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Faculty, Staff, and Student News

Published: Sep 7, 2017

Faculty and Staff News

Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD, addressed the American College of Veterinary Pathologists last December in New Orleans. He spoke about Canine Inherited Retinal Diseases: Molecular Mechanisms, Gene-based Treatments and Translational Applications. Also in December, he spoke at the International Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis Society Workshop in Hamburg, Germany, on Photoreceptor and RPE targeted gene therapies in large animal models of inherited retinal disease. He published the following: Downs, L.M., Scott, E.M., Cideciyan, A.V., Iwabe, S., Dufour, V., Gardiner, K.L., Genini, S., Marinho, L.F., Sumaroka, A., Kosyk, M.S., Swider, M., Aguirre, G.K., Jacobson, S.G., Beltran, W.A., Aguirre, G.D. Overlap of Abnormal Photoreceptor Development and Progressive Degeneration in Leber Congenital Amaurosis Caused by NPHP5 Mutation. Human Molecular Genetics 2016; 25: 4211-4226. He also published: Sudharsan, R., Simone, K.M., Anderson, N.P., Aguirre, G.D., Beltran, W. A. Acute and protracted cell death in light-induced retinal degeneration in the canine model of rhodopsin autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 2017: 58, 270-281. Additionally, he published: Guziewicz, K.E., Sinha, D., Gomez, N.M., Zorych, K., Dutrow, E.V., Dhingra, A., Mullins, R.F., Stone, E.M., Gamm, D.M., Boesze-Battaglia, K., Aguirre, G.D. Bestrophinopathy: an RPE-photoreceptor interface disease. Prog. Retina and Eye Res. (e-published ahead of print). He also published: Stonex, T.M., Bartoe, J.T., Aguirre, G.D. Lack of consensus on consensual.Veterinary Ophthalmology (e-published).

Leontine Benedicenti, DVM, was promoted to Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology.

Ashley Boyle, DVM, published the following online open access in BioMed Central Veterinary Research on March 23, 2017: Boyle AG, Stefanovski D, Rankin SC. Determining optimal sampling site for Streptococcus equi subsp equi carriers using loop-mediated isothermal amplification. BMC Vet Research 2017 13:75 DOI10.1186/s12917-017-0989-4, funded by the 2013 Boehringer Ingelheim Advancement in Equine Research Award and the Raymond Firestone Research Trust Grant. She also published the following in BMC Veterinary Research: Comparison of nasopharyngeal and guttural pouch specimens to determine the optimal sampling site to detect Streptococcus equi subsp equi carriers by DNA amplification. She collaborated with Shelley Rankin, PhD, and Darko Stefanovski, PhD. She published the following in JAVMA with Stefanovski, Meagan Smith, DVM, and Raymond Boston, PhD: A case-control study developing a model for predicting risk factors for high SeMspecific antibody titers after natural outbreaks of Streptococcus equi subsp equi infection in horses. In addition, she published the following in JVIM with Rankin, Lauren Duffee, and Daniel Morris, DVM: Prevalence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus from equine nasopharyngeal and guttural pouch wash samples. Boyle spoke at the ACVIM Forum in June on Validation of Stall Side Strangles Diagnosis Using LAMP, a project with Rankin, Stefanovski, and Kathleen O’Shea, as well as Haim Bau, PhD, and Jinzhao Song of Penn Engineering.

Peter Dodson, PhD, delivered the keynote address, entitled Collecting Dinosaurs on Four Continents, at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science in April at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. He also spoke at the Taste of Science Festival in Philadelphia in April and was a keynote speaker at the 4th International Symposium on Paleohistology at New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, in July.

Urs Giger, Dr med vet, was invited to Chennai, India, Bangkok, Thailand, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to present for university students and faculty on hereditary diseases and offer two-day seminars to their regional small animal veterinary association. He published the following in BSAVA Companion: Giger U: WSAVA work on hereditary diseases. He also published the following in BSAVA Companion (March 26-27, 2017): Lynch M, McGrath K, Raj K, McLaren P, Payne K, McCoy R, Giger U: Hereditary factor VII deficiency in the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus). J Wildlife Dis, 53: 248-257, 2017. Additionally, he published: Euler CC, Mizukami K, Raj K, Murray L, Chen CY, Mackin A, Giger U: Xenotransfusion of
anemic cats: Pre- and post-transfusion laboratory diagnostic and crossmatching studies. Vet Clin Path 45:244-253, 2016
. He also published: Mizukami K, Raj K, Osborne C, Giger U: Cystinuria associated with different SLC7A9 gene variants in the cat. PloS One, 11(7):e0159247, 2016. In addition, he published: Luethy D, Owens SD, Stefanovski D, Nolen-Walston R, Giger U: Comparison of tube, gel, and immune-chromatographic strip methods for evaluation of equine blood transfusion compatibility. J Vet Intern Med 30:1864–1871, 2016. He also published: Donnor J, Kaukonen M, Anderson H, Möller F, Kyöstilä K, Sankari S, Hytönen M, Giger U, Lohi H: Genetic panel screening of nearly 100 mutations reveals new insights into the breed distribution of risk variants for canine hereditary disorders. PloS One 11(8):e0161005, 2016. Additionally, he published: Euler CC, Mizukami K, Raj K, Lee JH, Hee K, Giger U: Survey of two new (Kai 1 and Kai 2) and other blood groups in dogs of North America. J Vet Intern Med, 30:1642-1647; 2016. Lastly, he published the following: Lynch M, McGrath K, Raj K, McLaren P, Payne K, McCoy R, Giger U: Hereditary factor VII deficiency in the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus). J Wildlife Dis, 53:248-257, 2017.

Ronald Harty, PhD, published a manuscript in PLoS Pathogens [2017, Jan. 11;13(1):e1006132] entitled Chaperone-Mediated Autophagy Protein BAG3 Negatively Regulates Ebola and Marburg VP40-Mediated Egress. He also published the following in the Journal of the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC), vol. 4(1):36-39: Harty, R.N., Ruthel, G., Freedman, B.D., Herbert, A., Dye, J.M., Wrobel, J.E., and Reitz, A.B. 2017. Host-Oriented Therapeutics as an Innovative Countermeasure Against Ebola and Other Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses.

Marc Kraus, DVM, was promoted to Professor of Clinical Cardiology.

Carolina Lopez, PhD, was named a Penn Fellow. She also received Penn’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF) and Provost’s Office Award for Faculty Mentoring Undergraduate Research, in recognition of sustained commitment to mentoring undergraduates doing research. She published the following: Muallem G, Wagage S, Sun Y, DeLong JH.1, Valenzuela A, Harms Pritchard G, Christian, DA, Fang, Q, Buza E, Jain D, Elloso MM, López CB (co-senior author), and Hunter CA (co-senior author). (2017) IL-27 Limits Type 2 Immunopathology Following Parainfluenza Virus Infection. In press, PLoS Pathogens.

Mark Oyama, DVM, has been appointed as an Associate Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CCEB) at the Perelman School of Medicine, based on his joint projects and collaborative activities in line with the CCEB mission. Oyama is hoping to leverage his appointment to further access the CCEB’s statistical and study design resources for the newly created Clinical Sciences Research Division within Penn Vet’s Department of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine.

Erica Reineke, VMD, was an invited speaker on emergency medicine topics at the Australian Veterinary Association East Coast Roadshow. She also received the Penn Vet Excellence in Teaching Award in Fall 2016.

Alexander Reiter, Dr med vet, Dipl. Tzt., received a promotion to Professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery - CE track. He spoke about various topics in dentistry and oral surgery at the Association of Austrian Small Animal Practitioners in Vienna, Austria, last December; at the Hospital for Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery in Charlotte, New Jersey, last March; at the largest European veterinary dental training center (Accesia) in Halmstad, Sweden, last March and April; at the Austrian Society of Veterinary Dentistry in Innsbruck, Austria, last April; and at the European Veterinary Dental Forum in Malaga, Spain, last May.

Deborah Silverstein, DVM, delivered a two-hour webinar for Vetgirl on the Run entitled The Basics of Mechanical Ventilation: Ventilation 101 in February. She also gave the following lectures at her 20th veterinary school reunion and the 54th Annual University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Conference in Athens, Georgia, last March: Don’t be Shocked: Fluid Therapy in the Shock Patient; Not so (A)cute Kidney Injury in Small Animals; and Catching Your Breath: A Logical Approach to Respiratory Distress in Small Animals. She published the following manuscript (mentoring Emily Shea, V’17): Shea E, Dombrowski SC, Silverstein DC. Survival analysis of hypotensive cats admitted to the intensive care unit with or without hyperlactatemia: 39 cases (2005 – 2011); J Am Vet Med Assoc 2017;250(8):887-893. The following manuscript was accepted by the Journal Herpetological Medicine and Surgery (she mentored Carl Spielvogel, V’18): Spielvogel CF, King L, Cavin JM, Tlusty M, Silverstein DC, Ceresia ML, Innis CJ. Use of positive pressure ventilation in cold-stunned sea turtles: 29 cases (2008-2014).

Corinne Sweeney, DVM, was elected treasurer of the Association of Racing Commissioners International. In addition, the LAIM Executive Board (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine – Large Animal Internal Medicine) announced that Sweeney will be the next LAIM Ombudsperson. The Board was particularly impressed by her formal training from the International Ombudsman association, and her continued involvement in the organization. Since 2014, she has served as Penn Vet’s Ombudsman, working with interns, residents, faculty, and staff.


Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD, received a $163,439 grant from the Poodle Club of North America for Optic Nerve Hypoplasia Micropapillae and Juvenile Cataracts in Poodles. The grant spans from February 15, 2017, to February 14, 2020. In addition, he received a NEI/NIH grant for Models of Hereditary Retinal Degeneration, beginning on January 1, 2017. He also received a grant from the Foundation Fighting Blindness for the PENN Large Animal Model Translational and Research Facility, beginning on April 1. Lastly, he received a grant from the American Spaniel Club Foundation for Molecular genetic studies of inherited cataracts in the American cocker spaniel that began January 1.

Jorge Alvarez, PhD, received a $365,745 Sub NIH R01 grant for Regulation of Heme Oxygenase in HIV/HAND Pathogenesis.

Montserrat Anguera, PhD, received a $275,000 NIH/NIAID R21-AI124084-01A1 grant for Expression of X-linked autoimmunity genes in B cells during female-biased autoimmunity. The grant spans from December 2016 through November 2018.

Charles Bradley, VMD, received a one-year, $4,976 grant from the International Society of Veterinary Dermatopathology for Discriminatory features of Wells-like syndrome and Sweets syndrome in dogs: A clinicopathological and immunohistochemical study.

Igor Brodsky, PhD, received a $1,012,377 NIH R01 AI-128530 grant for Defining the role of Caspase-8 activity in antibacterial immune defense. The grant spans from March 1, 2017, to February 28, 2022.

Rumela Chakrabarti, PhD, received a one-year, $55,000 grant from Abramson Cancer Center: Breakthrough Bike Challenge-Cooper Scholar Award for Crosstalk between ΔNP63+ cancer stem cells and myeloid derived suppressor cells in triple negative breast cancer.

Zhengxia Dou, PhD, received a one-year, $40,000 grant from PennCHOP Microbiome Program for Antibiotic resistance genes in the fecal microbiome of dairy cattle and humans. She also received a one-year, $28,826 grant from AHDC of PDA for Mitigating antibiotic resistance risks through a holistic approach. Her collaborators are Dipti Pitta, PhD, Linda Baker, VMD, Joseph Bender, DVM, and Helen Aceto, VMD, PhD.

Bruce Freedman, VMD, PhD, received a $363,143 NIH R01 R56-AI125415 grant for Calcium regulation of NF-kB. The grant spanned from September 3, 2016, to August 31, 2017.

Serge Fuchs, PhD, MD, received a $1,068,750 NIH/NCI R01-CA092900-15 grant for Role of HOS in Cell transformation and Apoptosis. The grant spans from December 2016 to November 2021.

Robert Greenberg, PhD, received a $1,610,000 NIH 1-R01-AI123173 grant for Physiological roles of schistosome TRP ion channels with atypical pharmacology. He is collaborating with Bruce Freedman, VMD, PhD, and Dejian Ren, PhD (Biology). The grant spans from January 2017 through December 2020. He also received a $275,000, NIH 1-R21-AI128059 grant for Multiplexed point-of-care molecular detection for multiple infections in co-endemic settings. The grant spans from June 2017 through May 2019, and he is collaborating with Haim Bau, PhD, and Beatrice Hahn, MD.

Paula Henthorn, PhD, received a $12,269 grant from the Scottish Deerhound Club of America for Next Step with Cystinuria research in Scottish Deerhounds. The grant spans from November 1, 2016, to December 31, 2017.

David Holt, BVSc, received a one-year, $50,000 grant from the Penn Translational Bio-Imaging Center for Near-infrared Fluorophores for Intraoperative Detection of Lung Tumor Margins, Co PI S. Singhal. He also received a one-year, $70,000 grant from New York University Medical Center for Evaluation of a Laryngeal Stent to Treat Idiopathic Laryngeal Paralysis, in collaboration with Dana Clarke, VMD.

Christopher Hunter, PhD, received a $799,969 Sub to University of Colorado grant for Molecular and cellular basis of Combined Adjuvant-Elicited Cellular Immunity. The grant spanned from July 7, 2016, to June 30, 2017. He also received a $125,940 grant from Surface Oncology for the following: To test the impact of antibodies specific for the IL-27 and IL-27 receptor complex on infection-induced responses. The grant spans from February 1, 2017, January 31, 2019.

Donna Kelly, DVM, received an $18,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Determination of the Prevalence of MRSA in Poultry Meat in Pennsylvania. The grant spanned from January 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017. She collaborated with Lisa Murphy, VMD.

Anna Kraus-Gelzer, PhD, DrMedVet, received a one-year, $6,531 grant from I4C Innovations Incorporated for Feasibility of ambulatory monitoring of dogs with heart disease using a wearable health and wellness monitoring collars. She also received a one-year, $38,290 grant from I4C Innovations Incorporated for Validation of a wearable health and wellness monitor for blood pressure and respiratory rate recording in normal dogs.

Christopher Lengner, PhD, received a $1,187,500 NIH/NCI R01-CA-168654-06 grant for Cell type and molecular determinants of colorectal cancer initiation downstream of APC inactivation. The grant spans from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2022.

Carolina Lopez, PhD, received a $275,000 NIH-R21AI127832 grant for Mechanism for virus persistence after acute infections. The grant spans from December 2016 through November 2018.

Keiko Miyadera, DVM, PhD, received a $200,000 grant from the Landenberger Research Foundation for Canine model of night blindness to target retinal bipolar cells for new therapies. The grant spans from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2019.

Thomas Parsons, VMD, PhD, received a $22,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for Best Practices for Loose Housed Sows: A Field Study. The grant spanned from January 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017.

Shelley Rankin, PhD, received a one-year, $27,756 grant from the American College of Veterinary Dermatology for Evaluation of the CosmosID Software Platform for Rapid Microbial Identification and Pathogen Characterization from Canine Skin.

Mark Rondeau, DVM, received a $141,987 grant from Royal Canin for The role of the microbiome in resolution of canine chronic enteropathy. The grant spans from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2018.

James Serpell, PhD, received a one-year, $10,000 grant from ASPCA for project support for the C-BARQ. He also received a $25,000 grant from the Simon Foundation for analysis and publication of AOIS findings. This grant spans from September 30, 2016, to September 29, 2018.

Oriol Sunyer, PhD, received a $92,281 Sub to USGS (Dept of Ag G16AC00332) grant for Immune Reagent Network for Aquacultured species. The grant spans from September 1, 2016, to May 31, 2019. He also received a $490,000 USDA/NIFA grant for Fish mucosal CD4+ T cells and their association with B cells: Implications for the induction of mucosal immune responses. The grant spans from May 1, 2017, to April 30, 2020.

Yang Xu, PhD, received a one-year, $50,000 Lalor Foundation postdoctoral fellowship for Functions of meiosis-specific ssDNA-binding protein MEIOB in meiotic recombination.

Student News

Allyson Anderson, V’19, received the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) externship grant to attend a dairy externship with Gap Veterinary Associates.

Sarah Colmer, V’17, was named a 2017 Zoetis/AAEP Foundation Scholarship Recipient. The award will be presented November 19 during the AAEP Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas. The recognition comes with a $4,000 scholarship award, complimentary convention registration, and a travel stipend. According to the award notification, “We received a large number of highly qualified applications, which made the decision very difficult for the review committee. Zoetis, the AAEP Foundation, and its leadership applaud your educational and leadership efforts. It is clear you are an asset not only to the horse, but also to the profession and to the AAEP.”

Jordan Fairman, V’20, participated in a veterinary internship at Select Sires in Plain City, Ohio, over the summer. Jordan was one of two interns selected out of 50 applicants. The internship focused on herd health, preventative medicine focused on export, bio-security, and individual animal health. At Penn Vet, Jordan is the Vice President of the Food Animal Club, a Wet Lab Coordinator for the Repro Club for the 2017-2018 school year, and a One Health Scholar. According to Jordan, “I grew up on a dairy farm in DuBois, Pennsylvania, where now we focus on dairy genetics with in vitro fertilization. I am currently a co-owner of Narobi Genetics with my two brothers. My interests are in food animal medicine focusing on reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer for dairy and beef cattle.”

Emily Griswold, V’20, was awarded a Zoetis Early Veterinary Bovine Externship grant for $2,000. Emily will be traveling to Eastview Veterinary Clinic in Penn Yan, New York, to complete a one-month externship. She wants to spend time expanding her perspective on the dairy industry and working on bovine palpation and sick cow care skills. A graduate of Montana State University, and a 4-H and FFA member from Perry County, Pennsylvania, Emily grew up around beef and dairy cattle, sheep, and goats. Emily was recently elected as the 2017-2018 Food Animal Club President and plans to practice food animal medicine in Pennsylvania after graduation.

Steven Hanes, V’19, was selected by Morris Animal Foundation for its Veterinary Student Scholars program. This year, the program funded 20 students conducting summer research projects at 20 different schools of veterinary medicine in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Hanes’ project was Induction of X-reactivation in B cells through deletion of the long noncoding RNA Xist, intended to reveal the dependency of Xist expression for maintaining X-linked gene expression in mature circulating B cells. His mentor is Montserrat Anguera, PhD.

Amy Kraus, V’19, received a $1,000 American Association of Bovine Practitioners Student Externship Grant. She will complete a two-week externship with Dr. John Day from Dairy Health Services in Jerome, Idaho. With large dairy farms and calf ranches, Idaho will give Amy a different perspective on the dairy industry outside of Pennsylvania. The summer externship will allow her to work on palpation and dairy consulting skills in preparation for fourth year clinical rotations.

Anna Martin, V’18, was named a 2017 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Medical Research Fellow. The program selects talented medical and veterinary students to conduct in-depth, mentored biomedical research. Starting this past summer, each fellow will spend a year pursuing basic, translational, or applied biomedical research at one of 32 academic or nonprofit research institutions across the United States.

Sam Neill, V’19, was awarded a Zoetis Early Veterinary Bovine Externship grant for $2,000. Sam will be completing a one-month externship with veterinarians at the Lakewood Veterinary Clinic in Rushford, New York. He will gain exposure to a variety of skills including sick cow care and herd health consultation. As a member of Penn Vet’s palpation team, Sam will be perfecting his bovine palpation skills to prepare for the 2018 competition. After graduation, Sam is planning to work for a food animal practice in the Northeast.

Carl Spielvogel, V’18, was the primary and corresponding author of the paper Use of Positive Pressure Ventilation in Cold-Stunned Sea Turtles: 29 Cases (2008-2014), published in the July edition of the Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery. In addition to Spielvogel, authors included the late Lesley King, MVB, of Penn Vet; Julie M. Cavin, DVM (New England Aquarium); Michael Tlusty, PhD (New England Aquarium and School for the Environment, University of Massachusetts); Deborah Silverstein, DVM, of Penn Vet; Michelle L. Ceresia, PharmD (School of Pharmacy, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University); and Charles Innis, V’94 (New England Aquarium). The work was supported by an International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine Medway Scholarship to Spielvogel, who said, “Other than descriptions of the use of positive pressure ventilation (PPV) during general anesthetic procedures, there exist no peer-reviewed reports on the clinical use of PPV in reptiles. This paper will be the first one! We thank the volunteers and staff of New England Aquarium and Massachusetts Audubon Wellfleet Bay Sanctuary for recovery and care of the turtles. We thank Kevin O’Brien and Sean Shortall, Maquet Inc., for facilitating the loan of a Maquet ventilator, and we thank Stetson Hallowell, Hallowell EMC, for the customization of a Hallowell ventilator.” He added that Dr. King, who passed away last year, “taught me a lot about scientific writing and has been a big influence on me throughout vet school. Dr. Innis, also a Penn Vet alum and current head vet at the New England Aquarium, continues to be a great mentor.”

Corey Spies, V’19, was invited from a competitive selection process to present a Social Impact Pitch at the 14th annual Unite For Sight Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University in April. With more than 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries, this thought-leading conference convenes leaders, change-makers, and participants from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.

Catherine Thurston, V’19, was awarded a Zoetis Early Veterinary Equine Externship grant for $2,000. For one month, she will be working with veterinarians from Rood and Riddle in Kentucky, Rhinebeck Equine in New York, and Pine Bush Equine in New York. Catherine will be working in equine hospitals and traveling with their ambulatory services. After graduation, Catherine plans on completing an equine internship and hopes this externship will help her prepare for fourth year externships.

Carleigh Melofchik, V’19, Kristen DiSiena, V’20, Katie Reilly, V’20, and Katie Heidgerd, V’20, all graduates of the University of Delaware, spoke to the Animal Science Club. The group fielded questions from first year pre-vet students on topics ranging from application timelines to interview fears.