Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois

College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

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Inside Comparative Biosciences: Our Blog

Dr. Duncan FergusonThank you for visiting the Department of Comparative Biosciences (CB) web page. 
Our departmental faculty, students and staff enthusiastically participate in the instructional, research and service missions of the College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Illinois.  Some of our best known faculty members and programs are highlighted below

Duncan C. Ferguson, VMD, PhD, DACVIM, DACVCP,
Professor and Head, Urbana, Illinois


Research activities in the department range from cellular biology to applied clinical pharmacology and toxicology and ecosystem health.  

Experimental models range from stem cells to rodent models to domestic animals, wildlife, and human patients.  Exciting research is being conducted by CB faculty in the areas of endocrine/reproductive biology and toxicology, environmental and ecological toxicology, uterine and placental biology, aortic mesangial stem cells, stem cells for assessment of small molecule and nanoparticle pharmacology and toxicology, nanodisks as platforms for the study of membrane proteins, mouse and frog models of development, the impact of environmental and dietary compounds on neurodevelopment and on addictive potential of substances of abuse, circadian rhythms in animal models of shift work and jet lag, immunopharmacology and drug allergy, obesity and diabetes mellitus,  cancer chemotherapy, the interplay between  infectious agents and contaminants with wildlife populations, and comparative drug disposition and pharmacokinetics.   Research techniques range from micro-RNA to animal and human patient epidemiology to ecological assessments.

Of recent note, CB faculty have distinguished themselves through independent and interdisciplinary collaborative research.  For example, Drs. Jodi Flaws, Susan Schantz, and Andrea Aguiar are currently leading a translational project called I-Kids which evaluates potential effects of the plasticizers bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates on the learning and development of infants. Dr. Schantz also is a co-PI and Associate Director for one of 5 Botanical Research Centers (Botanical Estrogen Research Center) in the U.S. which will evaluate phytoestrogens such as soy isoflavones will be evaluated for their potential for preventing and causing diseases. Also, Dr. Indrani Bagchi is a co-PI on a U54 Reproductive Biology Center with cutting edge research in uterine and placental biology. 


CB faculty are the primary instructors for most didactic courses (anatomy, histology, physiology, and neurobiology) in the first year of the new Illinois Integrated Veterinary Professional Curriculum (IIVPC).  Our faculty also provide core pharmacology and toxicology instruction in the second year curriculum and elective clinical rotations in Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology in the first and second year clinical rotations. In addition, we offer elective courses available to veterinary and graduate students in ecotoxicology and wildlife/ecosystem health, and advanced concepts of therapeutics.  

CB faculty lead the Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology Residency Program, which prepares  graduate veterinarians  for the certifying examination  of the American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology (ACVCP) ).  In addition, together with the Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, we jointly offer a Veterinary Clinical Toxicology residency to prepare veterinarians for  board certification by the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology (ABVT) and the American Board of Toxicology (ABT). Our faculty provide graduate instruction in stem cell research, molecular genetics, pharmacology and toxicology.  They also participate in interdisciplinary training programs including the NIEHS-funded Environmental Toxicology Training Program,  the Interdisciplinary Environmental Toxicology Training Program, the Reproductive Biology Program, the Neuroscience Program,  the Nutritional Sciences Division, and the Institute for Genomic Biology.


CB faculty participate fully in the scientific and regulatory missions of organizations associated with their disciplines.    Our department organized the world’s first residency training program in Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology. Our veterinary toxicologists  established the first and by far the largest Animal Poison Control Center in the world.  The Center is now a part of the American Society for the Preservation of Animals (ASPCA) and most of the veterinary toxicologists at this Center are adjunct appointees of the department.  Today, CB faculty participate in the service mission of the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, providing  consultation  on therapeutic strategies, dosage development,  therapeutic drug monitoring, and  suspected or actual toxicoses.

Why Come to CB and Illinois?

The web page of the University of Illinois Division of Biomedical Sciences illustrates how CB faculty interact with other campus investigators to contribute to the future of science and medicine.  Come to CB to learn how to carry an idea from its basic science roots to its regulatory approval and successful application helping patients.  Come for the opportunity to learn about animal models, translational research (for animal and human health) and, above all, come to meet the engaged and enthusiastic faculty, students and staff creating the future of comparative medicine.