Part of the flagship campus of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, one of the world’s premier research institutions, the College of Veterinary Medicine is home to three academic departments, a full-service teaching hospital, the state’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory, and clinical, diagnostic, and research services in Chicago.
From the first veterinary course offered in 1870, just a few years after the university’s founding, to our first-of-its-kind online educational program, the college delivers on the land-grant mission: enhancing lives in Illinois, across the nation, and around the world through leadership in learning, engagement, and innovation.
Areas of Excellence
Initiatives at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine encompass a very broad range of interests and specialties. Described here are college strengths that incorporate all or most of the following features:
- Addresses a pressing societal need
- Combines scholarly innovation with excellence in academic training and real-world service or applications
- Represents a historical or long-term focus with substantial college investment
- Provides leadership at the national or international level within the field
- Collaborates with organizations and researchers outside the college and university
Comparative and Diagnostic Medicine
Our faculty make discoveries that span the spectrum from essential biology to applied diagnostic tests and therapeutics with the ultimate goal of improving the health of animals and people. Active fields of study include cardiovascular pathology, comparative oncology, conservation medicine, gastrointestinal and endocrine pathology, neurosciences and functional imaging, regenerative medicine, and translational and non-invasive surgical techniques. We have extensive infrastructure and successes in cancer research, where we have a central role in a university-wide initiative and a strong partnership with the NIH National Cancer Institute. The college and its Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory actively protect domestic animal and human health by rapidly identifying pathogens and zoonotic disease processes of concern.
Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health
Four programs that combine strong research, training, and service components in this area include the Wildlife Epidemiology Laboratory, investigating infectious disease outbreaks in amphibian and reptile species; the Wildlife Medical Clinic, caring for ill or injured native wildlife; Zoological Medicine, meeting the needs of non-traditional species under human care as well as providing student, intern, and resident training programs; and the Zoological Pathology Program, addressing disease and conservation challenges and serving private and public partners.
Environmental Health and Toxicology
From the founding of the National Animal Poison Control Center at the college in 1978 to the establishment of NIH-funded research projects and training programs, the college has a long history of leadership in toxicology research and community-based interventions. Numerous faculty study the effects of environmental chemicals, including perfluorinated chemicals, pesticides, phthalates, and water disinfection by-products, on people and animals. The college leads federally funded training programs both for graduate-level education and for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Researching mechanisms of infection and developing strategies for the detection, therapy, and control of infectious diseases have been integral to the college since its founding. Working from the molecular level to the ecosystem level, experts study bacterial, fungal, parasitic, and viral diseases that threaten animal and human health. Selected areas of interest include foreign animal disease preparedness and prevention, host-pathogen interactions, mathematical modeling, pathogen and host genetics, therapeutic interventions, and vaccine design. This work not only benefits the health and welfare of animals and people but also delivers psychological, economic, and geopolitical benefits by improving efficiency in food animal production, increasing global food security, stabilizing international trade, and supporting the human-animal bond.
Innovative, Integrated Curriculum
The college is known for its innovative integrated veterinary curriculum, launched in 2009. Focused on developing clinical competence in new graduates, the curriculum is unique in devoting 23 weeks in the first three years to hands-on clinical rotations and 6 weeks in the fourth and final year of the program to individually tailored “professional development.” Throughout the program students are engaged in a world-class Clinical Skills Learning Center that utilizes simulation training with rigorous instruction and evaluation. Based on this approach, graduates are confident to enter clinical practice upon graduation. Additionally, the Illinois program provides students with outstanding learning opportunities in biomedical and clinical research, business and financial management, and wildlife medicine.
Post-graduate Veterinary Education/Online Learning
Illinois has been delivering continuing education for veterinarians for more than 100 years—longer than the veterinary college has been in existence. The focus is on identifying and then meeting the needs of practitioners, ranging from in-depth career- enhancing programs, such as the college’s industry-leading Executive Veterinary Program (EVP) credential, to modules designed to meet licensure requirements. The college’s i-Learning Center, opened in 2018, leverages online learning strategies to create impactful educational programs that are scalable. Learners select their level of educational need, from brief tutorials to an online Master of Veterinary Science degree.
We have significant strength in research on the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in reproduction, including the development of male and female sex cells, folliculogenesis, implantation, meiosis, ovulation, placentation, pregnancy, spermatogenesis, and steroidogenesis. Our faculty provide leadership in this field across campus. Discoveries have led to novel methods of contraception and treatment of infertility and other reproductive disorders. Veterinary theriogenology, the study of reproductive health and the treatment of reproductive dysfunction in animals, is also an area of strength.
Department of Comparative Biosciences
Comparative Biosciences is creating the future of science and medicine, extending new knowledge into real-life applications to improve the health of animals and people.
Department of Pathobiology
In Pathobiology, a diverse complement of disciplines takes an integrated systems approach encompassing all aspects of disease emergence, mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions, and novel approaches to disease prevention.
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
The Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine excels in teaching, discovery, and clinical care related to companion animals, horses, food and fiber animals, and exotic, wildlife, and zoological species.