Hidden Gem: Zoo Path Program in Your Midst

Nov 15, 2016 / Message from the Dean

[zoo pathology - seahorse]
This message appeared in the December 2016 issue of the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Bulletin.

Zoo Pathologists Advance Global Health

Earlier this year when I was attending a meeting of U.S. veterinary deans in Florida, I had the unusual experience of spotting a seahorse on dry land.

I was walking along the beach the morning after a violent storm. There had been torrential rains and a tornado strike just 15 miles away. Locals who had walked the beach daily for 30 years remarked that they had never seen so much debris, including piles of fresh seaweed, on the shore.

That literal fish-out-of-water brought home to me the interconnectedness of life on earth, and the importance of having veterinary professionals—though very often unseen—engaged in monitoring and promoting the health of creatures throughout our ecosystem.

For the past 23 years, the college’s Zoological Pathology Program (ZPP) has been tucked away in the western suburbs of Chicago. (This year the headquarters relocated from Maywood and its long-time affiliation with Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, to the Chicago Zoological Society’s campus in Brookfield.)

A unit within the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory on our landlocked campus, the program has had a tremendous impact on the health of wild and captive zoological species worldwide. It has earned an international reputation for excellence in diagnostic service, education of residents and veterinary students, contribution to worldwide conservation efforts, and original scholarship.

I’d like to shine a spotlight on the program’s five faculty members, all of whom are boarded by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

  • Dr. Michael Kinsel has been with the program since its inception, having started there as one of the program’s first residents. Dr. Kinsel served for many years as the program’s chief. His work has focused on marine mammals, especially whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
  • Dr. Karen Terio, like Dr. Kinsel a full clinical professor, has recently assumed responsibility as the program’s chief. She has a research and diagnostic focus on exotic feline species and free-living primates and has collaborated with researchers around the world on such issues as canine distemper virus in big cats and the health of wild chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, Tanzania.
  • Dr. Katie Colegrove-Calvey has a strong interest in seals, sea lions, and walruses, and recently served as the lead pathologist in investigations into the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on dolphin populations in the Gulf of Mexico. At this month’s concurrent annual meeting of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology in New Orleans, she will chair a mini-symposium on the ecological impacts of that spill.
  • Dr. Jaime Landolfi recently moved from a visiting to a clinical track faculty position. She completed her PhD degree at Illinois with a study of the immunopathogenesis of tuberculosis in elephants. The development of molecular assays for diagnosis of infectious diseases in exotic species is among her interests.
  • Dr. Robert Ossiboff is the newest member of the team. He holds veterinary and PhD degrees from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and has a particular interest in diseases of reptiles and amphibians and infectious diseases of wildlife.

I’m proud that the work of these outstanding pathologists advances the understanding of disease in wild species and advances the college’s contributions to global health.

Keep your eyes peeled for the unrecognized contributions of your fellow veterinarians all around you, and never miss an opportunity to walk the beach after a storm.

Photo from Pixabay.