Welcome to the Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


College of Veterinary Medicine at Illinois

U of I logo Department of Pathobiology

Residencies & Advanced Training

Pathology Residencies

The Division of Comparative Pathology offers two forms of combined residency/PhD programs, one in Anatomic Pathology and one in Clinical Pathology. Generally the first two years are devoted to course work and residency training centered around cases submitted from the Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital and practicing veterinarians to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, which also is part of the College. The third year is a transitional year as the student progresses into a formal PhD research program. The fourth and fifth years are devoted predominantly to research. A specialization in Toxicologic Pathology is also available with course work and research emphasis on toxicology.


The Division is responsible for graduate courses in necropsy techniques, surgical pathology, histopathology seminar, mechanisms of disease and toxicologic pathology, as well as courses in the veterinary professional curriculum, general pathology, special pathology, clinical pathology, and diagnostic interpretation and techniques.

Areas of Research

Infectious Diseases: Pathogenesis of enteric respiratory and reproductive diseases and investigations into the host cell-macrophage-parasite relations.

Toxicologic Pathology: Pathogenesis of fumonisin mycotoxicosis, microcystin induced hepatotoxicity, and the mechanisms of pulmonary and hepatic injury.

Oncologic Pathology: The classification of leukemias and lymphomas, the cancer chemo-protective effects of phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables.

Clinical Pathology: Mechanisms underlying the release of diagnostic hepatic enzymes into the blood, hemopoietic cellular kinetics, interpretive cytopathology, and the clinical chemistry and pathophysiology of alkaline phosphatase isoenzymes.

Zoological Pathology: Focusing on the Pathogenesis of wildlife disease, particularly for endangered species.

Toxicologic Pathology (Special Multidisiplinary Program)

Wanda Haschek-Hock and Matthew Wallig – Co-Directors

The objective of this specialization within the Division of Comparative Pathology is to develop scientists specifically training in toxicologic pathology, the interface between toxicology and pathology. Those trained in toxicologic pathology can function as competent and innovative professionals and leaders in a variety of areas: drug discovery, safety and risk assessment, research on toxic substances and environmental contaminants, and diagnosis of chemically induced diseases in humans and animals.

The basic components of the program, in addition to the departmental requirements, include training in comparative anatomic and clinical pathology; course work in pathology, toxicology, laboratory medicine, pharmacology, and statistical analysis; and research in toxicologic pathology. Students are expected to present their research findings at national or international meetings and to publish them in peer-reviewed journals. Practical experience and understanding of industrial/regulatory perspectives is gained through externships in governmental agencies and/or industry.

Students in the program have the opportunity to interact with participating faculty with a wide variety of research interests in toxicology and toxicologic pathology from several departments, including Pathobiology, Comparative Biosciences, Food Science and Human Nutrition, as well as the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Participants in this specialization also have the chance to interact with other programs at the University of Illinois, including internship and residency programs in Toxicology (Comparative Biosciences), the Program of Laboratory Animal Medicine (Veterinary Clinical Medicine), the Registry of Reproductive Pathology (Pathobiology), the Interdisciplinary Environmental Toxicology Program (Environmental Council), and the Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Training in this specialization will lead to a PhD degree and eligibility to take the certifying examination offered by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and will provide a basis for certification by the American Board of Toxicology. Applicants must have a DVM or equivalent degree and must meet the requirements for entry into the departmental graduate program. Candidates are selected by an internal steering committee on the basis of the candidate’s professional experience, letters of recommendation, academic record, a personal interview, and evaluation of the candidate’s written goals for a career in toxicologic pathology.

Zoological Pathology

Based in Chicago, the Zoological Pathology Program is a unique collaboration between the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and the Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo, the Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, and the John G. Shedd Aquarium, with additional support from the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The Zoological Pathology Program is a full-service diagnostic, teaching and research pathology program, specializing in exotic and wildlife diseases. It provides comprehensive diagnostics to the three affiliated zoological institutions, as well as operates an exotic, wildlife, and domestic animal pathology training residency. Research, focusing on the pathogenesis of wildlife disease, particularly for endangered species, is conducted in collaboration with the associated zoological and academic institutions.

Through the diagnosis, prevention, and research of the pathogenesis of wildlife diseases, the program directly benefits zoological collections and assists in wildlife conservation. Involved personnel also contribute to the prosperity of world populations by participating as integral members of reintroduction and species survival programs, by investigating the interplay between diseases and population dynamics, and through public education on the importance of sustaining species diversity. Moreover, the program serves as an interface and link between zoological institutions, wildlife parks, veterinary and human medical fields, and the private sector.

The program is designed as a three year residency, and when completed, will qualify resident for the American College of Veterinary Pathologists Board Certification Exam. It is currently the largest of only three programs in the United States with full-time, exotic pathology training; and the only program with established academic ties and incorporated domestic animal pathology training.

For the participating resident, the program provides exposure to an extraordinary array of species from three different zoological institutions, as well as specialized training in domestic animal pathology at the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The program also offers the potential for a concurrent doctorate through the various allied universities.

The program is administered and supervised by the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. It is housed at the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. Funding is provided primarily by the Chicago Zoological Society Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, and the John G. Shedd Aquarium. For further information, contact: Dr. Michael Kinsel, Director, (708) 216-1185.

Infectious Diseases

In conjunction with the Center for Zoonosis Research and Infectious Diseases (CZRID), the Department has developed an interdisciplinary program supporting researching infectious diseases. Areas of research include microbiology, immunology, pathology, parasitology, and epidemiology.

Three important public health and animal health issues have reinforced the development of the Infectious Disease Program: 1) the emergence of widespread antibiotic resistance among important bacterial pathogens, 2) the emergence of new infectious agents (e.g., AIDS, Lyme disease) and the resurgence of older diseases once well controlled (e.g., tuberculosis), and 3) the emergence of food-borne infectious diseases as serious threats to public health.
The misuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture has been a major contributor to the emergence of multiply antibiotic resistant bacteria. In some instances, resistance to antibiotics has reached crisis stage. Simultaneously, significant new human pathogens have been identified that cause high-profile diseases such as AIDS, Lyme disease, Hantavirus, and Legionnaire’s disease. In many cases, these new diseases are zoonotic. In veterinary medicine, PRRS (porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome) and proliferative enteritis have emerged as new diseases, and new variants of traditional pathogens such as Escherichia coli have been identified. In addition, several other well-described diseases are now known to be caused by infectious agents. The organism Helicobacter pylori is now known to be a common cause of gastric ulcers.

Tuberculosis is making a strong comeback with the new strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis being multiply drug resistant. The effects of intensive animal-rearing practices has led to effects on water quality that may be responsible for the increased incidence of some diseases such as cryptosporidiosis. At the same time, there has been a sharp increase in the number of serious food-borne infectious diseases in the United States. Salmonella sp. and Campylobacter sp. are responsible for an increasing number of food-borne outbreaks. Diseases in the Third World also are spreading rapidly, with new epidemics of cholera showing up in previously unaffected countries. The 1993 foodborne outbreak in the Pacific Northwest resulting from the consumption of hamburgers signaled the emergence of E. coli O157:H7 as a new pathogen.

It is significant that many of these emerging diseases are zoonotic, putting the Department of Pathobiology and the CZRID is in a unique position to find solutions to these problems. CZRID is an important resource in these research endeavors and assist graduate students with their research projects. The Center includes many outstanding scientists encompassing physicians from health care facilities in central Illinois and faculty from seven departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Center provides a framework for multidisciplinary research unparalleled by other organizations in the state. Research by these scientists ranges from critical technical analyses of clinical disease to identification and analysis of disease foci, and from identification of techniques used by bacteria to attach to and damage cells, to making vaccines against specific molecular targets.

Members of the Department organize an Annual Conference on New and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases, consisting of lectures given by internationally recognized speakers and poster presentations by local faculty and students.