Faculty in the Division of Comparative Pathology and Medicine

The Center for Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine includes the members of the Division of Comparative Pathology and Medicine, and an accredited residency program in Laboratory Animal Medicine. This Center is overseen by The Faculty of Health Sciences at UCSD which also oversees the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy. This Center also creates collaborative learning and research opportunities with UC Davis.

There are more than 20 veterinarians at UC San Diego and the nearby outstanding, research institutions, including The Scripps Research Institute, the Salk Institute, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, the Sanford-Burnham Institute, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park, the Marine Mammal Foundation, Sea World San Diego, and the La Jolla Laboratories of Pfizer.

Lynette Corbeil, DVM, PhD

Lynette Corbeil, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Professor of Pathology, UC San Diego
Emeritus Professor of Population Health and Reproduction School of Veterinary Medicine UC, Davis
Former Co-Director, UC San Diego Veterinary Medical Center

Our general research interests are in the area of comparative (human to mouse) mucosal immunology with specific projects in immune-epithelial cell interactions involved in the microbial pathogenesis of acute and chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Link to Dr. Corbeil’s current publications
Link to Dr. Corbeil’s website

Lynette Corbeil, DVM, PhD

Soumita Das, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, UC San Diego

Our research interests include host-microbe interactions and microbial pathogenesis. We investigate the molecular basis of bacterial engulfment by phagocytic receptors and its effect on intestinal inflammation. My recent work focuses on the differential host responses after sensing enteric pathogens compared to non-pathogenic gut microbiota.
Link to Dr. Das’s current publications
Link to Dr. Das’s website

Peter Ernst, DVM, PhD

Peter Ernst, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Director of the Center of Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine Director of the Division of Comparative Pathology and Medicine
Co-Director of UCVMC
Professor of Pathology, UC San Diego
Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, UC Davis

Our general research interests are in the area of comparative (human to mouse) mucosal immunology with specific projects in immune-epithelial cell interactions involved in the microbial pathogenesis of acute and chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Link to Dr. Ernst’s current publications
Link to Dr. Ernst’s website

Pascal Gagneux, Ph.D.

Pascal Gagneux, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology, UC San Diego

Pascal Gagneux is interested in the evolution of cell-surface glycans. Glycans are diverse and variable saccharide chains attached to proteins and lipids. Glycans can differ by species, individual, cell type, and even physiological state or developmental stage. Glycan variation influences many phenotypes: from cellular recognition during fertilization and development, to infection, immunity, and cancer. So far, we know little about the evolutionary forces that shape glycan variation. This is an important gap in our knowledge, because glycans are central to cellular recognition, and to health and disease.
Link to Dr. Gagneux’s current publications
Link to Dr. Gagneux’s website

Nikos Gurfield, DVM, DACVP

Nikos Gurfield, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.P.
Adjunct Professor of Pathology, UC San Diego
County Veterinarian
San Diego County Vector Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory

Timothy D. Kurt, DVM, PhD

Timothy D. Kurt, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Research Scientist, Department of Pathology, UC San Diego

My research interests include the molecular determinants of prion susceptibility and potential therapetic strategies. I am also interested in mechanisms of neurodegeneration across protein-misfolding disorders, a class of diseases that includes prion, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Dzung Le, M.D., Ph.D.

Dzung Le M.D., Ph.D.
Director of the Coagulation Laboratory
Associate Director of the Clinical Hematology Laboratory
Associate Director of Blood Bank and Transfusion Medicine
Associate Professor of Pathology

My research interests are tissue factor-initiated coagulation pathway and clinical coagulation assay development. My research laboratory also houses the Murine Hematology/Chemistry and Coagulation Core laboratory. This core laboratory tests for abnormalities in hematology, chemistry and coagulation in experimental mice (e.g., transgenic mice).
Link to Dr. Le’s current publications
Link to Dr. Le’s website

Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD

Robert Naviaux, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology

Research in my lab has focused on the role of mitochondrial DNA replication, copy number regulation, DNA damage, and nucleotide signaling in development, aging, healing and regeneration. We also study the systems biology of monogenic and complex diseases like autism and diabetes.
Link to Dr. Naviaux’s current publications
Link to Dr. Naviaux’s website

Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD

Kent Osborn, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Associate Director, Animal Care Program (ACP), UCSD

Dr. Osborn's professional activity has often included broad-spectrum practice of laboratory animal medicine (clinical, diagnostic, administrative, compliance) and comparative pathology. Particular areas of interest include infectious disease - pathophysiology, diagnostics and control/prevention in populations; comparative pathology; animal-related ethics.
Link to Dr. Osborn’s current publications

Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD

Sam Ridgway, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.C.Z.M.
President of the National Marine Mammal Foundation

Dr. Ridgway is one of the founders of the Navy Marine Mammal program starting in 1961 and has 48 years of experience in marine mammal medicine and research.
Link to Dr. Ridgway’s current publications
Link to Dr. Ridgway’s website

Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD

Juliana M. Ruzante, D.V.M., M.P.V.M., Ph.D.
Senior Food Safety and Public Health Specialist, RTI International

Dr. Ruzante is currently a research public health analyst in RTI International’s Center for Health and Environmental Modeling. Her research interests are food safety and One Health. Before joining RTI, she worked at The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the University of Maryland.
Link to Dr. Ruzante’s current publications

G. Diane Shelton, D.V.M, Ph.D.

G. Diane Shelton, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Director of The Comparative Neuromuscular Laboratory
Professor of Pathology

My research interests are in understanding the mechanisms of autoimmunity in myasthenia gravis and inflammatory myopathies. Research in canine models of these diseases has direct relevance to their human counterparts.
Link to Dr. Shelton’s current publications
Link to Dr. Shelton’s website

Dr. Sigurdson
Christina Sigurdson, D.V.M., Ph.D., Dipl. ACVP

Co-director of the Center for Veterinary Sciences and Comparative Medicine
Associate Professor of Pathology

We are interested in the molecular pathogenesis of prion diseases, which are fatal neurodegenerative disorders of humans and animals that includes Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or “mad cow disease”, and chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids. We are investigating mutations in the prion gene that enable or inhibit prion transmission between species.
Link to Dr. Sigurdson’s current publications
Link to Dr. Sigurdson’s website

Nissi M. Varki, M.D.
Nissi Varki, M.D.
Director of Histopathology Resources, Cancer and Mouse Histopathology
Professor of Pathology
Our research interests are to define the role of selectins in tumor metastasis. We are working toward an understanding of the uniqueness of human carcinogenesis. We also study the histopathology of antiangiogenic agents in mouse models and the immunological mechanisms of gastrointestinal mucosal epithelia.
Link to Dr. Varki’s current publications
Link to Dr. Varki’s website

Joseph M Vinetz, MD

Joe Vinetz, M.D.
Professor of Medicine

We currently study two tropical infectious diseases, malaria and leptospirosis, both at UCSD and through internationally-based collaborations. My laboratory has both basic science and translational research components, taking a comprehensive, integrated to our research. 

Link to Dr. Vinetz’s current publications
Link to Dr. Vinetz’s website

Additional Center Members:

  • Philip J. Richter, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, Director, UCSD Animal Care Program & LAM Training Program, UCSD
  • Kent Osborn, DVM, PhD, Associate Director – Diagnostic Laboratory Services. Comparative pathology, primate, mouse and aquatic animal medicine, UCSD
  • Keith Jenne, DVM, Associate Director, Animal Care Program. Primate, aquatic animal medicine, clinical medicine, UCSD
  • Alice Smith, DVM, Associate Director - Health Services, Animal Care Program, Clinical medicine and surgery, preventive medicine programs, UCSD
  • Jennifer L. Fujimoto, DVM, DACVA.  Veterinary anesthesiology, laboratory animal medicine, UCSD
  • Marilyn Torchia, DVM, Director, Animal Welfare Program, Regulatory affairs, laboratory animal medicine, UCSD
  • Karen Clingerman, MS, DVM, DACLAM. Associate Clinical Veterinarian, The Scripps Research Institute.  Small animal veterinary clinical medicine, laboratory animal medicine
  • Jeetendra Eswaraka, DVM, PhD, DACLAM. Associate Director Global Science & Technology, and Veterinary Science & Technology, Pfizer Inc. La Jolla Laboratories
  • Elizabeth W. Ford, DVM, MPVM, DACLAM, Senior Director, The Scripps Research Institute
  • Karol Godwin, DVM, Director, Pfizer Inc., La Jolla Laboratories
  • Mathias Leblanc, DVM, PhD, DES, DACLAM,  Assistant Director, Animal Resources, The Salk Institute
  • Jon Reuter, MPVM, DVM, DACLAM, Senior Director, Animal Resources, The Salk Institute
  • Roger Geertsema, DVM, DACLAM,  Director, University Laboratory Animal Resources, UC Irvine
  • Judy St. Leger, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Pathologist, Sea World, Inc
  • Ilse Stalis, DVM, DACVP, Senior Pathologist, Wildlife Diseases Laboratory Institute for Conservation Research, Zoological Society of San Diego
  • Cynthia Smith, DVM, Executive Director for the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF)
  • Nikou Hessami, DVM, PhD, VP of Technical Operations, Molecular Diagnostic Services, Inc.
  • Jeetendra Eswaraka, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, Associate Director Global Science and Technology, and Veterinary Science and Technology, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
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  • Kim E. Barrett, PhD, Epithelial transport and barrier function
  • John Chang, MD, T cell biology in inflammatory bowel disease
  • Don Cleveland, PhD, Neuropathology
  • Sheila E. Crowe, MD, Oxidative stress in gastrointestinal infections
  • Pieter Dorrestein, PhD, Mass spectrometry based methods to study disease in animals
  • Lars Eckmann, PhD, Cytokine responses in mucosal immunity
  • Santiago Horgan, MD, Techniques for the Future of Surgery
  • Michael Karin, PhD, Molecular biology of inflammation and cancer
  • Robert Mattrey, MD, Imaging
  • Sharon Reed, MD, Mucosal immunity to Entamoeba histolytica
  • Sam Ridgway, DVM, PhD, Marine mammal neurobiology research
  • Jesus Rivera-Nieves, MD, Pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Ajit Varki, MD, PhD, Glycobiology and evolution in nonhuman primates
  • Tony Yaksh, PhD, Pain research and comparative anesthesiology