J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory

Professor Sue Stover leading a horse

Dr. Sue Stover is the director of many of the musculoskeletal inury/disease, mechanical testing, and gait projects in the VORL.


Established in 1988, the J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory built on the strong equine clinical foundation established by Drs. Don (J.D.) Wheat, Timothy O'Brien, Roy Pool and Dennis Meagher.  These veterinarians dedicated their careers to the care and welfare of the equine athlete.  They served as role models for the many equine clinicians they mentored as students, interns, residents, and graduate students; and stimulated them to envision and explore new ideas for the enhanced care of our equine friends. 

The J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory served to centralize existing equipment within the School of Veterinary Medicine and created an environment that has fostered collaboration, spawned creative ideas, been exceptionally productive; and continues to develop new knowledge that enhances care of equine athletes and companion animals. 

Don Wheat, world renowned equine surgeon and clinician, was pivotal in promoting the concept and marshaling the resources to fund critical equipment that enabled the laboratory to realize its goals.  Without his interest, encouragement, and continued curiosity to understand and then find better ways to treat musculoskeletal diseases, the laboratory would not enjoy its current successes. 

The Dolly Green Foundadtion provided a $1 million endowment to the laboratory in 1997 in the name of Dr. Don Wheat. The endowment ensures continuity of the program directed towered enhancing the welfare of the Thoroughbred racehorse. 

In 2007 the laboratory was moved to custom designed space in the new VetMed3A building.  One portion of the 1st floor houses the Lorna Talbot Materials Testing Suite.  The 2nd floor contains facilities for cellular and molecular biology research and specialized imaging and tissue processing equipment for preparing and examining mineralized tissues.  The proximity to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital and California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory facilitates translation research with clinicians, collaboration with diagnosticians, and service to clients.