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Eli Lilly Gives $440,000 for New Fellowships
Acclaimed Training Program Addresses Critical Shortage of Veterinary Pathologists and Toxicologists

[College delegation accepting check from Eli Lilly]
The Illinois Tox/Path Connection: A delegation from the College traveled to Indianapolis to officially collect the check for the new fellowships. With hands on the check, from left: Drs. Herb Whiteley, Val Beasley, Wanda Haschek-Hock, Matthew Wallig, Edwin Hahn, all from the College, and Dr. Andrew Dahlem, from Lilly. Behind, from left: Drs. Steven Swanson and Myrtle Davis, of Lilly; Dr. David Gross, Illinois; Drs. Daniel Ness and Gregg Lundeen, Lilly.

Recognizing the strong toxicology and pathology graduate training programs in place at the College of Veterinary Medicine, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company presented a check for $444,289 to fund two graduate student positions, to be known as the Eli Lilly Fellowships in Toxicologic Pathology and in Toxicology/Pharmacology.

“This is the kind of thing we’ve dreamed of for years,” says Dr. Matthew Wallig, professor of veterinary pathobiology and the principal investigator on the award, who will also serve as mentor to one of the fellows. “There is a real shortage of veterinary pathologists. Our college has strong training programs, and many of our graduates have gone on to positions at Lilly. Hopefully, this award will provide an impetus for further expansion of our training programs.”

Co-PIs on the Lilly fellowship award are Dr. David Gross, head of veterinary biosciences; Dr. Ronald Smith, interim head of veterinary pathobiology; and Dr. Wanda Haschek-Hock, veterinary pathobiology.

Studies by government, industry, and professional groups have documented a looming shortage of scientists trained to conduct research in integrative biology. For example, a survey conducted by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2002 showed that the demand for veterinary pathologists through the year 2007 will far outstrip the supply, with an estimated 336 positions going unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates.

According to a January 2004 book published by the National Research Council, “The need for integrative and systems biologists has increased in the last half-decade. Translating the rapid advances made at the molecular and cellular level into advances in the prevention and treatment of diseases requires a cadre of scientists trained in comparative medicine and whole animal biology.”

The toxicologist and pathologist trained under the Lilly Fellowships will help meet this key need in government, industry, and academia for experts able to interpret data gathered at the molecular or cellular level to the tissue or whole animal level and ultimately to humans.

The Lilly award to Illinois funds each fellowship for four years. Kathleen Heinz-Taheny, who was selected as the Toxicologic Pathology Fellow, will complete requirements for a PhD as well as a residency program that qualifies her to sit for the board examination of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

Justin Allen, who has been named the Toxicology/Pharmacology Fellow, has completed the first two years of the professional veterinary degree program and will complete both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a PhD in toxicology or pharmacology over the following four years.

Both fellows will complete an externship at Lilly to learn about and participate in the daily activities of a scientist in industry. In addition, a Lilly scientist with appropriate expertise will serve on the fellow’s graduate committee.

The College is home to several nationally prominent training programs in the areas of toxicology and pathology. It directs the University of Illinois Interdisciplinary Environmental Toxicology Program and is home to an NIH Training Grant in Environmental Toxicology. A combined residency/PhD program in veterinary pathology offers a specialization in toxicologic pathology, with students supported by several other pharmaceutical companies. In 2003 the College was chosen by the National Cancer Institute to participate in a multi-institutional training program in molecular pathology, also under the leadership of Dr. Wallig.

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Illinois a Tox/Path Powerhouse at Lilly and Elsewhere

Among a number of Lilly personnel who earned degrees at Illinois are Andrew Dahlem, vice president, Toxicology, Drug Disposition, Pharmacokinetics, and LRL Europe; Myrtle Davis, research scientist; Douglas Feller, executive director, Research, Development, and Regulatory Affairs-Animal Health; Douglas Hutchens, manger, Animal Health Clincal Research; Gregg Lundeen, executive director, Toxicology; Daniel Ness, research scientist; John Sullivan, head, Endo/Cancer Pathology; Daniel Snyder, research acquisitions scientist; and Steven Swanson, senior research scientist.

Within national organizations in toxicology and toxicologic pathology, Illinois makes a strong showing. David Dorman was honored with the 2004 Society of Toxicology Achievement Award (see item page 14).
Four of the seven scientists who currently serve as officers of the Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section of SOT completed toxicology residencies, PhDs, or DVMs at Illinois. They are:
Stephen Hooser (president), of Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, West LaFayette, Ind.;
William Valentine (vice president ), of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.;
Myrtle Davis (vice president elect), of Eli Lilly, Greenfield, Ind.; and
Anita Kore (councilor), of 3M, St. Paul, Minn.

In addition, Robert Coppock is past president of that section.
In the Toxicologic and Exploratory Pathology Specialty Section of SOT, George Foley, of Pfizer, Ann Arbor, Mich., is secretary treasurer and Jeff Everitt, of Glaxo SmithKline Pharmaceuticals, Research Triangle Park, N.C., is past president.
Susan Schantz, veterinary biosciences, is a councilor for the Midwest Regional Chapter of SOT.
Officers in the Society of Toxicologic Pathology with an Illinois connection include:
Nancy Everds (president-elect), of DuPont Haskell Laboratory, Newark, Del.
Wanda Haschek-Hock (secretary-treasurer and executive committee member), of University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, Ill.
Laura Dill Morton (councilor and executive committee member), of Pfizer Inc., Groton, Conn.
Among the many other Illinois alumni who are luminaries in the toxicology field are:
Michael Biehl, associate director of Global Project Management , Global Research and Development, Pfizer, New London, Conn.
James Fikes, director of Pathology, Pharmacokinetics, and Toxicology, Human Genome Services Incorporated, Rockville Md.
Frank Galey, dean, College of Agriculture, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wy.
Jeff Hall, associate professor of Toxicology, Utah State University, Logan, Utah
Steve Hansen, Director of the Midwest ASPCA and the ASPCA-APCC, Collinsville, Ill.
John Haliburton, head of Toxicology, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Texas A&M University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Amarillo, Texas
Larry Johnson, 3M, St. Paul, Minn.
Safdar Khan, research leader, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), New York, N.Y.
Roseanne Lorenzana, toxicologist and human health risk assessor, Environmental Protection Agency, Region 10 Office of Environmental Assessment, Seattle, Wash.
Randall Lovell, veterinary toxicologist, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Center for Veterinary Medicine, Rockville, Md.
Richard Stotts, Branch Chief of Counterproliferation, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio
Stephen Sundlof, director, FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Rockville, Md.
Petra Volmer, assistant professor, Veterinary Biosciences, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Urbana, Ill.

If we’ve left you off the list, please let us know! Contact editor@cvm.uiuc.edu.

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