Message from the Dean | Veterinary Clinical Medicine | Zoological Pathology Program News

Your City, Our Faculty: Vet Med in Chicago

Headshots of Mandy Womble, Karen Terio and Matt Allender in front of Chicago skyline

This message will appear in the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Bulletin.

Would you be surprised to learn that nearly 10% of our college’s faculty members work primarily in the Chicago area? It’s true. We have around 130 faculty members, and 12 are based entirely or largely in your region.

The longest-serving of these is Dr. Jen Langan, who has been a clinical veterinarian within the Chicago Zoological Society’s Brookfield Zoo since 1999, just three years after completing her DVM. Dr. Langan not only cares for the animals but contributes scholarly works and oversees a prestigious residency program in zoological and aquatic animal medicine, a joint effort with Brookfield Zoo and Shedd Aquarium.

The newest faculty member, Dr. Mandy Womble, joined our world-renowned Zoological Pathology Program (ZPP) this past summer. (Dr. Womble is at left in the photo.) ZPP, part of our Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory housed within Brookfield Zoo, now has five faculty members.

Meet Dr. Womble

Until this year, Dr. Womble had called North Carolina home her entire life, including the past 16 years in Raleigh, where she completed a bachelor’s in zoology, a combined DVM and PhD, and an anatomic pathology residency at N.C. State. (She earned diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in October!)

Dr. Womble has done her fair share of traveling, though, having worked with baboons in Africa on four occasions before entering vet school. She also did multiple stints as an extern at the Bronx Zoo.

Originally planning on a career in zoo medicine, Dr. Womble says her experience working under Dr. Dee McAloose at the Bronx Zoo “brought me over to the dark side” of zoo pathology. Dr. McAloose, of course, is a co-author with Dr. Karen Terio of the seminal textbook Pathology of Wildlife and Zoo Animals. Dr. Womble calls her new role in the ZPP “my super dream job.”

“The people at the Illinois Zoological Pathology Program are the best in the country,” she says. “It’s the only such program in the U.S. where you are a full-time faculty member within a university.” This is important to Dr. Womble, who really enjoys teaching and resident training.

She adds, “The best part of the program is being mentored by Karen Terio.”

Dr. Womble and her wife love the Chicago area and have explored extensively on bike with their two-year-old son.

The Zoological Pathology Team

Speaking of Dr. Terio, I’m pleased to share that she was promoted to the rank of Professor with Indefinite Tenure this past summer. She joined the program in 2004 and became the leader of ZPP in 2016. (Dr. Terio is in the center in the photo.)

“At ZPP our goal is to contribute to conservation through diagnosis and research into diseases that impact wildlife populations,” she says.

“We joke that we work with snails to whales, but it’s true. We work with invertebrates all the way to large charismatic megavertebrates. ZPP works here in Chicago with our renown zoological institutions and forest preserves as well as with wildlife around the globe.”

Rounding out the ZPP faculty are Drs. Kathleen Colegrove-Calvey, Martha Delaney, and Jennifer (Jaime) Landolfi.

Dr. Allender in Chicago

Matt Allender, who has been on our faculty since 2009, has carved a unique niche in academia. (Dr. Allender is at right in the photo.) Like Dr. Langan, he currently performs part of his faculty appointment as a clinical veterinarian at Brookfield Zoo. Like Dr. Terio, he is part of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, because the Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory he established found a home there. His research output includes identification of snake fungal disease and other emerging pathogens affecting free-living reptiles.

Fieldwork, including a 15+-year surveillance study of eastern box turtles in Illinois and Tennessee, is an important aspect of the laboratory. Dr. Allender engages students at all levels in fieldwork to develop their appreciation for research and the natural world.

In 2022, Dr. Allender helped launch the Zoological and Wildlife Health Management residency, the first and only such program to be headquartered within an agency devoted to free-ranging wildlife. The residency is a partnership between our college, Brookfield Zoo, and the Forest Preserves of Cook County.

Clin Path and Primary Care

Our diagnostic lab’s clinical pathology satellite laboratory, located within the Veterinary Specialty Center facility in Bannockburn, has become a well-used service to the Chicagoland veterinary community. We are delighted to announce that Dr. Nick Noto, who will complete his residency with us next summer, will be taking on the faculty role at that location.

And we have five outstanding clinicians who see patients and nurture veterinary students at the Medical District Veterinary Clinic, all of whom are graduates of our college! They are Dr. Drew Sullivan, who serves as clinic director, and Drs. Alyssa Kritzman, Ana Valbuena, Jeanette Barragan, and Angelica Calderon.

So that wraps up the faculty roster in the Chicago region. Your College of Veterinary Medicine is even closer to you than you may have realized!

The photo of the Chicago skyline is by Benjamin Suter on Unsplash