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Faculty and Staff News

Published: Mar 12, 2019

Michael Atchison, PhD, was a speaker at the International Conference on Genome Architecture and Cell Fate Regulation at the University of Hyderabad, India.

Ashley Boyle, DVM, spoke at the British Equine Veterinary Association Congress in September 2018 on Combined Antigen A and C Serologic Response in Horses Vaccinated for Strangles with a Modified Live Intranasal Vaccine (Darko Stefanovski, PhD is a coauthor) and Propidium Monoazide-Quantitative Realtime Polymerase Chain Reaction for the Detection of Viable Streptococcus Equi (Shelley Rankin, PhD, Kathleen O’Shea Boyajian, BS, and Darko Stefanovski, PhD, are co-authors).

Stephen Cole, VMD, is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiology and qualified in the specialty areas of bacteriology, mycology, and immunology. He is a lecturer in microbiology, and the first Penn Vet board-certified microbiologist and immunologist.

Raimon Duran-Struuck, DVM, PhD, has been awarded a prestigious annual prize by the Transplantation Society: the Leslie B Brent Award for the most outstanding paper published in transplantation in the field of basic science research. His paper is entitled Effect of Ex Vivo-Expanded Recipient Regulatory T Cells on Hematopoietic Chimerism and Kidney Allograft Tolerance Across MHC Barriers in Cynomolgus Macaques (2017) (Duran-Struuck R, Sondermeijer HP, Bühler L, Alonso-Guallart P, Zitsman J, Kato Y, Wu A, McMurchy AN, Woodland D, Griesemer A, Martinez M, Boskovic S, Kawai T, Cosimi AB, Wuu CS, Slate A, Mapara M, Baker S, Tokarz R, D' Agati V, Hammer S, Pereira M, Lipkin WI, Wekerle T, Levings M, Sykes M. Transplantation.101(2): 274-283.)

Hannah Galantino-Homer, VMD, PhD, has an article in press in BMC Vet: Cassimeris L, Engiles JB, Galantino-Homer H. Detection of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and the Unfolded Protein Response in Obesity and Endocrinopathy-Associated Equine Laminitis. The project started as Dr. Cassimeris’s sabbatical project in the Galantino-Homer lab.

David Galligan, VMD, and Dipti Pitta, PhD, received the Penn India Research Engagement Fund Award to establish a Center of Dairy Excellence in India. Supported by training and infrastructure, the center will benefit marginal farmers by improving productivity of dairy cows.

Oliver Garden, BVetMed, PhD, attended the Provost’s Leadership Academy at the Penn Museum on September 14. His PhD student, Julia Wu, successfully completed her Viva Voce Examination in London on September 28. Her examiners were Professor Linda Woolridge and Dr. Tim Scase. She is now a postdoc in the Garden Lab. Garden presented Diagnostic Criteria for Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia: Laying the Ground Rules, or Opening Pandora’s Box at the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pathologists: Current Topics in Clinical Pathology, Clinical Immunology Session on November 4 in Washington, DC. And he presented a research abstract by Dr. Jie Luo, Senior Research Investigator in Garden Lab, titled Antigen-Specific Immunotherapy of Myasthenia Gravis in Domestic Dogs: A Pilot Study at the Society of Neuroscience, at the 48th Annual Congress in San Diego, November 3–7.

Anna Gelzer, Dr med vet, PhD, published Yaw TJ, Kraus MS, Ginsburg A, Hadfield CA, Gelzer AR*. Comparison of a Smartphone-Based Device with a Standard Six-Lead Electrocardiogram in the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). J Zoo Wildl Med. 2018 Sep; 49(3):689-695. DOI: 10.1638/2017-0140.1. He also published Muñoz LM, Gelzer AR, Fenton FH, Qian W, Lin WY, Gilmour RF, Otani NF. Discordant Alternans as a Mechanism for Initiation of Ventricular Fibrillation In Vitro. Journal of the American Heart Association. Sep 4, 2018; 7(17): e007898. DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.117.007898.

Dr. Julie Engiles presents the award to Dr. Michael GoldschmidtDr. Michael Goldschmidt Earns Harold Casey Lifetime Teaching Award

Michael Goldschmidt, BVMS, MSc, was awarded the Harold Casey Lifetime Teaching Award from the CL Davis DVM Foundation for the Advancement of Veterinary and Comparative Pathology. The award is given annually to a professor who has dedicated a career to teaching veterinary and comparative pathology. Penn Vet’s Julie Engiles, VMD, presented the award to Goldschmidt at the American College of Veterinary Pathologists 2018 annual meeting held in Washington DC.

Fuyu Guan, PhD, published Guan F, You Y, Li X, and Robinson MA. Detection and Confirmation of Alpha-cobratoxin in Equine Plasma by Solid-Phase Extraction and Liquid Chromatography Coupled to Mass Spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A, 1533: 38-48, 2018.

Karina Guziewicz, PhD, presented Understanding the Dynamics of Subretinal Space in Health and Disease at the 2018 International Society for Eye Research in Belfast, Ireland. She contributed a book chapter: Underdeveloped RPE Apical Domain Underlies Lesion Formation in Canine Bestrophinopathies (Guziewicz KE, McTish E, Dufour VL, Zorych K, Dhingra A, Boesze-Battaglia K, Aguirre GD. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2018;1074: 309-315).

Ronald Harty, PhD, Bruce Freedman, VMD, PhD, and collaborators at Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center were issued a patent to develop novel small molecule, broad-spectrum therapeutics against viral infections caused by hemorrhagic fever viruses including Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa fever. Currently, there are no commercially available therapeutic agents for the treatment of these viral infections. The inhibitors target a virus-host interaction necessary for efficient virus egress from infected host cells and are thus referred to as host-oriented inhibitors. The proposed anti-viral therapeutic that targets EBOV, MARV, and LAFV is being developed for treatment of infected individuals and for prophylactic treatment of soldiers, healthcare workers, or others at high risk. Emergency administration of such an antiviral therapeutic during an outbreak would inhibit virus dissemination within infected individuals and reduce infection of newly exposed individuals, thus slowing disease progression and transmission. Drs. Harty and Freedman are the co-founders of Intervir, a start-up company whose mission is to further develop and commercialize these antiviral therapeutics.

Sabina Hlavaty and Dr. David HoltDr. David Holt Addresses Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Fellows

David Holt, BVSc, gave the keynote speech at the 2018 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Medical Fellows Northeast Regional Meeting in Philadelphia. HHMI supports scientists and educators to advance biomedical research and train the next generation of scientific leaders. Holt is pictured with Sabina Hlavaty, V’22, co-chair of the meeting.

Christopher Hunter, PhD, was the invited guru and speaker at the NIH Immunology Retreat. He was also a joint organizer and speaker at the International Cytokine and Interferon Society meeting in Boston. He also spoke at the Brazilian Protozological Society Annual Meeting in Brazil and the Yale Immunology Seminar Series. He took part in the Penn Vet Breakthrough Bike Challenge with Molly Church, VMD, PhD, and Raimon Duran-Struuck, DVM, PhD.

Meryl Littman, VMD, gave six hours of continuing education lectures about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and leptospirosis in dogs in August 2018, at the Keystone Veterinary Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Carolina López, PhD, is a visiting professor at the Institut Pasteur, Paris, sabbatical funded by a US Scholar Fulbright award from November 2018 to April 2019. She was named Associate Editor of PloS Pathogens. She published Genoyer E and López CB. Distinct Intracellular Distribution of Full-Length and Defective Viral RNA Genomes Drives Functional Heterogeneity during Infection. J. Virol. Nov 2018. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01579-18.

Wilfried Mai, Dr Méd Vét, PhD, published the book Diagnostic MRI in Dogs and Cats (CRC Press, Taylor and Francis) in September 2018. It is available at He spoke at the Southern Europe Veterinary Conference in Madrid in October 2018 ( His remarks addressed imaging in trauma patients, CT of the acute abdomen, and the role of imaging in urinary emergencies. He also conducted a four-hour ultrasound lab.

Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD, was a visiting professor at the Working Dog Centre of Massey University Veterinary School in Palmerston North, New Zealand, October 8–19, 2018. She was named to the National Detection Dog Breeding Co-op Working Group. She published Zanghi BM, Robbins PJ, Ramos MT, Otto CM. Working Dogs Drinking a Nutrient-Enriched Water Maintain Cooler Body Temperature and Improved Pulse Rate Recovery After Exercise. Front. Vet. Sci., 28 August 2018. DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00202. She also published Leighton EA, Hare E, Thomas S, Waggoner LP, Otto CM. Solution for the Shortage of Detection Dogs: A Detector Dog Center of Excellence and a Cooperative Breeding Program Front. Vet. Sci., 16 November 2018. DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00284. She lectured at the AKC US Detection Dog Conference in Durham, North Carolina, on August 29, 2018; spoke about the efficacy of Naloxone on DHS working dogs at the Department of Homeland Security, Washington DC, on September 6, 2018; and spoke at the Working Dog Research Colloquium, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, on October 16, 2018.

Shelley Rankin, PhD, organized the 2018 PennDemic infectious disease outbreak simulation in collaboration with Deborah Becker, PhD, from Penn Nursing, and Stephen Cole, VMD, and Jennifer Punt, VMD, PhD, from Penn Vet, and former Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins of Brookings. The event was attended by students from across the campus.

Alexander Reiter, Dr med vet, Dipl. Tzt., gave lecture presentations and wet laboratories in Kyoto, Japan; Halmstad, Sweden; Phoenix, Arizona; and Vienna, Austria, between August and December 2018. He was awarded full faculty status by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft fuer Osteosynthesefragen (AO North America) and became a founding member of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC). Reiter also edited a textbook together with former Penn Vet resident and lecturer Dr. Margherita Gracis from Milan, Italy (Reiter AM, Gracis M, eds. BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Dentistry and Oral Surgery, 4th ed. BSAVA, Gloucester, 2018, i-vi, 1-384).

Mary Robinson, VMD, PhD, passed the board exams in June and is now a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology. She published five manuscripts in 2018.

Deborah Silverstein, DVM, was promoted to Professor of Critical Care in CSAM. She published Textbook of Small Animal Emergency Medicine; edited by herself, Penn Vet’s Kenneth Drobatz, DVM, and two additional colleagues outside of Penn. This is a two-volume extensive reference for all emergency veterinarians.

Charles Vite, DVM, PhD, spoke in October at the Loire Valley meeting of the International Niemann Pick Disease Foundation in France on Gene Therapy for NPC disease. He also spoke in November at the Directors Meeting of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers in Boston on canine models of intellectual disability.

Susan Volk, VMD, PhD, was an invited speaker at the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Conference in Sacramento in September and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons Surgery Summit in Phoenix in October, as well as the keynote speaker at Innovations in Wound Healing in Key West in December.

Youwen You, PhD, published You Y, Proctor RM, Vasilko ED, Robinson MA. Doping Control Analysis of Four JWH-250 Metabolites in Equine Urine by Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Drug Test Analysis. 2018;1–10. DOI: 10.1002/dta.2542. He also published You Y, Guan F, D’Ippolito R, Li X, Soma LR, Robinson MA. High-Throughput Doping Control Analysis of 28 Amphetamine-Type Stimulants in Equine Plasma Using Hydrophilic Interaction Liquid Chromatography–Tandem Mass Spectrometry. Drug Test Analysis. 2018;1–14. DOI: 10.1002/dta.2516.


Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD, received a $427,725 grant R-01 Grant from the NIH for Models for Therapy of Hereditary Retinal Degenerations. This is the 33rd year for this grant.

Daniel Belting, PhD, received a $62,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for Development of a Rapid, Stall-Side Diagnostic Assay for Equine Respiratory Pathogens. The grant spans from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

William Beltran, DVM, PhD, received a $6,898,266 NIH U24-EY029089 grant via CHOP for Retinal Disease Models for Translational Photoreceptor Replacement. The grant spans from September 30, 2018 to August 31, 2023. He also received a $193,530 R44-EY025905 Small Business Innovation Research grant for Ambient Light Activatable Opsin-Based Therapy for Age-Related Macular Degeneration. The grant spans from June 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019.

Molly Church, VMD, PhD, received a $4,629.63 NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) with Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine for This Is How We Role: Inspiring Future Researchers through Veterinary Medicine. The grant spans from June 1, 2018 to April 30, 2019.

Raimon Duran-Struuck, DVM, PhD, received a $220,367 grant from the NIH/NIAID Collaboration with the University of Michigan and Temple University for S-Nitrosothiol-Based Rinse/Aerosol Solutions for Treatment/Prevention of Rhinosinusitis (Phase II). The grant spans from July 2018 to July 2019. He also received a $1,633,997 grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust for Durable Islets Transplant by Co-Administrating Engineered Regulatory T Cells. The grant spans January 2018 to December 2020.

Anna Gelzer, Dr med vet, PhD, received a $13,701 grant from CARF University of Pennsylvania for Determination of Anti-Arrhythmic Efficacy of Sotalol and Amiodarone in Boxers with ARVC by Electrophysiologic Testing, Electroanatomic Mapping, and Novel Long-Term, At-home ECG Monitoring. The grant spans from December 2018 to November 2020. Her collaborator is Cory M. Tschabrunn, PhD, CEPS, Director, Translational Electrophysiology Laboratory Cardiovascular Medicine–Cardiac Electrophysiology Program, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Mariah Gentry, DVM, received the 2019 AKC Canine Health Foundation Clinician-Scientist Fellowship. She is a postdoctoral fellow, under the mentorship of Margret L. Casal, DVM, studying the heritability of renal dysplasia in cairn terriers. Her goal is to develop a DNA-based marker test, so the disorder can be diagnosed at an early age. The fellowship is generously sponsored by the Foundation of the Cairn Terrier Club of America.

Colin Harvey, BVSc, received the prestigious 2018 World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) Award for Scientific Achievement in recognition of his work highlighting the importance of veterinary oral and dental conditions in companion animals and developing tools to incorporate dental procedures and preventive strategy into daily veterinary practice. The award, given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of small animal medicine, was presented to him in September during the WSAVA World Congress in Singapore.

Christopher Hunter, PhD, received a $1,138,100 NIH/T32 grant for Parasitology: Modern Approaches. The grant spans September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2023. He also received a $100,000 Emerson Grant from the Abramson Cancer Center for IL-27 in Metastatic Melanoma. The grant spans from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020.

Donna Kelly, DVM, received a $5,000 grant the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for Evaluation of Integrated Pest Management Systems in Aquaponics Production for Salmonella Species and Aeromonas Hydrophila Contamination of Harvested Product. The grant spans from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Leszek Kubin, PhD, received a $20,000 grant from Cohen Veterans Bioscience for Model of Individual Differences in Response to Social Defeat in Rats. (The award is a subcontract from a $500,000 award to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.) The grant spans from February 1, 2018 to January 31, 2020.

Carolina López, PhD, received a $470,000 per year R01AI134862-01 grant from the NIH/NIAID for Mechanism of DDO Adjuvancy. The grant spans from August 15, 2018, to July 31, 2023. She also received a $115,000 per year Collaborative Cross UNC U19 Pilot grant from NIH/NIAID for Developing an Ex-Vivo Model System of Airway Genetic Diversity. The grant spans from October 10, 2018 to August 31, 2019.

Dipti Pitta, PhD, received a one-year, $28,155 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for Novel Technologies for Mitigating Microbial Pollution on Livestock Farms. The goal is to investigate if novel methods such as roasting manure or composting under negative pressure are more efficient in removing antimicrobial resistant gene determinants compared to traditional manure composting or anaerobic digestion. Pitta is affiliated with the Agricultural Systems and Microbial Genomics Laboratory. Her collaborators are Zhengxia Dou, PhD, Linda Baker, VMD, Joseph Bender, DVM, and Helen Aceto, VMD, PhD.

Laurel Redding, VMD, PhD, received a $16,467 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for Clostridium Difficile on Dairy Farms and Farm Workers. The grant spans from January 2019 to January 2020. Her collaborator is Donna Kelly, DVM.

Mary Robinson, VMD, PhD, received a $3,442,127 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture State Horse Racing Commission to perform forensic drug testing on equine plasma, urine, tissue samples, and confiscated items, and to perform pharmacology research in exercised horses to support the equine anti-doping program. This marks the fortieth year of continuous funding for this program, which is directed by Robinson. The first contract was awarded to Penn Vet in 1979 to Emeritus Professor Dr. Lawrence Soma, who was asked to provide guidance regarding appropriate medication use in racehorses. The grant spans from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. She is affiliated with the Penn Vet Equine Pharmacology Laboratory.

Susan Volk, VMD, PhD, received a $2,092,237 1R01GM124091 grant for The Regulatory Roles of Type III Collagen in Cutaneous Wound Healing. The grant spans from September 21, 2018 to August 31, 2023. She also received a $385,193 1R21-CA-216552 grant for Type III Collagen as a Suppressor of Breast Cancer Progression and Metastasis. The grant spans from July 2018 to May 2020. She also received a $1,332,796 grant from NIH/NIGMS for The Regulatory Roles of Type III Collagen in Cutaneous Wound Healing. The grant spans from September 21, 2018 to August 31, 2023.

P. Jeremy Wang, MD, PhD, received a $4,775,101 P50 HD068157 grant from the NIH for The Penn Center for the Study of Epigenetics in Reproduction (M. Bartolomei, C. Coutifaris, and J Wang), which will elucidate epigenetic mechanisms that govern male and female reproduction, contribute to male infertility, and impact development of mouse and human concepti conceived through assisted reproductive technologies. The centerpiece of the Penn Center is three integrated, innovative research projects, spearheaded by experienced leaders in the areas of epigenetics and reproduction. The grant spans from July 23, 2018 to March 31, 2023.


Charles E. Benson, PhD, passed away in December. Benson was Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Penn Vet and Chairman of New Bolton Center from 1989 to 1997.

Matthew Page Mackay-Smith, DVM, joined Penn Vet faculty in 1958 as its first-ever intern in equine surgery and medicine. He was an inspiring teacher who motivated students with his enthusiasm, depth of knowledge and surgical skills. He received an advanced degree in orthopedics and epidemiology from Penn and in 1962 published his thesis on the subject of Equine Osteoarthritis when it was an emerging field. In 1968, Mackay-Smith founded the Delaware Equine Center, which grew to a twelve-man practice described in the AVMA Journal as a “horseman’s practice.”