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Research Centers, Programs, and Initiatives

Research Centers, Programs & Initiatives


At Penn Vet, our challenge is to advance the field of veterinary medicine, and by extension, all science.

The work we do here is diverse—from dinosaurs to dogs, from cytokine biology to cell engineering, from mitochondria to mapping avian flu outbreaks, our researchers are in constant motion, advancing the scientific knowledge base.

Learn about the many ways Penn Vet's world-renowned researchers push the boundaries of scientific discovery by reading about our groundbreaking initiatives and research centers.


Research Centers

Penn Vet's research centers are recognized throughout the nation and the world for groundbreaking advances in:

  • Comparative oncology
  • Health and productivity in food animal herds and flocks
  • Infectious disease
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Neuroscience

We chose these thematic areas because they cover the major areas of biomedical science and we have outstanding scientists and clinicians working in each of these fields. Just a few of our achievements include our advances in stem cell biology, our strong parasite immunology group, our successes in treating inherited diseases in dogs and cats using gene therapy, our remarkable programs in clinical and basic neuroscience, and our basic and emerging translational work in comparative oncology. In research that impacts humans and non-humans alike, Penn Vet is leading the way toward eminence in veterinary scientific investigation.

Learn more about Penn Vet's research centers, highlighted below.

  • Center for Animal Health & Productivity (CAHP)

    The Center for Animal Health and Productivity (CAHP) was established in 1986 to implement teaching, research and service programs directed toward the improvement of health and productivity in food animal herds and flocks.

    These programs involve an integrated approach making use of our expertise in clinical nutrition, reproduction, health economics, and computer science, in addition to conventional specialties in veterinary medicine.

    Our focus is the maintenance of physical and economic health in the whole animal population rather than clinical treatment of individual sick animals.

    Read More About The Center for Animal Health & Productivity (CAHP)
  • Center for Animal Transgenesis & Germ Cell Research

    Techniques have been developed to enable the modification of individual genes in animals and plants and thereby precisely alter inherited traits. These genetically altered animals and plants are called transgenic and are of enormous value in medicine and agriculture. An improved understanding of the basic processes governing germ cell and embryo development and of the biology of gametes (sperm and oocytes) and embryonic stem cells will enable us to improve reproductive efficiency, generate animal models of human and animal disease and help provide the knowledge base for regenerative medicine, as well as toward the treatment of infertility.

    Read More About The Center for Animal Transgenesis & Germ Cell Research
  • Center for Host-Microbial Interactions

     Center for Host Microbe InteractionsThe Penn Vet Center for Host-Microbial Interactions (CHMI) formed in 2013 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. These so-called ‘host-microbial interactions’ represent an ongoing evolutionary arms-race between mammals and the microbial world we live in. 

    Most people are familiar with well-known viral infections caused by influenza, ebola; or bacterial infections caused by Salmonella or E. coli.  In each case, these pathogens can spread from animals to people, highlighting the notion that humans, animals, and our environment are inextricably connected by infectious diseases — a concept termed ‘One-Health’. 

    In the past few years it has become increasingly clear that just as there are microbes that cause disease, there are also beneficial microbes that are crucial in maintaining health.  Beneficial bacteria colonize our gut, skin and urogenital tract at birth and these complex microbial communities - termed a microbiome - develop just as our organ systems develop.  

    Researchers at Penn Vet, with assistance from CHMI, are actively studying the role of these the microbiome in animal diseases ranging from atopic dermatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, to mental health.

    Our mission is to better understand and treat disease through the study of microbes and the diverse ways animals respond to viruses, bacteria and parasites.

    Our Goals:

    • Establish an internationally recognized center that is the first of its kind at veterinary schools
    • Engage the broader Penn Vet community in host-microbial research that leverages ‘omic approaches
    • Develop stronger ties across schools at UPenn
    • Leverage spontaneous animal models of disease commonly seen at the Penn Vet Ryan Hospital
    • Establish a convenient ‘in-house’ solution for Penn Vet labs to analyze complex data sets that result from systematic studies of gene expression, microbial whole-genome sequencing, and the composition of microbial communities living on animals.
    Read More About The Center for Host-Microbial Interactions
  • Center for Interaction of Animals & Society

    The Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society (CIAS) was established to provide a forum for addressing the many practical and moral issues arising from the interactions of animals and society. The study of human-animal interactions—sometimes known as Anthrozoology—is still a new and developing field that straddles the boundaries between traditional academic disciplines. The CIAS therefore strives for an interdisciplinary approach and the involvement of scholars and researchers from a wide variety of different backgrounds and interests.

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