Celebrating collaboration and innovation at the CVM

October 9, 2019

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) hosted its annual Points of Pride Research Day on October 2, which celebrated the College’s research program and honored faculty, fellows, students, and research partners who contribute to the advancement of biomedical sciences and veterinary medicine. 

Four University of Minnesota alumni, faculty, and research partners were named recipients of Point of Pride Research Day awards. All awards are based on set criteria, and honor faculty and alumni who show outstanding work in their field.

Stephen WithrowThe Distinguished Alumnus Research Award: Stephen Withrow, ’72 DVM, professor and Stuart Chair of Oncology (Emeritus), founding director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center, CSU Distinguished Professor, and CSU Founder's Award recipient

After finishing his DVM at the CVM, Withrow completed an internship and surgical residency at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. He completed postdoctoral training in surgical oncology and musculoskeletal biology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. Withrow has been at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo., since 1978. He has received numerous teaching, service, and research awards, and is the author of more than 250 scientific articles and one textbook. His research interest includes multimodality treatment of cancer in animals as a model for humans with cancer. Withrow was the first veterinarian admitted as a member of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society.

Molly McCueThe Zoetis Award for Excellence in Veterinary Research: Molly McCue, DVM, MS, ’07 PhD, professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine (VPM) and associate dean of research at the CVM

McCue received her DVM from Kansas State University, completed an internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the University of Georgia and a residency in equine internal medicine at Kansas State University. She is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Large Animal) and completed her MS degree in Clinical Sciences (epidemiology) at Kansas State University. She completed her PhD in Comparative and Molecular Biosciences with a focus on genetics and postdoctoral studies in genetic epidemiology at the CVM, where she is currently a professor. She is also a faculty member in the Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center, University of Minnesota’s Informatics Institute and the the Microbial and Plant Genomics Institute. In 2018, Dr. McCue was appointed associate dean of research in the CVM. Her research is primarily focused on equine metabolic syndrome, polysaccharide storage myopathy, recurrent exertional rhabdomyolysis, and performance traits related to metabolic and muscle phenotypes. McCue’s group has also devoted a significant amount of time developing the tools and resources needed to carry out equine genomic research.

Connie GebhartThe Mark of Excellence Award: Connie Gebhart, ’83MS, ’87 PhD, professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences (VBS)

Gebhart obtained both master’s and PhD in Veterinary Microbiology from the CVM. She has published more than 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has co-authored chapters in books such as Diseases of Swine, Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, and Pathogenesis of Bacterial Infections in Animals. Her research focuses on challenging bacteria of veterinary importance, such as Lawsonia, Campylobacter and Brachyspira species and, more recently, Streptococcus suis.

MN-DNRThe Distinguished Research Partner Award: The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

The DNR is committed to creating a healthy, sustainable, and livable Minnesota for you. They are dedicated to protecting and managing land, water, fish and wildlife — and providing access to outdoor recreation opportunities. Their mission is to conserve and manage the state's natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to sustainably provide for commercial uses of natural resources. For additional information, visit their website.

Student poster winners

In addition, 10 posters were recognized with awards in the poster competition:

Summer Scholars

First place
Kenwyn Shriner, DVM student mentored by Peter Larsen, PhD, assistant professor, VBS
“Mobile real-time detection of tick-borne diseases using Nanopore sequencing”

Honorable mention
Gabrielle Robbins, DVM/PhD student mentored by Branden Moriarity, PhD, assistant professor, Medical School
“The efficacy of anti-Sema4D treatment on the tumor microenvironment in as orthotopic osteosarcoma mouse model”

Niamh Hart, DVM student mentored by Meggan Craft, PhD, associate professor, VPM  
“Seasonal variability in Florida panther epidemic outcomes; simulating a novel GI parasite on contact network models”

Comparative medicine

First place   
Patrice Witschen, PhD student in the Comparative and Molecular Biosciences program mentored by Kaylee Schwertfeger, PhD, associate professor, Medical School  
“Hyaluronan processing and function in the progression of breast cancer”

Honorable mention
Sara Osum, PhD candidate in the Comparative and Molecular Biosciences program mentored by David Largaespada, PhD, professor, Medical School  
“The role of NF1 haploinsufficient fibroblasts in Neurofibromatosis Type I-associated cutaneous neurofibromas”

Niki Wanner, PhD student in the Comparative and Molecular Biosciences program mentored by Chris Faulk, PhD, assistant professor, Department of Animal Science
“Effects of chronic cannabidiol (CBD) exposure on behavior, DNA methylation, and offspring coat color in the Agouti viable yellow (Avy) environmental biosensor model” 

Emerging and zoonotic diseases

First place
Ilya Slizovskiy, PhD student in the Veterinary Medicine program mentored by Noelle Noyes, DVM, PhD, assistant professor, VPM, and Jeff Bender, DVM, MS, adjunct professor in the CVM and professor in the School of Public Health 
‘Big data’ survey of integrative conjugative elements and associated cargo genes across thousands of bacterial genera 

Honorable mention
Anna Jaeger, PhD student in the Comparative and Molecular Biosciences program mentored by Matt Aliota, PhD, assistant professor, VBS
“Spondweni virus: An emerging threat?”

Frances Shepherd, PhD candidate in the Veterinary Medicine program mentored by Doug Marthaler, PhD, and Cheryl Dvorak, PhD, researcher 6, VBS  
“Application of B cell epitope prediction tools for elucidation of porcine rotavirus A antigenic sites”

Population systems

First place
Jessica Deere, PhD candidate in the Veterinary Medicine program mentored by Tiffany Wolf, DVM, PhD, assistant professor, VPM, and Dominic Travis, DVM, MS, associate professor, VPM 
“Assessing the impact of contaminants of emerging concern” 

Honorable mention
Anna Munsey, PhD candidate in the Comparative and Molecular Biosciences program mentored by Kim VanderWaal, PhD, assistant professor, VPM, and Andres Perez, DVM, PhD, professor, VPM
“Epidemiology of foot-and-mouth disease in Uganda: distribution, risk factors, and phylogeography”

Katherine Worsley-Tonks, PhD candidate in the Veterinary Medicine program mentored by Meggan Craft, PhD, associate professor, VPM, and Tim Johnson, PhD, associate professor, VBS
“Host and environmental predictors of antimicrobial resistance in urban mesocarnivores”

Post-docs, residents, technicians, etc.

First place
Venkatramana Krishna, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine (VPM)
“Development of monoclonal antibodies specific to Mycoplasma hyopeumoniae” 

Honorable mention
Hadia Abdelaal, postdoctoral associate in the Department of Veterinary and BIomedical Sciences  
“Location, abundance and persistence of CAR/CXCR5 transduced T cells within lymphoid tissues of SIV-infected rhesus macaques 

Igor Paploski, postdoctoral associate in the VPM
“Temporal dynamics of co-circulating lineages of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus”