Research, public health leaders honored by AAVMC

Published on April 16, 2014
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Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka Dr. John A. Herrmann Dr. Matthew Mellema Dr. Joe N. Kornegay

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges honored the 2014 recipients of four awards March 14-16 at its Annual Conference in Alexandria, Va.

Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a professor of virology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, received the Excellence in Research Award. Dr. Kawaoka achieved global attention in 2011 when he and an international team of researchers showed that the avian influenza H5N1 virus could become transmissible to mammals after just a few genetic mutations.

In 2013, Dr. Kawaoka and his team collaborated with the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan to conduct a genetic analysis of the avian influenza H7N9 virus. The analysis revealed that the virus can evolve and adapt to human cells, prompting concerns about its potential to launch a global flu pandemic.

Dr. Kawaoka earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, including a DVM degree, from Hokkaido University in Japan.

Dr. John A. Herrmann (IL ’78) was honored with the Senator John Melcher DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award.

At the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Herrmann directs the DVM/Master of Public Health program as well as the Center for One Health Illinois. He also serves as a clinical associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine.

During Dr. Herrmann’s 25-year career as a private practice veterinarian in Freeport, Ill., he became involved in public health issues at the county and state levels. Eventually, he earned an MPH from the University of Illinois at Chicago and then spent a year as an American Association for the Advancement of Science/AVMA Science and Technology Policy Fellow in the office of Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. Dr. Herrmann worked on policies designed to improve food safety, ensure humane treatment of animals, promote an adequate workforce in the areas of public health and veterinary medicine, and unite the efforts of health disciplines through the one-health concept.

Since joining the U of I faculty 10 years ago, Dr. Herrmann established the DVM/MPH program. Since 2003, he has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and at the University of Illinois at Rockford College of Medicine. Dr. Herrmann is a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, specializing in reproduction of cattle and dogs.

Dr. Matthew Mellema (CAL ’94) is the recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, sponsored by Zoetis.

Dr. Mellema is an assistant professor of emergency and critical care at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, where he has taught since 2007.

Colleagues and students note he is respected for his creative and effective teaching style as well as his dedication to being an involved mentor.

Dr. Mellema has given numerous presentations on issues related to emergency and critical care and written book chapters on topics that include electrocardiogram evaluation, cardiac output monitoring, and initial management of poisoning in patients.

Dr. Mellema has a doctoral degree in respiratory physiology from Harvard University. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

Dr. Joe N. Kornegay (TEX ’73), a professor of neuroscience in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, was chosen to deliver the conference’s Recognition Lecture.

Dr. Kornegay’s lecture, “One man’s view of one health,” focused on his research on a canine model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and epilepsy, and how it relates to the broader concepts of one health.

After receiving his DVM degree, Dr. Kornegay spent three years in private practice in Ohio and Texas, followed by six years in residency (neurology and pathology) and graduate (master’s and doctoral) training at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. He then served on the faculty of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine before moving to the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, where he served as dean from 1998-2006.

Before coming to TAMU in 2012, Dr. Kornegay served as a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Neurology and as an investigator in the Gene Therapy Center at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.