The Cornell Canine Health Center is led by director Dr. Colin R. Parrish and a six-member faculty advisory board, including Dr. Adam Boyko, Dr. Eric Ledbetter, Dr. Vicki Meyers-Wallen, Dr. Kenneth Simpson, Dr. Tracy Stokol, and Dr. Alex Travis. Overall, more than thirty faculty members from the College of Veterinary Medicine will be involved with the CCHC and its programs.
Faculty Advisory Board Members
Colin Parrish, PhD
Dr. Colin Parrish is the director of the Cornell Canine Health Center. As a faculty member at the Baker Institute for Animal Health within the College of Veterinary Medicine, Parrish’s research focuses on certain viruses of dogs, cats, and horses that still cause a significant number of illnesses and deaths despite the availability of effective vaccines. Parrish’s current projects explore the evolution of canine parvovirus, ways to predict outbreaks of new and old viruses, and approaches that may be used for eradicating canine influenza, all efforts with the potential for a significant impact on the health of dogs, cats, horses, and wildlife.
Dr. Adam Boyko is an assistant professor at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on genomic investigation of dogs as a model of genetic disease and evolutionary genetics. One aspect of this work is focused on understanding the evolution and genetics of village dogs, the semi-feral pariah dogs found in much of the world today. His other research interests include the genetics of domestic dogs, learning about the demographics and natural selection pressures on dogs based on genomic information, and developing statistical, simulation, and bioinformatic tools for analyzing genomic data.
Dr. Eric Ledbetter is an associate professor of Ophthalmology at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. Ledbetter’s research program focuses on ocular infectious diseases and non-invasive techniques for imaging the front of the eye – the cornea, iris, ciliary body, and lens – in dogs. Ledbetter is particularly interested in the causes of canine infectious keratitis, a condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed due to the presence of bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. He has studied eye diseases caused by canine herpesvirus-1, interactions between a dog’s body and this virus, mechanisms of latent virus reactivation, and novel treatment strategies for ocular canine herpesvirus-1 infections.
Vicki Meyers-Wallen, VMD, PhD, DACT
Dr. Vicki Meyers-Wallen is a member of the faculty at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, a unit of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine. A geneticist and specialist in veterinary reproductive disorders, Meyers-Wallen is working to identify the genetic causes behind inherited disorders of sexual development, or DSDs, conditions that impair the normal development of reproductive organs in animals and humans alike. The aim of these studies is to prevent production of affected dogs and the adverse health consequences that accompany these disorders. Meyers-Wallen characterized the anatomy of persistent Mullerian duct syndrome (PMDS), a DSD that has now been reported worldwide in miniature schnauzers. Working with collaborators who study PMDS in humans, the DNA mutation responsible for the condition in dogs was identified, and Meyers-Wallen’s lab developed a DNA test that is now available to help eliminate the mutation from this breed. Currently, Meyers-Wallen is working to solve the riddle of a condition known as XX DSD, which has been described in 28 different dog breeds. Once she has identified the mutation responsible for XX DSD, a test can be developed to identify dogs that carry the mutation and prevent production of affected dogs.
Kenneth Simpson, BVM&S, PhD
Dr. Kenneth Simpson’s research is focused on interactions between animals and the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract. His particular focus is on the role of the ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter in gastrointestinal and liver inflammation, and on the impact the bacteria in the gut have on inflammatory bowel disease.
Tracy Stokol, B.V.Sc, PhD
A veterinary clinical pathologist, Dr. Tracy Stokol’s research focuses on diseases that involve blood coagulation. Her studies include investigations of the process by which cancer spreads from one part of the body to another (called metastasis) and the formation of blood clots within the circulatory system (thrombosis). Stokol is also an educator who instructs veterinary students, interns, and residents about topics related to clinical pathology.
Dr. Alex Travis explores a diverse set of subjects in his research, ranging from technologies based on the very smallest biological machines to inquiries in wildlife conservation and sustainability at the landscape scale. Travis is a member of the faculty at the Baker Institute for Animal Health, a unit of Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where much of his work focuses on reproduction and the function and preservation of sperm. His laboratory is actively studying other reproductive technologies in dogs, including in vitro fertilization and the regulation of reproductive cycling in the dog. The Travis lab was the first group in the Western Hemisphere to successfully perform embryo transfer using a frozen dog embryo and the first in the world to successfully perform spermatogonial stem cell transplantation in a dog.