Fall 2017

Focus on Research

“How is the school doing in research?” an alumnus asked me at a recent Tufts reception. When he interviewed for admission to the veterinary program in 1982, he added, founding dean Al Jonas made it clear that research was going to be a hallmark of the young school. You’ll find ample evidence in this issue that Dr. Jonas’s plans came to fruition.

Aligned with the “one medicine” vision of Jean Mayer, the tenth president of Tufts, the veterinary school eventually established research strengths in multiple areas, including infectious and zoonotic diseases, neuroscience, global health, and translational and regenerative medicine.

Since the early 1990s, contributions from our infectious-disease and global-health researchers have advanced the understanding of food- and water-borne diseases such as cryptosporidiosis and schistosomiasis, led to innovations in immunology-based antitoxin therapies and control of diseases carried by insects, and helped wipe out a plague that killed millions of cattle for millennia (the first animal disease to be eradicated). This issue’s cover story explores how a new research group at Cummings School focused on avian influenza brings critical virology expertise to our infectious disease group.

Neuroscience has long been a basic research strength at Cummings School, where scientists use pre-clinical models to study human afflictions such as depression and opioid addiction. Tufts investigators and our graduates are expanding this scope to learn about conditions shared by humans and companion animals, including anxiety and degenerative myelopathy, a disease in dogs that serves as a naturally occurring parallel disease to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in people.

In recent years, translational research in regenerative medicine, cancer, heart disease, nutrition, orthopedics, ophthalmology and other clinical areas has sought to bring new treatments and diagnostics into hospitals to benefit both pets and people. With one of the largest small-animal caseloads in the country and a location next to world-class medical colleagues, Cummings School is committed to enlarging its clinical-trials offerings, which will be supported by new physical space and an experienced director.

Themes that have distinguished the veterinary school since its start also remain embedded in today’s research programs. In this issue, you’ll read faculty and alumni stories that exemplify our longstanding dedication to animals in society (now expanded to human-animal interaction research), international animal welfare, and active citizenship.

So how is Cummings School doing in research? Our faculty continues to inspire and mentor veterinary and graduate students, interns, residents, practitioners, and alums, all while building top-notch research programs benefiting the health and well-being of animals and people. Dean Jonas and President Mayer would be proud to know that we are thriving—and that quality research is indeed a hallmark of Tufts’ veterinary school.

Deborah Turner Kochevar, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Top Stories

Sleep Tight

What you’ll want to know about anesthesia, whether your pet’s procedure is risky or routine

From Classroom to Clinic

We asked five students from Cummings School’s Class of 2017 to tell us about the excitement, anxiety and pride of beginning their clinical rotations

The Hurt Unlocker

Your pet can’t tell you he’s in pain, but the way he behaves can say plenty about how he’s feeling

Editor's Picks

The Grief Counselor Is In

Three questions for Eric Richman, Cummings School's first veterinary social worker.

How Dogs Think

A scientist explores how genetics and experience shape the canine mind.

The Campus Buzz

A new selective in honeybee medicine is preparing veterinarians to work with beekeepers.