Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Building our Capacity to Serve
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
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.
Gerhardt G. Schurig
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.
A Three Phase Building Program
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
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
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
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.
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.
College Graduates 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
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
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 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. Lesley Ann Colby named Outstanding Recent Alumni
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.
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.
Binder Recieves Outstanding Student Award and Others
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.
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
The Center coordinated this course in collaboration with Western Kentucky University.
Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine
Offers Online Prep Course
“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
“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
Dr. Katherine Feldman, assistant director of the Center for Public and Corporate Veterinary Medicine
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.
Feldman Attends US Army Veterinary Corps Educator Tour
“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.
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)”.
First Annual Lisa Marie Tedora Lecture Held
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
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
and click the link for the online giving page.
Worms and parasites may make for unpleasant conversation, but they remain a major health and
productivity threat for both companion and agricultural animals.
VMRCVM Hosts Parasitology Meeting
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
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
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.
19th Annual Research Symposium Focuses on Virology
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
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
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,
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. X. J. Meng Honored with Pfizer Award for Research Excellence
“Dr. Meng is a prolific researcher whose work enjoys an international reputation,” said VMRCVM
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
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
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
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.
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 Leaves University Veterinarian Post
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.
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.
New Security Protocols Being Implemented
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.
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.
Exchange Program with Chilean University Enhanced
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.
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.
More Owners Selecting Equine Elective Surgery
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
“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.”
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.
EMC Helps Sponsor Horse Council's Legislative Trail Ride
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.
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.
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.
College Dealing with Aftermath of Virginia Tech 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.
Dr. Robert Duncan,
an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology
in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech passed away suddenly on May 3.
VMRCVM’s Bob Duncan Passes Away
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.