Recognizing research contributions

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During the 2013 Merial–National Institutes of Health Veterinary Scholars Symposium, held Aug. 1-4 at Michigan State University, the AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation conferred awards on three individuals for their efforts in advancing veterinary research. Following are some key achievements of these award recipients.

AVMA Lifetime Excellence in Research Award

This award recognizes a veterinary researcher on the basis of lifetime achievement in basic, applied, or clinical research.

Dr. Aguirre

Dr. Gustavo D. Aguirre
Dr. Aguirre (UP ’68) obtained his undergraduate, veterinary, and graduate training at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also completed a residency in ophthalmology in the School of Veterinary Medicine before serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1973, Dr. Aguirre joined the faculty at Penn, where he rose to hold joint professorial appointments in the veterinary and medical schools. From 1992-2004, he was at the James A. Baker Institute of Cornell University as the Caspary Professor of Ophthalmology. He is currently professor of Medical Genetics and Ophthalmology at UPenn’s veterinary school. His research has been directed at identifying the genetic causes of inherited blindness, identifying the mechanisms linking mutation to disease, and developing treatment approaches to these diseases. He has led pioneering studies in dogs, in which many breeds are affected by a variety of inherited photoreceptor diseases.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation/Winn Foundation Excellence in Feline Research Award

This award honors a candidate’s contribution to advancing feline health through research.

William Murphy, PhD
Dr. Murphy completed his doctorate at Tulsa University in Oklahoma. He then became a postdoctoral fellow at the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute. In 2004, he joined the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. His studies have encompassed comparative analysis of many genomes, including those of domesticated and wild animals, and study of evolutionary relationships and population genetics of wild cats. His work on feline genome mapping and structure has provided the foundation for localization of many genes of interest, ranging from coat color genes to mutations that cause diseases. His recent analysis of feline sex chromosomes and genetics of infertility in hybrid cat breeds has led to identification of cat-specific genes that regulate male fertility and reproductive isolation.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation/American Kennel Club Achievement Award in Canine Research

This award honors a candidate’s long-term contribution to the field of canine research.

Dr. Simpson

Dr. Kenneth W. Simpson
Dr. Simpson (EDN ’84) completed his doctoral studies at the University of Leicester in England. He obtained his residency training at The Ohio State University and received diplomate status from both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He is currently a professor of animal medicine at Cornell University New York State College of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Simpson Gastroenterology Research Laboratory. His research has been focused on bacterial-host interactions in the gastrointestinal tract. Major areas of research have included the role of Helicobacter species in gastrointestinal disease in dogs and cats, employing the study of both naturally acquired and experimental infections, and focused on defining the role of inflammatory cytokines. The other major focus of the laboratory is inflammatory bowel disease.