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Firkins, Lawrence D

Professor, Pathobiology
Associate Dean for Public Engagement, Vet Med Administration
Swine Extension Veterinarian

Address and Contact Information

College of Veterinary Medicine
2001 South Lincoln Avenue
2812 Vet Med Basic Sciences Bldg.
Urbana, IL  61802


  • DVM, University of Illinois, 1986
  • MBA, University of Illinois, 2001
  • MS, University of Illinois, 1996
  • BS, University of Illinois, 1980

Research Interests

Firkins' primary research focus has been and continues to be centered on the development of strategies to minimize the impact of Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus. PRRSV is arguably the most economically damaging pathogen of commercial swine production worldwide. Throughout his career, his collaborative research efforts have focused on enhancing the well-being of the swine industry.


  • Dr. Larry Firkins is the Associate Dean for Public Engagement and Swine Extension Veterinarian at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to joining the University in 1995 and serving as the Director of Research Stations for six years, he spent nine years as a partner in a veterinary practice in central Illinois.
  • Dr. Firkins obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois in 1986 followed by a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology in 1996. He completed his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois in 2001.
  • During his time at the University of Illinois, Dr. Firkins has focused much of his teaching efforts on the integration of practical business skills into the veterinary curriculum. Dr. Firkins has given over 140 international presentations in 15 countries, over 500 presentations throughout the US, and completed 27 trips presenting business seminars to students, faculty, and practitioners at Colleges of Veterinary Medicine throughout the country.

Teaching Statement

Dr. Firkins' primary teaching objective is to equip the next generation of veterinary professionals with essential tools, knowledge, and problem-solving skills. The material presented integrates his experience as a veterinarian and owner of a clinical practice as well as his public engagement work with his formal business training in the MBA program. This combination of experience and education enables him to teach business and management to veterinary students, to offer continuing education programs in these areas, and to consult with agricultural producers throughout the country.

Courses Taught

  • Fundamentals of Management
  • Basics of Business
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management

Honors and Awards

  • Named to the List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Their Students 61 times
  • Certificate of Academic Excellence, University of Illinois College of Business, Master of Business Administration Degree 2001
  • University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Service Excellence Award for outstanding service work and contributing to the tradition of service excellence 2004
  • American Association of Swine Veterinarians Meritorious Service Award for exemplary service, commitment, and leadership dedicated to the AASV organization 2005
  • University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine All-Round Excellence Award for outstanding achievement in recognition of contributions to teaching, research, and service 2007
  • Selected to present the Alex Hogg Memorial Lecture at the American Association of Swine Veterinarians Annual Meeting in Dallas, TX 2009
  • University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Erwin Small Teaching Award 2017

Selected Publications

  • Bergner, D.W., Kuhlenschmidt, T.B., Hanafin, W.P., Firkins, L.D., and Kuhlenschmidt, M.S.: Inhibition of rotavirus Infectivity by a Neoglycolipid Receptor Mimetic. Nutrients, 2011; 3(2): 228-277.
  • Sherman, JG, Paul, AJ, Firkins, LD, Safety of orally administered spinosad and milbemycin oxime administered to collies carrying the mdr-1 mutation. American Journal of Veterinary Research, 2010; Vol 71, No. 1, 115-119
  • Penmecthsa, TV, White, BA, Maddox, CW, Firkins, LD, Weigel, RM, Molecular Epidemiologic Investigation of the Role of Gilts in the Introduction and Transmission of Salmonella in Swine Production Systems, Journal of Swine Health and Production, 2009, 17(2):81-89
  • Vashisht, K, Erlandson, KR, Firkins, LD, Zuckermann, FA, Goldberg, TL, Evaluation of Contact Exposure as a Method for Acclimatizing Growing Pigs to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus, Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, 2008; 232, No. 10: 1530-1535
  • Additional Publications

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association of Swine Veterinarians
  • American Association of Extension Veterinarians
  • American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association
  • Illinois Pork Producers Assocation

Service Activities

Dr. Firkins' primary outreach and service activities fall into three general areas: 1) specialized educational programs, 2) protection of our nation's food supply, and 3) emerging and existing issues affecting veterinarians and producers. He coordinates the Executive Veterinary Program (EVP) in Swine Health Management. EVP is an award winning two-year continuing education program designed to enhance the business and communication skills of animal health professionals. He also coordinates the Executive Pork Producers Program(EP3).  He has worked closely with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to develop and test the Emergency Animal Disease/Animals in Disaster Illinois Hazard Specific Annex Emergency Operations Plan and FMD Procedures Version 2.5. For the past ten years, Firkins has been addressing employee development and engagement issues in order to produce changes in behaviors that result in measurable changes in common production metrics.

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