Dr. Sonia Crochik spent most of her life in the bustling city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, Dr. Crochik says that although at times she misses the city that she grew up and studied in, she enjoys the peace, quiet, and green of Champaign-Urbana.
Because Brazil is a developing country, even top veterinary colleges there did not have the equipment necessary for Dr. Crochik to pursue her interest in radiology, ultrasound and nuclear medicine. "Most cities dont even have ultrasound for humans," she said. "Its understandable that the first priority is to get equipment for human use."
Accessibility to technology for animals in part is what brought her to the University of Illinois, where she is not only a veterinary radiologist but is also in charge of the ultra sound and nuclear medicine diagnostic lab. Dr. Crochik began her appointment in April and said that she is enjoying her work here. "The thing I like the most is working with the other radiologists as a team," she said.
A former student and research assistant at the College, Dr. Cheryl Guyer is no stranger to the University of Illinois. Now a visiting clinical assistant professor of veterinary pathobiology, Dr. Guyer assists in teaching General Pathology and works as a pathologist in the veterinary diagnostic lab. "Im glad to be here," she said. "I recognize many faces and Im looking forward to working here in the capacity of a faculty member."
Recently awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Guyer will research the mechanism that leads to neurological defects in a line of rats. Determining the mechanism in rats could help researchers develop a model for a human neurodegenerative disease called olivoponto-cerebellar atrophy. "Studying the mechanism of disease is fascinating to me," she said.
When she was 15, Dr. Lisa Klopp knew that she wanted to become a neurosurgeon. Now a veterinary neurosurgeon and a recently appointed clinical assistant professor in veterinary clinical medicine, she said, "I started out wanting to do human neurology, but somewhere along the way I decided to study animals."
The only college graduate in her family, Dr. Klopp went to veterinary school at Colorado State University, where she graduated magna cum laude. Later she trained to become a neurosurgeon at Auburn University in Alabama.
Although most of her days are spent in the clinic and operating room, Dr. Klopp said that she is always teaching and interacting with students, something she loves to do. She is excited about working here and said "This is a fantastic hospital to be at. There are few other universities that offer as many human and technological resources."
While in high school, Dr. Milton McAllister worked on a dairy farm. "I was always interested in animals, biology, and medicine," he said. "Going into veterinary medicine seemed like the natural thing to do."
After graduating from the University of Missouri, Dr. McAllister practiced veterinary medicine in northwest Illinois, where he often visited dairy farms much like the one he worked for as a student.
Three years after beginning his practice, Dr. McAllister decided to return to academia at Colorado State University in 1987 to obtain a doctorate in pathology. While working on his doctoral research project, "the research bug hit me and Ive been doing more and more research ever since."
As a faculty member and diagnostic pathologist at the University of Wyoming, Dr. McAllister began researching the life cycle of Neospora caninum, a protozoal organism that causes abortion in cattle and encephalitis in dogs. Recently he published an article demonstrating for the first time that dogs are the definitive hosts of N. caninum.
Dr. McAllisters appointment as associate professor in the veterinary pathobiology department will include teaching and diagnostic service as well as research.
Working with students is nothing new for Dr. Lynda Melendez, a former high school biology and chemistry teacher in San Antonio, Texas. Her love of animals and teaching has brought her to her recent appointment as visiting clinical assistant professor of veterinary clinical medicine.
After teaching at the high school level for five years, Dr. Melendez became a student again when she enrolled in Texas A & Ms College of Veterinary Medicine. When she graduated in 1993, she practiced for one year and then decided to return to Texas A & M for an internship. Later she went to Colorado State University for a residency program in small animal internal medicine.
Dr. Melendez returned to teaching instead of clinical practice when she completed her residency because this way, she said, she gets to teach and be a veterinarian. She also enjoys the academic setting because it "gives the opportunity to continue to learn and to provide the best possible care for patients and clients."