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Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., met with faculty of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine in March to discuss avian influenza and cancer research.

Clinton has visited the university several times, but this was her first stop at the veterinary college.

"I've been trying to get here for a couple of years," she said. "I have a very high regard for the work you do here."

Edward Dubovi, PhD, director of the virology section of the veterinary college's diagnostic laboratory, summarized Cornell's research, education, and outreach work toward preventing an outbreak of avian influenza. Gary Whittaker, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and immunology as well as Cornell's primary researcher on avian influenza, discussed efforts to create vaccines and antiviral medications.

In a second meeting, Clinton heard via videoconference about how researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute are collaborating with Cornell scientists to study cancer and cancer treatments. The researchers are making discoveries about cancer in humans while investigating naturally occurring cancers in animals such as woodchucks, chickens, and cats.

"Our pets live in our environments," said Dr. Rodney Page, chair of clinical sciences at the veterinary college and director of Cornell's Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research. "This whole concept that environment influences cancer doesn't apply only to ourselves."

Clinton thanked the researchers at a later press conference.

"Vet colleges are moving into the lead in cancer research," she said. "There's a lot that we can learn.

"I am incredibly impressed with the work that is occurring ... with the potential for breakthroughs in public health.

"A land-grant university like Cornell is essential to our quality of life. Cornell is one of our world leaders. The work being done here is essential."