Resident Training in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology - Laboratory Animal Pathology Track

Resident Training in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology - Laboratory Animal Pathology Track

Location: W. R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (year 1 and 2); Comparative Pathology Laboratory and California National Primate Research

Center (year 3); all University of California, Davis, CA

Closing Date for Applications: September 8th, 2023

Salary: $50,183/1st year; $52,523/2nd year; $54,948/3rd 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 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH), the Comparative Pathology Lab (CPL), and the California National Primate and Research Center (CNPRC) have a joint residency program in veterinary anatomic pathology designed to prepare candidates for careers in academia or laboratory animal pathology. This is a service based position at the VMTH and CPL/CNPRC that is the first step of a two-phase training program leading to acquisition of the skills in diagnostic and translational experimental pathology. After three years of training under the guidance of board-certified diplomats (ACVP and ECVP), candidates are expected to take the ACVP certifying examination. At the conclusion of this phase, residents are encouraged to apply to the Graduate Group in Integrative Pathobiology in pursuit of a PhD. The ideal candidate would have a future plan to be in a service based position with research collaboration or have a research focus that is specific to the animal-human model.


Program Length: All residency appointments are renewed annually with renewal based on adequate progress. Residents entering the program will complete 2 years of concentrated anatomic pathology training at UCD-VMTH followed by 1 year of advanced training split between the CPL and the CNPRC.

Program Description:

1st and 2nd year: The first 2 years of the program will be spent at the Anatomic Pathology Service at the VMTH. 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 board-certified (ACVP or ECVP) pathologists. Pathologists from the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratories, the Center of Comparative Medicine, the CPL and the CNPRC also participate in seminars and are available for consultations. A research project is also a requirement of the program. For details of 1st and 2nd year of the program please refer to VMTH.

3rd year training in Lab Animal Pathology: The final year of the program will be spent at the CPL & CNPRC with primary training at one facility (6 months) and secondary training at the other facility (6 months). Assignment of primary and secondary training at either the CPL (primarily rodent and rabbit diagnostics) or the CNPRC (non-human primates) is based on the preference of the trainee. During this time, the trainee will continue participating in VMTH resident training activities (rounds, seminars).


  • To expose candidates to spontaneous diseases and background lesions in the common laboratory animal species (primarily rodents, rabbits and NHPs) by having the candidate be the primary case coordinator for all clinical (diagnostic) case submissions, including necropsy, biopsy, and cytology services, with supervision and instruction by the on-duty pathologist. Utilization of various diagnostics including microbiology, molecular diagnostics and serology.
  • To familiarize the candidate with translational and/or comparative pathology with a focus on animal models of human disease. This includes acclimatization to varied species at each facility and specific SOP’s with special attention to phenotyping (CPL) and safety precautions (CNPRC). Although performed by on-site pathologists, opportunities to observe experimental protocols will exist.
  • Host sessions of the Lab Animal Pathology Rounds and participate in other site-specific rounds/seminars relevant to comparative or experimental pathology.
  • Assist in teaching veterinary medical students and lab animal medicine residents during dedicated rotations.
  • Presentations and/or publications depending on case material and projects available.

Background Information

The CPL is a high-throughput diagnostic laboratory responsible for diagnostics and health monitoring of animals, mostly rodents and rabbits, from the UC Davis campus, other UC campuses, and world-renown research facilities. There are approximately 2000 necropsy and biopsy submissions per year from the health monitoring programs, diagnostic cases, and collaborative or contract-based research projects. In addition, training in pathologic phenotyping of genetically engineered mice is provided in conjunction with the Knockout Mouse Project.

The CNPRC Pathology Service provides diagnostic and research support for the breeding colonies, rhesus macaques and titi monkeys, and research groups both within and outside the CNPRC. There are approximately 1200 necropsy, biopsy, and cytology submissions per year from the diagnostic cases and research projects.

Program Size: Duty responsibilities while at the VMTH are shared with 1 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. Duty responsibilities while at the CPL and CNPRC are exclusively accepted by the 1 resident in their third year of the LAB ANIMAL PATHOLOGY TRACK.

While at the VMTH, the resident will be guided and reviewed by board-certified (ACVP or ECVP) pathologists. While at the CPL and CNPRC, residents are mentored by the following faculty:

Denise Imai-Leonard, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP. Director of the CPL. Instruction in Pathology of Laboratory Animals, emphasis on comparative pathology and rodent health monitoring programs/infectious disease, including fish and exotic species used in a laboratory setting.

Rachel Reader, BVSc, PhD, Diplomate ACVP. Manager of Pathology Services at the CNPRC. Instruction in Pathology of Primates.

Gabrielle Pastenkos, DVM, PhD.  Staff pathologist for the CPL and CNPRC

Katie Olstad, DVM, Diplomate ACVP. Senior pathologist, CNPRC. Instruction in Pathology of Primates.

Stephen Griffey (emeritus), DVM, PhD. Instruction in Pathology of Laboratory Animals, emphasis on comparative pathology and rodent health monitoring programs.

Stephen Barthold (emeritus), DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVP, Honorary Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM). Instruction in Pathology of Laboratory Animals, 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 September 8, 2023 deadline consist of:

  • 1) Letter of Intent specifying interests and professional goals as related to laboratory animal pathology. 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. Refer to 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, and 7) foreign applicants will also be evaluated based on their evidence of excellence in written and spoken English.

Visitors: Due to statewide and national restrictions due to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 (Covid19) pandemic, we are unable to accept visitors or interviews for this year. Selected individuals will be contacted for virtual (on-line) interviews via Zoom. We sincerely regret that we are unable to offer interviews to every applicant. If you are not contacted by UC Davis to schedule an interview, we will be unable to accommodate one. Please see the updated instructions on how to apply, above, for a more detailed overview.

Contacts:  All application materials must be received no later than September 8, 2023 and should be mailed to:

Christina Sparkman
Anatomic Pathology Service Manager
UC Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital
One Garrod Drive
Bldg VM3A Room 1345
Davis, CA 95616


or by visiting our website VMTH Anatomic Pathology Service

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

Dr. Kevin Woolard 
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) 752-2235


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

Dr. Denise Imai-Leonard
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) 754-4937
or by visiting the CPL website

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

Dr. Katie Olstad
Senior Pathologist & Resident Training Director
California National Primate Research Center
University of California - Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270
Telephone (530) 752-7241

Or by visiting the CNPRC website