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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, FDA initiated a program, the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), to collaborate with veterinary diagnostic laboratories to build laboratory capacity for routine and emergency response. The overall goal for FDA is for 40 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. Recent activities include developing and validating new laboratory testing methods, investigating possible contamination events such as excess Vitamin D in animal feed, and exploring the potential relationship between Dilated Cardiomyopathy and certain grain free or high legume content pet foods.

Vet-LIRN laboratories are also participating in the national initiative to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (CARB) by collecting veterinary pathogens for antimicrobial susceptibility testing and sequencing. This program has provided a wealth of information to FDA, with the ultimate goal of detecting emerging issues and of fostering antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary settings. 

The Network provides FDA with critical laboratory testing data from experts around the country, evaluating animal diagnostic samples (e.g., urine, blood, feces, saliva, liver, kidney, etc.) not the typical food matrices. Cooperative agreements fund the network and enable these laboratories to serve as first responders in case investigations and emergency response activities when the ability to quickly track down and isolate a dangerous pathogen or chemical adulterant is critical.  

Select Publications

Jones, L. J., Wang, L., Ceric, O., Nemser, S.M., Rotstein, D.S., Jurkovic, D. A., Rosa, Y., Byrum, B., Cui, J., Zhang, Y., Brown, C.A., Burnum, A.L., Sanchez, S., Reimschuessel, R., Whole genome sequencing confirms source of pathogens associated with bacterial foodborne illness in pets fed raw pet food. JVDI Mar;31(2):235-240 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30663530 

Ceric, O., Reimschuessel, R et al. Enhancing the One Health initiative by using Whole Genome Sequencing to monitor antimicrobial resistance of animal pathogens: Vet-LIRN collaborative project with Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories in United States and Canada.   BMC Vet Res 15: 130. 2019. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-019-1864-2

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.

Nemser, S. M., Doran, T., Grabenstein, M., McConnell, T., McGrath, T., Pamboukian, R., Smith A. C., Achen, M., Danzeisen, G., Kim, S., Liu, Y., Robeson, S., Rosario, G., Wilson, K., and Reimschuessel, R., Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and toxigenic Escherichia coli in various pet foods. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 11:706-709, 2014. Epub 2014. May 13 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24824368

Reimschuessel, R., Gieseker, C.M., and Poynton, S. L. In vitro effect of seven antiparasitics on Acolpenteron ureteroecetes (Dactylogyridae) from largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides (Centrarchidae).  Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 94:59-72. 2011. Supplemental videos: http://www.int-res.com/articles/suppl/d094p059_supp/ 

Reimschuessel, R., et al. Evaluation of the renal effects of experimental feeding of melamine and cyanuric acid to fish and pigs.  American Journal of Veterinary Research, 69: 1217-1228.  2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18764697 

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