Department of Veterinary Pathobiology

The Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (VPB) was created by the mergers of the Departments of Veterinary Pathology and Veterinary Microbiology. VPB is an integral component of the College of Veterinary Medicine that provides a unique and critical link between the basic and clinical sciences. Our mission is to acquire, advance and disseminate knowledge in the fields of pathology, parasitology, microbiology, immunology, comparative medicine, genetics and related disciplines that will ultimately lead to better diagnosis, control and prevention of animal and human diseases and to provide training of the next generation of researcher scientists. We integrate this knowledge into the teaching, research and service programs within the college and across our campus.

We provide instruction in both the veterinary student curriculum and in graduate education in many sub-disciplines, including pathology, clinical pathology, immunology, parasitology, virology, genetics, and comparative medicine. We strive to create an environment where students can develop a love for lifetime learning and develop their independent problem-solving skills. The department offers residency programs that prepare graduate veterinarians for proficiency and eligibility for certification in the American College of Veterinary Pathology, the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Microbiology, and the American College of Toxicology.

The goals of our service component are to provide quality, state-of-the-art diagnostic service to veterinarians, animal owners, academia and private industry through the activities of the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. Through our service activities, we strive to identify the causes of new diseases, to promote the health of agricultural, companion and research animals, and to enhance the animal industry, both in Missouri and globally.

Our Department’s dedication to excellence in research, teaching, and service is evident not only by our record of publication and success in obtaining extramural grant support, but also by our ability to attract outstanding postdoctoral fellows, residents, and graduate students. We take pride in launching our trainees into successful and productive careers as researchers and teachers in academia, industry and government. This site contains information for current and prospective students, highlighting the exciting opportunities within the Department.

The Department has a long history of research excellence in microbial pathogenesis, immunology, animal models of disease, parasitology, pathology, toxicology, and molecular genetics/genomics. The research environment at MU with Colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Medicine, Agriculture, Engineering, and Arts and Sciences on one comprehensive campus fosters the development of interdisciplinary scientific interactions that enhance both research and training opportunities for faculty and students alike. The Department includes boarded Anatomical and Clinical Pathologists, Toxicologists, and Laboratory Animal Veterinarians. This core of expertise creates a unique interdisciplinary and collaborative environment for the studies of the animal and human health cornerstones of One Health initiatives.

Critical to the Department's interests in infectious diseases and vector-borne diseases research, the recent construction of an NIH-funded Laboratory for Infectious Diseases Research (LIDR) provides modern BSL-3 containment laboratory space and animal holding facilities for the investigation of highly infectious organisms and human Select Agents. This facility permits MU researchers to explore studies on pathogenesis of high consequence pathogens with the goal of developing better diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines. Microscopy, Flow Cytometry, and Aerobiology core laboratories are available in this biocontainment facility. Additionally, MU has partnered with NIH to strategically invest in critical research resources, including unique resource centers for mouse, rat and swine genetic models for disease research and the development of transgenic and knockout animal strains. MU has supported the development of state of the art Research Core Facilities, to give MU investigators the research and training tools needed to develop nationally competitive research programs and teams.

Whether you are seeking to pursue a graduate degree, postdoctoral training, or are looking for information regarding our research or service expertise, I hope you find these pages helpful.

George C. Stewart, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair


Faculty Spotlight

Alexander W.E. Franz

Alexander Franz, PhD won the 2014 award for best paper in the journal Insect Molecular Biology. Sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society, the award recognizes the best paper over a two-year period. The paper, “Transgene-mediated suppression of the RNA interference pathway in Aedes aegypti interferes with gene silencing and enhances Sindbis virus and dengue virus type 2 replication”. More recently, his laboratory was the first to report the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for genome editing in the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti (PLoS One. 2015 Mar 27;10(3):e0122353. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122353. eCollection 2015).

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