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Symposium Keynote Speaker

Professor Dr. A.D.M.E. (Ab) Osterhaus

As professor of Virology in Rotterdam and Utrecht, The Netherlands, and in Hannover, Germany, Ab Osterhaus has a long track record as scientific researcher and PI of numerous major scientific projects.

At Erasmus MC he ran the >40 persons virology diagnostic lab and the > 100 persons virology research lab. His research programme followed a novel integrated “viroscience” concept, bringing together world leading scientists in molecular virology, immunology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, and intervention studies on human and animal virus infections.

After having handed over the chairmanship of the Erasmus MC Viroscience lab in 2014, he is currently establishing new One Health Institutes in Utrecht and Hannover.

Major performances include the discovery of more than 50 new viruses of humans and animals (e.g. human metapneumovirus, human coronaviruses, influenza viruses), elucidation of the pathogenesis of major human and animal virus infections, and development of novel intervention strategies. This has enabled health authorities like WHO, to effectively combat disease outbreaks like SARS and avian influenza. The spin-off, Viroclinics Biosciences BV, is another societally relevant success, allowing effective testing and refining of diagnostic tools and other intervention strategies.

Awards, prizes, guest lecture invitations, (co-)organisership of international meetings and editorships of scientific journals further highlight his international recognition. He has acted as PhD mentor for more than 75 students, holds several key patents and is the author of more than 1100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, together cited more than 50,000 times, and his current H index is 97. He is Editor-in-Chief of two major Elsevier Journals. Most of all, Ab Osterhaus firmly believes scientists have a role to play in translating their knowledge for the benefit and protection of society.


Featured Speakers

Cheryl London, DVM PhD

Cheryl London, DVM, PhD, is a Research Professor at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine and Molecular Research Institute at the Tufts Medical Center and an Associated Faculty Professor at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (OSU CVM). She, is Director of the Clinical Trials Office at the OSU CVM and Director of Translational Therapeutics at the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences, OSU College of Medicine. Prior to her time at OSU, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences at the University of California Davis. Dr. London earned her DVM at Tufts University, completed her Residency in Medical Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her PhD in Immunology at Harvard University, where she was also postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pathology. Her research interests center primary on targeted therapeutics and translational/comparative oncology.

Jan Ramer, DVM

Dr. Jan Ramer joined the Wilds as Director of Conservation Medicine/Staff Veterinarian in February 2015.  Jan’s route to veterinary medicine was somewhat non-traditional.  She earned her B.S. in Biology from Purdue University and used that education in a 12-year career as an animal keeper, first at the Indianapolis Zoo followed by 10 years at the Brookfield Zoo.  During that time, she participated in lemur behavioral studies in Madagascar, and traveled to Rwanda in 1985 where she was fortunate to meet Dian Fossey and the majestic mountain gorillas.   
While she loved her career as an animal keeper, Jan was drawn to veterinary medicine, so she made a career change receiving her DVM from the University of Wisconsin in 1995.  With the goal of performing conservation medicine, she first worked in private practice and taught at the University of Wisconsin.  She then moved to the Indianapolis Zoo as the Associate Veterinarian for 14 years.  Jan became a Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine in 2007.  She also served as President of the American Association of Zoological Veterinarians.  She was a member of the International Iguana Foundation board of directors and of the IUCN Iguana Specialist group for many years.  Jan found her passion in conservation medicine as Regional Manager for the Gorilla Doctors, where she worked with a wonderful team of African veterinarians in Rwanda, Uganda and eastern Congo for 3 ½ years, returning to the USA in January 2015.

James Cook, DVM PhD
After receiving his B.S. degree from Florida State University and competing for 5 years as a professional waterskier, Dr. James (Jimi) Cook completed his DVM in 1994 and PhD in 1998. In 1999, he founded the Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory at the University of Missouri, a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, veterinarians, engineers, and basic scientists dedicated to translational orthopaedic research. He has over 180 peer-reviewed publications, over $20 million in research funding, received numerous awards including America’s Best Veterinarian (2007), holds 14 US Patents and has seen 3 biomedical devices through FDA approval to human clinical trials. He is currently Director of the Mizzou BioJoint Center, Director of The Comparative Orthopaedic Laboratory and the William and Kathryn Allen Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery, and serves as Director of the Division of Research for the Department of Orthopaedics at the University Hospital’s Missouri Orthopaedic Institute. He is also co-founder of Be The Change Volunteers ¬a NGO dedicated to building schools in remote villages in the developing world whose teams have built 32 educational facilities in 15 countries, providing educational opportunities to more than 6,000 students.


Breakout Session Speakers

Alicia Bertone, DVM, PhD

Dr. Bertone received her Bachelor of Science degree (1977), DVM degree (1982) and internship (1983) from Cornell University, subsequently completed a combined surgery residency/PhD program (1987) at Colorado State University and joined the surgery faculty at Louisiana State University that same year. Dr. Bertone became board certified as a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 1988 and joined the surgery faculty at The Ohio State University late in 1989. Dr. Bertone focused her clinical and research efforts in the field of orthopedics and became a full professor in 1997. Dr Bertone has served as an equine orthopedic surgeon at The Ohio State University Galbreath Equine Center for over 25 years, managing cases and training veterinary students and equine surgery residents. Dr.Bertone has mentored many PhD and Masters of Science graduate students, surgery residents and research fellows and has developed a reputation for a quality and productive research program and a strong orthopedic elective surgical caseload. Dr. Bertone has been recognized as one of the top extramurally funded researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine and has greater than 160 peer reviewed scientific publications. After completing a 1-year sabbatical at the Center for Molecular Orthopedics at Harvard University (2000), Dr. Bertone has served two terms as the Trueman Family Endowed Chair and established the Comparative Orthopedic Molecular Medicine Suite and Applied Laboratories that specializes in regenerative medicine including stem cell and growth factor therapies. Dr Bertone has retained a clinical Appointment at the Galbreath Equine Center at The Ohio State University where she regularly performs surgery. Dr. Bertone is a member of the The Sports Health and Performance Institute, The Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, The Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapy Center, and is an adjunct full professor in the Department of Orthopedics in the College of Medicine. Dr Bertone became board certified in Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2013. Dr Bertone’s clinical focus is orthopedic surgery and her research focus is in the study of comparative orthopedic medicine, regenerative medicine, and gene therapy for the treatment of cartilage injury and bone repair. Dr. Bertone has been active in veterinary and human orthopedic associations and has been regularly invited to participate in national and international scientific meetings for her expertise in regenerative medicine, orthopedics and cell-based therapies.

Matthew Breen, PhD

Matthew Breen completed his PhD in cytogenetics in 1990 and then worked as a postdoc at the UK Medical Research Council’s Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh developing new techniques as part of the emerging human genome project. After four years at the University of Queensland, Australia, he returned to the UK where he developed molecular cytogenetics reagents, resources and techniques for canine genome mapping and cancer studies. In 2002 Dr. Breen relocated his laboratory to NCSU’s College of veterinary medicine. Over the past decade Dr. Breen and his team have developed a series of cytogenetic tools and applied these to investigate cytogenetic changes in numerous canine cancers. These studies have resulted in the development of molecular assays to enhance diagnosis, early detection and prognosis. Taking a comparative approach, these studies are also advancing what we know about human cancers and helping accelerate cancer gene discovery. Dr. Breen’s research interests also include genome mapping, comparative genomics, the genomics of military working dogs, and veterinary/wildlife forensics.

Dr. Breen is a Professor of Genomics in the Dept. of Molecular Biomedical Sciences at the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Director of the NC State Forensic Sciences Institute. He is a member of the NCSU Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI), the Center for Human Health and the Environment (CHHE). Dr. Breen is n the steering committee of the Consortium for Caine Comparative Oncology (C3O) in partnership with the Duke Cancer Institute, a member of the Cancer Genetics Program at the University of North Carolina's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and a visiting scientist with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Breen was a charter member, and serves on the Board of Directors, of the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium (CCOGC), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization established to promote the role of the dog in comparative biomedical research. He is also a charter member of the Sea Lion Cancer Consortium (SLiCC).

Joelle Fenger, DVM, PhD

Dr. Joelle Fenger received her D.V.M. from the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007 and completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery rotating internship at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center in 2008. She entered a combined PhD/Medical Oncology Residency in the OSU Comparative and Veterinary Medicine Graduate Program and in 2013, she received her board certification in oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  Dr. Fenger completed her PhD in the OSU Comparative and Veterinary Medicine Graduate Training Program and joined OSU CVM Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences as a Research-Intensive Assistant Professor in May 2015.

As a veterinary oncologist, Dr. Fenger’s work using spontaneous models of cancer in dogs has focused on the comparative biology of canine and human cancers with the goal of identifying common molecular pathways that provide a foundation for translational clinical trials. Dr. Fenger’s research focuses on the role of microRNA dysregulation in spontaneous canine malignancies. Her laboratory previously identified miR-9 as a mediator of invasive behavior and metastasis in canine mast cell tumors and osteosarcoma. Dr. Fenger was awarded an NIH K01 training grant to study the role of miR-9 in mast cell biology in vitro and in a transgenic miR-9 mouse model she has developed with collaborators at the OSUCCC-James. She has ongoing collaborations with researchers at the OSUCCC-James and Nationwide Children’s Hospital investigating the molecular and biological consequences of miR-9 in osteosarcoma and more broadly, studying the impact of microRNA dysregulation in canine and human sarcomas.

Daniel Gallego Perez, PhD

Dr. Gallego-Perez is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at The Ohio State University. He is the director of the Nanomedicine Lab, which focuses on the development and implementation of novel micro- and nanoscale technologies (or devices) for therapeutic or fundamental applications. His major areas of research include gene delivery/therapy, cellular reprogramming, lab-on-a-chip platforms, biomaterials, and tissue engineering.

Gabriel Hamer, PhD

Gabe Hamer earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees at the University of Illinois in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science. He obtained his PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University and then spent three years as a post-doctoral researcher at Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin. Gabe joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in the Department of Entomology in 2012 and is currently an Assistant Professor. Gabe’s research broadly investigates the ecology of infectious diseases of humans, wild animals, and domestic animals, with particular attention to those transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and kissing bugs. Gabe has 38 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Kurt Hankenson, PhD

Dr. Hankenson is a veterinary scientist, trained in the biochemistry of the extracellular matrix at the University of Washington under Dr. Paul Bornstein. Dr. Hankenson has been an independent PI since 2002, first at the University of Michigan (2002-2006), then at the University of Pennsylvania (2006-2014), and now at Michigan State University. Dr. Hankenson’s laboratory studies the regulation of mesenchymal progenitor osteoblast differentiation and tissue vascularization by extracellular mediators (ECM proteins and growth factors). His research has focused on the thrombospondin family of proteins since 1997. Subsequently, his work has also characterized the regulation of osteoblast differentiation by BMP, Wnt, and Notch signaling. Additionally, as a veterinarian, Dr. Hankenson has extensive experience in surgical models of bone formation and regeneration, and has broad expertise in the design and implementation of animal based experiments, including model selection and animal care and use.

Krista La Perle, DVM, PhD

Dr. La Perle joined the faculty in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine as Associate Professor in 2008 and serves as Director of the Comparative Pathology and Mouse Phenotyping Shared Resource. She received her BS and DVM degrees from North Carolina State University. She then completed postdoctoral training in veterinary anatomic pathology and obtained her Ph.D. in Experimental and Molecular Pathology from The Ohio State University where her National Institutes of Health-funded research focused on animal models of thyroid cancer and developing gene therapy strategies of sodium/iodide symporter-mediated radionuclide imaging and therapy for cancer. Prior to returning to OSU, she was Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology and Genetically Engineered Mouse Phenotyping Service for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Rockefeller University in New York. Her primary responsibilities involve providing clinical and anatomic veterinary pathology support to investigative staff utilizing animal models to study human and veterinary disease, with an emphasis on conducting extensive baseline phenotypic profiles of genetically engineered animals and pre-clinical efficacy and toxicity studies. Dr. La Perle is actively engaged in mentoring of pathology and laboratory animal trainees, serves as Director of OSU’s Combined Pathology Residency/Graduate Program, and delivers continuing education for the Charles Louis Davis DVM Foundation and the Charles River Short Course. She is also very involved in the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, including 5 previous years on the Examination Committee, prior Chair of the Student Chapter Committee, previous member of the Certifying Examination Board, and a senior Councilor. Her publication record includes over 72 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and 6 book chapters, as well as numerous abstracts and presentations at international meetings. When she isn’t working, you can find her scuba diving, riding her purple Heritage Softail Classic Harley, or watching Columbus Blue Jackets hockey games!

Michael Oglesbee, DVM, PhD

Dr. Oglesbee is professor of virology and veterinary neuropathology in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University. Scientific contributions have focused on host determinants of viral neurovirulence, and he was named a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of distinguished contributions to our understanding of virus-heat shock protein interactions related to infection, virulence and impact on innate and adaptive antiviral immunity. Dr. Oglesbee is chair of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, faculty director of the College Summer Research Program for veterinary medical students at The Ohio State University, and principal investigator on an NIH training grant (T35) in support of that program. Dr. Oglesbee leads the college signature program in Infectious Disease, and is also the faculty lead on a university investment in infectious disease involving the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Nursing, Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Public Health, Pharmacy, and Arts and Sciences, and the Food Animal Health Research Program at the Ohio State Wooster Campus. Focus of the investment is development of interdisciplinary collaborative research networks in the programmatic areas of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms and drug discovery, treatment and prevention of virus infection, host response to infection and microbial communities, and the ecology of pathogen emergence and spread. The ultimate goal is to enhance our ability to control the spread and severity of infectious disease through the creation and dissemination of knowledge, practices and products.

Ryan Roberts, DVM

Dr. Roberts works as a physician-scientist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. His laboratory focuses on identifying mechanisms of metastasis in pediatric solid tumors—discovering how tumors spread to and grow in specific organs. His work in osteosarcoma has demonstrated that IL-6 and IL-8 play critical roles in the tumor-lung interactions that facilitate lung metastasis. His current work explores whether targeting these pathways might prove useful in preventing or even treating metastatic disease. Dr. Roberts has developed close relationships with his veterinary colleagues and sees great potential in accelerating the development of novel therapeutics through coordinated investigation in both client animals and children suffering from osteosarcoma.

Larry Schlesinger, MD, PhD

Larry S. Schlesinger earned a BA in Biology from Cornell University and MD from Rutgers Medical School. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan and clinical and research fellowships in Infectious Diseases at UCLA. He joined the faculty at the University of Iowa in 1991 where he rose from Assistant Professor to Professor of Medicine and served as Fellowship Director for the Division of Infectious Diseases and Associate Chair of the Department of Medicine. He moved to the Ohio State University in 2002 where he served as Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine until 2011. He is currently the Samuel Saslaw Professor of Medicine, first Chair of the Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity and founding Director of the OSU Center for Microbial Interface Biology, an interdisciplinary campus-wide program that focuses on infectious diseases of major concern to human health. He is a cellular immunologist whose studies focus on the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and other airborne infections due to intracellular pathogens that subvert lung immune mechanisms. His discoveries have led to greater insight into the unique attributes that soluble and cellular components of the innate immune system of humans bring to the microbe-host interface, translating them into drug discovery platforms. He is a current NIAID Council member, Fellow of the AAAS, AAM and AAP, and OSU’s 2011 Distinguished Scholar and 2105 COM Distinguished Professor.
Dr. Schlesinger has placed great emphasis on education and mentoring throughout his career, particularly in clinical and translational research, and has been committed to building strong interdisciplinary academic programs. He has been/is a faculty member of 10 pre- and post-doctoral training programs (NIH and HHMI) and is PI of 2 NIH T32 training grants, including the MSTP. In all, he has mentored ~135 trainees at all levels, several of whom have been awarded national research fellowships (34 in total) and have gone on to academic or industry positions. He became director of the OSU Medical Scientist Program (MD PhD granting) in 2008 and was awarded the first ever NIH-funded MSTP in 2011 (renewed in 2016). He is a current member of the AAMC GREAT MD-PhD Section Steering Committee and chair-elect of this group.

Sarah Tannehill-Gregg, DVM, PhD

Dr. Tannehill-Gregg received her BA in Zoology from Miami University (Oxford, OH; 1992), DVM from The Ohio State University (1996), board certification (anatomic pathology) from the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP, 2004), and PhD from The Ohio State University, Department of Veterinary Biosciences (2005). She started out her career as a private practice small animal associate veterinarian directly out of veterinary school in 1996. Quickly realizing that her love for pathology that started with a fascination with dead animals as a child, was piqued with an awesome histology course in undergraduate training, and fine-tuned throughout veterinary school was more than a passing fancy, she left private practice for graduate school and an anatomic pathology residency in 1997. Under the mentorship and in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Rosol, Sarah investigated the pathogenesis of humoral hypercalcemia of malignancy (including the roles of transforming growth factor β and the Smad signaling proteins), the pathogenesis of skeletal metastases in breast and lung cancer, and developing animal models of cancer and bone metastasis. In 2000, she was awarded a prestigious NIH/NCI K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award to fund her work.
In 2005, Sarah started her career as a toxicologic pathologist in industry at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Mt. Vernon, IN, where some of her activities included reading and peer-reviewing toxicology studies and acting as the toxicology representative on multi-disciplinary drug development teams, where she participated in communicating risk for the use of new drugs in humans to global regulatory agencies. In 2011, Sarah left Bristol-Myers Squibb to work as a toxicologic pathologist for Amgen in Thousand Oaks, CA, where she continued her work in pathology and toxicology, assessing and communicating risk, and where she was able to add experience in protein-based (large molecule) therapeutics. As of March, 2016, she is the Director of Toxicology at the Boston site of Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Company, where she looks forward to continuing her work in bringing safe, effective drugs to patients in need.


AVMA Lifetime Award Recipient


Young Investigator Finalists