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  6. Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Symposium

4th Annual Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Symposium

July 31 - August 2, 2003


Speaker and Panelists Biographies

Roberto Alva, DVM, MS, PhD
Dr. Alva received his DVM in 1975 from the National University Autonomous of Mexico, Mexico City. He finished his MS in 1978 at the Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa, then traveled to Switzerland to undertake Post-Doctoral work at the University of Bern, Institute of Pathology. He returned to Iowa State University and completed his PhD in Veterinary Pathology in 1981. Dr. Alva joined Merial in 1982; he currently serves as the Director of Clinical Operations, Athens Clinical Unit. He is responsible for the design, implementation, performance, and reporting of studies conducted by regional operations in all animal species with Pharmaceutical and Biological products. Under the direction of the Head of Merial Research & Development, Dr. Alva coordinates the educational activities of the Merck/Merial Scholar Program. He also serves as Project Leader for the companion animal immuno-contraceptive vaccine and is administratively responsible for the management of the Athens Clinical Unit, North America Clinical Operations and Pacific.

Warwick A. Arden, BVSc, DVCS, PhD, Dip ACVS
Dr. Arden began his veterinary career in Australia where he earned a BVSc degree from the University of Sydney, spent time in practice in New South Wales and completed an internship at the University of Sydney-Camden. Dr. Arden spent seven years at the veterinary college at Michigan State University where he completed a MS and residency in large animal surgery, and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Dr. Arden then moved to the University of Kentucky as a senior clinical research associate in cardiothoracic and general surgery. In Kentucky, he completed a PhD in physiology and biophysics, taught in the medical school as an associate professor of surgery and physiology, and served as the director of the surgical research program, while remaining active as a veterinary surgeon in private practice. Dr. Arden’s research has focused on mechanisms of peripheral vascular dysfunction in ischemia and septic shock. In 2000, Dr. Arden joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine as Professor and Head of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine.

Corrie Brown, DVM, PhD
Dr. Brown received her BSc in Animal Behavior from McGill University and her DVM from Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph (1981). She completed a combined residency/PhD in Comparative Pathology at the University of California at Davis. She attained board certification (ACVP) and her PhD in 1986. She was an assistant professor of pathology at Louisiana State University briefly before joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Plum Island, where, as Head of the Pathology Section, she specialized in the diagnosis and pathogenesis of foreign animal diseases. In 1996, she joined the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine as Professor and Head of the Department of Veterinary Pathology. She currently serves as Coordinator of International Veterinary Medicine for the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her professional interests are in infectious diseases of food-producing animals, emerging diseases, and international veterinary medicine. She has published or presented over 250 scientific papers and has served on numerous federal and industrial panels regarding infectious and emerging diseases. She has testified to Congress on issues involving agroterrorism and is a Co-Chair of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases.

Hilton J. Klein, VMD, MS
Dr. Klein completed his BS in Animal Science/Microbiology at Rutgers University in 1972, his MS degree in Virology/Immunology in 1976 from Pennsylvania State University, and his VMD degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1980 from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Klein joined Merck & Co. Inc. in 1985 and is currently Sr. Director, Comparative Medicine, Department of Laboratory Animal Resources at Merck Research Laboratories in West Point, PA. He also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of University Laboratory Animal Resources at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a collaborator on research projects involving Bone Biology, Cancer Biology, Pharmacology, Drug Metabolism, Safety Assessment and Virus and Cell Biology. Dr. Klein is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, serves as a council member of the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research, and is a former council member, officer and past President of AAALAC-International and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for AAALAC-International.

Judith Fenyk-Melody, DVM
Dr. Fenyk-Melody is currently a Research Veterinarian at Merck & Company, Inc. in Rahway, New Jersey. She graduated from Emory and Henry College in 1985 and was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1991 from Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. She worked in small animal private and emergency practice between 1991 and 1993. From 1993-1996, she was provided with postdoctoral training in Comparative Medicine at the Columbia University-College of Physician & Surgeons with funding from Merck & Company, Inc. Since 1996, Dr. Fenyk-Melody has worked for Merck & Company, Inc. and now has oversight for the rodent clinical care, colony monitoring program, in-house transgenic production, rodent pharmacokinetic studies and certain rodent models of human diseases.

Melissa R. Finley, DVM, PhD, Dip ACVIM
Dr. Finley received her DVM from Colorado State University in 1991, and continued her clinical training with an internship in equine medicine at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center, Los Olivos California (1992) and a residency in large animal medicine at Cornell University (1992-1994). She then worked briefly as a post-graduate researcher at the University of California Davis and Kansas State University, before joining the faculty of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences, Section of Agricultural Practices in 1996. Dr. Finley attained Diplomat status in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1997. One year later, she left her faculty position to devote 100% effort to pursuit of a doctoral degree. Dr. Finley received a PhD in Pharmacology from Kansas State University in 2001. She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.

Lisa C. Freeman, DVM, PhD
Dr. Freeman received her BS (1981), MS (1986) and DVM (1986) from Cornell University and her PhD (1989) from The Ohio State University. Dr. Freeman pursued post-doctoral training at the University of Rochester, School of Medicine before joining the faculty at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1994. She is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Mentored Training in the Department of Anatomy & Physiology at Kansas State. Dr. Freeman’s laboratory investigates species- and tissue-specific differences in ion channel structure and function. The present focus of the Freeman Laboratory is determining the functional significance of potassium channels in ovarian cells. Dr. Freeman also collaborates closely with Dr. James Lillich in the Department of Clinical Sciences, to study potassium channels in the equine heart and gastrointestinal tract.

Gerry Hickey, PhD
Dr Gerry Hickey obtained a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from University College Dublin in 1980. He completed an internship and residency in the Ambulatory Clinic at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell, from 1980-1982. Gerry graduated with a PhD in Physiology from Cornell University in 1986. From 1986 to 1989 he was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Cell Biology at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Gerry joined Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ, in 1989 and his current position is Senior Director, Department of Pharmacology. His research focus spans both human (endocrine disorders including diabetes, obesity) and animal health (domestic species, all systems e.g. parasitism, growth, inflammation). His primary focus is in vivo modeling to assist in the evaluation of novel drug candidates.

Gerald P. Jaax, DVM, Dip ACLAM
Dr. Jerry Jaax received his DVM from KSU in 1972. He is board certified in Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). During the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Reston, Virginia monkey facility in December 1989, Col. Jaax was the leader of the team of soldiers and scientists who worked around the clock to manage and contain the outbreak. At present, Dr. Jaax is retired from the US Army. He had been selected and appointed as Consultant to the Surgeon General for his veterinary specialties in the Department of Defense. He joined the KSU faculty in 1999, and serves as Associate Vice Provost for Research Compliance and University Veterinarian. Dr. Gerald Jaax is the spouse of Dr. Nancy Jaax (see below).

Nancy K. Jaax, DVM, Dip ACVP
Dr. Nancy Jaax, retired Colonel, U.S. Army Veterinary Corp., received her DVM from Kansas State University in 1973. Upon graduation she joined the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps and had numerous assignments in the US and Germany. She attained board certification in the specialty of Veterinary Pathology in 1983 and focused her subsequent research efforts on the elucidation of the pathogenesis of chemical and biological warfare agents. Much of her research and numerous publications have focused on the pathogenesis of high hazard viruses, primarily Ebola and Marburg. Dr. Jaax is currently serving as the Interim Director, National Agricultural Biosecurity Center. Dr. Nancy Jaax is the spouse of Dr. Gerald Jaax (see above).

William W. Laegreid, DVM, PhD
Dr. Laegreid is Research Leader of the Animal Health Research Unit at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. The Animal Health Research Unit conducts research towards developing integrated programs for efficient herd health and infectious disease management in beef cattle, swine, and sheep production enterprises. Research in the unit emphasizes population biology and genetic variation of both livestock and infectious agents. Companion research programs at the Center (reproduction, genetics, nutrition, meats, production systems, and environmental stress) provide a unique opportunity for collaborative multidisciplinary research approaches utilizing large herds of animals under highly controlled experimental conditions.

James D. Lillich, DVM, MS, Dip ACVS
Dr. Lillich received a BS (1985) from the University of New Mexico, DVM (1991) from Colorado State University, and MS (1995) from The Ohio State University. Dr. Lillich has been a Diplomate of American College of Veterinary Surgeons since 1996. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Equine Surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Kansas State University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lillich’s research interests include developmental orthopedic disease, pharmacology of equine gastro-intestinal motility, and role of polyamine depletion in NSAID toxicity. He has obtained research support from the Kansas Racing Commission, the Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. James Lillich’s spouse, Dr. Roberta K. Lillich, is employed as a veterinarian at the Abilene Animal Hospital.

Kathy E. Mitchell, PhD
Dr. Mitchell received a BS (1992) and PhD (1997) from the University of Nevada, Reno. She received her baccalaureate degree the same year that the oldest of her 5 children graduated college, then continued on to pursue advanced research training. Dr. Mitchell was a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at Kansas State University, before becoming an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy & Physiology at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Mitchell’s research interests include: stem cell differentiation, ion channel structure-function, proteomics, electrophysiology, molecular modeling.

Patricia A. Payne, DVM, PhD
Dr. Payne is a 1971 graduate of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She practiced small animal medicine and surgery in Virginia for 23 years before returning to earn her PhD in Insecticide Resistance in Fleas. Dr. Payne's responsibilities now include teaching veterinary parasitology, supervising the parasitology section of the diagnostic laboratory and several parasitology research projects.

John Phillip, BVSc, PhD
Dr. Phillip is the Director of Vaccines Research & Development at the Midwest Research Institute (MRI) in Kansas City, MO. Dr. Phillip initiated an alliance between MRI and Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, which promotes collaboration on important animal health research. This interdisciplinary research team helps organizations move pharmaceuticals, biologicals, veterinary products and feed additives through the complex registration process and into the marketplace. Capabilities include: Target animal safety studies; Pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism; Analytical chemistry and pharmaceutics; Bioequivalence; Clinical effectiveness; Residue studies and Reproductive evaluation. In 2002, Dr. Phillip and his colleagues hosted the Veterinary Research Scholars at MRI.

Bonnie R. Rush, DVM, MS, Dip ACVIM
Dr. Rush received a DVM (1985) and a MS (1993) from The Ohio State University. She is a Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and Professor of Equine Medicine at Kansas State University. Dr. Rush’s primary research focus is equine respiratory physiology and pulmonary immunology. Current investigations involve systemic and pulmonary effects of aerosolized drugs for treatment of recurrent airway obstruction. Dr. Rush maintains a herd of horses with recurrent airway obstruction for investigation of aerosolized immunosuppressive and bronchodilator therapy. Her primary research resources include a pulmonary function laboratory, pulmonary scintigraphic imaging, and an equine-specific immune function laboratory. Investigations in her laboratory are primarily supported by 3M Animal Health, Bayer AG Animal Health, and the American Quarter Horse Association.

Thomas Schermerhorn, VMD, Dip ACVIM
Dr. Schermerhorn received a professional veterinary degree (VMD) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990 and completed a rigorous clinical training program in Veterinary Internal Medicine at Cornell University, before pursuing a PhD at that institution. His doctoral research on pancreatic beta cell physiology in the laboratory of Dr. Geoffrey Sharp was funded by an NIH Individual National Research Service Award. His research data has been published in outstanding basic science journals, including the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Cell Calcium. At the same time, Dr. Schermerhorn has continued to publish relevant retrospective studies and case reports in veterinary clinical journals. Dr. Schermerhorn received a Mentored Clinical Scientist (KO8) award in 2000 for continued career development as an independent research scientist. He joined the faculty in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Kansas State University in 2001. Dr. Schermerhorn's clinical and research interests include the endocrine diseases of dogs and cats, especially diabetes mellitus.

Lisa Wolf-Wendel, PhD
Dr. Wolf-Wendel's research focuses broadly on equity issues concerning women and people of color in higher education. Her latest research focuses on how academics and academic institutions respond to a variety of work/family dilemmas.  Specifically, she has recently completed a book, coauthored with colleagues, Susan Twombly and Suzanne Rice, titled The Two Body Problem. The book will be available from John's Hopkin's University Press this fall. Lisa is also engaged in an extensive research project on how tenure track women with young children balance the multiple demands of work and family. Lisa earned her doctorate in 1995 from The Claremont Graduate School and her bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 1987. She is currently an Associate Professor of Higher Education at University of Kansas.