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Featured Faculty
by Julia Foster Gawley

[Dr. Peter Constable]Dr. Peter Constable, professor in food animal reproduction, medicine and surgery, divides his time among teaching veterinary students in the classroom and clinic, conducting research, and speaking around the globe. He also serves as assistant head in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine in charge of graduate studies and research.

After earning his veterinary degree at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 1982, Dr. Constable worked in Australia, Ohio, and England. He then completed master’s and PhD degrees at The Ohio State University and joined the Illinois faculty in 1993.

Basic and applied research are enduring interests of his, on topics ranging from cardiac arrhythmias in cattle to acid-base balance in the exercising horse. He has also studied treatment of calf diarrhea, fluid therapy, and abdominal diseases of cattle, and has assisted on a number of mastitis projects led by Dr. Dawn Morin.

Recently, a series of collaborative research projects with Dr. Wanda Haschek-Hock, veterinary pathobiology, Dr. Mike Tumbleson, veterinary biosciences, and Dr. Geof Smith (now at North Carolina State University) elucidated the mechanism of fumonisin toxicity, which had been a mystery for over a century. Fumonisin is produced by a fungus in corn, and causes leukoencephalomalacia in horses and pulmonary edema in swine by inducing cardiovascular dysfunction. The findings will be used to set world trade regulatory limits for fumonisin in corn, thereby preventing disease in both humans and animals.

Dr. Constable notes, “Our interdisciplinary approach to fumonisin toxicity was very enjoyable and productive, which is always a great combination.”

His research has been published extensively, with over 100 peer-reviewed articles appearing in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Journal of Physiology, and Journal of Applied Physiology, and, to name a few. In addition, he was co-editor of Veterinary Clinics of North America Food Animal Practice, Fluid and Electrolyte Therapy (1999), and editor of Ruminant Neurological Diseases (2004), which includes a section on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease).

In demand as in international speaker, Dr. Constable has given invited lectures and conference presentations in Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, Japan, Egypt, and his homeland of Australia.

Though his travels have allowed him to explore the world, Dr. Constable is pleased to be here at the University of Illinois. He says, “I’m happy to be working in a place of discovery, where knowledge is being created every day. The University of Illinois is an exciting place to be, given that two of our faculty members on this campus recently won the Nobel Prize. That shows the high quality of work being done at this institution.”

Dr. Constable’s service activities include chairing the Library Committee and serving on the University Food and Fiber Animal Use, CZR Steering, and the Research Advisory committees. He received the College’s Gordon and Helen Kruger All-Around Excellence Award in 1999 and has appeared on the Incomplete List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Their Students since 1993.

Dr. Constable relaxes by playing the piano and golfing. His current goal is to bring his golf handicap back down to 3. He and his wife Renée Mullen, the College’s new assistant dean for advancement , are busy at home raising their 18-month-old daughter, Emily. The family enjoys traveling and watching movies together.

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