New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
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Penn Vet Firsts

Dr. Leonard Pearson uses tuberculin testing to control bovine tuberculosis.


August Nathaniel Lushington V'1897, becomes the first African American to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (VMD) at the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced about two years in Philadelphia and worked as an instructor in Veterinary Sanitation and Hygiene at Bell Mead Industrial and Agricultural College at Rock Castle, West Virginia. Later, he practiced for much of his career life in very segregated Lynchburg, Virginia, earning a reputation as a superior practitioner in the community. He had memberships to the Bureau of Animal Industry, Federal Department Agriculture, and the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce.

Penn holds first veterinary continuing education conference for practitioners.

Dr. Ernest C. Deubler, V'11, establishes the nation’s first brucellosis-free herd of cattle.

avian influenzaDr. Evan Stubbs, V, ’11, detects the presence of avian influenza virus in the United States.

Dr. Stubbs begins a series of papers on leukemia in chickens. His research with Dr. Jacob Furth leads to the isolation of a strain of avian leukemia virus called Strain 13. 

Dr. Alfred Kissileff, V’33, successfully produces a calf through artificial insemination, the first in Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Otto Stader invents the "Stader Splint", consisting of adjustable metal rod with steel pin at each end for insertion in bone above and below fracture. The splint eventually is adopted for treating fractures in human patients, including soldiers during World War II.

A joint effort between Penn Vet and the Ministry of Agriculture and Husbandry in Mexico is begun to research anaplasmosis in cattle.

Dr. David K. Detweiler and Dr. John T. McGrath begin to develop their specialties in veterinary cardiology and neuropathology, respectively.

Dean Mark Allam reports that in one decade the school’s research efforts had grown by 2,200 percent. The increase is due to the ability of the faculty to attract funds and to the rearrangement of teaching responsibilities so that most basic science faculty had one semester free for research. With the growth of clinical faculty, even more research time became available.

reproductionThe Georgia and Philip Hofmann Research Center is established at New Bolton Center (NBC) to conduct research on the reproductive systems of animals.

Penn Vet receives a training grant for the VMD-PhD Program from the National Institutes of Health. In collaboration with the medical faculty, the school trained the profession’s first full spectrum of clinical specialists as well as large numbers of veterinarian-scientists.

Dr. Hilary Koprowski, director of the Wistar Institute, develops a new tissue culture-based rabies vaccine that is more effective and less painful than the traditional Pasteur technique.

Drs. Robert Brodey and Lonny Rubin start the veterinary specialties of oncology and ophthalmology, respectively.

National Institutes of Health fund nation's first VMD/PhD program at Penn Vet.

Penn Vet establishes the first veterinary section of Medical Genetics.


pool recoveryDr. Jacques Jenny establishes specialty of orthopaedic surgery in the horse. A recovery pool for equine orthopaedic surgery is developed, the first in the world.

The Comparative Cardiovascular Studies Unit, the Section of Medical Genetics, the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society, the Center for Food Animal Health and Productivity, Aquavet (a program in aquatic veterinary medicine) and the Bovine Leukemia Research Center—all firsts—are created and well funded, and many serve as multi-disciplinary models emulated by other veterinary schools.

transgenic miceThe first transgenic animals are developed. A team led by Drs. Richard Palmiter and Ralph Brinster fuse elements of a gene that can be regulated by dietary zinc to a rat growth-hormone gene, and inject it into fertilized mouse embryos. The resulting mice, when fed with extra zinc, grow to be huge, and the technique paves the way for a wave of genetic analysis using transgenic mice.

Dr. Mattie Hendrick provides the first link between vaccination and the development of fibrosarcomas in cats.

The world’s first test-tube calf, Virgil, is born. The research team is headed by Dr. Benjamin G. Brackett; this work has had significant impact on embryo transfer in livestock production.

The Pennsylvania Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission establishes the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System at NBC to provide rapid and accurate diagnostic assistance to veterinarians involved with food-fiber animals, equine, aquaculture and wildlife. It protects animals and humans from health threats and minimizes economic loss by providing accurate diagnoses to assist Pennsylvania’s agricultural community in controlling disease.

A team at NBC under the guidance of Dr. Jim Ferguson develops the concept of systematic breeding of dairy cows in an integrated program, a novel strategy then that is the basis of many programs still employed throughout the global dairy industry.

Connelly Intensive Care Unit/Graham French Neonatal Section, the first building designed specifically for care of critically ill large animals, opens at New Bolton Center.

bloodmobileFirst animal bloodmobile in the world enters service at Ryan Veterinary Hospital.

Medical genetics researchers develop first allele specific test for an inherited disease in domestic animals.

PennHIP®, a new diagnostic procedure for canine hip dysplasia, is established at Ryan Veterinary Hospital.

Marshak Dairy, the first greenhouse-style dairy complex in Pennsylvania, is dedicated.

The Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology Research is established. It works closely with other centers within the school and across campus to develop broad-based clinical oncology and interdisciplinary cancer research and training programs.

lancelotIn collaboration with Cornell University researchers, Dr. Aguirre’s team is the first to restore vision in a blind dog, Lancelot, using gene therapy

Penn Vet pioneers the introduction of genetically modified and in vitro grown spermatogonial stem cells into the testis of a sterile mouse. The foreign gene introduced through the male germ cells glows under ultraviolet light in the photograph of transgenic mice. This technology will provide a type of biological immortality to males of many mammalian species.

The university launches the Institute for Regenerative Medicine housed at the school, a new cross-disciplinary endeavor to investigate and harness the therapeutic potential of stem cells in treatment of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, degenerative diseases, wound healing and aging. Dr. John Gearhart, who led a research team that first identified and isolated human embryonic stem cells, is named director of the institute.

The Veterinary Center for Infectious Diseases is established. The center is committed to improving the health of animals through research on infectious diseases and is home to expertise in virology, bacteriology, parasitology, immunology and epidemiology.

swine unit2001 – New swine facility fostering the latest humane methods in swine rearing opens at New Bolton Center.

2012 – Penn Vet Working Dog Center opens its doors on Penn's South Bank Campus. EstaPenn Vet Working Dog Centerblished in 2007, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, is part of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine and serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs.Center for Host-Microbial Interactions

2013 – Center for Host-Microbial Interactions forms as an interdisciplinary center that helps faculty leverage cutting-edge genomic approaches to understand how microbes (viruses, bacteria and parasites) influence animal health and disease.

Penn Vet History Fact

pool recovery, New Bolton Center1970s

Dr. Jacques Jenny establishes specialty of orthopaedic surgery in the horse. A recovery pool for equine orthopaedic surgery is developed, the first in the world. 

Penn Vet History Resources

From images to archives, from Bellwethers to books to a seminal talk by Dr. Benjamin Rush on the veterinary profession, you can find it on the Penn Vet History Resources webpages.