Comparative Medicine
red stanford logo; connecting health in animals and humans zoobiquity; left human eye; DNA code; right cheetah's eye

Zoobiquity Research Symposium 2014

Speaker Biographies

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Key Note Speaker

Michael D. Lairmore DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, Diplomate ACVM
University of California-Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
Dean and Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology

Michael Lairmore

Michael D. Lairmore, DVM, PhD, dean of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, oversees all School of Veterinary Medicine activities, personnel, facilities and funding resources. He presides over the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, Veterinary Medicine Extension and other centers of excellence. Dr. Lairmore came to UC Davis from The Ohio State University. He served as a professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Veterinary Medicine, where he led a successful sponsored research and commercialization program. He also served as associate director of the university's Comprehensive Cancer Center. While Chair for the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, he received unanimous praise for leading his department to new heights in research funding and scholarly achievement. He is committed to finding new ways for the school and its faculty to contribute to the health of the animals and people while being good stewards of the environment and the economy of California. His goals include building mission-focused programs that will continue to provide outstanding education for society-ready veterinarians and that will produce innovative research findings to address important problems ranging from clinical veterinary medicine to public health. Dr. Lairmore earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia before working as a dairy and small animal veterinarian. Following practice, he completed a residency and PhD program in experimental pathology at Colorado State University at Fort Collins. He is board certified in veterinary anatomic pathology as well as veterinary virology and immunology. He is one of the few veterinarians elected as a member of the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. He is also a fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Dr. Lairmore is a scientist who bridges multiple disciplines to address basic questions related to viral causes of cancer. His research has provided significant breakthroughs in the biology of the human retroviruses and the understanding of viral-associated carcinogenesis. Lairmore has authored or co-authored more than 180 scientific publications.

Website URL:


Jose Montoya MD, FACP, FIDSA
Stanford University School of Medicine
Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
Director, Toxoplasmosis Serology Laboratory
National Reference Laboratory for the Diagnosis and Management of

Jose Montoya

Dr. Montoya is originally from Cali, Colombia and completed his medical degree with honors at the Universidad del Valle.  He trained in Internal Medicine at Tulane University in New Orleans. Following his residency, he completed his fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Stanford University under the mentorship of Dr. Jack S. Remington. He is currently Professor in the Department of Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford School of Medicine, the Director of the National Reference Laboratory for the Diagnosis and Management of Toxoplasmosis in the United States at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Palo Alto, California, and the founder of the Immunocompromised Host Service (Infectious Diseases) at Stanford University Medical Center.  He was elected Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP) in recognition of commitment to the internal medicine community and Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America” (FIDSA) for having achieved professional excellence in the field of Infectious Diseases.
In addition, Dr. Montoya has authored and co-authored numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals along with several book chapters, and has received more than 12 school-wide teaching awards at Stanford including the Bloomfield, Ebaugh, Kaiser and Rytand awards.


Melissa Miller DVM, MS, PhD
California Fish and Wildlife
Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care & Research Center
Veterinarian Specialist (Wildlife)

m_miller Dr. Melissa Miller earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management at the University of New Hampshire, and a DVM at the University of California, Davis. She completed a Residency and PhD in Veterinary Pathology at UC Davis, and now works as a Wildlife Pathologist at the Marine Wildlife Veterinary Care and Research Center in Santa Cruz, operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Melissa's research focus is centered on land-sea transfer of terrestrial parasites, bacteria, biotoxins and nutrients, and their potential impacts on marine ecosystem health.


John Boothroyd, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

John Boothroyd

John Boothroyd, Ph.D., is Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University School of Medicine where he studies the pathogenesis of Toxoplasma infections in animals and humans.  He received his BSc from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and his PhD in Molecular Biology from Edinburgh University in Scotland.  Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 1982, he worked as a scientist in the Immunochemistry and Molecular Biology Department at Wellcome Research Laboratories, UK.  Currently, in addition to his research role, Dr. Boothroyd serves as Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education at Stanford.  In 2008, he received the Leuckart Medal from the German Society for Parasitology, testimony to the creativity and hard work of the many students and post-docs who have worked with him, over 30 of whom are now in independent faculty positions.


Helicobacter pylori and "like-organisms"

James G.  Fox, DVM, Diplomate ACLAM
Professor and Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine
Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering

James FoxDr. James Fox received his veterinary training at Colorado State University. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Stanford before accepting a position at the University of Colorado Medical Center as an Assistant Professor in Comparative Medicine and Medical Microbiology. He was then recruited to MIT where he is currently Professor and Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine and a Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine. Professor Fox is the author of over 565 articles, 100 chapters, 4 patents and has edited and authored 14 texts in the field of in vivo model development and comparative medicine. Dr. Fox has received numerous scientific awards, and was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004. He has been the principal investigator of an NIH postdoctoral training grant for veterinarians for the past 26 years and has trained 65 veterinarians for careers in biomedical research. He also has a NIH training grant for veterinary students and has introduced over 100 veterinary students to careers in biomedical research.
He studies the role of Helicobacter sp. induced gastrointestinal cancers. His laboratory is also interested in host immunomodulation by intestinal microbiota and helminths and their effect on inflammatory diseases. His past and current research has been funded by NIH and NCI, as well as by private industrial sources, for the past 39 years.
He has been the principal investigator of an NIH postdoctoral training grant for veterinarians for the past 26 years and has trained 65 veterinarians for careers in biomedical research. He also has a NIH training grant for veterinary students and has introduced over 100 veterinary students to careers in biomedical research.


Karen A Terio DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine
Zoological Pathology Program and Department of Pathobiology,
Clinical Associate Professor

Karen Terio next to a cheetah Karen Terio, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, is a Clinical Associate Professor, Zoological Pathology Program and the Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois.  She received her DVM from Tufts University and her doctoral degree from the University of California where she studied gastritis in cheetahs.  She also completed a pathology residency in a joint program between the University of California and the Zoological Society of San Diego after which she achieved board certification from the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP).  She was a Lecturer in zoo and wildlife pathology and a Research Associate at the University of California, School of Veterinary Medicine (2001-2004) before joining the faculty at the University of Illinois. With colleagues in the Zoological Pathology Program (ZPP) she provides comprehensive pathology services to zoological institutions as well as local, national and international wildlife agencies and conservation programs.  Her research focuses on the pathogenesis of diseases affecting free-ranging and captive wild animal populations.  She serves as an advisor for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Felid Taxon Advisory Group, several individual felid Species Survival Plans (SSP), the Chimpanzee SSP as well as for in situ conservation programs including the Cheetah Conservation Fund and the Gombe Ecosystem Health Project.


Manuel R. Amieva MD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and Immunology

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Manuel Amieva received his MD from Stanford University School of Medicine as well as completing a residency in Pediatrics Infectious diseases and a fellowship in Microbiology and immunology, working in the laboratory of the world renowned molecular microbiologist, Dr. Stanley Falkow. Manuel says this about his research:
“My laboratory studies the strategies pathogens utilize to colonize and subvert the epithelial barrier. We have focused on the epithelial junctions as a target for bacterial pathogens, since the cell-cell junctions serve as both a barrier to infection and also a major control site for epithelial function. In particular, we are interested in how the gastric pathogen Helicobater pylori may cause cancer by interfering with cell signaling at the epithelial junctions. We are also studying how various bacteria cross and invade the epithelium. For example, we recently found that Listeria monocytogenes targets a specialized subset of cell-cell junctions at the tip of the intestinal villi to find its receptor for invasion. We are interested in determining whether this mode of gastrointestinal invasion of the epithelium is also used by other gastrointestinal pathogens.”


Cancer and Imaging


Robert D. Cardiff, MD, PhD
University of California, Davis
Center for Comparative Medicine and Center for Genomic Pathology
Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Emeritus

Robert CardiffDr. Cardiff is a Distinguished Professor of Pathology at the University of California, Davis who is an innovator, pathologist, educator, scientist and historian. His essay on “One Medicine” is cited in Zoobiquity.  As an innovator, he founded the UC Davis Informatics Graduate Program and pioneered the use of digital imaging of pathology slides. As a pathologist, he provides worldwide comparative pathology services primarily focused on cancer in mouse models of human cancers. A founding member of the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine and Center for Genomic Pathology his online educational programs also span the globe. His primary research interest has been in breast cancer where he is active in international, national and California research organizations. His introduction to pathology was as an undergraduate in Entomology and his Ph.D. is in Zoology. His publications reflect his broad biological interests.


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Amy K. LeBlanc, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Oncology)
College of Veterinary Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine (dual appointment)
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Associate Professor and Director of Translational Research

LeBlanc PET imaging.png

Dr. Amy LeBlanc is a board-certified veterinary oncologist, Associate Professor with tenure and Director of Translational Research at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and UT Graduate School of Medicine (GSM). Dr. LeBlanc’s group at the University of Tennessee has published the seminal work describing molecular imaging of dogs and cats using PET/CT, focusing on the forward and back-translation of 18F-labelled radiopharmaceuticals. Her current funded research efforts are reporter gene imaging (NIS expression) in oncolytic virotherapy of canine cancer in collaboration with Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Dr. LeBlanc has a strong interest in animal modeling for development of new cancer imaging agents and identification of imaging biomarkers, development and optimization of PET imaging hardware and imaging protocols, and in fostering collaborations with industry and academic partners to support relevant eIND studies in man. She has given numerous invited lectures on the inclusion of companion animals in imaging-based translational research and the value of comparative oncology in drug and imaging agent development.


Christopher Contag PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics (Neonatology), of Microbiology and Immunology and,
by courtesy, of Radiology

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Dr. Contag, is a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Radiology and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford University, and a member of BioX Faculty for interdisciplinary sciences, and Immunology Faculty. Dr. Contag received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul in 1982. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1988 where he did his dissertation research under the direction of Professors Ashley Haase and Peter Plagemann on the topic of viral infections of the central nervous system. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University from 1990-1994 in the Department of Microbiology where he studied mother-to-infant transmission of HIV, and then joined the faculty in Pediatrics at Stanford in 1995 with a joint appointment in Microbiology and Immunology and a courtesy appointment in Radiology. Dr. Contag is the director of the Stanford Program in Photomedicine, director of Stanford’s Center for Innovation in In Vivo Imaging (SCI3) and co-director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford (MIPS). Dr. Contag is a pioneer in the emerging field of molecular imaging and is developing imaging approaches aimed at revealing molecular processes in living subjects and advancing therapeutic strategies through imaging. His laboratory develops macroscopic and microscopic optical imaging tools and uses imaging to assess tissue responses to stress, reveal immune cell migration patterns, understand stem cell biology and advance biological therapies.
(much more about Chris at his website)


Novel Animal Models in Comparative Medicine


Sea Lions as a Model of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Paul Buckmaster DVM, PhD
Stanford University School of Medicine
Professor of Comparative Medicine and Neurology & Neurological Sciences

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Paul Buckmaster, DVM, PhD is a Professor of Comparative Medicine and Neurology & Neurological Sciences at Stanford University. He graduated from the veterinary school at the University of California, Davis and earned a PhD in Physiology at the University of Washington. His laboratory studies mechanisms of temporal lobe epilepsy, which is common in humans. He directs NIH-funded programs that provide research training for veterinary students and veterinarians. He serves on NIH, Epilepsy Foundation, and Burroughs Wellcome Fund committees that review proposals for training grants, fellowships, career awards and research grants.


The Mouse Lemur as a New Animal Model

Megan Albertelli, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACLAM
Stanford University School of Medicine
Department of Comparative Medicine
Assistant Professor

Megan Albertelli

Megan Albertelli, DVM, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Medicine, School of Medicine, Stanford University. She received her DVM from Michigan State University in 1999 and completed her residency training in laboratory animal medicine and her PhD in Human Genetics at the University of Michigan in 2007. Dr. Albertelli joined the Stanford Department of Comparative Medicine in 2009. Her research interests include genetic variation in breast and prostate cancers, the development and refinement of mouse models of cancer and celiac disease, and clinical care of nonhuman primates. Dr. Albertelli is a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine.




Joseph P. Garner D Phil
Stanford University School of Medicine
Department of Comparative Medicine
Associate Professor

Joseph GarnerJoe was recently (2011) appointed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Medicine, and a Courtesy Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at Stanford University. Joe received his doctoral degree from the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, Great Britain, where he studied the developmental neuroethology of stereotypies in captive animals (1995-1999). His postdoctoral research in animal behavior and well-being was undertaken at UC Davis (1999-2004). He served as an Assistant (2004-2010) and an Associate (2010-2011) Professor of animal behavior and well-being in the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University, where he also held a courtesy appointment in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences (2009-2011). The focus of Joe’s research is ‘attrition’ or the failure of the vast majority of compounds in human trials; in particular the role that animal models play in this problem and what we can do to improve the ability of animal models to predict human outcomes. Reducing or solving this problem will have huge benefits both for research animals and for human patients. Joe’s research topics include the development of refined methods in behavioral research; abnormal behaviors in animals (including barbering and ulcerative dermatitis) and their relationships with abnormal behaviors in humans; mouse well-being and enrichment; and the scientific impact of well-being problems in lab animals. Joe serves, or has served, as a Council Member for the International Society for Applied Ethology, an Editor for Applied Animal Behavior Science, a Special Topics section editor for the Journal of Animal Science, on the AAALAC Board of Trustees, on the SCAW Board of Trustees, on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Trichotillomania Learning Center, on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Tourette Syndrome Association, and on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation. Joe’s recent awards include: Swiss Laboratory Animal Science Association (SGV) Prize for Major Contributions in the Field of the 3Rs; Stanford University, Fellow of the Stanford Institute for Chemical Biology; American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, Pravin N. Bhatt Young Investigator Award; Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation - Indiana, Outstanding Faculty Mentor; Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Professor William Russell Fellowship; and Purdue University & Kaufman Campuses Initiative, Entrepreneurial Leadership Academy Fellow and Scholar. Joe’s work is available via a number of different websites:

Stanford website:
Mouse ethogram:

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Zoobiquity Research Symposium Organizers

Donna M Bouley, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP
Stanford University School of Medicine
Professor of Comparative Medicine and by courtesy, Pathology

Donna Bouley Donna Bouley received her D.V.M. from the University of Tennessee, received her Ph.D. in 1995 in Comparative and Experimental Medicine (University of Tennessee) studying the immunopathology of Herpetic Stromal Keratitis in mouse models, and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 1996. She served on the faculty at Texas A & M for two years, then joined the Department of Comparative Medicine at Stanford in 1997 where she is the director of necropsy services for the Veterinary Service Center. Her research interests include phenotypic characterization of genetically engineered mice (GEM), host-pathogen interactions, and the pathology of minimally invasive cancer treatments (focused ultrasound, cryoablation) in a normal dog prostate model. Dr. Bouley has been awarded several Stanford honors for her teaching and mentoring of undergraduates interested in careers in veterinary medicine, human medicine and biomedical research, including the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel award (2007) and appointment as the Kleinheinz Family Fellow in the Bass institute for Undergraduate Education. She is an affiliate faculty with the HumBio Interdepartmental Program, the Wood’s Institute, and is the founder of the Stanford Undergraduate Pre-Vet Club (SUPVC).


Stephen A. Felt, DVM, MPH, Diplomate ACVPM, Diplomate ACLAM
Stanford University School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Medicine
Attending Veterinarian, Veterinary Service Center

Stephen Felt Stephen A. Felt, DVM, MPH, DACVPM, DACLAM, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Medicine and is the Attending Veterinarian at Stanford University. He earned his veterinary degree from University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine and completed his public health education at the Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland. He conducted his residency training in laboratory animal medicine at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). He is double- boarded by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. His research interest focuses on infectious diseases, particularly zoonoses, and refining experimental techniques to improve animal health and welfare. Currently he is collaborating with labs which are studying the virulence factors of Vibrio cholerae, the use of "microbubbles" for molecular diagnostic imaging and as a delivery system for targeted therapies which may be translated into human and veterinary clinical applications.


Ashley Zehnder, DVM, ABVP (Avian)
Stanford University School of Medicine
Post-doctoral Fellow/PhD candidate

Ashley Zehnder holding a parrot.jpg Ashley Zehnder, DVM, ABVP (Avian) is a post-doctoral fellow/PhD candidate in the Khavari Lab at Stanford currently working on novel therapeutic strategies to target altered signaling pathways in epithelial cancers.   She graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City in 2006.   Subsequently, she completed a 3-year residency in Companion Avian and Pet Exotic Medicine at the University of California-Davis and became boarded in Avian Medicine in 2009.  Since beginning her research training at Stanford, she has pursued interests in cancer biology as well as comparative medicine by maintaining active research interests in both fields.  More recently, she has founded a research alliance to bring together medical professionals to pursue research interests relating to cancer in non-domestic species to shed light on the biology of tumors in these potentially valuable animal models.   More information is available on these activities at


Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D.
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology

Barbara Natterson-HorowitzIn addition to patient care, she is actively involved with medical education and research. Dr. Natterson-Horowitz also holds a professorship in the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and is Co-Director of the Evolutionary Medicine Program at UCLA.
She also serves as a cardiovascular consultant to the Los Angeles Zoo as a member of its Medical Advisory Board and is Chair of the Zoobiquity Conference, a national educational program that facilitates interdisciplinary discussions between physicians, veterinarians and others in the health professions.
In 2012, Dr. Natterson-Horowitz co-authored the New York Times bestselling book, Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health. Zoobiquity was named Discover Magazine’s Best Book of 2012, The China Times Best Foreign Translation of 2013, and a Finalist in the American Association for the Advancement of Science Excellence in Science Books 2012. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Nature, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among others.
Dr. Natterson-Horowitz completed her undergraduate studies at Harvard College and received a Master’s degree from Harvard University. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco.


Kathryn Bowers
Fellow at the New American Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Associate Editor, Zócalo Public Square

Kathryn BowersKathryn Bowers is a Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. She began her career in journalism as a staff editor of the Atlantic Monthly and worked for CNN-International in London. Kathryn later served as an assistant media liaison at the United States Embassy in Moscow, where she received a State Department Meritorious Honor Award for her service. She’s taught writing at UCLA and is currently an associate editor of Zócalo Public Square, an Ideas Exchange based in Los Angeles.
Kathryn holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Andy Bowers and their daughter.



Susan Kwan, MPH
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Executive Director of the Zoobiquity Research Initiative
and Administrator of the Evolutionary Medicine Program 

Susan Kwan Susan began her career as a program analyst at the UCLA Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology where she was responsible for the planning, implementation and evaluation of geriatric education programs.  In 2010, she was appointed to the U.S. DHHS’s Advisory Committee on Interdisciplinary, Community-based Linkages by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She completed her appointment in 2013. The committee was created by Congress to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary of the DHHS concerning policy and program development and other matters of significance related to activities under Part D, Title VII of the PHS Act, as amended by the Affordable Care Act. 
Susan completed her undergraduate education at the University of Southern California, double-majoring in biochemistry and gerontology (health-sciences track). She received her Master’s in Public Health from UCLA, specializing in community health programs and aging.



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