Director of the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN)
Office of Research
1. Why did you become a veterinarian?
I was interested in medical sciences. There was also the joy of working with animals – especially unusual animals (I liked elephants, not horses, when growing up). Both these factors guided my decision to become a vet.
2. What made you want to work for CVM?
I was working in fish research and diagnostics at a university – teaching (loved it), doing research (loved it), doing diagnostics (loved it), writing grants to support myself, my staff, and my students (depressing). CVM made me an offer I couldn’t refuse – I needed to set up a new lab (a fun challenge) and the center would fund research that could help improve food safety (important work) and would fund me and my assistants (salary!).
3. What is the best thing about being a veterinarian for CVM?
My intellectual curiosity is satisfied while helping public health.
4. What does the veterinary profession mean to you?
I view the profession as being composed of two groups: professionals who work to improve animal health on a case-by-case basis and professionals who work to improve animal health via more indirect ways. The latter group includes veterinarians who work in the animal drug industry by developing new treatments and veterinarians who work as regulators serving public health, including at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and here at FDA.
5. What is your most memorable moment as a veterinarian?
Too many to recount – joy of seeing a dog walk on a leg I just pinned (immediate gratification); joy of publishing novel research work while I was at the university (takes years to finish this, so delayed gratification); joy of having my name in the Congressional Record due to work done at CVM on the melamine pet food crisis – which eventually resulted in communicating with pediatricians in China to provide the most up-to-date information we had on the toxicity, thus serving a role in public heath internationally; and finally, joy of seeing multiple veterinary institutions work together as a result of the network CVM envisioned in 2010.