Horse veterinarians presented with honors

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Dr. Divers
Dr. Thomas Divers
Dr. Reef
Dr. Virginia B. Reef
Dr. Lee
Dr. John W. Lee Jr.
Dr. White
Dr. Nathaniel A. White II


Dr. Morgan
Dr. Kenton Morgan
Dr. Manfredi
Dr. Jane Marie Manfredi
Dr. Colbath
Dr. Aimee Colbath

The American Association of Equine Practitioners honored the 2015 recipients of several awards Dec. 7-8, 2015, at its 61st Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

Renowned large animal internist Dr. Thomas Divers (Georgia ’75) discussed how to identify and treat diseases of the equine liver when he delivered the Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture, sponsored by Platinum Performance. This year’s lecture, “The Equine Liver in Health and Disease,” combined evidence-based medicine with Dr. Divers’ experiences from 40 years of clinical practice evaluating horses with liver disease.

Dr. Divers is professor of medicine and section co-chief of large animal medicine in the Department of Clinical Science at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. His current research focuses on newly discovered hepatitis viruses in horses. Other research activities have included bacterial and toxic causes of liver failure in horses; equine neurological diseases, including equine motor neuron disease and equine protozoal myelitis; equine Lyme disease; equine leptospirosis; diseases of the urinary tract; and advances in internal medicine and critical care for horses, foals, and dairy cattle.

A diplomate of both the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, Dr. Divers is currently consulting editor of Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice.

Dr. Virginia B. Reef (Ohio State ’79), director of large animal cardiology and diagnostic ultrasonography at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, received the Distinguished Educator (Academic) Award.

A pioneer in the diagnostic use of ultrasonographic technology, Dr. Reef perfected the technology in her clinical use and then set out to teach the technology to students and practitioners alike, according to an AAEP press release. In the ensuing 30-plus years, ultrasonography has contributed to early diagnosis of musculoskeletal injury in the horse, substantially reducing catastrophic athletic-use tendon and ligament injuries.

Dr. Reef completed her internship and residency in large animal medicine at Penn Vet, where she has served on the faculty ever since. She is a professor of medicine as well as section chief of sports medicine and imaging at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.

Dr. Reef is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and charter member of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Dr. John W. Lee Jr. (Cornell ’74) was honored with the Distinguished Educator (Mentor) Award for his enthusiastic support and guidance of new veterinarians and students.

Recently retired, Dr. Lee founded Unionville Equine Associates in Oxford, Pennsylvania, where he practiced from 1983 until relocating to New Mexico this past May. During this time, “He nurtured the confidence and development of his young team members gradually by presenting challenges in a manner that encouraged independent thinking while honing their craft,” according to the press release. Dr. Lee also helped his mentees develop professional connections throughout the industry.

His influence extended to students through the institution of a formal internship/externship program at the practice and his advice and support to the many high school, college, and veterinary college students who shadowed Dr. Lee on ride-alongs.

Dr. Nathaniel A. White II (Cornell ’71) was given the Distinguished Life Member Award for his leadership and substantial volunteerism within the association during his 43 years of membership.

Dr. White is professor emeritus of equine surgery at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center and was president of the AAEP in 2010. He is currently chair of the AAEP’s National Equine Health Plan Task Force, which is establishing an Equine Disease Communication Center to serve as a national hub for equine disease reporting and communication. Additionally, since 2010, he has served on the management board and as U.S. co-editor of Equine Veterinary Education.

Dr. White was instrumental in establishing and served as longtime chair of the AAEP Foundation, the charitable arm of the AAEP. He served two terms on the AAEP board of directors, volunteered with the AAEP On Call program from 1994-2000, delivered the 2006 Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture on the subject of colic, and received the AAEP Distinguished Service Award in 2004.

Since joining the AAEP in 1973, Dr. White has also volunteered his time and expertise through service on numerous committees and councils. His is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Dr. Kenton Morgan (Missouri ’83), a proactive advocate for the AAEP and the profession of equine veterinary medicine, received the President’s Award.

Dr. Morgan is an equine veterinary specialist with Zoetis in Kansas City, Missouri, and just concluded a three-year term on the AAEP board of directors. In presenting the award, 2015 AAEP President G. Kent Carter praised Dr. Morgan’s selfless dedication to the betterment of the association and his fellow practitioners.

Dr. Morgan joined the AAEP in 1985. He was a member of the Stem Cell and the External Parasite and Vector Control task forces. He previously served as chair of the Biological and Therapeutic Agents Committee and as a member of the Pediatrics and Leadership Development committees.

Michigan State University doctoral candidate Dr. Jane Marie Manfredi (Prince Edward ’04) received the 2015 Equus Foundation Research Fellowship for her research on the identification of risk factors for equine metabolic syndrome, a major health and welfare concern, given the established links between EMS, hyperinsulinemia, and laminitis.

Dr. Manfredi’s research aims to evaluate and optimize field-oriented dynamic tests of insulin and glucose regulation, as well as to explore the muscle and adipose tissue biologic differences (via RNA sequencing) among four breeds of horses. Understanding differences in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue as they relate to insulin sensitivity and other metabolic traits should greatly advance understanding of the molecular pathophysiology of EMS and laminitis susceptibility and may also identify novel therapeutic targets.

Dr. Manfredi completed her master’s in veterinary surgery and her large animal surgery residency in 2012, both at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Aimee Colbath (Pennsylvania ’10), a PhD degree candidate at Colorado State University, was awarded the AAEP Foundation Past Presidents’ Research Fellowship for her research into the use of bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells, a promising therapy for musculoskeletal disease in horses that is widely used but not fully understood.

Dr. Colbath’s research focuses on the immune properties of BMDMSCs and induced pluripotent stem cells in horses. If the immune properties of allogeneic BMDMSCs are equivalent to those of autogenous BMDMSCs, the former may provide a more readily available, potentially less expensive and more consistent biologic therapy than what is currently available for musculoskeletal disease in horses. In contrast, if allogeneic cells or iPSCs are found to be immunogenic, clinicians should be wary of their use.

Dr. Colbath completed her equine surgery and lameness residency and her master’s in clinical sciences at Colorado State in 2015.