projects are in various stages of planning and conceptual design.
All will be located on the west side of the campus toward the Smithfield property.
"For us, it's crucial we improve and increase the size of our facilities," said Schurig in a major article on the college that appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Three separate projects are in planning. An approximately $8 million research facility is on the drawing boards. That would be funded through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) program that provides up to $4 million in matching money for biomedical research facilities constructed on university campuses. The remaining funds would have to come from non-NIH sources.
The Veterinary Medicine Instruction Project is tagged at about $9 million and will include increased instructional space for faculty and students. The college and university are seeking state funding for this project that could begin construction by early 2008.
Finally, planners envision a Translational Medicine Research Facility that could cost up to $50 million to construct in the 2008-2010 window.
Substantial funding for that project is expected to come from private sources during a future capital campaign conducted by the university.
All of the projects are currently being considered through the university's capital design process. Architects and university officials will make a presentation to the college's leadership team on a master plan for site development in the near future.
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Veterinary Community Rallies in Wake of Katrina

Veterinarians, technicians and other volunteers from throughout the state and nation have rallied in response to the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina on America's Gulf Coast.
Scores of thousands of pets and agricultural animals have been killed, injured, displaced or orphaned by the devastating storm. Many have been reunited with their owners or fostered, but thousands of others remain in need of care.
On the front lines of this disaster are about 100 veterinarians from the American Veterinary Medical Association's Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams (VMAT), which work closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to deal with the animal related and public health dimensions of disasters.
Dr. Jennifer Brown, Clinical Assistant Professor in Equine Surgery and Emergency Care at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia, has been deployed for two several week periods on the Gulf Coast as a member of the AVMA VMAT Team 2.
Additionally, Wendy Hull, an LVT in the VTH, traveled on her own to provide volunteer assistance in the area over a two-week period.
VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig has been in touch with colleagues at the LSU and MSU CVM's, as well as the AAVMC, concerning opportunities for the college to provide more assistance as they arise.
Meanwhile, Dr. Doug Graham, president-elect of the college's Alumni Society, has been spear-heading efforts to create a relief team comprised of VMRCVM alums, VVMA, MVMA, and VMRCVM employees.
At press-time, that group was organizing and preparing the details of their mission.
Many others from throughout the state have also rendered assistance.
Dr. Al Henry, president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and board member Dr. Sara Salmon, spent three weeks in New Orleans operating a provisional animal rescue and sheltering operation in devastated St. Bernard's Parish.
Henry, Salmon and other volunteers worked closely with the National Guard and local government officials in operating the shelter until Hurricane Rita caused another evacuation. The shelter is currently being maintained by other volunteers.
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VMRCVM Wraps Up 25th Anniversary Celebration

Jane Talbot and familyThe formal dedication of the college's 25th anniversary statue on a beautiful September morning capped off the VMRCVM's year-long silver anniversary celebration.
Dignitaries participating in the ceremony included Dr. Henry Childers, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Maryland Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Dr. John Brooks, Virginia Tech President Dr. Charles Steger and others.
During the ceremony, VMRCVM Dean Gerhardt Schurig praised all who have played a role in building the college during its first 25 years, and reminded the gathering that "the best is yet to come!"
"This new era will be defined by new levels of achievement for all of us, in every aspect of scholarship, discovery, teaching and service," he said.
About 600 guests were seated for a commemorative luncheon held under a massive tent erected on the lawn adjacent to the College Grove.
The statue was sculpted by Kentucky Artist Gwen Reardon and substantially underwritten as a gift to the college by Mrs. Jane Talbot, wife of the college's late Founding Dean Dr. Richard B. Talbot.
The dedication ceremony was the culminating event for a series of three major special events presented as part of the 25th anniversary year. In October 2004, more than 600 attended the "College Family Day Celebration" in Virginia Tech's Alphin Stuart arena.
In April 2005, the commissioner of the United States Food & Drug Administration and two United States Congressmen were among the featured speakers at a "Black Tie Gala" that attracted more than 200 distinguished guests.
The anniversary year also featured a number of special communication programs, including a new video profile of the college, a 2005 calendar, a silver anniversary brochure, anniversary T-shirts, and an anniversary poster that was distributed to veterinary practices across Virginia and Maryland. Additionally, a year-long series of anniversary spots were featured on NPR affiliate WVTF Public Radio, advertisements were placed in newspapers and magazines, and a comprehensive 100-page history book was authored by two senior employees in the college.
Funding to support the year-long effort was provided by Hill's Pet Products, Novartis, Nutramax, Royal Canin, Intervet, Virginia Farm Bureau, Schering Plough, Fort Dodge and Merial.
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Wei Assumes leadership of UMD CANR

Dr. Cheng-I WeiDr. Cheng-I Wei has been appointed the new Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the Univeristy of Maryland at College Park and assumed his duties on September 1, 2005.
As the dean, Wei supervises the Maryland component of the regional college of veterinary medicine.
Wei earned a B.S. in biology from the Tunghai University of Taiwan in 1970, an M.S. in medical microbiology from National Taiwan University in 1972, and a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of California, Davis, in 1979.
Prior to his appointment at Oklahoma State, Dr. Wei was the Bruno Professor and Head of the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at Auburn University, Alabama.
During his prior 17-year tenure at the University of Florida, Gainesville, he served for four years as the Southern Region Director of the USDA/CSREES IR-4 Program on Minor Use Pest Management.
Dr. Wei's research interests are in nutritional safety, toxicology, and immunotoxicology. He is a prolific researcher and effective teacher-mentor, having secured over $11 million in external funds; published 185refereed papers; presented numerous papers at both national and international meetings; and graduated 16 masters and 14 doctoral students (six of whom have achieved faculty appointment in domestic and international universities).
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Avery named Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies

Dr. Roger J. AveryDr. Roger John Avery of Blacksburg, former senior associate dean of Virginia Tech's Graduate School, has been named associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
As associate dean for research and graduate studies, Avery will work closely with Dean Gerhardt Schurig and the college's leadership team in seeking enterprise-wide growth in the college's basic and applied research programs. He will also direct the activities of a graduate education program that enrolls nearly 100 students seeking master's degrees and Ph.D.s in biomedical and veterinary sciences.
"We are very pleased by this appointment after a national search, which attracted top-quality applicants," said Schurig. "Dr. Avery's background with the Institute for Animal Health, his administrative experience as chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, as well as his experience as senior associate dean in Virginia Tech's Graduate School make him ideally suited to lead our research and graduate studies program in the years ahead. Since he began working at Virginia Tech, his faculty appointment has been in our Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, and he is very familiar with our people, our programs, and our potential."
Avery also has served as director of the Virology Section in the Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology and adjunct professor of microbiology in the Department of Microbiology at Montana State University. He has been a senior lecturer, or associate professor, in biological sciences at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom (UK) and head of the Department of Microbiology at the Institute for Animal Health, Houghton Laboratory, in the UK.
At the Institute for Animal Health, Avery was involved in investigating various infectious diseases in animals. His laboratory at Cornell investigated retroviruses, especially the lentiviruses feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and ovine progressive pneumonia virus. These viruses also represent potential models for human immunodeficiency virus, the causative agent of AIDS. Avery has a patent related to this research.
Avery was a visiting fellow at the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Foundation Inc. at the Torrey Pines Research Center in San Diego and a visiting Medical Research Council Fellow in Cancer Studies at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco. He also has worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. He has been the major professor for 13 Ph.D. and three master's degree students and a committee member for 11 other graduate students.
Avery has received the Visiting Medical Research Council Fellowship Award for cancer research from the University of California Medical Center; the William Waldorf-Astor Foundation Award to visit such research centers as the National Institutes of Health, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the Frederick Cancer Research Center; and the Royal Society Travel Award to visit the universities of Bristol, Liverpool, and Glasgow.
He has received research grants from many organizations, including eight research grants in the UK plus two grants from Commission of the European Community's Division of Genetics and Biotechnology, five from the United States Department of Agriculture, two from the National Science Foundation, four from the Cornell Biotechnology Program, three from the National Institutes of Health, and five from commercial interests.
Avery received a First Class Honors Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Leeds, UK, and the Ph.D. in biochemistry and microbiology from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
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New DVM/MPH Program Established with UMD Baltimore

UMD BaltimoreThe Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) and the University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB) have established a collaborative new program that will enable veterinary students and working veterinarians to earn a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree from UMB and expand research opportunities.
"This is a significant new partnership, both for our regional college of veterinary medicine and for Virginia Tech," said Dr. Gerhardt Schurig, dean of the VMRCVM. "In an age characterized by the threat of bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, we are going to see veterinary medicine and human medicine working more closely together than ever before to protect public health."
Disease threats like Avian Influenza, West Nile, Mad Cow Disease and others that can either directly affect human health and well-being or threaten the nation's food supply provide a vivid glimpse of the many inter-relationships that exist between human and animal health, Schurig said. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta estimates that about 70% of the known bioterrorism agents are zoonotic, or diseases that can be transmitted between people and animals.
Announcement of the program comes just weeks after the release of two major studies authored by the National Academies' National Research Council that acknowledge the critical role veterinary medicine plays in public health and outlines the need for increased veterinary research and greater coordination between the animal and human health communities.
The new Collaborative Program in Veterinary Public Health and Comparative Medicine will provide enhanced opportunities for professional education and training, develop critical research projects in veterinary public health and comparative medicine, and respond to national research initiatives on bioterrorism and emerging diseases, according to Schurig.
The program has been established in cooperation with the new School of Public Health at UMB, which emerged on July 1, 2005 from the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine in the University of Maryland College of Medicine at Baltimore (UMCMB). It is also fully associated with the medical college's Comparative Medicine Program.
Dr. J. Glenn Morris, professor and interim dean of the new School of Public Health, has been actively working with Schurig over the past two years on the establishment of the combined university program.
The new program will offer Blacksburg-based DVM students the opportunity to earn a DVM degree from the VMRCVM and a MPH degree from UMB. Working professionals will also have an opportunity to earn a MPH degree through the new program.
Students enrolled in UMB's Baltimore based MPH program will gain an opportunity to study through the VMRCVM's Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland at College Park, which enjoys close working relationships with a number of federal agencies and laboratories in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area.
The program is being directed and coordinated by Dr. Francois Elvinger, a veterinary epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, and Dr. Laura Hungerford, a professor of epidemiology at UMB. Elvinger will oversee all aspects of the developing program, including the recruitment of a tenure-track VMRCVM professor who will be based on the UMB campus.
"Each of the institutions and departments involved with this venture bring something unique to the equation," said Elvinger. "The School of Public Health and the medical school's comparative medicine program bring a comprehensive research and instructional program in epidemiology, foodborne and infectious diseases. The college of veterinary medicine brings an understanding of animal pathogens that affect humans, as well as access to livestock, companion animal and wildlife populations."
Together, Elvinger said, the schools are poised to make important public health contributions at the nexus of this urgent and emerging intersection between human and animal health.
Schurig, appointed the college's third dean in 2004, said the program has been developed in alignment with goals articulated by the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), which has recently produced several studies and reports that suggest the profession of veterinary medicine must focus more vigorously on meeting its responsibilities in biodefense and public health in these opening years of the 21st century.
This fall, the U.S. Congress will consider the Veterinary Workforce Expansion Act of 2005, which seeks to identify $1.5 billion over the next ten years to expand the size of the nation's veterinary colleges and increase research and training capacity in public health and biomedical research. Resources would be allocated to the nation's colleges of veterinary medicine based upon a competitive grant process administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
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Avian Influenza H5N1 Continues to Threaten Public Health

About 50 people from state and federal agencies and veterinary practitioners recently gathered at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's (VMRCVM) College Park Campus for a four-hour seminar on Avian Influenza.
Experts took a comprehensive look at the influenza virus in general and the troublesome H5N1 strain that has plagued Asia and is increasingly viewed with alarm as an agent that could cause a global pandemic of human influenza.
Presentations were shared on the molecular biology of the virus, bio-security, public health and emergency response planning.
After opening remarks from Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine Assistant Director Dr. Katherine Feldman, Dr. Daniel R. Perez, one of the nation's leading experts on avian influenza, made a presentation entitled "Jumping influenza viruses from ducks to humans."
Perez joined the VMRCVM's Maryland Campus at the University of Maryland at College Park in 2003 after working with Robert Webster, one of the world's leading influenza researchers, at the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Perez recently received a $5 million grant from the USDA, the largest ever awarded by the agency to study a single disease, to lead a multi-university consortium on a major project to study avian influenza.
Influenza is considered a non-eradicable disease because there is an extensive pool of viruses in migratory waterfowl, said Perez, whose principal research interests lie in the interspecies transmission and pathogenesis.
There is a constant gene exchange across species caused by "antigenic drift" and "antigenic shift" and relatively minor changes can help the virus evade the immune system.
"What is worrisome about these viruses is that they have human-like receptor specificity," said Perez, who also indicated that many of the influenza viruses seem to emanate from southeast Asia.
The three great human influenza pandemics of the 20th century, including the 1918 "Spanish Flu" that killed more than 20 million people, the 1957 Asian flu and the 1968 Hong Kong Flu were all believed to be caused by flu viruses that contained both human and avian flu genes, Perez said.
In recent history, there have been several events where influenza A virus from domestic poultry have caused disease in humans. In 1997, an outbreak of H5N1 virus in chickens was transmitted to 18 humans and resulted in six deaths. An outbreak of H9N2 virus in domestic poultry in Hong Kong and southern china also caused human disease and a 2003 outbreak of H7N7 in the Netherlands resulted in 89 human infections.
But scientists and officials from the World Health Organization to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention in Atlanta remain very concerned that the H5N1 strain circulating in southeast Asia could pose a major public health risk to humans.
So far, 100 human cases have been reported in Cambodia, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and 54 victims have died.
Perez said that greater cooperation between the animal and human health communities as well as surveillance and bio-security are the first lines of defense against pandemic influenza. Developing vaccines to immunize potential human victims is crucial and it is important to learn more about the molecular basis of interspecies transmission and pathogenesis.
Perez also discussed his research that is investigating the role quail may play as intermediate hosts responsible for the generation of influenza A strains with pandemic potential.
Next, Dr. Nathaniel L. Tablante, associate professor and extension poultry veterinarian at the University of Maryland at College Park, presented a talk entitled "Clinical Presentation and Pathology of Avian Influenza." During his talk, Tablante outlined how the disease is spread in avian populations and discussed the low pathogenic and highly pathogenic types that affect poultry.
Tablante said that stepped up bio-security protocols with special emphasis on isolation, traffic control, sanitation, traffic control, surveillance and education and outreach were key to preventing and containing outbreaks.
The significance of the threat that Avian influenza H5N1 presents to agriculture was presented by Dr. Tracy S. DuVernoy, an emergency management official with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Total U.S. poultry production is estimated at $23.3 billion, she said, and the U.S. is also the world's largest exporter of broilers and turkeys.
DuVernoy said that USDA views H5N1 as a continued threat to U.S. agriculture, is participating in inter-agency and multi-national working groups designed to mitigate the threat and is committed to protecting U.S. agriculture.
Dr. Daniel Bautista of the Maryland Department of Agriculture discussed the 2004 "low-path" outbreak of avian influenza on Maryland's Eastern shore during a presentation entitled "Avian influenza and emergency response in Maryland." Bautista stressed the importance of bio-security, surveillance and appropriate disposal of poultry carcasses.
During a talk entitled "Pandemic influenza planning in Maryland," Dr. Jean Taylor of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene emphasized that the threat of pandemic flu is likely and that strategic planning is crucial because of the enormous impact such an outbreak would have in the United States and throughout the world.
The conference was organized by the VMRCVM's Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine, located on the college's Maryland Campus at the University of Maryland at College Park.
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Harness Hired as Assistant Dean for Administration

J. Michael HarnessMike Harness has been hired as Assistant Dean for Administration in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Harness will work closely with Dean Gerhardt Schurig in managing the college's budget, personnel and general administrative operations.
Harness is currently recruiting a college budget officer and a college human resources officer to assist in that effort.
Prior to joining the VMRCVM, Harness served as Departmental Administrator for the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the College of Engineering.
He has also held financial management positions with Virginia Tech's Office of Budget and Financial Planning, James Madison University, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Economic Development and other organizations.
Harness earned an A.B. degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.S. degree from Florida State University.
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Suthers-McCabe Earns Nation's Highest Human Animal Bond Award

Dr. Marie Suthers-McCabe Dr. Marie-Suthers-McCabe, an associate professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, has been awarded the highest honor in the nation for work in the area of the "human/animal bond."
Suthers-McCabe was presented with the "2005 Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award" during the 142nd annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the 28th World Veterinary Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Suthers-McCabe was honored for her exemplary work in promoting and protecting the human/animal bond. The award includes a crystal obelisk, a cash award for the honoree and a matching cash award for a veterinary college or non-profit organization of the recipient's choice.
"I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to my veterinary medical students who nominated me for this great honor and to my colleagues across the nation who wrote letters of support," said Suthers-McCabe. "Veterinary medicine is such a great profession. One of the reasons is that we are not just animal doctors, we are family doctors. This bridge between veterinary medicine and human health is recognized by the Bustad award."
Suthers-McCabe is the immediate past president of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians and is also on the Council of the International Society for Anthrozoology. She is the creator and developer of the VMRCVM's Center for Animal-Human Relationships (CENTAUR), which promotes the convergence of human and veterinary medicine through research, education and service. She is the faculty advisor for the college's "Pet Loss Support Hotline", she serves on the Human/Animal Bond committee of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, and she serves as Veterinary Advisor for People, Animals, Nature, Inc.
She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Saint Francis of Assisi Service Dog Foundation, the Many Blessings Farm Therapeutic Riding Program, and the advisory council of the Unbridled Association.
Suthers-McCabe, who spent two weeks at "Ground Zero" immediately following the 9/11 tragedy as a Veterinary Medical Officer with Veterinary Medical Assistance Team 2 of the National Disaster Medical System, has spoken extensively at meetings around the nation and the world.
Her academic interests include studying the impact of human/animal interactions on specific human populations and the well-being of animals employed in therapeutic interventions for humans. Dr. Suthers-McCabe earned her DVM degree from The Ohio State University in 1982 and a certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy and Education from People, Animals, Nature Inc.
The award was named for the late Dr. Leo K. Bustad, former President of the Delta Society, Dean of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and a pioneer in recognizing the importance of the human-animal bond. The award is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Delta Society, and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
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Huckle Earns Pfizer Research Award

Dr. William Huckle & Dean Schurig Dr. William Huckle, an associate professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP), has been awarded the "2005 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence."
The award recognizes veterinary college faculty members who are conducting research that has attained or is likely to receive national attention within the next three years.
Since joining the college in 1999, Huckle has distinguished himself as a productive and collaborative researcher who has developed scholarly partnerships with colleagues throughout the college and the university, according to Dr. Lud Eng, Head of the DBSP.
Huckle is also affiliated with the School of Biomedical and Engineering Sciences, which is a collaborative venture between Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University.
Huckle's research is focused on angiogenesis, or the mechanism by which cells communicate in order to produce new blood cells or maintain existing ones. Learning more about these basic processes has important clinical implications, including the role vascularization plays in the growth of cancerous tumors.
Huckle is currently principal investigator on a substantial program funded by the National Institutes of Health and he is a co-investigator on four additional NIH programs at the university. He has also held major research funding from the American Heart Association and AstraZeneca.
He is collaborating with Dr. Will Eyestone in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences on a project funded by the NIH that seeks to develop a transgenic strain of cattle that cannot contract Mad Cow Disease (Bovine spongiform Encephalopathy).
Huckle earned a B.A., Chemistry from Williams College, a M.S. in biochemistry from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D in Pharmacology from the University of Iowa.
Prior to joining the college in 1999, he served as a Research Fellow and Senior Research Biochemist with Merck Research Laboratories. He also served in two positions at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill; he was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and a Post-Doctoral Fellow/Research Associate at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
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Pleasant Earns National Teaching Award

Dr. Scott Pleasant Dr. Scott Pleasant, extension equine veterinarian and associate professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, was awarded the 2005 SAVMA Teaching Excellence Award - Clinical Sciences during the annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Minneapolis.
Pleasant was recognized "for his excellence, innovation and enthusiasm" in the field of clinical veterinary science and education, according to information released by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The awards "recognize the dedication of those unique professors who not only educate but inspire their students," according to Heather Manfredi, a DVM student studying at the University of Florida and SAVMA Committee chair for Teaching Excellence Award.
Pleasant is a member of the VMRCVM's charter class of 1984 and he is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). Prior to joining the VMRCVM faculty, he worked in equine private practice in eastern Virginia.
Pleasant has served as chief of large animal surgery in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and assumed the college's leadership position in equine extension in 2004.
He maintains research interests in equine lameness and podiatry, and he has authored or co-authored more than 75 manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters, and provided more than 100 professional presentations in front of national and international audiences.
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AGC, Virginia Tech Kick Off Greyhound Health Website

GHRIN logoThe American Greyhound Council (AGC) and Virginia Tech (VT) have created a new website and communications network to assist greyhound racing regulators, veterinarians, industry members and adoption volunteers in recognizing and managing infectious diseases among greyhounds. The Greyhound Health Research and Information Network (GHRIN) is now on-line at
The website was developed after industry members and regulators recognized the need for a central source of timely and accurate information on disease outbreaks at greyhound tracks around the country.
GHRIN was developed by Dr. Brad Fenwick, Vice President of Research at Virginia Tech. Fenwick is also a professor of infectious disease pathobiology and an internationally recognized expert on greyhound health. "GHRIN is designed to help racing officials, tracks and others know what's happening nationwide on a real-time basis," Fenwick said. "It will help them determine when quarantines or other disease control measures are medically justified, and when other, less disruptive solutions would be appropriate to protect the health of greyhounds." Fenwick emphasized that there is no practical way to prevent sporadic outbreaks of infectious disease among animals or humans. The key, he said, is to make sure that when such outbreaks occur, the community response is based on accurate facts, sound science and accepted principles of epidemiology.
"This system takes the informal network that's already out there and formalizes it so there's one place people can go to get hard data and advice they can rely on," Fenwick said. GHRIN will also offer general information on greyhound health, and serve as a forum to address frequently asked questions about greyhound pets.
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New Graduate Degree Program Name

The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia has granted Virginia Tech permission to change the name of the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees awarded through the college's graduate program from "Veterinary Medical Sciences" to "Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences."
The new degree name better reflects the multidisciplinary nature of the academic work being done through the college's graduate program, according to Dean Schurig.
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Names in the News

Dr. David Lindsay, a professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, has been recognized as the sixth most frequently cited scholar in veterinary medicine for the decade spanning 1994-2004 in a comprehensive study conducted by ScienceWatch. Lindsay's paper, "A review of Neospora caninum and neosporosis," was determined to be the most frequently cited scientific paper in the entire survey of 140,000 scholarly articles, with more than 350 citations noted.
Dr. Ansar Ahmed, a professor in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology and Director of the college's Center for Molecular Medicine and Infectious Diseases, was one of 21 international scholars invited to participate in a National Institutes of Health sponsored symposium on "Endocrine-Immune Systems Interaction on Aging."
Dr. Peter Eyre, former VMRCVM dean, was presented with the 2005 Award of Excellence by the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University. Eyre was recognized for outstanding contributions and commitments to human-animal interaction by the organization, which promotes "improved health and well-being through human-animal interaction." Eyre presented a lecture during the event entitled "Human-Animal Interdependence: A Few Milestones."
Dr. Michael S. Leib, the C.R. Roberts Professor of Small Animal Medicine and a professor in the VMRCVM's Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, received the 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Georgia during their 42nd Annual Veterinary Conference and Alumni Reunion in Athens. In addition to the DVM degree Leib earned at Georgia, he earned a B.S. degree from Emory University and a M.S. degree from Colorado State University. He is a diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Dr. Francois Elvinger, a veterinary epidemiologist and associate professor in the VMRCVM's Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, has been named a diplomate in the European College of Veterinary Public Health.
Dr. Grant Turnwald, associate dean for academic affairs, and Dr. Kevin Pelzer, associate professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, attended the Bayer Institute for Animal Health Care Communication Workshop in New Haven, CT.
Dr. David Panciera, associate professor, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, provided a lecture entitled "Update on the diagnosis and treatment of canine hypothyroidism" at a meeting of the Harris County Veterinary Association in Houston.
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