Position Expands Students Options
by Lianne Carr
The College of
Veterinary Medicine recently added 216 acres of classroom spacelocated
150 miles north of Urbana.
Although we havent
technically annexed Brookfield Zoo, we have expanded the options for
students with the addition of Dr. Jennifer Langan, a visiting clinical
assistant professor who directs the Colleges program in zoo medicine
and has a joint appointment at Brookfield.
Dr. Langan, a 1996
Illinois graduate, completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship
at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Mass., and a residency
in zoological and wildlife medicine at the University of Tennessee.
A zookeeper keeps a walrus in check while Dr. Jennifer Langan and
veterinary student Chris Dupuis conduct an examination. Right: Erin
Dahill, right, assists with taking radiographs on a Galapagos tortoise.
In 1999 Dr. Langan
started a two-year clinical residency at Brookfield Zoo with funding
from the Conservation Medicine Center of Chicago, a collaborative program
uniting the University of Illinois, Brookfield Zoo, and Loyola University.
In the fall of 2001 this residency ended and Dr. Langan successfully
completed board certification in the American College of Zoological
Medicine. At the same time the College was interested in starting a
zoo medicine program, and Dr. Langan was hired as the program director.
I very much
enjoyed my job and the people that I worked with at Brookfield, but
I missed teaching in an academic setting, she says. So many
students entering the field of veterinary medicine have an interest
in zoo and wildlife, yet there are comparatively few training programs
teaching conservation, eocosystem health, and comparative medicine.
With the addition
of Dr. Langan, Illinois now offers senior students a month-long clinical
rotation in zoological medicine. Students actively participate in animal
immobilizations and preventive medicine programs and assist with diagnoses
and treatments of the nearly 3,000 animal residents at the Brookfield
of the zoo rotation is that it forces you to use medicine. You dont
see cases with preconceived diagnoses. Youre forced to think about
the diagnoses since these are species youve never seen before,
says Joe Lyman, from the Class of 2003. Dr. Langans enthusiasm
for her work rubs off on you and causes you to strive to find the answers.
Varble agrees. I was very excited to participate in the zoo rotation
this year. It was really one of the best hands-on clinical rotations
I had during senior year.
In addition to
gaining hands-on experience students work on a research project while
at the zoo. We hope to spur the scientist in every veterinarian,
notes Dr. Langan.
This new program
has produced many high-quality student research projects in the past
year. Among the Class of 2003, Lyman investigated the role of temperature
change and hypothermia on baboon mortality and will present his findings
at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians conference later this
year; Varble did a retrospective review of medical records to evaluate
the efficacy of behavior-modifying drugs in zoo animals and is submitting
her project for a student manuscript competition; and Rob Swinger evaluated
the ocular health of penguins and dolphins and also hopes to publish
can be quite profound. Beth Ellen McNamara, also Class of 2003, conducted
a retrospective study of Micronesian kingfishers that linked reproductive
problems and obesity to morbidity and mortality. Her work led to a national
recommendation for the kingfishers nutrition and diet.
Students in the
earlier years of the veterinary program can opt for summer externships
at the zoo. Mike Adkesson, Class of 2004, has spent two summers at Brookfield
and has researched parasitism in tanager (avian) and callitrichid (small
monkey) species. He presented his research at the American Association
of Zoo Veterinarians conference, won first place in the student manuscript
competition, and is submitting this manuscript to the Journal of
Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.
to work on these projects has been a wonderful experience, says
Adkesson. The chance to author two papers and present the research
at a national conference is very inspiring and rewarding. The experience
has reinforced what I have learned in the classroom and also served
to enhance my clinical skills.