Scott Wells, DVM, PhD

Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine (VPM)
Scott Wells


Office Address

225 Vet Med Ctr
1365 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
United States


Adjunct Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences


DVM, Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

PhD, University of Minnesota (Veterinary Medicine – Population Medicine, Minor in Epidemiology) School of Public Health

BS, Michigan State University

Licensures and Certifications

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine

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I am a Professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota. I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Michigan State University in 1984 and PhD in Veterinary Population Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1992. I have previous experience as a dairy practitioner in Wisconsin and as an Analytic Epidemiologist with the Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health, USDA-APHIS-Veterinary Services. My research interests relate to use of analytic epidemiologic methods for surveillance, prevention, and control of infectious pathogens of cattle and other food animals. My research experience has focused on prevention and control of Johne’s disease, bovine tuberculosis, and other infectious diseases of animals in the US and other countries.


  • Veterinary epidemiologist with experience working with cattle and other animal populations.
  • Previous professional experience working in private practice, government, and academia.
  • Board-certified in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

Chronic Wasting Disease Resources:
Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission to Minnesota and Wisconsin Cervid Farms


Research summary/interests

My current research projects:

  • Targeted surveillance of bovine tuberculosis in cattle using animal movement information.
  • Prevention and control of Johne’s disease in cattle and other ruminants.
  • Use of phylodynamics to improve understanding of transmission and control of infectious diseases of cattle (Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, and Bovine leukemia virus)
  • Prevention of chronic wasting disease of farmed cervids

Research funding grants

  • 2018-2019. Minnesota Board of Animal Health. Assessment of Risk of Chronic Wasting Disease Transmission to Minnesota Farmed Cervids.
  • 2014-2019. USDA NIFA-NSF-NIH Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases Program, Mycobacterial transmission dynamics in agricultural systems: integrating phylogenetics, epidemiology, ecology, and economics.
  • 2017-2020. Chiang Mai University and University of Minnesota Collaborative Grant Program, Cattle movement and zoonotic potential associated with bovine tuberculosis in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
  • 2019-2021. UMN CVM Population Systems Signature Program, Reducing Transmission of Bovine Leukemia Virus in Dairy Cattle through Application of Novel Diagnostic Tests and Phylodynamics.


Selected publications

  • Ribeiro-Lima J, Schwabenlander S, Oakes JM, Thompson B, Wells SJ. 2016. Risk profiling of cattle farms as a potential tool for bovine tuberculosis risk-based surveillance in disease free areas. JAVMA, 248(12):1404-13.
  • Ribeiro-Lima J, Carstensen M, Cornicelli L, Forester JD, Wells SJ. 2017. Patterns of cattle farm visitation by white-tailed deer in relation to risk of disease transmission in a previously infected area with bovine tuberculosis in Minnesota, USA. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases, 2017 Oct;64(5):1519-1529.
  • Picasso C, Alvarez J, VanderWaal KL, Fernandez F, Gil A, Wells SJ, Perez A. 2017. Epidemiological investigation of bovine tuberculosis outbreaks in Uruguay (2011-2013). Prev Vet Med. Mar 1;138:156-161.
  • VanderWaal K, Enns EA, Picasso C, Alvarez J, Perez A, Fernandez F, Gil A, Craft M, Wells S. 2017. Optimal surveillance strategies for bovine tuberculosis in a low-prevalence country. Sci Rep. Jun 23;7(1):4140.
  • Wells SJ, Kromm MM, VanBeusekom ET, Sorley EJ, Sundaram ME, VanderWaal K, Bowers JWJ, Papinaho PA, Osterholm MT, Bender J. 2017. Epidemiologic Investigation of Highly Pathogenic H5N2 Avian Influenza Among Upper Midwest U.S. Turkey Farms, 2015. Avian Dis. Jun;61(2):198-204.
  • Singhla T, Boonyayatra S, Punyapornwithaya V, VanderWaal KL, Alvarez J, Sreevatsan S, Phornwisetsirikun S, Sankwan J, Srijun M, Wells SJ. 2017. Factors Affecting Herd Status for Bovine Tuberculosis in Dairy Cattle in Northern Thailand. Vet Med Int. 2017:2964389.
  • Machado G, Kanankege KST, Schumann V, Wells SJ, Perez AM, Alvarez J. 2018. Identifying individual animal factors associated with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) milk ELISA positivity in dairy cattle in the Midwest region of the United States. BMC Vet Res 14(1):28.
  • Kao SZ, VanderWaal K, Enns EA, Craft ME, Alvarez J, Picasso C, Wells SJ. 2018. Modeling cost-effectiveness of risk-based bovine tuberculosis surveillance in Minnesota. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 159:1-11.
  • Sampedro F, Wells SJ, Bender JB, Hedberg CW. 2018. Developing a risk management framework to improve public health outcomes by enumerating Salmonella in ground turkey. Epidemiol Infect. 2018, Dec 6:1-8.
  • Singhla T, Boonyayatra S, Chulakasian S, Lukkana M, Alvarez J, Sreevatsan S, Wells SJ. Determination of the sensitivity and specificity of bovine tuberculosis screening tests in dairy herds in Thailand using a Bayesian approach. BMC Vet Res. 2019 May 16;15(1):149.


Academics interests and focus

  • Training the next generation of animal and public health preventive medicine practitioners.

Teaching areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Animal Health Surveillance
  • Food Hygiene
  • Food Production and Supply Chains


  • Clinical Epidemiology (CVM 6922)
  • Veterinary Public Health Clinical Rotation (CVM 6500), Food Hygiene section
  • Surveillance of Zoonotic Pathogens in Animals (PubH 7200-113)
  • Monitoring and Surveillance of Foodborne Diseases of Humans and Animals (VMED 5165/PUBH 6181)
  • Food Production, Manufacturing/Processing and Supply Chains (VMED 5881)
  • Food Production, Manufacturing/Processing and Supply Chains (IFSL 5881)


Prevention and control of infectious diseases in cattle, including Johne’s disease and bovine tuberculosis.