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Renate Reimschuessel VMD, PhD.

Renate Reimschuessel, VMD, PhD
Renate Reimschuessel VMD, PhD.

Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN)


Dr. Renate Reimschuessel is the director of Vet-LIRN in FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine/ Office of Research. She obtained her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in 1981. Following graduation, she practiced small and exotic animal medicine for five years. In 1989, she received a PhD in pathology from the University of Maryland. Upon graduation, she became the director of the university’s Aquatic Pathobiology Center. In 1999, Dr. Reimschuessel came to the Office of Research at the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to develop the aquaculture research program. Dr. Reimschuessel was a finalist for the 2008 Service to America Awards for her investigation during the 2007 recall of pet food due to melamine adulteration of ingredients. Because of her work with the pet food industry and cooperative studies with veterinary diagnostic laboratories during the 2007 and 2008 melamine adulteration events, Dr. Reimschuessel was selected to serve as director a new program, the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN) in 2010. The Vet-LIRN Program Office (VPO), which is located at the Office of Research, fosters communication between FDA and veterinary diagnostic laboratories, shares information with network laboratories on feed/drug adverse events, organizes laboratory proficiency tests, and funds animal diagnostic testing to enable investigations of potential feed/drug-related issues.


In late 2010, CVM’s Office of Research initiated a project, the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), to collaborate with veterinary diagnostic laboratories to exchange scientific information, build laboratory capacity for routine and emergency response, and train scientists. The overall goal for CVM is for participating laboratories to be ready, willing, and able to help investigate potential problems with animal feed and animal drugs providing a rapid response to reports of animal injury. The Vet-LIRN network consists of 38 laboratories and conducts between 30–50 in-depth case investigations per year. The network is actively conducting tests to investigate the root cause of the jerky pet treat-associated illness and has conducted more than 1000 tests on products and over 850 tests on diagnostic samples from affected animals.

Vet-LIRN also funds 11 network cooperative agreement projects designed to evaluate, validate, and harmonize chemical or microbial tests using animal diagnostic samples that are not typical food matrices (e.g., urine, blood, feces, saliva, liver, kidney, etc.). The Vet-LIRN also conducts approximately 3 network-wide chemical or microbial proficiency tests per year to demonstrate that the participating laboratories provide accurate and meaningful testing data to FDA. Vet-LIRN laboratories are also participating in the presidential Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) initiative in collaboration with USDA’s laboratory network. Vet-LIRN has leveraged the resources of state-of-the-art veterinary diagnostic laboratories in a remarkably cost-effective way to provide FDA with rapid information regarding potential animal feed-related contamination events.

Select Publications

Nishshanka U, Jayasuriya H, Chattopadhaya C, Kijak PJ, Chu PS, Reimschuessel R, Tkachenko A, Ceric O, De Alwis HG. Screening for toxic phorbol esters in jerky pet treat products using LC–MS. Journal of Chromatography B. 2016 May 1;1020:90–5.

Turnipseed SB, Storey JM, Andersen WC, Filigenzi MS, Heise AS, Lohne JJ, Madson MR, Ceric O, Reimschuessel R. Determination and confirmation of the antiviral drug amantadine and its analogues in chicken jerky pet treats. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2015 Jul 29;63(31):6968–78.

Sprando RL, Olejnik N, Keltner Z, Stine C, Guag J, Evans E, Reimschuessel R, Ceric O, Nemser S, Mossoba M, Vohra S, Toomer H, Sprando J, Topping V, Belgrave K, DePina A, Black T. Acute renal toxicity induced by oral exposure to diglycolic acid. 4th Annual FDA Foods Program Science and Research Conference. 2014 Jul 28–29; White Oak, MD.

Stine CB, Reimschuessel R, Keltner Z, Nochetto CB, Black T, Olejnik N, Scott M, Bandele O, Nemser SM, Tkachenko A, Evans ER. Reproductive toxicity in rats with crystal nephropathy following high doses of oral melamine or cyanuric acid. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2014 Jun 30;68:142–53.

Contact Information
Renate Reimschuessel
+1 (240) 402-5404
+1 (301) 210-4685