Veterinary Pathology - Departmental Mission and Expertise Focus

Veterinary pathology provides a critical link between the basic and clinical sciences. Our faculty fill essential roles in teaching veterinary and graduate students, diagnosis of animal diseases, and scientific research. Each activity supports the land grant mission of Iowa State University (ISU) by our dedication to the study, diagnosis, and control of animal diseases. Our impact on animal, human, and environmental health links us to the founding principles of One Health.

Building on our long established departmental and traditional strengths in the pathology and parasitic diseases of domestic animals, we emphasize understanding the pathologic mechanisms of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and their vectors. Our dynamic faculty include leading experts in host-pathogen interaction; molecular pathogenesis; and diagnostic pathology, clinical pathology, and parasitology. Using this expertise and new investigative technologies, we have expanded our areas of learning and discovery to include unique educational programs and research emphasis in global parasitology and emerging global diseases.

We have recently initiated the Comparative Pathology Core Service (CPC) for researchers using animal models. We offer pathology support (necropsy, histopathology, clinical pathology) and can assist with development of special imaging techniques such as immunohistochemistry.

Our department provides diagnostic services to the ISU Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center and practicing veterinarians. We hire and train board-certified pathologists, clinical pathologists, and parasitologists to provide services of excellence and quality. Our faculty promote interdisciplinary collaboration and support a diverse spectrum of research technologies to further enhance a strong research and graduate program. In addition, faculty serve in leadership roles as officers and board members in national professional organizations.

We welcome you to our departmental section within the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) website. Browse through our pages and you'll learn more about our academic programs, our faculty, research, and services. Please contact us for further information or to share any comments relevant to our program.

Dr. Amanda J. Fales-Williams, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP
Department Chair

Contact information
Phone: 515-294-3282
Fax: 515-294-5423

Department of Veterinary Pathology
2764 Veterinary Medicine
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011

Departmental Overview

The Department of Veterinary Pathology has program focus areas in: 1) Board certification of Pathologists and Clinical Pathologists by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) and Board certification of Parasitologists by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM), 2) Participation in Emerging and Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Education, 3) Global Parasitology, and 4) Infectious Disease Research integrated and implemented with 5) Education and Learning Scholarship that provides a critical link between the basic and clinical sciences through integrating the missions of research/discovery, education/learning, and diagnostic testing/professional practice.  The Department emphasizes understanding the pathologic mechanisms of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and their vectors; and neoplastic, hematologic, and metabolic diseases. Faculty include leading experts in infectious disease research of host-pathogen interaction and molecular pathogenesis, diagnostic pathology and clinical pathology, global parasitology, emerging diseases, neurodegenerative disease, and educational learning research (areas of faculty expertise). The department collaborates with the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Departments in the CVM, the National Animal Disease Center (NADC), the CVM Center for Food Security and Public Health (CFSPH), and various national and government agencies, to name a few.


Our departmental objectives are to 1) increase graduate training of PhD scientists in infectious (foreign animal, emerging, parasitic, zoonotic), neoplastic, and metabolic diseases with an emphasis on PhD training for DVMs, including veterinary pathologist board certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) and parasitologist board certification by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM); 2) increase knowledge and diagnostic training in pathology, including foreign animal, emerging, parasitic, and zoonotic diseases; 3) integration of educational and diagnostic expertise as a national resource; and 4) collaboration with ISU-CVM, ISU, CVMs, University of Iowa, and federal partners to accomplish these goals.

There currently is a shortage of DVM/PhD scientists, and DVM/PhD university faculty to teach, especially in the area of veterinary pathology. In a 2003 American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) survey, there are 127 vacant positions in veterinary anatomic pathology, 22 vacancies in veterinary clinical pathology, and 200 vacancies for DVMs in USDA-FSIS. Also, NRC reports have documented a shortage of DVM, PhD trained scientists. The areas of emerging, zoonotic, and infectious diseases are in need of scientific and diagnostic expertise. The ISU Department of Veterinary Pathology will continue to have a positive impact and focus on training DVM/PhD scientists with one of the highest ranked training programs in the U.S., reflected by degree completion and a high passing rate of the ACVP examination.


Resource Highlights include: 1) integrated programs in Infectious Disease Research, including Global Parasitology, with PhD and Post-DVM PhD training in Pathology, Clinical Pathology, and Parasitology; 2) past and ongoing residency/PhD training leading to ACVP board certification of pathologists and ACVM (parasitology) board certification with job placements in academic, diagnostic, government, and pharmaceutical positions; 3) teaching and diagnostics that can provide leading scholarship; 4) past collaborations with the Joint Pathology Center (JPC), formerly AFIP, and Plum Island Animal Disease Center; 5) collaboration in development and use of national distance learning courses, such as the Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals; 6)  faculty pathologists and parasitologist that are board-certified; (9) highly ranked board certification training programs; 7) expertise and scholarship in teaching; 8) faculty with integrated educational and diagnostic research grants; 9) record of graduate students obtaining NIH Mentored Clinical Scientist KO8 awards; 10) a global parasitology group with a joint program with entomology; and 11) a research emphasis on infectious diseases of food animals and models of diseases important to public health/zoonoses, including the molecular and mechanistic basis of enteric disease, respiratory disease and food safety agents; molecular parasitology; comparative hematology and cell function; immunologic responses to intracellular pathogens, including paratuberculosis; infectious/emerging diseases; and innate immunity and inflammation.

Governance Document

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