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Featured Faculty
by Julia Foster Gawley

[Dr. Dusty Nagy]Dr. Dusty Nagy, clinical assistant professor of farm animal reproduction, medicine, and surgery, joined the College faculty in 2000. She spends the majority of her time seeing patients on the food animal service, treating beef and dairy cattle as well as sheep, goats, and llamas.

When not in the clinic, she is teaching ruminant health to veterinary students. She loves teaching, which she says is the main reason she gravitated toward academia. “It’s very gratifying seeing a student’s face light up when they understand something,” she says.

Dr. Nagy is also finishing a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Missouri, where she earned her master’s degree and completed a residency in food animal medicine, surgery, and production medicine. Her research on bovine leucosis virus is helping to develop rational control studies that will decrease the prevalence and culling rate, making U.S. cattle more marketable for export. The result could have a huge economic impact for seed stock producers and farmers that derive income from cattle exports.

“Currently 80 percent of Illinois dairy farms contain cattle that are sero-positive for BLV. Most cows will not develop true leukemia from the virus, but approximately 5 percent will develop cancer. Since susceptibility is partially genetic, the infection could be a significant problem for some breed lines,” explains Dr. Nagy.

Additionally, cows that are sero-positive cannot be exported to countries that have eradicated the disease, such as Denmark. Dr. Nagy is working to develop better testing and control programs to identify those cows with persistently high lymphocyte counts, which indicates they may be more infectious. Her work may also have implications for a future vaccine against the virus, and may serve as a potential model for studying HIV.

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Dr. Nagy serves on the certifying examination committee. She has published papers on neonatal health and immunology and bovine leukemia virus in the Canadian Veterinary Journal and the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, among others.

Dr. Nagy is also busy at home, with two young children and her husband, Dr. Jesse Nagy, who is completing a residency in imaging/radiation therapy. They enjoy family time, traveling, and photography.

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