Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search Open Directory Close Directory
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

news@CUMMINGS School
Dean’s monthly newsletter for Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University

news@CUMMINGS School is a monthly look back at news and accomplishments from across the campus.


Captain’s log, Star date day 73.

On the surface, the Federation (i.e. Cummings School) seems relatively quiet without all of our students on campus.  But as we all know, there is still a lot of activity “behind the scenes”.  One important activity has been happening on Beacon Hill where the House and Senate completed work on the FY 2019 state budget which included the planned $5.5 M veterinary service agreement (appropriation) for the Cummings School.  Thanks go to Governor Baker, Senate President Karen Spilka, Senator Harriette Chandler, Senator Joan Lovely, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, chair of House Ways & Means, Representative David Muradian, and Senator Michael Moore and their legislative colleagues for their support of our school’s contributions to the economy of Massachusetts.

As always, there is plenty of activity occurring in our hospitals and in the services that support patient care (radiology, pathology, pharmacy).  Our infectious disease group, neuroscientists, and comparative oncology faculty continue to do research, write papers and submit grants all year round. Thanks to everyone’s hard work during these deceptively quiet times.

In addition, 22 of our DVM students are actively pursuing a summer research project.  Their research funding comes from a variety of sources, with 15 projects funded by NIH, and one each funded by Pet Smart Charities, Meriel, USDA, the Barkley Fund, the OIE Twinning Project, the Elizabeth Lawrence Endowed Fund, and Maddie’s Fund, with mentors coming from all 4 of our departments.  The projects range from ones investigating infectious disease, clinical diseases, maternal behavior and shelter medicine issues. Much of the work is being done on campus, or at the Field Services, but research is also being done as far away as Alaska, Peru, and Bangladesh.

Early in the month I traveled to our neighboring planet (Medford) to join the Green Office Certification and Eco-Ambassador Ceremony on July 12th, and learn more about energy saving innovations (these are important considerations when you need to worry about whether your hyper-drive engine can achieve warp speed). Did you know that the FHSA was awarded Gold level Green certification by the Office of Sustainability?  Rich Harding was there to accept the award.   For the Gold Certification achieved by the FHSA, you have to achieve 85-94% of the items on an extensive checklist of green office criteria in the areas of Energy & Water Use; Waste & Recycling; Paper, Printing & Office Supplies; Food, Beverages & Dishware; Transportation; and Sustainability Planning & Leadership.  You can view the entire checklist on their website.

Also this month I hosted a luncheon in honor of the chairs of our standing committees. With few exceptions, most committees were very active this year, and being chair can be a pretty thankless task – so it was nice to have an opportunity to thank them for their hard work.

Two faculty members applied for and received Faculty Development Grants.  Dr. Greg Wolfus will be attending the University of California at San Diego Family Medicine Faculty Development program “Addressing the health needs of the underserved”.  Emily McCobb will be joining him. This program brings together healthcare educators (primarily MDs and dentists) who work in teaching clinics with underserved populations. The goal is to develop a group of similar minded veterinarians, who can take advantage of a network of educators who work in the nonprofit service.  It will be helpful to learn their strategies for finding alternate funding, develop interprofessional collaboration, and identify grants for applied K12 STEM education programs.

Lois Wetmore was proactive in applying for a faculty development grant to pay for a faculty member (name to be determined) to attend the Veterinary Leadership Experience (VLE) in Washington State next June.  VLE is a one-week leadership course taught outside of Spokane Washington that emphasizes experiential education to promote emotional intelligence, and help develop leadership and communication skills.  This training enables faculty to serve as facilitators for the Tufts Veterinary Orientation Program (TVOP) orientation program for our first-year veterinary students.

I was joined by the Advancement team (Ana and Tina) on a trip to a galaxy far, far away (Wait – I think that’s Star Wars!) to join some alumni at the AVMA meeting in Denver.  We had an incredible turnout (close to 50 people) for a gathering at Next Door Union Station.  To show how long I’ve been at Tufts, virtually all the alumni there were my former students (note that I didn’t say “to show how old I am”). It was wonderful to see them all and learn where they’ve landed.  Approximately 16 alumni arrived early for a focus group discussion of our curriculum; what we do well and what we could improve.  There was a lot of support for our broad education (no appetite for tracking), but there was approval for dividing material into core foundational vs advanced/elective.  I was surprised when several people thought we should have students do more treatment shifts, perhaps monthly starting in the first year, so that they could get more animal handling experience and develop other hands-on skills.  When I pushed, our alum agreed that they probably would have complained about it too, but the shifts provided useful experience.

July 27th saw the graduation ceremony for the 16 trainees in the MS-IDGH program.  This event took the form of a dinner at Gill on the Hill Restaurant on Skyline Drive in Worcester.  Graduates and their proud family members (spouses, parents, siblings) mingled with program faculty. After dinner, Dr. Abhineet Sheoran, the program director, made a humorous recap of the year’s high points and then two of the graduates shared some stories.  It was clear that this intense program was stressful, with students given a strong foundation in infectious diseases, taught lab techniques, and required to write scientific papers, give presentations and write research proposals, but the pressure forged strong bonds between the participants.  Some of these people will end up in veterinary school or medical school, but many have a strong preparation for a career in infectious disease research.

Preparations for Accreditation are on-going and you may see evidence of a “face lift” taking place across campus, with fresh paint on walls, repairs in the large animal hospital, and a total replacement of the flooring in the McGrath building, just to name a few things.  Thanks to Scott Washburn and his Facilities team for all the hard work to make things happen in such a speedy fashion.

I hope you can join us for the state of the school on August 29 where we will be celebrating 40 years of memories and accomplishments .

My niece has moved to Sedona Arizona where she is living among an alien race of mystics.  Surrounded by a breath taking environment, they play host to people who want to hike, meditate and “find themselves”.  While I am skeptical, I did really like one of the things she shared with me, which I will share with you.


Dr. Joyce Knoll


In October 2018 Cummings School will be evaluated by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Council on Education (COE) as part of a regular cycle accreditation review. The maximum time period between site visits for fully accredited schools is seven years and our last site visit occurred in October 2011.  As part of the upcoming review, a site team will visit Cummings School for four days to learn about our people, processes, programs, facilities and outcomes.

Our accreditation review begins with submission in August 2018 of a comprehensive self-study of the school based on the eleven COE standards. Preparation of the self-study report has already begun with lead authors and working groups organizing information on: Organization (Kochevar and Pasquale), Finances (McManus), Physical Facilities and Equipment (Poteete), Clinical Resources (Rentko), Library and Information Resources (Like), Students (Berman), Admissions (Tseng), Faculty (Pasquale and Knoll), Curriculum (Frank and Sutherland-Smith), Research (Anwer) and Outcomes Assessment (Frank and Wetmore).

We invite Cummings community to learn more about the accreditation process and to actively engage in preparing the school for evaluation and for the site visit. To that end, one standard will be explained in each of the upcoming e-newsletters.

Standard 10, Research Programs

The college must maintain substantial research activities of high quality that integrate with and strengthen the professional program. The college must demonstrate continuing scholarly productivity and must provide opportunities for any interested students in the professional veterinary program to be exposed to or participate in on-going high quality research. All students must receive training in the principles and application of research methods and in the appraisal and integration of research into veterinary medicine and animal health.

Questions relating to Cummings School’s self-study report or the accreditation site visit should be directed to Dr. Susan Pasquale (Faculty Affairs), Dr. Nicholas Frank (Academic Affairs) and Dean ad interim Joyce Knoll. A school accreditation website is available at .

Thank you for embracing the opportunity to learn about veterinary accreditation and for helping Cummings School prepare for a productive engagement in the process.



The Pathology Section is happy to announce the promotion of Tammi Frank to Senior Tech I. Tammi has worked in the Clinical Pathology Lab since its reopening in 2001. In her new leadership role, Tammi will be officially assuming oversight of the send-out testing processes along with the day-to-day operations of the Clinical Pathology Lab.

Please welcome Dr. Kara Priest who started on June 25, 2018 as a pathology lecturer. Dr. Priest completed her DVM and her anatomic pathology residency at the University of Connecticut. She will be with us for twelve months and will be splitting her time between the autopsy and biopsy services.

Dr. Bob Bridges gave the opening talk at a symposium honoring Dr. Craig Kinsley at the Parental Brain Conference in Toronto, Canada on July 14. The title of his talk was, “Craig Kinsley: Researcher, Enthusiast, and Friend.”

Drs. Bob Bridges and Ben Nephew were co-authors on a poster presented by Jill Gallagher, a research technician in Dr. Bridges’ lab, at the Parental Brain Conference July 13-14 in Toronto, Canada. The title of the poster was, “The Induction and Retention of Maternal Behavior in Nulliparous, Estrogen Receptor Alpha (Esr1) Knockout Rats.” The authors of the poster were Gallagher JM, Nephew BC, Poirier GL, King JA, Bridges RS.

Dr. Fair Vassoler gave a talk at the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society in Boca Raton, FL on June 28. The title was, “Preconception Opioid Exposure has Bidirectional Effects on Morphine and Cocaine Reward in Offspring.”

Dr. Liz Byrnes gave a talk at the Developmental Neurotoxicology Society Annual Meeting in Clearwater, FL in June. The title was, “Preclinical Modeling of Prenatal Opioid Exposure in the Age of Epigenetics.”

Dr. Liz Byrnes gave a talk at the Annual Meeting of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society in Boca Raton, FL in June. The title was, “Multigenerational impact of female opioid exposure on offspring metabolic risk factors.”

Dr. Liz Byrnes gave a talk at The Parental Brain Meeting in Toronto, Canada in July. The title was, “Opioids, Maternal Adaptation and Multigenerational Effects.”

Dr. Sandy Ayres gave a talk at the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs in Boston, MA on July 24. The title was, “A New Approach for Non-Surgical Sterilization: Targeting Gonadal Support Cells.”


LARGE ANIMAL INTERNS (started 7/2/18)

Dr. Meredith Hare-Drubka, VMD (LAM Mass. Equine)
Dr. Kelsey Jurek, DVM (LA Sx)
Dr. Nina Petersen, DVM (LAM Mass. Equine)

Michael Coburn (started 7/9/18) – Staff assistant supporting Dr. Leslie Sharkey, associate chairs (Drs. Melissa Mazan, Mary Labato, and Cyndie Webster), and the neurology and cardiology sections.


Dr. Noa Berlin, DVM (ECC Resident)
Dr. Joseph Davis, DVM (LA Sx Resident)
Dr. Sujata Desai, DVM (Ophthalmology Resident)
Dr. Luis Dos Santos, DVM (Cardiology Resident)
Dr. Jenelle Francis, DVM (Ophthalmology Intern II)
Dr. Kelsey Goode, DVM (SA Sx Resident)
Dr. Elyzabeth Lemieux, DMV (ECC Resident)
Dr. Katherine Logwood, VMD (Diagnostic Imaging Resident)
Dr. Alyssa Przydrozny, DVM (Clinical Trials Intern II)
Dr. Jonjo Reece, DVM (SAM Resident)
Dr. Julianne Richard, DVM (ZCAM Intern II)
Dr. Abbey Sadowski, DVM (SA Medicine, Oncology Resident)
Dr. Gregoire Scherf, DEDV (Neurology Resident)
Dr. Adam Shoelson, DVM (SAM Resident)
Dr. Jenelle Soppet, DVM (Diagnostic Imaging Resident)
Dr. Clare Timothy, BVSc, (ECC Resident)
Dr. Emily Wheeler, DVM (Anesthesia Resident)

Vanessa Cudworth, CVT (started 7/23/18) will be working in the Lerner Clinic as a veterinary technician.

Dr. Katherine Cummings (started 7/30/18) – Assistant Professor in Anesthesiology (started July 30). Her office is located in the Faculty Office Building, Room #112.

Mueller MK, Sween C (V19), Frank N, Paradis MR. Survey of human-horse relationships and veterinary care for geriatric horses. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2018; 253: 337-345.

Dr. Jennifer Graham recently attended the AVMA conference in Denver, CO from July 13-17, where she gave the following lectures:

  • Rabbit Critical Care
  • Dental Disease in Rabbits and Rodents
  • Infectious Diseases in Exotic Companion Mammals
  • Rodent Respiratory Disease Complex
  • Incorporating Exotic Species into Your Dog/Cat Practice
  • Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Exotic Emergency Presentations.


Dr. Patrick Skelly presented a talk entitled “Schistosome Tegumental Carbonic Anhydrase” at the 11th International Conference on Carbonic Anhydrases at the University of Bucharest, Romania, 27 – 30 June 2018.

Dr. Chuck Shoemaker attended the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supported conference entitled ‘Synthetic Colostrum’ from July 25-26 at the U. Mass Club in Boston, MA and gave an invited presentation entitled “Developing VHHs as enteric disease therapeutics and optimizing their pharmacokinetic properties in the GI tract”.

The Master of Science in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MSIDGH) Program held their Research Day Poster Presentation on July 26 in the Agnes Varis Campus Center. Sixteen MS-IDGH students presented the following posters:

Amanda Diaz Reservoir competence of domestic cats (Felis catus) for Leishmania infantum
Audrey Macasias Characterizing congenital transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi (TcV) infection using a mouse model
Bairon Madrigal The role of the adaptive immune system and physiological risk factors in susceptibility and shedding of Nipah virus in the Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus).
Benjamin Rogers Significance of Canine Respiratory Coronavirus in the Development of Canine Infectious
Clarrisa Afum Developing a human pan-filovirus vaccine
Claudia Zafra Development of human recombinant prion protein (HuDP1) to combat prion disease
Greg Rybacki Development of a rapid, simple, and easy to read urine-based diagnostic test for leptospirosis using common pregnancy-test principles
Heather Corry Evaluation of the role of ATP-binding Cassette Transporter Proteins in Fluconazole resistance in Candida auris
Jessica Herbert Examining Transmission and Infectious Dose of Neospora hughesi in Horses
Julie McCarthy Skin Microbiome Composition Impacts Attractiveness of Hosts to Uninfected and Leishmania Infected Phlebotomine Sandflies
Macey Wilson Latent Toxoplasma gondii infection causes neuropsychiatric illnesses by altering host amino acid use.
Marissa Gordon Using specific pathogen free cat model to explore feline morbillivirus pathogenesis
Michelle Sickles Production of a Novel Vaccine Against O. volvulus Infection
Natalia Medeiros Impact of Sloughing on Amphibian Innate Immune Defenses and on Fungal Maturation during Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Infection
Skyler Stevens Modeling the Risk of Influenza A Virus in Backyard Chickens in Massachusetts
Viktoriya Rembelinska Insertion of cer gene into B. anthracis and B. cereus strains to evaluate virulence of novel G9241 anti-virulence toxin, Certhrax


CAPP faculty and MAPP graduates attended and presented at the AVMA Convention 2018: Elevate Your Passion in Denver, CO on July 13-16.

  • Dr. Emily McCobb moderated the talks presented in conjunction with the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and the American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW). She moderated a panel on Perspectives on Accessible Care and presented, “Access to Veterinary Care: Perspectives of Veterinarians.” She also attended reference committee and the House of Delegates meetings on behalf of the Animal Welfare Committee.
  • Dr. Allen Rutberg presented. “Fertility Control and Wild Horse Population.”
  • Seana Dowling-Guyer presented, “Visual Identification of Mixed-Breed Dogs,” in the poster session.
  • Dr. Lara Helwig, CAPP faculty fellow and V00, presented, “The 4th R- Rehoming/Retirement/ Release in Laboratory Animals.”
  • Dr. Emily McCobb becomes the chair of the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee at their August meeting.
  • MAPP alumnae attended: Breanna Beberman, VG15 and Dr. Sharon Kuca, VG17.

CAPP faculty, MAPP graduates, and a current MAPP student attended and presented at the sixth International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods of Pet Population Control that was held by Alliance for Contraception for Cats & Dogs (ACC&D) in Boston, MA on July 22-24. We heard CAPP receive a nice shout-out at the event, too.

Dr. Emily McCobb V00, MAPP VG02; Jessica Weinstein, MAPP Candidate VG18; Amelia DeFelice (Cook) MAPP VG11; Katie Lisnik MAPP VG05 attended the conference.


  • Val Benka MAPP VG12 and Susan Getty VG13 presented “Marking and identification of free-roaming animals.”
  • Kate Atema MAPP VG03, CAPP Faculty Fellow, spoke on a panel, “The need and opportunities for non-surgical tools for fertility control” with Drs. Andy Sparkes and Roger Haston.
  • Dr. Gary Patronek, CAPP Faculty Fellow, moderated, “Assessing the risk/benefit profile of surgical sterilization: laboratory and epidemiological approaches” with speakers Drs. Margaret Slater CAPP Faculty Fellow and Michelle Kutzler.
  • Dr. Andrew Rowan CAPP Faculty Fellow, spoke in a panel on “Lessons learned: field studies with cats and with dogs” with Val Benka MAPP VG12, Stephanie Boyles Griffin Amy Fischer, Emma Clifford, and Giovanna Massei.
  • Dr. Lisa Moses CAPP Faculty Fellow, presented, “The ethics of using dogs and cats as research subjects: special considerations for owned and community animals,” with Val Benka, MAPP VG12.
  • Dr. Sandra Ayers presented “A New Approach for Non-Surgical Sterilization: Targeting Gonadal Support Cells” with Dr. Cristina Gobello.

Pictured (left to right): Amelia DeFelice (Cook), Kate Atema, Susan Getty, Jessica Weinstein, Valerie Benka.


Cummings Veterinary Fund supports Cummings School’s areas of greatest need. Our thanks to Elizabeth Banks Saul, Cummings School Board of Advisors Member, Lois Foster and the Shipley Foundation for their support.

Financial aid is a priority at Cummings School. We wish to acknowledge the generous donations from the Henry & Lois Foster Foundation, as well as Tufts University Trustee, Medical School Advisor, and Cummings School Campaign Committee member, Hugh Roome and Katherine Roome for their gifts in support of scholarships.

We gratefully acknowledge gifts from the William and Charlotte Parks Foundation, and the Humane Society of the United States to the Center for Animals and Public Policy.

A bequest allows donors to leave a legacy of support for scholarship, teaching and research. We are grateful for the generous commitment from the estate of Barbara L. Crimmings.

Vivian Chow made a generous donation in loving memory of her husband, Randle Smith, and their beloved Whippet, Cybil.  A bench will be added to the Memorial Garden in honor of them.

A special thank you is extended to the George I. Alden Trust for their donation to the Multi-Purpose Teaching Simulation Lab, as well as VCA Antech for supporting the Residency in Clinical Oncology. We are also grateful to Hill’s Pet Nutrition for their product donation.

Gifts to Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic ensure their continued service to the community.  We are grateful to the Janice Spencer Calkin Foundation and the Irving and Phyllis Millstein Foundation for Animals for their support of this program.

Thanks to longtime Tufts Wildlife donor, Judith Cook for her support of the Internship Program in wildlife medicine, and to Shalin Liu and the Summer Star Foundation for her donation to Wildlife Clinic student exchange and research.


AVMA Alumni Reception
Dean Knoll and Cummings School hosted an alumni reception in Denver, CO in conjunction with AVMA. Faculty, staff and alumni enjoyed the company of their fellow Cummings School.

Alumni Panel: National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions
Three Cummings School alumni participated in a veterinary panel at the recent summer meeting of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) in Washington, DC. Drs. Suzan Murray V91, Josh Kramer V06, and Emerson Tuttle V15, discussed their nontraditional careers, why they chose to join the profession, and the importance of mentorship in their pursuits. The audience consisted of pre-health advisors from undergraduate schools around the country. The panel was organized by Rebecca Russo, Director of Admissions, along with her colleague, Jennifer Mailey at Cornell University, and included Cornell alumni as well.


TUVAA Fall Meeting
Tufts University Veterinary Alumni Association (TUVAA) will hold a fall meeting on September 12 at 6:30pm in the Jean Mayer Building. All alumni are welcome and encouraged to attend. If you’d like more information email TUVAA is actively seeking alumni to volunteer for one of three committees, Professional Development, Career Mentorship, and Community Service (please view volunteer opportunities here). If interested, email


Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil and Dr. Nicholas Dodman, professor emeritus, were quoted in articles on animal behavior appearing in The Boston Globe’s Ideas section on July 15, 2018. Dr. Borns-Weil looks at how to approach treatment of behavior issues, and Dr. Dodman discusses his research on animal behavior and animal psychopharmacology:; As always, full clip reports are distributed monthly via the Grafton listserv (June and July will be combined), though you can find a selection of press clips at:


Cyprian Keyes Golf Club in Boylston, MA, provided a spectacular venue for the Seventh Annual VSTONE (Veterinary Scholarship of New England) Cummings School Golf Tournament. Spirits were not dampened by the intermittent rain throughout the day. Competition was fierce among the 66 golfers, which included alumni Drs. Dave Lambert, Meg Connelly and David J. McGrath, and current student Sam Lambert V20. The event will net almost $10,000 in student scholarship for Cummings School students and New England residents pursuing veterinary careers.

A special thank you to Dr. David J McGrath for providing the delicious and plentiful lunch, and to our other sponsors whose contributions helped to make the day a great success: Tocci, IDEXX, Final Gift, BR+A Consulting Engineers, Cox Engineering, Boehringer Ingelheim, AirGas, Creative Office Products, CSL Consulting, Dr. Anthony Schwartz, Dr. Richard Heller, DPR, Consigli, Shawmut, Elanco, Elaine Construction, Personal Movers, Union Office Supply, Merck, and DiMella Shaffer. Interim Dean Joyce Knoll and Dr. Heller capped the day by announcing the winners and thanking the sponsors. The success of this tournament each year depends upon many, especially Ms. Susan Brogan, our tournament organizer, and Mr. Jack McDonald, our “official” tournament recruiter. Dr. Richard Heller, Chairman of the VSTONE board, and all the members of VSTONE deserve our thanks for all they do for veterinary students in New England.


Rachel Prestigiacomo V21 hosted a group of Girl Scouts from Northborough, MA, on June 23. The scouts had just worked on a pet care badge, so Rachel put together a compare/contrast presentation about caring for dogs and sheep. They also played a version of Simon Says that Rachel calls “Food, Water, Shelter, Love.” The group then headed out for a farm tour and stopped in to see the Jacob sheep, chickens, and cattle. Of course, the new lambs were a huge hit!


Logan Campbell – Veterinary Technician ECC – FHLA
Michael Coburn – Staff Assistant – Clinical Sciences
Vanessa Cudworth – Veterinary Technician – Lerner Clinic
Julia Donovan – Veterinary Technician – FHSA
Kilee Fortier – Client Service Assistant – FHSA




September 16 from 11:00am-3:00 pm: CUMMINGS SCHOOL OPEN HOUSE

news@CUMMINGS School would not be possible without the efforts of faculty, staff and students who submit items of interest, department and unit managers who collect submissions, and Gail Zamarchi and Tara Pettinato for timely edits. Special thanks to Ms. Nancy Meyer, editor, and Ms. Cynthia Malone, production editor, for leading these efforts and making this monthly newsletter possible.