College News

Congratulations to those promoted

At the recent Board of Trustees meetings, several members of the College's faculty were promoted. Please congratulate the following when you see them!

Dr. Theodore Clark was promoted effective July 1, 2012 to Professor of Parasitology and Immunology in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Dr. Clark has studied host immunity and vaccine development for Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a common pathogen of farmed channel catfish. In recent years, this interest developed a novel focus on the protective host immune response from the parasite’s perspective, demonstrating that protective antibodies inhibit motility of the organism and also induce it to release large numbers of mitochondria. This very novel observation suggests a mechanism that may be the parasite’s way of preventing oxidative damage associated with a stress response to host immunity. Dr. Clark is an example of the academic investigator/entrepreneur that Cornell has long encouraged, founding a company, Tetragenetics Inc., to market his technology. The technology is based on a novel mechanism of drug-induced vesicular extrusion by the free-living protist, Tetrakymena that yields recombinant proteins of high purity. He has made important contributions to the graduate and professional teaching programs in our College through the immunology component of the departmental seminar series, serving on the Design Group for Host, Agent, and Defense and being Director of Graduate Studies for the Graduate Field of Immunology. He directs an NSF-funded program for science education based on Tetrakymena for K-12 students. Dr. Clark received his BS degree in Bioengineering from Columbia University and his PhD from the State University of NY at Stony Brook in Cell and Developmental Biology.

Dr. Robin Davisson was named the Andrew Dickson White Professor effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Davisson received all of her formalized research training at the University of Iowa, initially with a PhD in Pharmacology and later trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Iowa Cardiovascular Research Center and the Center for Hypertension Genomics. Dr. Davisson has received many accolades in her career, among them are the Michael J. Brody Fellowship for Cardiovascular Research; the International Society of Hypertension and American Society of Hypertension young investigator awards; a new investigator award from the International Congress of Physiological Sciences, young investigator awards from the American Physiological Society and the Harry Goldblatt Award in Cardiovascular Research from the American Heart Association; and Outstanding Mentor in Biological and Life Sciences at the University of Iowa. Dr. Davisson’s research focuses on molecular aspects of cardiovascular biology, with a particular emphasis on central (neural) control of hypertension. She is extremely successful in obtaining extramural funding for her studies from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. She runs two laboratories, one at Cornell in Ithaca and one at Weill-Cornell in New York City. Dr. Davisson is a unique scientist who combines outstanding research accomplishments at the highest level, enormous efforts and commitment to mentoring trainees, and extraordinary dedication to Cornell University.

Dr. Eric Ledbetter was promoted to Associate Professor effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Ledbetter was the Robert Hovey Udall Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology in the Department of Clinical Sciences before being promoted. Dr. Ledbetter exemplifies the vision for successful academic clinical investigators. He has established a national reputation as an authority on infectious diseases of the eye in dogs and cats. He has discovered two new causative agents of eye disease, reproduced Koch’s postulates for both, and has developed banks of isolates to share with the research community. Dr. Ledbetter teaches ophthalmology to veterinary students in three of five of the foundation courses in the curriculum, including rotations for junior and senior students in the teaching hospital. Dr. Ledbetter’s accomplishment in clinical service has been ground-breaking. He has introduced new technology into his clinical practice in the form of clinical confocal microscopy and more recently endoscopic laser photocoagulation. Dr. Ledbetter was educated at the University of Missouri where he earned BS and DVM (summa cum laude) degrees. Subsequently, he completed two internships followed by a residency in ophthalmology at Cornell. Dr. Ledbetter is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

Dr. Cynthia Leifer was promoted to Associate Professor effective July 1, 2012. She earned her BS in Biology at the University of Maryland. Subsequently she earned the PhD at Weill Cornell and completed two highly successful and productive postdoctoral fellowships at the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Leifer teaches immunology to veterinary students in the second year of their program, as part of the large course, Host, Agent and Defense. In addition, she leads the graduate level course Advanced Immunology and has made important contributions to the Graduate Field of Immunology. Dr. Leifer researches a family of receptors that play crucial roles in the induction of the immune response in animals, the so-called Toll-like receptors. Since joining the faculty at Cornell, Dr. Leifer has advanced this field of research by describing intracellular functions and regulation of TLR9 that were not previously known.

Dr. Daryl Nydam was promoted to Associate Professor of Dairy Health and Production in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Nydam earned his BS from SUNY-Geneseo, and his DVM and PhD from Cornell. Dr. Nydam’s research focuses on two critical time points in the lives of dairy cattle: being born and giving birth. He studies the impact of these events on disease transmission as well as production and growth. Dr. Nydam is a member of the Ambulatory Section of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. His global approach to improving the health of dairy cattle while educating veterinary students and producers has earned him a strong reputation in dairy education programs and service to the dairy industry.

Dr. Joseph Wakshlag was promoted to Associate Professor of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Clinical Sciences effective July 1, 2012. Dr. Wakshlag was educated at the Montclair State University, earning a BS and MS in Biology. Subsequently, he earned the DVM and PhD degrees and completed a residency in Clinical Nutrition at Cornell. Dr. Wakshlag personifies the successful academic clinical investigator. He has established a national reputation as an expert in nutrition as it relates to obesity and metabolism in dogs. Currently, Dr. Wakshlag is pursuing studies of the impact of diet, inflammation and exercise on canine obesity. Furthermore, he is pursuing new work on the influence of ration composition on olfaction in military dogs. Dr. Wakshlag teaches nutrition to veterinary students during three of four years of their program, including for junior and senior students on rotation in the hospital. He is recognized internationally as a clinical veterinary nutritionist. Dr. Wakshlag has established a successful and effective clinical nutrition service in our hospital and secured external funding to support residents in order to grow the service and educational program.