Two veterinarians awarded Institute of Medicine membership

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Dr. Conrad
Dr. Patricia A. Conrad
Dr. Tsai
Dr. Li-Huei Tsai (Courtesy of MIT)

Two veterinarians were recently elected as members of the Institute of Medicine—one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Drs. Patricia A. Conrad of the University of California-Davis and Li-Huei Tsai of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were among 65 individuals granted IOM membership Oct. 17.

Fewer than 20 veterinarians are members of the IOM, which, as the health branch of the National Academy of Sciences, is a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on health issues.

Current IOM members elect new members through a highly selective process that recognizes individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health. IOM members volunteer for a variety of activities, including participation on national advisory committees.

"Each of these new members stands out as a professional whose research, knowledge, and skills have significantly advanced health and medicine, and their achievements are an inspiration," IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg said. "The Institute of Medicine is greatly enriched by the addition of our newly elected colleagues."

Dr. Conrad is widely recognized for her research on babesiosis and is credited with discovering two new species of babesial parasites infecting dogs and humans in the United States.

At the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where Dr. Conrad is a professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, she and her collaborators have helped improve the diagnosis and control of the parasite Neospora caninum, a common cause of abortion in dairy cattle.

In addition, Dr. Conrad is a co-director of the One Health Center of Expertise at the University of California Global Health Institute. There, she leads a team of researchers investigating the impact of fecal pathogen pollution in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems on wildlife and human populations.

Dr. Conrad received a DVM degree from Colorado State University and a doctorate in tropical animal health and protozoology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

As director of the MIT Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Dr. Tsai studies the pathologic mechanisms underlying neurologic disorders affecting learning and memory.

Dr. Tsai has a DVM degree from Taiwan's National Chung Hsing University and a doctorate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. In 1994, she joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. Three years later, Dr. Tsai was named an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute, one of the nation's largest private supporters of biomedical research, based in Chevy Chase, Md.

In 2006, Dr. Tsai was appointed professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, where she also joined the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. Major research areas at the institute include neuropsychiatric disorders, autism, and Alzheimer's disease.