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Faculty, Staff, and Student News

Published: Mar 2, 2015

Gary C. Althouse, DVM, PhD, Chairman, Department of Clinical Studies at New Bolton Center, was recognized in August as outgoing president of the American College of Theriogenologists at the annual meeting in Portland, Oregon.

Ashley Boyle, DVM, spoke at the 2014 ACVIM Forum last June in Nashville. She also spoke at the Veterinary Comparative Respiratory Society in October, held at New Bolton Center on the topic of Complications in Strangles Infections in Horses.

Samuel K. Chacko, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Pathology in the Department of Pathobiology, was appointed as a chartered member of the NIDDK-D NIH Study Section, which reviews the Institutional Training grants (T-32) and K programs for clinicians, PhDs, and graduates of health profession schools. Dr. Chacko was also appointed as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology at the Drexel University College of Medicine.

Julie Engiles, VMD, was invited to present a review of equine laminitis pathology and research during the Concurrent Session on Equine Pathology at the annual national ACVP meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, this past November. This was the first time a dedicated session on Equine Pathology was given at this conference.

JD Foster, VMD, gave a lecture on Advances in Extracorporeal Therapies at the Azabu Veterinary University in Japan.

Hannah Galantino-Homer, VMD, PhD, was invited to speak at the Mid-Atlantic Hanoverian Breeders’ Club last September, and two poster abstracts were accepted at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in Philadelphia in December. Images generated at the Laminitis Laboratory were featured in the Larger Than Life exhibit, sponsored by the American Society for Cell Biology, at the Philadelphia International Airport from September to December 2014. In addition, the following conference oral presentation and proceedings paper was accepted for oral presentation at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Annual Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, last December: Galantino-Homer, H.L., Clark, R.K., Linardi, R.L. “Characterization of equine hoof lamellar tissue microanatomy with fluorescent markers.” Publications included: Clark, R.K. and Galantino-Homer, H.L. Wheat Germ Agglutinin as a Counterstain for Equine Hoof Lamina Immunofluorescence Studies. Exp Dermatol. 23: 677-678; Epub 2014 July 16.

Urs Giger, Dr med vet, was an invited speaker at Columbia University, New York City, and University in Kiev, Ukraine. He was also part of a Hot Topic Panel on pet-jerky-treat-associated Fanconi syndrome with the FDA at the AVMA conference in Denver.

Ronald Harty, PhD, was invited to present a seminar entitled Controlling Ebola Virus Outbreaks: A New Strategy to Block Virus Transmission and Spread as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, last November.

Rachael Kreisler, VMD, will be speaking on the topic of a Community Approach to Veterinary Care at the Animal Care Expo on March 31, 2015, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Meryl Littman, VMD, spoke at the ACVIM 32nd Annual Forum in Nashville, TN, last June on Dips and DNA: Model Opportunities; Canine Lyme Vaccinations Revisited; and Prevalence of variant alleles associated with protein-losing nephropathy in Airedale Terriers. At the Southern Tier VMA at Cornell University in July, she presented on Lyme disease: Arthritis, nephritis, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. At the ACVIM SAIM Infectious Disease Course in Las Vegas last September, she addressed Vector-borne diseases in dogs: Update on the management of Borreliosis; Update on the management of ‘other’ Borreliosis and Anaplasmosis; Leptospirosis - Part II; Management of ‘other’ genitourinary tract infections; and Canine and feline vaccine controversies: Lyme vaccines. Dr. Littman is a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Tick and Lyme Disease Task Force.

Wilfried Mai, DVM, PhD, spoke at the Southern European Veterinary Conference in Barcelona, Spain, in October 2014, presenting several lectures on imaging in endocrinology, and instructing labs on ultrasound technique, ultrasound interpretation, challenging radiographic cases, and CT/MRI imaging cases. That same month, he also presented an abstract (oral presentation) at the American College of Veterinary Radiology in St Louis, Missouri, on CT/MRI features of carotid body paragangliomas in dogs.

Benson B. Martin, Jr., VMD, Associate Professor of Equine Sports Medicine in the Clinician-Educator track at Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, retired after 34 years of service.

Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM, received the 2014 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Cynthia Otto, DVM, PhD, is newly board certified in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (Canine). Dr. Otto was also appointed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology OSAC Crime Scene/Death Investigation Scientific Area Committee’s (SAC’s) Dogs and Sensors Subcommittee.

Ceren Ozek, PhD, received the Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award at the Obesity Society Meeting in November 2014. The award recognizes excellence in research by young investigators based on their submitted abstracts and presentation during the Annual Scientific Meeting. The award was presented during a plenary session at ObesityWeek, where the five finalists were invited to present their oral abstracts.

Dipti Pitta, PhD, published the following: Pitta DW, Parmar N, Patel AK, Indugu N, Kumar S, Prajapathi KB, Patel AB, Reddy B, Joshi C. Bacterial diversity dynamics associated with different diets and different primer pairs in the rumen of kankrej cattle. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 3;9(11):e111710. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111710. eCollection 2014. Pitta DW, Pinchak WE, Dowd S, Dorton K, Yoon I, Min BR, Fulford JD, Wickersham TA, Malinowski DP. Longitudinal shifts in bacterial diversity and fermentation pattern in the rumen of steers grazing wheat pasture. Anaerobe. 2014 Jul 31;30C:11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2014.07.008. [Epub ahead of print]; Pitta DW, Kumar S, Vecchiarelli B, Shirley DJ, Bittinger K, Baker LD, Ferguson JD, Thomsen N. Temporal dynamics in the ruminal microbiome of dairy cows during the transition period. J Anim Sci. 2014 Sep;92(9):4014-22. doi: 10.2527/jas.2014-7621. Epub 2014 Jul 14.

Virginia B. Reef, DVM, was the 2014 recipient of the Robert Whitlock Award, given to the faculty member who has demonstrated the most dedication to mentoring of young faculty.

Erica Reineke, VMD, spoke at the 11th Emergency and Critical Care UK Annual Congress last November. Recent publications include: Hall K, Holowaychuk M, Sharp CR, Reineke EL. A multicenter 8-week prospective cohort study of 301 dogs sustaining trauma. J Amer Vet Med Assoc 2014; 244(3):300-308; Proulx A, Hume DZ, Drobatz KJ, Reineke EL*. In vitro bacterial isolate susceptibility to empirically selected antimicrobials in 111 dogs with pneumonia. J Vet Emerg Crit Care 2014; 24(2): 194-200; Goic J, Reineke EL, Drobatz KJ. A comparison of rectal and axillary temperature measurements in dogs and cats. J Amer Vet Med Assoc 2014; 244(10):1170-1175; and Pratt C, Reineke EL, Drobatz KJ. Sewing needle foreign bodies in 65 dogs and cats: 2000-2012. J Amer Vet Med Assoc 2014; 245(3):302-308.

Alexander Reiter, Dipl. Tzt., became an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Veterinary Sciences (the journal’s Veterinary Dentistry and Oromaxillofacial Surgery section) last September. From July to November, Dr. Reiter gave presentations for the European College of Veterinary Surgeons in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Keystone Veterinary Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania; the German Veterinary Dental Association and the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations in Munich, Germany; and the Veterinary Dental Forum in Atlanta, Georgia. He also gave lectures and wet laboratories in oral and maxillofacial trauma surgery in Halmstad, Sweden and Munich,
Germany. Publications included: Soltero-Rivera M, Krick EL, Reiter AM, Brown DC, Lewis JR. Prevalence of regional and distant metastasis in cats with advanced oral squamous cell carcinoma: 49 cases (2005-2011). J Feline Med Surg 2014; 16: 164–169; Amory JT, Reetz JA, Sanchez MD, Bradley CW, Lewis JR, Reiter AM, Mai W. Computed tomographic characteristics of odontogenic neoplasms in dogs. Vet Rad Ultrasound 2014; 55: 147-158; Reiter AM. Open wide: Blindness in cats after the use of mouth gags (guest editorial). Vet J 2014; 201: 5-6; Reiter AM. Distinguishing between temporomandibular joint luxation and open-mouth jaw locking. EVDS Forum 2014; 2: 17-19; Fink L, Jennings M, Reiter AM. Placement of esophagostomy feeding tubes in cats and dogs. J Vet Dent 2014; 31: 133-138; Reiter AM, Soltero-Rivera M. Applied feline oral anatomy and tooth extraction techniques. An illustrated guide. J Feline Med Surg 2014; 16: 900-913.

Inés Rodriguez, VMD, has been traveling to the six regions of the Commonwealth as part of The Swine Group—which also includes Thomas Parsons, VMD, PhD, Meghann Pierdon, PhD, and Seth Dunipace, PhD—delivering well-attended presentations to veterinarians and swine producers on developments in Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD). They have been working in conjunction with the Regional VMO of the USDA-APHIS, who has been presenting information on the Federal SECD Control Program. The meetings have also allowed the group to disseminate information on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), which has had a major disease impact on the United States and Pennsylvania swine industries since it was first identified in the U.S. in May 2013.

Chris Rorres, PhD, Mathematician and Lecturer in Epidemiology in the Section of Epidemiology and Public Health, gave an invited talk entitled Mathematical Modeling of Animal Epidemics at a regional meeting of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) last October at the University of the Sciences. The MAA, now in its 100th year, is the largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level.

Makoto Senoo, PhD, published the research article The carboxyterminus of p63 links cell cycle control and proliferative potential of epidermal progenitor cells in the journal Development. His co-authors were Daisuke Suzuki, Raju Sahu, and N. Adrian Leu.

James Serpell, PhD, was invited to give keynote/plenary papers at the 4th Canine Science Forum in Lincoln, UK, and at the International Society for Anthrozoology Conference in Vienna, Austria, last July. He also gave an invited paper at the Animal Behavior Society conference at Princeton University in August, and spent a week as Visiting Professor at Azabu University, Japan, in September. In October, he was invited to participate in a research collaboration at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and he gave an invitational lecture at the third (and final) CALLISTO conference in Brussels, Belgium. The results of his study, funded by a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation, have recently been published online: Duffy, D.L., et al., Evaluation of a behavioral assessment tool for dogs relinquished to shelters. PREVET (2014),

Deborah Silverstein, DVM, lectured at the European Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposium, Prague, Czech Republic, in June 2014. She is also the co-editor of the Small Animal Critical Care Medicine textbook that was published last July. She published the following: Evaluation of a rapid bedside scoring system for microcirculation videos acquired from dogs. Gommeren K, Allerton FJ, Morin E, Reynaud A, Peeters D, Silverstein DC. J Vet Emerg Crit Care. 2014 Sep;24(5):554-61.

JoAnn Slack, DVM, received the 2014 House Officer Mentoring Award, given to a faculty member who has demonstrated dedication and compassion in mentoring House Officers.

Gail Smith, VMD, PhD, was an invited speaker at the World Small Animal Veterinary Association meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, where he presented the talk Global Animal Welfare Issues Relating to Orthopaedic Diseases.

Gary Smith, DPhil, received the Excellence in Teaching Award, given to an outstanding full-time faculty member who has demonstrated a sincere and high level of interest in performing and advancing instruction in the professional student curriculum at Penn Vet.

Darko Stefanovski, DVM, PhD, was appointed Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center, in August 2014.

Jackie Watson, Technician in the Section of Reproduction and Behavior at New Bolton Center, presented a poster on A Survey of Environmental Enrichment Available for Domestic Horses at Princeton University in August 2014, as part of the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society.


Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD, received a three-year, $219,647 AGTC: rAAV5-hCNGB3 grant for Gene Therapy for Achromatopsia: Safety and Efficacy in a Dog Model. He also received a two-year, $633,477 AGTC grant for a Gene Therapy Clinical Trial for RPGRXLRP.

Michael Atchison, PhD, received a $456,000 NIH/General Med R01-GM-111384 grant from September 2014 through August 2018 to study The role of YY1 in constitutive and inducible DNA loop formation.

Narayan Avadhani, PhD, received a five-year, $1,000,000 NIH/1RO1 AR067066-01 grant to study Ahr and osteoporosis.

Tracy Bale, PhD, received a two-year, $279,998 NIH/Mental Health R21-MH-104184 grant for Maternal stress and the vaginal microbiome: Impacts on brain development.

William Beltran, DVM, PhD, received a five-year, NIH/NEI grant of $1,180,215 (Penn Vet sub-award) for Photoswitchable channel blockers for treatment of blindness. This is a multiinstitutional (University of Washington, University of California-Berkeley, and Penn Vet) project aimed at testing and selecting optochemical compounds for the treatment of patients with end stage retinal degeneration. The goal is to identify in small and large (dog) models photoswitches capable of rendering non-photoreceptor cells of the retina photosensitive; to select the best compound based on its efficacy and safety profiles; and to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to plan future clinical trials in human patients. The Beltran Lab will also collaborate with Gustavo Aguirre, VMD, PhD. Dr. Beltran also received a $198,585 FDN Fighting Blindness grant from September 2014 through August 2017 for the subcontract Development of Optogenetic tools with increased light sensitivity for vision.

Kendra Bence, PhD, received a $1,440,000 NIH-NIDDK grant for Neuronal Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases in Metabolism. The grant spans from September 2014 through June 2018.

Dorothy Brown, DVM, received a two-year, $51,200 grant from AlcheraBio LLC for Clinical Study: A dose ranging study to evaluate the field safety and effectiveness of a single intraarticular injection of CNTX-4975 in companion animal dogs with chronic, moderate-to-severe stifle joint pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Gudrun Debes, DVM, received a one-year, $47,244 grant from the American Association of Immunologists to study The role of T cell egress from the effector site in regulating inflammation.

JD Foster, VMD, received a one-year, $12,000 grant from the American Kennel Club to fund the evaluation of Fenoldopam CRI effects on glomerular filtration rate and renal sodium excretion in normal dogs. The study will evaluate whether fenoldopam may be a beneficial therapy for dogs with acute kidney injury and decreased urine output. Project collaborators include Kristen Kelly, DVM, and Kenneth Drobatz, DVM.

Qi Fu, graduate student in the Laboratory of P. Jeremy Wang, MD, PhD, received a three-year, $128,028 NIH/NICHD F31 grant to study The function of MOV10L1 in piRNA biogenesis.

Ciara Gimblet of the Laboratory of Phillip Scott, PhD, received a $128,793 NIH/NIAID F31 grant from September 2014 through July 2017 for Understanding the role of IL-22 in cutaneous leishmaniasis.

Robert Greenberg, PhD, received a two-year, $275,000 NIH R21-AI-112713 grant for A strategy for point-of-care molecular detection of parasitic helminth infections.

Ronald Harty, PhD, received a $238,838 NIH R41 AI113952 grant to study Development of Small Molecule Therapeutics Against RNA Viruses. The grant spans from April 2015 through March 2016, and his collaborators include Penn Vet’s Bruce Freedman, VMD, PhD, and Drs. Jay Wrobel and Allen Reitz of Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center.

Brett Kaufman, PhD, received a $1,740,000 NIH NIGMS grant from January 2014 through September 2019 for Molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial DNA deletion formation.

Rachael Kreisler, VMD, received a $53,524 grant from the Stanton Foundation from January through December 2015. She was awarded the ‘Next Gen’ Career Development Canine Research Fellowship to study Economic Reasons for Dog Surrender to Animal Shelters. She will collaborate with James Serpell, PhD.

Michaela Kristula, DVM, received a one-year, $20,581 grant from Merck Animal Health for a pilot assessment of four hydrogel teat sealant formulations in dairy cattle.

Carolina Lopez, PhD, received a four-year, $1,000,000 NIH NIAID R01-AI083284 grant for A Novel Virus-Derived Adjuvant. She also received a one-year, $43,680 grant from the American Association of Immunologists for Molecular Mechanisms Behind the Potent Immunostimulatory Activity of Defective Viral Genomes.

Nicola Mason, BVetMed, PhD, received a one-year, $60,000 grant from Aratana Therapeutics for evaluation of AT-014 in the treatment of canine osteosarcoma.

Thomas Parsons, VMD, PhD, received a $31,483 Commonwealth of PA-USDA Swine grant from July 2014 through September 2015 for Enteric Coronavirus Disease Cooperative Agreement. He also received a one-year, $80,000 grant from the ASPCA for the research fellowship and welfare training at Penn Vet Swine, as well as a $79,573 Kraft Food Group grant from November 2014 through May 2016 for New tools for measuring welfare: Cognitive bias and sleep patterns in swine. In addition, Dr. Parsons received a $30,800 PA Soybean Promotion Board grant from February 2014 through March 2015 for Anticipating the next welfare challenge: Optimizing controlled disease in loose housed sows.

Shelley Rankin, PhD, received a five-year, $75,000 U18-FD-005164 grant for Companion Animal and Animal Food Diagnostic Sample Analysis in Support of FDA Vet-LIRN Activities and Investigations.

Erica Reineke, VMD, received a one-year, ACVIM Foundation Clinical Investigation Seed Grant of $9741.60 to focus on feline dyspnea, emergency ultrasound, and B-natriuretic peptide. The study will evaluate the ability of an emergency cardiac ultrasound performed by veterinarians in the emergency room and a blood test B-natriuretic peptide to differentiate between cardiac and non-cardiac causes of dyspnea in cats. Project collaborators include Mark Oyama, DVM, and Melanie Hezzell, Resident in Veterinary Cardiology (co-PI), along with Kenneth Drobatz, DVM, and Cassandra Ostroski, DVM (co-investigators).

Phillip Scott, PhD, received a four-year, $1,000,000 NIH R01 AI106842 grant for Protective and Pathologic Roles for CD8+ T cells in Leishmaniasis.

Makoto Senoo, PhD, received a a $352,000 (FY2014) NIH/NIAMS grant to study Intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of epidermal stem cells. The grant spans from July 2014 through June 2019.

Bernard Shapiro, PhD, received a one-year, $144,000 NIH/Child Health and Human R01-HD-061285-05S1 grant for Hormonal Imprinting Predetermines Developmental Expression of Cytochrome P450s.

Charles Vite, DVM, PhD, received a $36,800 NIH/NINDS grant from October 2014 through March 2015 for Novel Therapies for Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy. It is a sub-contract with Washington University.

P. Jeremy Wang, PhD, MD, received a $780,000 NIH/NIGMS R01-GM089893 grant from August 2014 through April 2018 for Regulation of meiotic recombination in mice.

Student News

Sarah Colmer, V’17, received the American Association of Equine Practitioners 2014 Avenues Convention Registration Scholarship. She represented the Penn Vet AAEP chapter at the 2014 Annual Convention last December in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Gabriel Innes, V’16, is the first veterinary student to be accepted into the competitive Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS) program, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in collaboration with four partner campuses: University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University, Stanford University, and University of Washington. ELISS is a leadership development program for graduate students from all fields, who work together to tackle complex societal problems. During the 15-month, extracurricular program, Innes will participate in a multi-disciplinary, multi-campus team to develop information resources and events that help local and national stakeholders address complex issues in society. Innes also traveled to Rome, Italy, last summer to work with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Ashley Klein, V’16, presented a poster with her research from last summer at the ACVP Annual Meeting in Atlanta. She had collaborated on a project at Johnson & Johnson in order to study PI3K Gamma and PI3K Delta’s roles in the inflammatory process through a DSS-induced colitis model in mice. She was awarded first prize for the STP Award for her poster presentation. Her collaborators included A. Guy, J. Vegas, F. Schoetens, J. E. McDuffie, W. Fung-Leung, T. Rao, B. Zimmerman, and C. Louden.

Kelly Knickelbein, V’15, Ana Malone Oliver, V’15, and Amanda Prisk, V’15, were each awarded a scholarship by the Thoroughbred Education and Research Foundation (TERF).

Melanie Lang, V’16, was selected as the Penn winner of the Walther Leadership Award, which included an all-expenses-paid trip to the Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas in February 2015 as well as a $1,000 award.

Annelise Myers, V’17, completed a Department of State Critical Language Scholarship in Indonesia for 10 weeks. The Critical Language Scholarship is a language and cultural immersion program that seeks to increase the number of Americans that speak critical languages, one of which is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia). Myers is pursuing food animal medicine and is particularly interested in public health and dairy cattle. She plans on working as a dairy veterinarian in Indonesia after graduating from Penn Vet.

Katie Wiechelt, V’17, was chosen for the Army Health Profession Scholarship program as a three-year scholarship recipient. Last May, she was commissioned into the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps as a Second Lieutenant in the reserves. This summer, she will head to the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, to begin the process of learning how to be an Army officer. After graduation, she will be commissioned as an active duty Captain.