Dean Lairmore’s State of the School 2018

Dean Michael Lairmore
Dean Michael Lairmore

In his annual State of the School address on May 25th, Dean Michael Lairmore congratulated the school’s community in achieving the top spot among veterinary schools in the world by QS World University Rankings for the fourth year running. He credits that honor to the school’s ability to attract the best and brightest students, and faculty and staff dedicated to compassionate care, clinical innovation, and ground-breaking research.

We will welcome the Class of 2022 in August—a group of 150 from an applicant pool of 1046. The school continues to be among the top three national veterinary schools and colleges in the diverse nature of its incoming class with 48 percent from underrepresented minority groups, reflecting the diverse demographics of California. Not only do these students excel in academics, they contribute to their community, Dean Lairmore said. With more than 30 student specialty clubs and organizations, incoming students have many opportunities to increase their leadership skills, serve their communities and advocate for the veterinary medicine profession. 

One of the reasons the school has maintained its top status is the reputation of its high-impact transdisciplinary research, funded by more than $85 million dollars in 2017-18—the highest amount among veterinary schools/colleges. The school’s researchers form strong collaborative partnerships across campus, the entire UC system, UC Davis Health, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the Bodega Marine Lab. 

“Their collective efforts have had a broad impact in One Health, oncology, biodefense, and the health of equine, wildlife, companion animals, aquatic species and children’s health,” Lairmore said. 

That research pipeline is fed by a variety of student opportunities that give them exposure to working in labs and the field, including: Students Training in Advanced Research (STAR) program (40-50 students working with faculty, grad students and other researchers across campus); and the Veterinary Scientist Training Program (VSTP) which allows DVM students to concurrently pursue a Ph.D. with a strong commitment to translational interdisciplinary research. 

Being able to share scientific data is a large part of successful collaborations. Titus Brown, associate professor in the Department for Population Health and Reproduction, has been on the forefront of making it easier for scientists to share research data and scientific tools online. He was awarded an NIH grant in Data Science that will support a pilot project with 12 grants totaling $9 million over four years. This is part of an overall UC Davis Data Science Initiative across academic disciplines. 

The veterinary hospital continues to provide outstanding patient care with the most advanced clinical techniques. Over the past year, success stories include a complete hip replacement on a champion show dog, a laceration repair surgery that saved a horse’s athletic career, identifying genetic causes of glaucoma in cocker spaniels, and the development of immunotherapy in dogs that will lead to human clinical trials.

Our stories made national and international headlines. One of the highlights was Dr. Jamie Peyton’s innovative use of tilapia fish skin to treat burn wounds of two bears and a mountain lion that were injured in the California wildfires in the fall of 2017. Her expertise was called upon recently to assist a seriously burned pony in the U.K. 

The school’s faculty and staff continue to be acknowledged for their dedication, including Dr. John Madigan who received a special Congressional certificate for his help in saving animals from cats to koi in the aftermath of fires in Napa and Sonoma counties. Drs. Patricia Conrad, Stephen McSorley and Jonna Mazet were elected as new fellows to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

Dean Lairmore highlighted other activities and accomplishments during the past academic year including:

Launch of the Global Virome Project—a 10-year effort to identify most viruses with potential to cause disease in humans

Reducing pandemic risk globally through PREDICT training of more than 4,000 professionals world-wide

Establishing the Planetary Health Center of Expertise through the UC Global Health Institute with Dr. Woutrina Smith serving as co-director

Extending leadership in clinical education with new fellowships in nephrology and extracorporeal therapies

Public launch of Veterinary Medical Center in the fall of 2017

Philanthropic gifts totaling more than $33 million since July of 2017

To view the complete presentation

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