Dr. Matt Allender

Dr. Matt Allender
Lab Director

Dr. Allender is a zoo and wildlife veterinarian that graduated from the University of Illinois in 2004 with his DVM. He went on to complete a MS investigating the health and disease of box turtles and massasauga rattlesnakes prior to completing a residency in Zoological Medicince at the University of Tennessee and Knoxville Zoo. He then joined the faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois and jointly completed a PhD studying the Epidemiology of Ranavirus in free-ranging chelonians. He currently teaches, performs research, and provides clinical service for free-ranging and captive wildlife. College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois Bio Page.

Dr. Krista Keller

Dr. Keller is a veterinary specialist in Zoological Medicine with a passion for Zoological Companion Animals, or non traditional species that are a part of a human family. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Keller teaches, performs research and provides clinical service for captive zoological patients. Her current research is exploring the epidemiology of cutaneous mycosis (Nannizziopsis spp.) in companion lizards and elucidating prognostic indicators in captive wildlife.


Dr. Laura Adamovicz
Research Scientist

Dr. Adamovicz is a 2012 DVM graduate of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. She joined the lab in 2015 as a PhD Fellow and completed her PhD in 2018. Her project assessed the wellness of wildlife indicated by the health of the eastern box turtle, ornate box turtle, and silvery salamander. Currently, Dr. Adamovicz is continuing her research program at the lab, mentoring students, and developing diagnostic assays to further the lab goal of saving the world.

Emilie Ospina holds a box turtle.

Emilie Ospina, MS
Research Associate

Emilie is a research associate and technician for the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab. She completed a MS at the University of Illinois in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Emilie performs diagnostic assays and assists in on-going research projects in the lab.

Dr. Kaitlin Moorhead

Dr. Kaitlin Moorhead graduated from University of Tennessee with her DVM in 2020. She is currently working as a PhD student in the Epi Lab, focusing on overall Blanding’s turtle health and reintroducing these endangered species into the environment.

Maris Daleo

Maris is a DVM/PhD student in the lab focusing on box turtle health, and the impact of ranavirus on confiscated turtles. Maris is also one of our Team Leaders for our Box Turtle Team and helps coordinate Turtle Days throughout the summer.

Carly Clark
Class of 2024

Carly is focusing on uric acid measurement on hand held point-of-care meters, and sample preservation methods. Carly is one of our summer Turtle Team Leaders and helps coordinate summer Turtle Team events.

Maura Ryan
Class of 2024

Maura is on our Kane County Team over the summer and focuses on the health of our telemeter Blanding’s turtles. She also performs health care assessments on painted turtles and snapping turtles.

Varun Seth
Class of 2025

Varun’s research involves plasma osmolality values of turtles. Varun is also on our summer Lake County Team where he is looking at Blanding’s turtle health over time at the Lake County Forrest Preserve. Varun is also our Animal Care Manager for the snakes in the lab.

Caroline Terry
Class of 2024

Caroline is on our summer Lake County Team where she performs health assessments on Blanding’s turtles in the forest preserve.

Kami Grochowski
Class of 2025

Kami’s research focuses on the health of musk turtles. She is also on our Cook County Team this summer where she gets to perform health assessments on Blanding’s turtles, snapping turtles, and more!

Dylan Burke
Class of 2024

Dylan is on our Kane County Team this summer where he is performing health assessments on telemeter Blanding’s turtles.

Allison Wallace
Class of 2024

Allison’s research involves studying different methods to sedate turtles. She is also an avid Turtle Team member and a valued member of our animal care team this summer!

Alexis Davidson
Class of 2023

Alexis’s project revolves around Blanding’s turtles headstarts, and LH/EDTA in wild turtles.

person holding turtle

Lauren Vincent
Class of 2023

Lauren’s research involves comparing hematologic variations of two anticoagulants in European Starlings, as well as conducting health assessments of Eastern box turtles, spotted turtles, and painted turtles in Cape Cod, MA. Lauren is passionate about conservation and is pursuing a career in zoo and wildlife medicine!

Rachel Angles
Class of 2023

Rachel’s research is about herpesvirus in penguins.

Paul Orr
Class of 2024

Paul is interested in reptile health! He works with the lab’s snakes, bearded dragons, and alligator snapping turtles. Paul is also helping with a project about disease in red-eared sliders.

Alexandria Ta
Class of 2023

Dria helps out with the snakes in the lab and studies snake fungal disease.

Kelcie Fredrickson
Class of 2023

Kelcie will be turtle team leader this upcoming summer and will be beginning her research project on a shell fungus, Emydomyces testavorans, that has impacted multiple turtle species.

Kayla LaDez
Class of 2023

Kayla studies Blanding’s turtles’ ESR and Blanding’s cortisol levels.