In 1884, the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania – now known as Penn Vet – was established at the urging of the University's School of Medicine. Even then, Penn clinicians and researchers recognized that prevention and control of animal diseases had important implications for human health, considering human and veterinary medicine as "one medicine."
This principle encouraged close ties between the two schools over the past century, and today those ties continue with groundbreaking comparative medical research projects on diseases that occur in animals and humans.
Penn Vet contributes to the diagnosis, surveillance and control of diseases transmissible from animals to people, and protection against environmental hazards that threaten animal and human health and safety. In addition, our faculty, students and research teams lead the way in investigating, planning and implementing superior and humane food production models.
Meet Ralph Brinster, VMD/PhD
Richard King Mellon Professor of Reproductive Physiology
The only veterinarian ever to have been honored with the National Medal of Science, Dr. Brinster is often regarded as the father of transgenesis, and it was his research on the manipulation of the mammalina germ line, the cells that give rise to sperm and eggs, for which he was honored. By inserting new genes into the germ line of a developing organism -- a process known as transgenesis -- researchers are able to now produce animals with selected traits that are indispensible models in understanding life processes and disease.
Penn President Amy Gutmann said, “Ralph Brinster is a trailblazer in the field of reproductive biology and genetics whose work has had inestimable influence in science and
medicine. His early findings helped usher in the era of transgenic research and represent foundational aspects of techniques used in genetic engineering, in vitro fertilization
and cloning. We are extraordinarily proud that he has received the National Medal of Science in recognition of more than five decades of scientific achievement.”
Meet Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Clinical Studies-New Bolton Center
Winner, 2014 Lindback Teaching Award
Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM, assistant professor of large animal medicine at New Bolton Center, is one of eight faculty members chosen to receive the coveted University of Pennsylvania’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching for 2013-2014.
Dr. Nolen-Walston has taught at Penn since 2007. A winner of numerous School teaching awards, she is, in the words of a current student, "…an undeniably amazing lecturer. When Dr. Nolen-Walston walks up to the podium, it feels like the room is transformed."
A New Bolton Center colleague notes that she is a gifted teacher with, "…critical talents. She is able to engage students by facilitating a humorous yet safe environment, and she is able to boil concepts down to packages, and pieces that veterinary students can understand."
Many current and former students remark on her extraordinary mentorship, with one resident noting that, "…Rose not only taught me a huge amount about medicine, but also how to be a better clinician and educator."
Another current resident agrees, "…she is one of those rare teachers who allows you the right amount of freedom to make your own decisions in the clinic while at the same time providing insight and direction when needed."
Colleagues and students alike cite her dedication to the community, with several noting her volunteer work with animal owner groups and groups associated with economically or socially disadvantaged children.
A former student who is now a colleague says, "…she remains the teacher whom I most try to emulate in my own work. I aspire to maintain the same level of enthusiasm and creativity that she demonstrates every day in her teaching."
Read more about Dr. Rose Nolen-Walston...
Meet Rebecca Evans, VMD/PhD candidate
In her fifth year at Penn Vet, Rebecca Evans, or Becca, is a VMD/PhD candidate with an interest in oncology. She plans to complete her doctorate in 2016. Under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Vonderheide, Becca’s research focus is tumor immunology, specifically studying T cell immune-surveillance in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Becca was inspired to pursue her dream by her grandfather, a veterinarian. She grew up knowing that she wanted to follow in his footsteps.
“During my four years as an undergrad at Middlebury College, I realized that I wanted to be able to advance human medicine as well as animal health through translational research, which led me to pursue the VMD-PhD joint degree.”
Meet Connie Buerger
Penn Vet Friend and Donor
Connie and her husband Alan Buerger are true animal lovers, owners of three Portuguese water dogs -- Max, Chance and Dash. Max was diagnosed with myxofibrosarcoma, an aggressive soft-tissue cancer. Cpnnie placed Max in the hands of Ryan Hospital's expert surgery and oncology teams. After painstaking surgery and radiation therapy, Max beat his cancer and received a clean bill of health. Subsequently, the Buergers made a very generous gift to Penn Vet to build the Buerger Family Foundation Minimally Invasive Surgery Suite, which opened a year after Max first received his diagnosis.