News Releases, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
3225 Vet. Med. Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 S. Lincoln Ave.
Urbana, IL 61802
August 25, 2010

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Contact: Chris Beuoy

Alumni Receive Illinois Veterinary College Awards

The University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and its alumni association will present five Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Awards and a Special Service Award on September 9, 2010, during the annual Fall Conference for Veterinarians.

Dr. Karen M. Becker, senior animal health advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Africa Bureau, Office of Sustainable Development, Washington, DC, will receive the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her leadership in the areas of veterinary public health, national policy and international infectious disease epidemiology. After receiving her veterinary degree from Illinois in 1987, Dr. Becker worked in small animal medicine and surgery private practice. Her interest in public health led her to earn a master's degree and then to hold an AVMA/AAAS Congressional Science Fellowship working in the U.S. Senate for Edward Kennedy and Barbara Mikulski on health care policy. Dr. Becker joined the federal government in 1998 and moved to her current role at USAID in 2006. A frequent contributor to the AVMA, Federal Health Commissions and the One Health Commission, Dr. Becker was the first woman to be awarded the AVMA International Veterinary Congress Prize.

Dr. Joseph T. Bielitzki, attending veterinarian, Sanford-Burnham Biomedical Research Institute, Orlando, Fla., and research manager, Human Research Protection Program, Office of Research and Commercialization, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla., will receive the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award for his contributions in the areas of ethics and animals, and globalization of nonhuman primate and zoo animal use and care. Dr. Bielitzki received his veterinary degree from Illinois in 1976. He then embarked on a long and diverse career which has included serving as program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and as chief veterinary officer for NASA. His contributions to the American Association of Zoological Veterinarians have been invaluable and much of the field's present-day knowledge can be credited to his early work. Most recently, Dr. Bielitzki helped to transport gorillas from a sanctuary in Rwanda to a sanctuary in the Congo.

Dr. Michael D. Kastello, vice president of global laboratory animal science and welfare at Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Bridgewater, NJ., will receive the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award for his nearly 40 years of experience in biomedical research, laboratory systems management and animal care and use in industry as well as in government programs. Dr. Kastello received his DVM degree from the University of Illinois in 1970 and a Ph.D. in cardiovascular physiology from Baylor College of Medicine in 1976. He is board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, the American Board of Toxicology and the European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Kastello has. He has been an active researcher throughout his career, but more notably he has used his leadership and management skills coupled with his commitment to animal care to effect major changes in the utilization of animals in research facilities around the world. Dr. Kastello's research activities have ranged from pathogenesis of high-hazard microorganisms to pre-clinical safety assessment of potential anti-viral and anti-neoplastic agents. As a veterinarian, he has been a leader in establishing standards for animal care and use in research. In 2005, he was awarded the Charles River Prize in Laboratory Animal Medicine by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Donald P. Knowles, professor, Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, Wash., will receive the Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Knowles entered a combined PhD research/veterinary pathology training program in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University immediately after earning his veterinary degree from Illinois in 1982. He completed his PhD degree in 1988 and earned certification as a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists the same year. As a USDA-ARS research scientist and research leader, Dr. Knowles conducted research on gammaherpes viruses, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ovine progressive pneumonia and caprine arthritis encephalitis viruses, prion diseases, and the diseases resulting from interactions of bighorn sheep and domestic sheep.

Dr. Michael M. Pavletic, director of surgical services, Angell Animal Medical Center, Boston, Mass., will receive the Dr. Erwin Small Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Pavletic received his veterinary degree at Illinois in 1974. Dr. Pavletic's long teaching career includes 20 years at two universities: Louisiana State University and Tufts University, where he trained veterinary students, interns, and residents in soft tissue surgery. He has both national and international recognition as a leading authority in small animal wound management and reconstructive surgery and has developed more than 50 original surgical techniques.

A Special Service award will be presented to Dr. B. Joseph and Mrs. Mary White. Dr. White, former president of the University of Illinois, helped raise awareness of College programs by speaking at the 2007 One Medicine, One Health Summit and the 2009 grand opening of the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine. In addition, the Whites, strong supporters of the human-animal bond, attended the College's annual "Oskee Bow Wow" fund-raising event at which their dog, Webster, served as the official greeter.