Alumni Spotlight - Winter 2023


Karisa Tang Class of 2014

Karisa Tang DVM '14


Dr. Tang, Class of 2014 was recently promoted to Vice President of Animal Health at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium. In this role, Dr. Tang will oversee the aquarium’s Animal Health team, which is responsible for the pioneering work in aquatic animal welfare in the A. Watson Armour III Center for Animal Health and Welfare. She will advance preventative care and treatment for patients, as well as place an emphasis on care for animals beyond the aquarium’s walls and conservation science. She will also provide strategic oversight for animal welfare throughout the renovations and modernization of the historic aquarium galleries over the next several years as part of Shedd’s Centennial Commitment.

“We have the highest confidence in Dr. Karisa Tang, who started with the aquarium during her residency and has continued to grow from a clinical professional to a leader of this critical department,” said Peggy Sloan, chief animal operations officer at Shedd Aquarium. “Karisa will be a key leader as she influences strategic operations, supports the advancement of aquatic medicine and guides welfare throughout the aquarium’s Centennial Commitment.”

Dr. Tang completed her residency at Shedd Aquarium as part of the Illinois Zoological and Aquatic Animal Residency (IZAAR) Program. Shedd is one of three partners that provides advanced training to veterinarians who aspire to careers as specialists in zoo and aquarium clinical medicine through IZAAR. After graduating, Dr. Tang held a veterinary position with the Minnesota Zoo before returning to Shedd as an associate veterinarian in 2020.

She’s been an integral member of the animal health team completing routine preventative exams, seeing patients, and performing surgical and medical procedures. In addition to seeing patients either at the onsite animal hospital or making house calls to their habitats, she also conducted original research and published scientific papers, which is a key pillar of Shedd’s role in innovating and furthering animal care knowledge and processes at the aquarium. In addition to her growing roles and responsibilities at Shedd Aquarium, Dr. Tang also serves as an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The care and welfare of the animals at Shedd Aquarium is paramount to our mission and a cornerstone of our everyday operations, so it’s an honor and privilege to partner with our full animal care division to continue to advance this work,” said Dr. Tang. “As the aquarium continues to reach new milestones, it also remains dedicated on connecting our millions of guests to the aquatic world and my hope is to continue to deepen their understanding of the biology of the animals in Shedd’s care.”

Dr. Tang earned her bachelor’s from the University of California, Los Angeles and DVM from the University of California, Davis, and received a master’s in veterinary clinical medicine from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also is a Diplomate from The American College of Zoological Medicine, which makes her a board-certified specialist and one of fewer than 30 in the world focused on aquatic medicine.

Source: Shedd Aquarium Press Release Feb. 2023