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Three Faculty from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine Appointed to Endowed Professorships

By: Martin J. Hackett Date: Mar 16, 2022
Thomas D. Parsons, Christopher J. Lengner and Amy L. Johnson recognized for scholarly achievements
Thomas D. Parsons, Christopher J. Lengner and Amy L. Johnson recognized for scholarly achievements


[March 16, 2022; Philadelphia, PA] – Andrew M. Hoffman, DVM, DVSc, DACVIM, Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn Vet) announced professorship appointments for three faculty members. Thomas D. Parsons has been appointed the Marie A. Moore Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics, Christopher J. Lengner has been appointed the Harriet Ellison Woodward Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences, and Amy L. Johnson has been appointed the Marilyn M. Simpson Associate Professor of Equine Medicine. Each of the appointments will go into effect on July 1, 2022.

Dr. Tom Parsons, Penn Vet New Bolton Center
Dr. Thomas D. Parsons
Thomas D. Parsons, VMD, PhD, DACAW, professor of Swine Medicine in the Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center; professor of Otorhinolaryngology at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM); and director of the Swine Teaching and Research Center, is a graduate of Amherst College. He received his VMD and PhD (Neuroscience) from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). While at Penn, Parsons studied in the Veterinary Medical Scientist Training Program and then was supported by the von Humboldt Society to train at the Max Planck Institute for Biomedical Research in Heidelberg, Germany. He joined Penn’s faculty in 1995 as assistant professor of Swine Medicine; promoted to associate professor of Swine Production Medicine in 2005; and professor in 2019. Parsons is a charter member of the American College of Animal Welfare, and serves as the faculty coordinator for the Masters Program in Animal Welfare and Behavior, as well as head of mammalian field investigations for the Pennsylvania Diagnostic Laboratories at New Bolton Center (PADLS). His research focuses on the advancement of sustainable models of agriculture through the study of animal behavior, health, welfare, and applications of technology. Parsons is recognized globally by scholars and industry leaders for re-envisioning swine housing and feeding systems to improve welfare.

Dr. Christopher Lengner, Penn Vet
Dr. Christopher J. Lengner
Christopher J. Lengner, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Penn Vet; associate professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM); co-director of the Center for Animal Transgenesis, and associate director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine; is a graduate of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He received his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Medical School, then went on to become a Ruth Kirschstein Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Whitehead Institute and at the MIT in the lab of Rudolf Jaenisch. As a postdoc, he made seminal contributions to the field of epigenetic reprogramming in the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells – knowledge which is now broadly applied in disease modeling and development of cell-based therapies. Lengner joined Penn’s faculty in 2011 as assistant professor. In 2017 he was named associate professor, and he was appointed as a Penn Fellow in 2019. He is a member of the PSOM’s NIH P30 Center for Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases, and the Tumor Biology Program of the Abramson Cancer Center. Currently, the Lengner lab employs genetic and genomic tools in organoid models to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern stem cell self-renewal, and how those mechanisms become dysregulated in disease states, particularly cancer. His research has appeared in nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications including in field leading journals such as Cell Stem Cell, Cancer Cell, and Gastroenterology.

Dr. Amy Johnson, Penn Vet New Bolton Center
Dr. Amy L. Johnson
Amy L. Johnson, DVM, DACVIM (Large Animal Internal Medicine and Neurology), associate professor of Large Animal Medicine and Neurology, Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center, is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. She received her DVM with distinction from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Johnson completed a residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine at Cornell, followed by a residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. She was the first American veterinarian, and the second veterinarian in the world, granted dual certification in neurology and large animal internal medicine through the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Johnson joined Penn Vet as a lecturer at New Bolton Center in 2007; became an assistant professor in 2011; and in 2019, was promoted to associate professor and assumed the role of section chief of Internal Medicine and Ophthalmology. Johnson’s primary research focus is on improving antemortem diagnosis of neurologic disease in horses; with a secondary interest in infectious diseases including Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and Lyme neuroborreliosis.

“Doctors Parsons, Lengner, and Johnson are excellent role models; the consummate blend of scientist, teacher and mentor that our endowed professors should embody,” said Dean Hoffman. “All three of them reflect the values and dedication that are vital to the mission of Penn Vet and to our community. I am delighted to have them on our faculty; their collective research and academic leadership are undeniably fitting for these signature professorships.”

The awarding of named endowed professorships are the highest honor bestowed upon faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. Endowed professorships reflect excellence in scholarly achievement; and embody a commitment to scientific discovery, clinical excellence, mentorship, and service.

About Penn Vet

Ranked among the top ten veterinary schools worldwide, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) is a global leader in veterinary education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the first veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 34,600 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 6,200 patient visits a year, while our Field Services have gone out on more than 5,500 farm service calls, treating some 18,700 patients at local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.