The Department of Comparative Medicine is a triad of sections: Biomedical Sciences, Veterinary Public Health, and Diagnostic Service Laboratories.
The Biomedical Sciences faculty have responsibilities for education, research, and diagnostic and community services in the college. Education is the primary duty of the Biomedical Sciences. Faculty are responsible for approximately 90% of the teaching time during the first year of the professional curriculum. The beginning year of veterinary medicine is a unique challenge for students and faculty alike, since it is a transitional year from an undergraduate to a professional program. But graduate, post-doctoral, and continuing education are just as important, and Biomedical Sciences faculty contribute to those aspects as well.
The core disciplines of the Biomedical Sciences section are anatomy, bacteriology, endocrinology, epidemiology, histology, immunology, mycology, parasitology, pharmacology, physiology, toxicology, and virology. By using the analogy of a tree the educational mission of the Biomedical Sciences section becomes clear. It provides the "roots" or foundation that allows the clinical sciences ("foliage and fruit") to grow and mature. Just as the roots anchor a tree and provide a tree with both anchor for strength and the stimulus for growth, our core disciplines provide the ground work for clinical education. Without roots there is neither foliage nor fruit.
By using the analogy of a tree the educational mission of the Biomedical Sciences section becomes clear. It provides the "roots" or foundation that allows the clinical sciences ("foliage and fruit") to grow and mature.
Continuity and Connections
Uniqueness and strength exist in the department because many of the faculty who teach the traditional biomedical sciences disciplines are also in charge of the selected diagnostic laboratories that are used by the clinical faculty during the clinical years. This connection promotes educational continuity. For example, the faculty who teach basic neurophysiology during the first year are the same ones that manage the Electrodiagnostics Service Laboratory during the clinical year. This practice provides students with continuity and connection between physiology and diagnostic neurology. The same pattern is applied to other disciplines. The majority of biomedical faculty are involved in diagnostic service activities along with research and teaching which entails intensive interaction with clinical sciences faculty. The system works in both directions, since samples submitted to the diagnostic service laboratories are a rich resource of research material for biomedical sciences.
Research is a primary means of expanding knowledge in veterinary medicine. All Biomedical Sciences faculty are involved in research, which generates a considerable number of scientific and technical publications. Veterinarians that do research and teach are in demand in the biomedical sciences. With support from the college, selected veterinary students are involved in summer research projects on which they work with Biomedical Sciences faculty. There are also 25 technical and clerical staff in the department who assist the faculty in their teaching, research, and service missions.
Anatomy. Dr. Robert W. Henry (Professor) (left) discusses with international student (Brazil) Dr. Marco Sampaio comparative anatomical aspects of the pig liver as a model for humans. Dr. Henry's research focuses on preservation of biological tissue and animal anatomy.
Anatomy. Dr. Robert Brackin Reed, Jr. (Associate Professor) (left) discusses features of large animal gross anatomy with 1st-year veterinary students. His research interests are in exotic and laboratory animal gross anatomy.
Bacteriology-Mycology. Dr. David Bemis (Associate Professor and Director of the Clinical Bacteriology and Mycology Service Laboratory) and Brian Johnson (Laboratory Technologist) examine the antimicrobial susceptibility profile of a clinical bacterial isolate. Susceptibility test interpretations aid the clinician in making individual treatment decisions and are used to alert animal and public health authorities to emerging antimicrobial resistance trends.
Endocrinology-Pharmacology. Dr. Jack Oliver (Professor and Director of the Clinical Endocrinology Service) performs research in laboratory diagnosis and treatment of emerging endocrine diseases in animals (e.g., hyperestrinism in dogs). Dr. Oliver is a consultant to veterinary practitioners, and his endocrine experience is transferred to students studying basic pharmacology, and to those in clinical years and continuing education programs. His service is renowned for the use of steroid hormone profiles in the diagnosis of adrenal disorders in animals.
Endocrinology. Dr. Kellie Fecteau (Assistant Professor and Assistant Director of the Clinical Endocrinology Service Laboratory) (right) assisted by Selena Hannah (Research Specialist) (left) studies the effects of pharmacologic agents on steroidogenesis and signaling pathways of adrenal cells affected by cancer and metabolic abnormalities. Her research provides a better understanding of adrenal cell pathways that may need to be targeted by drugs to control adrenal disease in animals. She participates in the professional and graduate curricula teaching endocrinology.
Epidemiology. Drs. John New (Professor and Head) (seated), Agricola Odoi (Assistant Professor ) (left), and Bart Rohrbach (Associate Professor) (right) discuss the geographic distribution of global infectious diseases.
Histology. Dr. Mendis-Handagama's research is concentrated on Leydig cell development
Histology. Dr. Margo S. Holland's (Associate Professor) research focuses on the stem cell theory of carcinogenesis. One research area involves the molecular characterization of bovine mammary gland stem-like progenitor cells (BMGPC). A related area uses the BMGPC as a model/tool to explore the mechanisms of tumor suppression and regulation. Another area investigates the role of gap junctional intercellular communication in carcinogenesis.
Immunology. Dr. Steve Kania (Associate Professor and Director of the Clinical Immunology Laboratory) and student Lauren Hiatt perform flow cytometry analysis. Flow cytometry is used to enumerate a specific population of cells based upon the interaction of monoclonal antibodies. This information is useful for diagnosis of immune disorders and malignancies.
Parasitology. Dr. Chuck Faulkner and students examine specimens and discuss the role of arthropods as vectors and intermediate hosts for transmission of parasitic infections. His research interests include the ecology and evolution of host-parasite interactions, and epidemiology of zoonotic parasitic diseases.
Parasitology. Dr. Sharon Patton (Professor and Director of the Clinical Parasitology Service Laboratory) and her 1st-year students discuss parasite identification, diagnosis, and disease potential in domestic and exotic animal populations. Her area of research is toxoplasmosis.
Pharmacology. Dr. Tomas Martin-Jimenez (Assistant Professor and Director of the Clinical Pharmacology Research and Teaching Unit) discusses with student the result of antimicrobial bioanalytical test in milk. His research interest is in antimicrobial resistance and the application of population pharmacokinetics to the selection and adjustment of drug dosage regimens for antimicrobials, anticancer agents, and antiparasitic drugs in animals.
Pharmacology. Dr. Sherry Cox's (Assistant Professor and Director of the Clinical Pharmacology Service Laboratory) laboratory conducts drug monitoring evaluations. Her research focuses on pharmacokinetic studies conducted in collaboration with clinicians. She also participates in the professional and graduate teaching curricula.
Physiology. Dr. Hugo Eiler (Professor and Clinical Endocrinology Service Laboratory Consultant) and Kim Abney (Clinical Endocrinology Laboratory Section Chief) perform metabolic studies in tissues treated with anti-hormones. Isolated tissue along with whole animal studies help to develop new endocrine treatments and testing techniques. His research interests are testing endocrinology and endocrine control of fetal quiescence.
Physiology. Dr. Michael Sims (Professor and Clinical Electrodiagnostic Service Laboratory Consultant) and Amy Wood (3rd-year student) perform an ERG (electroretinogram) on a patient scheduled for cataract surgery. The ERG provides the clinician with information about retinal function before proceeding with surgery. His research is in the area of electrodiagnosis.
Toxicology. Dr. Terry W. Schultz (Professor and Director of the Biological-Activity Testing and Modeling Laboratory) (center) watches Jason Yarbrough (Senior Laboratory Technologist) (left) use the flow cytometer to evaluate the ability of environmental toxicants to elicit apoptosis of macrophages, while Bin Wan (Post-Doctoral Investigator) (right) prepares another sample. The use of such in vitro techniques in toxicological testing aids in minimizing animal testing.
Virology. Dr. Melissa Kennedy's (Assistant Professor and Director of the Clinical Virology Service Laboratory) research focuses of corona virus of cheetahs, both captive and free-ranging, and includes pathogenesis and epidemiology of the virus, and improving diagnostic and screening methods. Part of her research is conducted in collaboration with the De Wildt Cheetah Centre, South Africa.
Pharmacology. Jake Roark (Laboratory Technologist) performing HPLC analysis.
Endocrinology. DeAnne Gibbs (Research Specialist) performing hormone analysis.
Endocrinology. Marilyn Cottrell (Research Specialist) performing hormone analysis.
Virology. Dr. Kathy Thomas (Sr. Laboratory Technologist) conducting microscopy evaluation.
Immunology. Rupal Brahmbhatt (Senior Lab Assistant) performing