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CPCVM Alumni Profiles

David Caudell, DVM, PhD
Principal Investigator, Laboratory of Molecular Pathology

Dr. David CaudellDr. Caudell is an assistant professor of anatomic pathology and hemato-oncology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.

Dr. Caudell received his DVM from Virginia Tech in 2000. In 2003, Dr. Caudell completed his residency in Anatomic Pathology in the Department of Pathobiology at Oklahoma State University. Following completion of his residency, he pursued graduate training in comparative molecular pathology through the Graduate Partnership Program at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. He completed his dissertation research in mouse models of human leukemia in the Genetics Branch, Leukemogenesis Section headed by Peter D. Aplan, MD. Dr. Caudell received his PhD from the University of Maryland in June 2008. The title of his PhD dissertation was “Development of a mouse model for the t(10;11)(p13;q14) chromosomal translocation associated with acute leukemia in humans”. Dr. Caudell joined the faculty at Virginia Tech in January 2009, and focuses on hematological malignancy research.

Dr. Caudell’s laboratory focuses its research efforts on three different areas of hematological malignancies. First, we use a mouse model system built on nonrandom chromosomal translocations associated with leukemogenesis to evaluate genes disrupted by chromosomal translocations as candidate oncogenes, and how aberrant regulation of these genes influences malignant transformation. Second, we use transgenic mouse models that express fusion proteins, products of chromosomal translocations, to understand how these gene products influence the immune response. Third, we are also interested in the bone marrow microenvironment and how its role influences the malignant transformation of hematopoietic cells. To address these issues we work with genetically engineered mice that develop myelodysplastic syndrome, acute, leukemia, and myelofibrosis. Using these model systems allows us to investigate the influence of mesenchymal stem cells on leukemic transformation and the changes that occur in the bone marrow stroma including fibrosis and microvascular density. Through the use of genetically engineered mice, we can model important hematological diseases seen in people. By investigating the molecular pathogenesis of hematological malignancies in mice, we can identify potential therapeutic targets for treatments to alleviate human suffering death due to the burden of cancer.

Michelle M. Colby, DVM, MS
Branch Chief, Agriculture Defense, Chemical & Biological Division
DHS Science and Technology Directorate

Dr. Michelle M. Colby is currently serving as the Branch Chief for Agricultural Defense in the Chemical and Biological Division (CBD) of DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate. She directs all of CBD’s research and development efforts related to agricultral defense, including programs in foreign animal disease modeling and advanced development of veterinary countermeasures. She previously served as the Assistant Director for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Countermeasures in the Homeland and National Security Division of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President where she managed all of OSTP’s work on coordinating research and development on countermeasures to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats. She began her career at OSTP as a AAAS/NTI Global Security Fellow in October of 2003.

Prior to joining the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Dr. Colby was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Maryland campus of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. At VMRCVM, Dr. Colby’s research focused on the use of Geographic Information System databases in the management of infectious diseases of livestock and poultry. Dr. Colby received BS degree in Animal Science from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and an MS in Epidemiology from the University of Maryland along with a certificate of residency for completion of the three year applied veterinary epidemiology training program.

Timothy LaBranche, DVM, PhD
Toxicologic/Investigative Pathologist

Dr. Timothy LaBrancheAfter graduating from Virginia Tech (Animal Science) in 1996, Tim LaBranche received his DVM and PhD degrees from the VMRCVM in 2003 and 2005, respectively. During the DVM program, Tim enjoyed the specialized courses offered by the CPCVM including clinical research, public health, food safety, epidemiology, and public policy. For his fourth-year clerkships, Tim spent 6 weeks with both GlaxoSmithKline Drug Safety and Pfizer Animal Health. Tim also spent 3 weeks at the FDA-CVM with VMRCVM alum Dr. Don Prater, as well as 3 weeks with VMRCVM Professor Dr. Jeff Wilcke (clinical pharmacology rotation), and lastly, 3 weeks with Dr. Ted Mashima in College Park investigating public policy issues that limit federal funding for veterinary research. Tim also elected to do a second rotation in both small animal medicine and surgery, capturing that unique opportunity to hone his clinical skills.

Upon leaving Blacksburg in 2004, Tim enrolled in the anatomic pathology residency program at the University of Georgia. Tim passed the ACVP (anatomic) boards in 2007, and currently works in the biotech/pharmaceutical industry as a toxicologic/investigative pathologist for Pfizer Global Research and Development. He has worked on animal models of disease, drug target characterization and risk identification/management, supporting the early (preclinical) portfolio for just over 3 years now. Tim has mentored Summer interns for the past 2 years (including one VMRCVM student), and is the mentor for one of the ACVP/STP Coalition veterinary pathology residency positions. This experience has given Tim enough time to gain a sense of what the future holds, without losing perspective of the momentum that is required to start one's career.

According to Labranche, "Because of the unique DVM coursework and, notably, the fourth-year clerkships that the CPCVM track offered, I was able to enroll in my pathology residency with an awareness of what I wanted to do and the experience to open doors once I was ready for the job market. I believe that the Center enables you to launch your career more quickly, and more sure-footed than the evolutionary process of job-hopping after graduation. There are a lot of niches out there for veterinarians. The CPCVM is there to help you prepare for, and find the career which best suits you."