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Faculty and Staff News

Published: Mar 22, 2018

Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD, delivered the keynote address at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, University of California Los Angeles last October. The presentation was entitled Curing the Previously Untreatable: AAV-mediated Gene Therapy for RPE and Photoreceptor Diseases. He also spoke on Una Actualización de la Terapia Génica para las Degeneraciones Retinianas Heredadas at the RP Patient meeting in Santiago, Chile, last October. In addition, the Penn Vet Translational Retinal Research and Therapies Symposium was held in his honor last November; he discussed Pre-clinical gene therapy development for Leber congenital amaurosis caused by NPHP5 mutations.

Brady Beale, VMD, clinical ophthalmologist, developed an online resource for veterinarians and families facing a diagnosis of incurable blindness in their pets. The website,, provides stories about inspiring blind animals, tips on living with blind pets, and explanations for causes of blindness. The mission is to provide a positive and accurate centralized source, developed and maintained by veterinary ophthalmologists, that can be used by vets and families seeking information.

William Beltran, DVM, PhD, spoke about Pre-clinical development of a single vector strategy for Rhodopsin autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa gene therapy at the Penn Vet Translational Retinal Research and Therapies Symposium last November.

Bernd Driessen, DVM, PhD, received the 2017 Robert Whitlock Junior Faculty Mentoring Award. Last June, he served as a Visiting Professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Italy. In October, he was course director of the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies Anesthesia Course I, Principles of Small Animal Anesthesia and Perioperative Analgesia, held in Shanghai. He was also the course director of the 2017-18 Veterinary Technician Certificate Course in Principle Techniques of Small Animal Anesthesia, Perioperative Analgesia Critical Patient Care, held at Manor College, Pennsylvania.

Amy Durham, VMD, was the keynote speaker on Topics in Lymphoma at the Davis Thompson Foundation, European Division Pathology Symposium during the European Society of Veterinary Pathology meeting in Lyon, France, last August.

Mariah Gentry, DVM, a veterinary post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Margret Casal, DVM, PhD, was named a 2018 AKC Canine Health Foundation Clinician-Scientist Fellow. She is researching the heritability of renal dysplasia in Cairn Terriers, and aims to develop a DNA-based marker test so the disorder can be diagnosed at an early age.

Urs Giger, DrMedVet, last September and while on sabbatical, was invited to speak on his clinical research at the annual conferences of the World Veterinary Association (Seoul), the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Malta), and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (Copenhagen).

Fuyu Guan, PhD, was invited by the organizing committee of the 17th Beijing Conference and Exhibition on Instrumental Analysis to give a keynote speech last October to the session on Analytical Techniques in Life Sciences. The title of the presentation was Toward universal extraction and detection of exogenous peptides in equine plasma and urine for doping control. He was also invited by the director of the Beijing Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology’s toxicant analysis laboratory to give a lecture to the laboratory, entitled Detection and identification of exogenous peptides and proteins in equine plasma and urine. Recent publications include: Fuyu Guan and Mary A. Robinson. Comprehensive solid-phase extraction of multitudinous bioactive peptides from equine plasma and urine for doping detection. Analytica Chimica Acta, 985: 79-90 (2017). In addition, he published the following: Fuyu Guan, Mary A. Robinson and Lawrence R. Soma. Confirmatory analysis of etanercept in equine plasma by LC-MS for doping control. Drug Testing and Analysis,  9: 1421–1431 (2017).

Jamie Guiberson, CVT, VTS-EVN, spoke on the topics of neonatal nursing, colic, biosecurity, and intravenous catheters at the Wild West Veterinary Conference in Reno, Nevada, last October.

Klaus Hopster, DVM, PhD, DrMedVet, received a 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Christopher Lengner, PhD, was appointed Associate Director at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He gave invited lectures at the West Virginia University School of Medicine last September and the Cold Spring Harbor Annual Stem Cell Meeting last October. His publications included the following: Vu LP,  et al. “Functional screen of MSI2 interactors identifies an essential role for SYNCRIP in myeloid leukemia stem cells,” Nature Genetics 2017 Jun; Tian Y, ... Lengner CJ, Cui W, Yu Z. “Stress Responsive miR-31 is a Major Modulator of Mouse Intestinal Stem Cells during Regeneration and Tumorigenesis,” Elife 2017 Sep; Cedeno RJ, Sterling S, Nakauka-Ddamba A, Leu NA, Yousefi M, Li R, Pehrson JR, Lengner CJ. “The histone variant MacroH2a confers functional robustness to the intestinal stem cell compartment,” PLoS One. 2017 Sep; Kim H, ... Lengner CJ, Kim BS, Kim J. “Modelling APOE3/4 allele-associated sporadic Alzheimer’s disease in an induced neuron,” Brain 2017 Aug; Nakauka-Ddamba A, Lengner CJ. “Gut with the Program: Direct Reprogramming toward Intestinal Epithelium Realized,” Cell Stem Cell 2017 Oct; and Yousefi M, Li L, Lengner CJ. “Hierarchy and plasticitiy in the intestinal stem cell compartment,” Trends in Cell Biology 2017 Oct.

Keiko Miyadera, DVM, PhD, published the following: Das RG, Marinho FP, Iwabe S, Santana E, McDaid KS, Aguirre GD, Miyadera K. Variabilities in retinal function and structure in a canine model of cone-rod dystrophy associated with RPGRIP1 support multigenic etiology. Scientific Report. 2017 Oct 9;7(1):12823.

Patricia Mundy, VetMB, was invited as a guest of Virgin Unite—the philanthropic arm of the Virgin Media group—to meet with Sir Richard Branson at The Wharton School. They discussed his new book, as well as the impact of Virgin’s philanthropic work specifically targeting the incarceration rate of African Americans. Mundy has an active role at the grassroots level, mentoring young people in South Philadelphia who are directly impacted.

Chuck Newton, DVM, completed 12,430 miles of walking with his Fitbit. The distance is analogous to walking from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Cindy Otto, DVM, PhD, testified before a joint hearing with the House Homeland Security and House Oversight Committees on Innovations in Security: Examining the Use of Canines. She published the following: Robbins PJ, Ramos MT, Zanghi BM, Otto CM. Environmental and physiological factors associated with stamina in dogs exercising in high ambient temperatures. Front. Vet. Sci., 11 September 2017, She also published: Otto CM, Hare E,Nord JL, Palermo SM, Kelsey KM, Darling TA, Schmidt K, Coleman D. Maintaining Hydration of Dogs Working in Hot Environments. Front. Vet. Sci., 26 October 2017,

Mark Oyama, DVM, was awarded the School of Veterinary Medicine 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award at the Penn Annual Conference Alumni Dinner. He was selected by students and recent alumni of Penn Vet.

Alexander Reiter, DrMedVet, DiplTzt, gave numerous research and teaching presentations and tutored several laboratories on various topics in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery at courses and conferences in Germany last June, Canada in July, Sweden in August, Tennessee and Pennsylvania in September, and Switzerland in November. He also was approved as Official AOVET North America Faculty last October. He noted that more than 20 percent of all lectures/panels of the Veterinary Dental Forum in Nashville, Tennessee, last September were given by members (technicians, dental hygienists, and veterinarians) of Penn Vet’s Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service, continuing strong representation at the largest veterinary dentistry and oral surgery conference in the world.

Dieter Schifferli, PhD, DrMedVet, was elected President-Elect of the Eastern Pennsylvania Branch of the American Society of Microbiology. He published the following: Cooperation of Adhesin Alleles in Salmonella-Host Tropism. De Masi L, Yue M, Hu C, Rakov AV, Rankin SC, Schifferli DM. mSphere. 2017 Mar 8;2(2). pii: e00066-17. doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00066-17. eCollection 2017 Mar-Apr. PMID: 28289725.

James Serpell, PhD, was an invited keynote speaker at the Australian Animal Studies Association Conference at the University of Adelaide, Australia, last July and at the Canine Science Conference at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, last October. He published the following: Serpell, J.A. (Ed.) 2017.The Domestic Dog: Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People, 2nd (revised) Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. He also published: Serpell, J.A., McCune, S., Gee, N. and Griffin, J. 2017. Challenges to research on animal-assisted interventions. Applied Developmental Science: In addition, he published: Duffy, D.L., Diniz de Moura, R.T. and Serpell, J.A. 2017. Development and evaluation of the Fe-BARQ: A new instrument for measuring behavior in domestic cats (Felis s. catus). Behavioural Processes, 141: 329-341. Lastly, he published: Bray, E.E., Sammel, M.D., Cheney, D.L , Serpell, J.A. and Seyfarth, R.M. 2017. Effects of maternal investment, temperament, and cognition on guide dog success. PNAS, 114(34): 9128-9133.

Deborah Silverstein, DVM, lectured at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium (IVECCS) 2017 about the adverse effects of intravenous fluid therapy in critically ill patients. She also lectured and took part in the first ever week-long Cardiopulmonary Bootcamp at Cornell University, which involved advanced simulation teaching in the areas of resuscitation, CPR, and mechanical ventilation. She published the following: Balakrishnan A, Drobatz KJ, Silverstein DC. Incidence, risk factors, management, outcome and necropsy findings of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome in dogs and cats: 29 cases (2011-2013); JVECC 2017. She also published: 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); JAVMA 2017. In addition, she published: Barr CA, Gianotti G, Graffeo CE, Drobatz KJ, Silverstein DC. Influence of the push-pull technique compared to direct venipuncture on venous blood gas values before and after propofol or alfaxalone. JAVMA 2017. Lastly, she published: 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). J Herpetol Med Surg 2017.

Abigail Smith, PhD, received the Pravin N. Bhatt Research Award during the national meeting of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science in Austin, Texas, last October.

Sheldon Steinberg, VMD, DMSc, was honored by the European College of Veterinary Neurology (ECVN) with the Malleus Aureus Award. This annual award was introduced by ECVN to celebrate and recognize a key individual who has made exceptional contributions to the field of veterinary neurology.

Lori Waddell, DVM, spoke last July at the American Veterinary Medical Association convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. She gave four hours of lecture and a two-hour small group session with Dana Clarke, VMD. She also spoke in September at the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee, where she gave a four-hour small group session with Clarke as well as two hours of lecture.


Gary Althouse, DVM, PhD, received a $1,531,959 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Pharmacological and Forensic Research Plan. The grant spanned from June 30 to September 30, 2017.

Montserrat Anguera, PhD, received a one-year, $11,450 grant from the University Research Foundation for Penn Vet Next-generation Sequencing Resource. She also received a one-year, $2,000 grant from the Lupus Foundation of America Philadelphia Tri-State for Contribution of the Inactive X Chromosome in B Lymphocytes to SLE.

William Beltran, DVM, PhD, is the study director for a new, $194,456 sponsored research agreement with AGTC (Gene Therapy for RPGR-XLRP), spanning from October 2017 to September 2018.

Molly Church, VMD, PhD, received a one-year, $22,966 McCabe Pilot Award for Identification of Genetic Alterations in Canine Soft Tissue Sarcomas.

Marie-Eve Fecteau, DVM, received a one-year, $26,168 USDA NIFA grant for Detection of M avium paratuberculosis in bovine feces using rapid & portable nanopore-based sequencer.

Oliver Garden, BVetMed, PhD, received a three-year, $19,431 grant from Elanco Animal Health for Collection of Blood Samples from Clinically Normal Dogs as Controls for TCMR0002. He is collaborating with the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center.

Robert Greenberg, PhD, received a $275,000 NIH R21 grant for Discovery of novel antiparasitics that target a pharmacologically atypical schistosome Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) ion channel. The grant spans from July 14, 2017, to June 30, 2019. He also received a $275,000 NIH 1-R21-AI130665 grant for Are schistosome micro-exon genes (MEGs) upregulated as an immune evasion response to the antischistosomal drug praziquantel? The grant spans from December 2017 through November 2019, and he is collaborating with Daniel Beiting, PhD.

De'Broski Herbert, PhD, received a one-year, $20,000 grant from the Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases Pilot Project for Trefoil factor/LINGO axis regulates intestinal regeneration.

Christopher Hunter, PhD, received a $171,000 grant from the Cancer Research Institute Fellowship for Redefining the T cell-intrinsic role of IL-27 signaling in the tumor. The grant spans from July 2017 through June 2020.

Ning Li, MD, a senior research associate in the lab of Christopher Lengner, PhD, received a $521,125 NCI:1R50CA221841 grant. This R50 Research Specialist grant was awarded for work on understanding the cellular origins of colorectal cancer. The grant spans from September 2017 to August 2022.

Nicola Mason, BVetMed, PhD, received a three-year, $925,925 grant from the Morris Animal Foundation for Evaluation of a recombinant, attenuated Listeria monocytogenes expressing a chimeric human HER2/neu protein in dogs with osteosarcoma in the adjuvant setting.

Michael May, PhD, received a $1,210,000 NIH RO1 grant for Endothelial Cell Intrinsic Non-Canonical NF-kB in Chronic Inflammation. The grant spans from July 1, 2017, to April 30, 2022.

Grace Anne Mengel, VMD, received a one-year, $72,887 grant from Big Barker for Pilot Study to Evaluate Big Barker Beds for Dogs with Osteoarthritis.

Keiko Miyadera, DVM, PhD, received a $50,000 grant from the National MPS Society for Safe and effective therapy for vision loss in MPS1 patients. The grant spans from July 2017 through June 2019, and she is collaborating with Matthew Hirsch, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

Lisa Murphy, VMD, received a $191,186 FDA U18 Competing renewal grant for Animal and Animal Food Diagnostic Sample Analysis in Support of FDA Vet-LRN Activities and Investigations. The grant spans from August 1, 2017, to May 31, 2022.

Kyla Ortved, DVM, PhD, received a one-year, $22,966 grant from the McCabe Fund for Interleukin-10 immunomodulation of the posttraumatic joint to prevent PTOA.

Cindy Otto, DVM, PhD, of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center received a $69,288 grant from the Department of Homeland Security for Determining Efficacy of Naloxone Administrated through a Nasal Spray to Reverse Opioids Toxicity or Overdose in DHS Working Dogs. The grant spanned from September 2017 to March 2018, and she collaborated with Giacomo Gianotti, DVM, DVSc, and Ciara Barr, VMD. She also received a $38,918 grant from Red Arch Cultural Heritage Law & Policy Research Foundation for A Proposal to Train Dogs to Identify Artifacts from the Fertile Crescent. The grant spans from November 2017 to October 2018.

Mark Oyama, DVM, received a two-year, $121,846 grant from an international pet food company. Penn Vet Cardiology along with the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center will be leading a first-of-its-kind, multicentered, randomized clinical trial of a novel diet designed to slow progression of naturally occurring degenerative mitral valve disease in dogs. Oyama also received a $10,000 award from the Grey Lady Foundation, an organization that supports basic and applied research of canine diseases. The award will support Oyama’s ongoing research involving the cause and treatment of canine degenerative mitral valve disease.

Thomas Parsons, VMD, PhD, received a $41,500 grant from Zoetis International Shanghai for Increasing the Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability of Chinese Pork Producers. The grant spans from March 3, 2017, to March 3, 2020.

Michael Povelones, PhD, received a one-year, $50,000 University Research Foundation Award for Identification of mosquito genes required for resistance to heartworm infection.

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.

Mary Robinson, VMD, PhD, received a $6,282,214 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture State Horse Racing Commission for Pharmacological and Forensic Research and Services. The grant spans from April 20, 2017, to June 30, 2019. She is collaborating with Gary Althouse, DVM, PhD.

Oriol Sunyer, PhD, received a one-year, $40,000 grant from the Penn Center for AIDS Research for Using an evolutionary old immune system for the discovery of broadly neutralizing HIV-1 epitopes.

Camille Syrett, BS, from the lab of Montserrat Anguera, PhD, received a two-year, $44,040 NIH General Medical Sciences grant for Maintenance of X-chromosome inactivation during B cell development.

Andrew Vaughan, PhD, received a one-year, $22,966 McCabe Pilot Award for Single cell fate decisions dictate the quality of lung regeneration. He also received a $459,504 NHLBI/NIH grant for Heterogeneity and Bias of Lineage Negative Progenitors in Lung Epithelial Repair. The grant spans from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2020.

Charles Vite, DVM, PhD, received a one-year, $718,641 grant from Leidos for CRISPR Cas9 creation of a feline model of NPC disease. He is collaborating with Christopher Lengner, PhD.