Resident Training in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology - Laboratory Animal Pathology Track

Location: W. R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (first 20 months); Comparative Pathology Laboratory and California National Primate Research Center (last 16 months); all University of California, Davis, CA

Starting Date: August 1, 2015

Closing Date for Applications: October 31st, 2014

Compensation: Salary: $40,368/1st year; $42,234/2nd year; $44,199/3rd year

Benefits include: Medical, dental, vision, and life insurances and Vacation and sick pay.

Qualifications & Requirements for Admission to the Program: Qualifications for admission include a DVM (or equivalent degree) from a veterinary school accredited by the AVMA (preferred) and a scholastic record sufficient for acceptance into graduate school (a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate and veterinary school courses). Although resident applicants do not apply to graduate school at the time of application to the residency, we give preference to residents who are qualified to continue their advanced training in a post-doctoral degree program. GRE scores can be included by are not required for application to residency program. Applicants must have demonstrated interest in a career in comparative or laboratory animal pathology.

Program Goals: The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine ,the Comparative Pathology Lab (CPL), and the California National Primate and Research Center (CNPRC) have a joint residency program in veterinary pathology designed to prepare candidates for careers in academia or laboratory animal pathology, which requires certification by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). The anatomic pathology residency training programs at UCD and CPL/CNPRC are the first step of a two-phase training program leading to acquisition of the skills in diagnostic and experimental pathology. At the conclusion of this phase, residents are encouraged to apply to the Graduate Group in Comparative Pathology in pursuit of a PhD (LINK graduate school). After three years of training under the guidance of board certified diplomats (ACVP and ECVP), candidates are expected to take the ACVP certifying examination.

Program Length: All residency appointments are renewed annually with renewal based on adequate progress. Residents entering the program will complete 20 months of concentrated anatomic pathology training at UCD-VMTH followed by 16 months of advanced training at the Comparative Pathology Lab (CPL) and the California National Primate and Research Center (CNPRC).

Program Description:

1st and 2nd year: The first twenty months of the program will be spent at the Anatomic Pathology Service at the University of California, Davis. The VMTH provides a diverse caseload that consists of approximately 85% domestic animals and 15% zoo and wildlife animals, pet birds and other exotic pets. All aspects of case evaluation (gross necropsy, histopathology evaluation, and pathology reporting) are guided and reviewed by twelve board certified (ACVP or ECVP) pathologists. Two faculty members have specific expertise in laboratory animal and primate pathology and provide specialty consultation on all cases. Pathologists from the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratories, the Center of Comparative Medicine, the Comparative Pathology Lab and the California National Primate and Research Center on campus also participate in seminars and are available for consultations. A research project based on diagnostic cases is also a requirement of the program. For details of 1st and 2nd year of the program please refer to while at VMTH.

3rd year training in Lab Animal Pathology: The final 16 months of the program will be spent at the CPL & CNPRC on campus. The residency program is structured to provide the professional guidance, facilities, and materials for graduate veterinarians to obtain expertise in the discipline of anatomic pathology and provide a fundamental understanding of disease and Laboratory Animal Pathology via assignments at the Comparative Pathology Laboratory (primarily rodent and rabbit diagnostics), California National Primate Research Center (Non-human primate pathology), Center for Comparative Medicine (Murine Research diagnostics), and the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (Veterinary Anatomic Pathology).

Primary commitment after VMTH anatomic pathology training will be split approximately equally (total to equal 100%) between CNPRC and the CPL with some flexibility to vary the percentage split depending on interests. There will be release time to participate in Center for Comparative Pathology and Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital Pathology activities.

While at CPL:

  • The resident will be housed at the CPL and supervised by the Director of CPL.

Objectives of weekly duty:

  • Exposure to research pathology environment and learn/apply SOP's of rodent pathology, phenotyping, and diagnostics (including Clinical pathology, Microbiology, Parasitology, Molecular diagnostics, and serology).
  • Perform necropsies and trim in tissue sample submissions on all cases.
  • Responsible for timely review and finalization with faculty mentor of all cases.
  • Do resident research project related to phenotypic evaluation of a GEM or rodent pathology for publication/presentation.
  • Attend classes/seminars relevant to Comparative/rodent pathology including Laboratory Animal Seminars and Rounds.
  • Spend at least 2 hours a week reviewing didactic histology with faculty mentors.

While at CNPRC:

  • The resident will be housed at CNPRC and supervised by the senior staff pathologists.
  • The resident will be responsible for the performance of necropsies; trimming of histopathology samples for histopathology processing, microscopic examination of tissues, and timely review/finalization of all cases from the weeks on CNPRC duty.
  • The objective will be to reinforce basic principles of pathology via their application to non-human primates in both clinical (colony management) and research settings. Toward this end a program, outlined below, has been formulated to give participants experience in the diagnostic and experimental necropsy of non-human primates with emphasis on specific safety precautions and a variety of specialized procedures to include the following:
    • appropriate use of protective clothing
    • Biosafety Level (BSL) II, III procedures
    • proper waste management
    • implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
    • conduct of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) studies
    • tissue handling techniques
    • lesion recognition and description (gross and microscopic)
    • special experimental techniques

  • In addition to participation in necropsies, residents will be expected to take part in the following training activities:
    • biweekly gross pathology rounds and case discussions - review of tissues from recent necropsy cases
    • monthly virtual slide conference with the 7 other regional primate centers and Wake Forest University.
    • examination of slide sets depicting characteristic lesions in non-human primates
    • preparation of literature summary of a selected primate pathology topic
    • presentations/publications where appropriate

  • Ancillary training opportunities to include:
    • Special Pathology Course (Spring Quarter)
    • presentation of a sampling of classic non-human primate disease
    • American College of Veterinary Pathology Certification Examination Review (Summer Quarter)
    • presentation of kodachrome slides of non-human primate gross lesions

While at VMTH:

  • Participate in classes/seminars/rounds similar to other pathology trainees in preparation for the certification examination in Veterinary Pathology of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (this is year round, regardless of primary commitment).


1. To provide non-degree, postdoctoral training in laboratory animal anatomic pathology appropriate for a veterinarian preparing for the certification examination in Veterinary Pathology of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.

2. To provide veterinarians the necessary background and awareness in anatomic pathology with an emphasis on Laboratory Animal Pathology to enter a Ph.D. degree program in pathology (Graduate Group in Comparative Pathology).

3. To provide experience in the teaching of anatomic pathology to veterinary students and lab animal medicine residents in a laboratory setting.

4. To provide comparative pathology training through collaboration on laboratory animal research projects.

5. To provide training in laboratory animal diagnostics and phenotyping of genetically engineered mice (GEM).


Residents perform an important role in carrying out the teaching and diagnostic functions of the Comparative Pathology Laboratory (CPL) and the California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) as they train to become veterinary pathologists.

There is a continuing demand for well-trained veterinary pathologists by academic and research institutions and by industry particularly with an emphasis on Laboratory Animal and Comparative Pathology. The hallmarks of adequate training are diplomate status of the A.C.V.P. and a Ph.D. degree in experimental pathology.

The Comparative Pathology Laboratory is responsible for diagnostics and health monitoring of animals used in research on the UC Davis campus, other UC campuses and private industry. There are approximately 2500 submissions per year that include necropsy and biopsy specimens from the health monitoring programs and collaborative service research projects. In addition, training in pathologic phenotyping of genetically engineered mice is provided in conjunction with the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine, Mouse Biology Program and the Mutant Mouse Regional Resource Center.

The California National Primate Research Center Pathology Service provides diagnostic support for the breeding colony and research groups both within and outside the CNPRC through necropsies (1000) and biopsies (200) according to standard operating procedures that are reviewed/revised annually. The primary objective of this unit is to provide a diagnostic service for spontaneous mortality and for culled animals with chronic disease, as well as to monitor for subclinical disease. The Pathology Unit also performs special (terminal) procedures for investigators at the CNPRC, as well as for investigators outside the facility either under contract or as part of the Bio-specimen Request Program administered by the Pathology Unit. These procedures include perfusions of specified organs (brain, liver, lung, uterus, etc.) with specific fixatives, sterile collection of specific tissues (blood, CSF, and various organs) at euthanasia/necropsy, collection of tissues for specialized analyses such as immunohistochemistry or electron microscopy, and GLP necropsies, as well as antemortem collection of tissues (blood), CSF, lymphoid tissues, and brain) for in vitro studies. The Pathology Unit also handles the collection, organization, storage, and retrieval of wet tissues, tissue blocks, glass slides, and digital images of pathologic lesions and maintains these as a resource for researchers both here and around the world.

Program Size: Duty responsibilities at VMTH are shared with the one resident in the LAB ANIMAL PATHOLOGY TRACK, three residents in the STANDARD ANATOMIC PATHOLOGY TRACK  and two residents in the ZOO AND WILDLIFE PATHOLOGY TRACK. The residents are under the guidance of twelve board certified (ACVP or ECVP) veterinary pathologists. In addition, while they are on CPL and CNPRC rotations they are mentored by the following faculty:


Stephen Barthold, DVM, Ph.D. Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologist (ACVP), Honorary Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Director of the Center for Comparative Medicine and the Mouse Biology Program. Instruction in Pathology of Laboratory Animals, research mentor.

Alexander Borowsky,M.D., Pathologist, Center for Comparative Medicine. Instruction in pathology of mouse models of human disease, research mentor.

Don Canfield, DVM. Pathologist, California National Primate Research Center. Instruction in Pathology of Primates.

Robert Cardiff, M.D., Ph.D. Director of Mutant Mouse Pathology Laboratory at Center for Comparative Medicine. Instruction in telepathology/conferencing, pathology of mouse models of human cancer, research mentor.

Stephen Griffey, DVM, Ph.D. Director of the Comparative Pathology Laboratory. Instruction in Pathology of Laboratory Animals with an emphasis on Comparative pathology and rodent health monitoring programs/infectious disease.

Dallas Hyde, Ph.D. Director of the California National Primate Research Center. Instruction in quantitative microscopy with an emphysis on fractionation sampling and numbers, volumes, lengths and surfaces of cells and tissue components like nerves and vessels. Coordinates acquisition and database storage of primate pathology samples. Serves as a research mentor.

Nicholas Lerche, DVM, MPVM. Adjunct Professor, California National Primate Research Center. Mentor in simian diagnostic medicine.

Patricia Pesavento, DVM, Ph.D. Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). Director of VMTH Anatomic Pathology Residency. Instruction in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology.

Rachel Reader, DVM, Ph.D. Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP). California National Primate Research Center. Instruction in Pathology of Primates.

Ross Tarara, DVM, Ph.D. Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathology. Pathologist, California National Primate Research Center. Instruction in Pathology of Primates.

Dennis Wilson, DVM, Ph.D. Chairman - Department of Pathology, Microbiology, & Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine. Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathology. Serves as research mentor.

Application: All application materials can be submitted in electronic or hard copy except official transcripts and class rank. Required application materials that must be received by the October 31st, 2014 deadline consist of:

1) Letter of Intent specifying interests and professional goals. Additionally the letter should indicate that you are applying for the LABORATORY ANIMAL PATHOLOGY TRACK position. Applicants are welcome to apply for more than one position but must rank the order of their preference.

2) Curriculum vitae

3) Three letters of recommendation, sent directly from the referee and not the candidate.

4) Official transcripts from all veterinary and post-veterinary education. You may submit them electronically along with your entire application packet, but a certified official hard copy must be mailed separately in a sealed envelope by you or your veterinary school. If you are a foreign applicant interpretation of their University’s grading system has to be provided with the application. FOREIGN APPLICANTS.

5) Official class rank from your veterinary school. Please indicate if official class rank is not available from your school.

6) TOEFL scores for foreign applicants. If English is not your first language, applicants must submit TOEFL scores or provide equivalent evidence of demonstrated written and verbal skills in English. Refer to FOREIGN APPLICANTS.

Foreign Applicants: Foreign applicants are welcome to apply. Refer to FOREIGN APPLICANTS for complete application process.

Scoring of applications: All applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria: 1) overall academic achievement, 2) academic achievement in pathology and related subjects, 3) clarity of career goals (letter of intent), 4) the promise of a successful career in veterinary pathology, 5) experience and interest in teaching and research including pursuit of a Masters or PhD degree, 6) interest in an academic career, 7) foreign applicants will also be evaluated based on their evidence of excellence in written and spoken English. Top applicants will be invited for a phone interview.

Visitors: Visiting our program prior to application is not required but externships and/or one day interviews for resident applicants are encouraged VISITOR POLICY (pdf). Schedule visits by contacting Ms. Becky Griffey. Visits to the department must take place prior to October 31st, 2014

Contacts: All application materials must be received no later than October 31st, 2014 and should be mailed to:

Ms. Becky Griffey
Residency Application Coordinator
VMTH Anatomic Pathology
1345 Vet Med 3A
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California - Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270
Telephone (530) 752-1369

Additional information about the training program can be obtained by contacting:

Dr. Patricia Pesavento 
Residency Training Coordinator 
Department of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California - Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270
Telephone (530) 752-1166

Additional information about the entire last 16 months of the training program can be obtained by contacting:

Dr. Stephen Griffey
Laboratory & Resident Training Director
Comparative Pathology Laboratory
Old Davis Road
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California - Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270
Telephone (530) 754-9160

or by visiting the CPL website

Additional information about the CNPRC training portion can be obtained by contacting:

Dr. Ross P. Tarara, DVM, PhD
Pathologist – California National Primate Research Center
University of California, Davis
Telephone (530) 752-7241

Or by visiting the CNPRC website