New Director of School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


Dr. Donald L. Reynolds

Dr. Don Reynolds became the director of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences on Nov. 1, 2014. He also will serve as associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources for the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine.

Reynolds served as dean of Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada from 2008 to 2014. He also has served as associate dean for research and graduate studies at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Iowa State University, interim chairman of ISU's Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine and assistant director of ISU's Agricultural Experiment Station.

"We are excited to have Dr. Reynolds join our team and provide leadership for the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, direction to the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine and interaction with Nebraska's livestock industry," said Ronnie Green, Harlan vice chancellor of UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

"Dr. Reynolds' background as an administrator, teacher and scientist offers just the right mix to continue to build UNL's program," Green added.

Reynolds, an Ohio native, received his bachelor's, Ph.D. and DVM from The Ohio State University. "It's great to return to a major United States land-grant institution that serves such a prominent role in agriculture," said Reynolds. "It is the perfect fit for me. This opportunity feels familiar, but with a freshness and newness that is quite exciting."

McFee Takes on New Responsibilities

Dr. Renee McFeeDr. Renee McFee has assumed new responsibilities within the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine (PPVM). She now has full responsibility for teaching VMED 645 (Physiology I) and VMED 646 (Physiology II), and was also named coordinator of the PPVM.

In her new position as coordinator of the PPVM, Dr. McFee serves as chairperson of the PPVM Curriculum Committee, the PPVM Academic Standards Committee, the PPVM Scholarships and Awards Committee, and the PPVM Honor Board. She is also an Ex Officio member of the Nebraska Veterinary Student Admission Committee and a member of the Iowa State University CVM Curriculum Committee.

Grotelueschen Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Dale Grotelueschen

 Dr. Dale Grotelueschen was recognized and presented the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Schuyler Community Schools Foundation as a veterinary educator at the school's May commencement.

Next Spring Seminar: Feb. 2

Hiep Vu, research assistant professor in the UNL Nebraska Center for Virology, will present a seminar titled "Development of a Novel PRRSV Vaccine: A Computational Approach" Feb 2 at 4 p.m. in VBS 145.

PRRS remains one of the most economically important diseases of swine, in spite of the fact that PRRS vaccines have been in use for since 1994. Current PRRS vaccines are not adequately effective for control and eradication of PRRS. The substantial genetic variation among PRRSV strains represents a major obstacle for the development of a broadly protective vaccine. In this seminar, Vu will describe a novel approach to generate a PRRSV vaccine strain that could confer broad cross-protection against divergent PRRSV isolates.

Vu obtained a set of 60 non-redundant, full-genome sequences of type-II PRRSV. After that, he generated the consensus genome (designated as PRRSV-CON) by aligning the 60 PRRSV full-genome sequences followed by selecting the most common nucleotide found at each position of the alignment. The PRRSV-CON has the highest degree of sequence identity to the PRRSV field-isolates when compared to any current PRRS vaccine strains, both at the full-genome level and the individual gene level. Next, the PRRSV-CON genome was chemically synthesized and assembled into a bacterial plasmid under the control of the T7 promoter. The resulting PRRSV-CON cDNA clone is fully infectious. Viable virus is consistently produced after MARC-145 cells were transfected with the RNA transcript produced from the PRRSV-CON cDNA clone. Moreover, the PRRSV-CON virus replicates as efficiently as the prototype PRRSV strain FL12, both in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, primary infection of pigs with PRRSV-CON virus confers significantly broader protection than the prototype PRRSV strain FL12 when tested upon subsequent challenge with a third unrelated heterologous PRRSV strain. Collectively, the data demonstrate that the PRRSV-CON virus can serve as a potential vaccine candidate for the development of a novel PRRS vaccine with broader cross-protection.

View the 2015 Spring Seminar Series schedule.

Sigma Xi Outstanding Young Scientist Award given to Dr. Rodrigo Franco Cruz

Dr. Rodrigo Franco CruzDr. Rodrigo Franco Cruz was awarded the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Sigma Xi Outstanding Young Scientist Award at their annual banquet on May 1, 2014, in the UNL City Union.

Sigma Xi is the international Science and Engineering Honorary Research Society. Its programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise and honor scientific achievement.  Dr. Franco was cited for his achievements in determining how oxidative stress and redox signaling regulate neuronal cell injury or death associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease.  Dr. Franco investigates the molecular mechanisms involved in neuronal cell damage or toxicity induced by environmental toxicants such as pesticides. He is particularly focused on discovering how chemical signaling in reduction/oxidation reactions that lead to free radical formation causing damage or death in various cell and tissue types.

Dr. Cruz published over 16 peer-reviewed scientific research articles and two book chapters during the past four years. He and his postdoctoral fellows and graduate student present at several scientific meetings each year.  His research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the UNL Redox Biology Center, the UNL Agricultural Research Division and the UNL Office of Research and Economic Development.

Dr. Cruz serves on the editorial board of two scientific journals in the area of Environmental Toxicology (Chemico-Biological Interactions and Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods), serves as reviewer for many prestigious scientific journals, and recently co-chaired the Scientific Sessions "Mitochondrial Driven Mechanisms of Redox Signaling in Disease" at the 20th Annual Meeting of the Society for Free Radical Biology and Medicine, and the "Molecular mechanisms involved in neuro/glial toxicity: From oxidative stress to redox signal transduction" at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Society of Toxicology.  Dr. Cruz is an assistant professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and also a member of the Center for Redox Biology at UNL.

Dr. Rod Moxley, Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences has served as President of the UNL Chapter of Sigma Xi from 2013 to the present.



Rendering of Veterinary Diagnostic Center
Rendering of Veterinary Diagnostic Center.


New UNL Veterinary Diagnostic Center Update

Taken from October, 2014 News Clip

The Veterinary Diagnostic Center (VDC) is the only veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Nebraska that is accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), the USDA, and National Animal Health Laboratory System.  The VDC is responsible for the detection, prevention, surveillance, and understanding of disease conditions in Nebraska's human, domestic animal, and wildlife populations. The existing facility built in 1977 became the only full-service laboratory serving the entire state following the closing of the satellite laboratories in North Platte and Scottsbluff.   In 2007 and 2011, the AAVLD expressed concern regarding a number of issues, particularly biosafety and biosecurity levels.  Loss of accreditation would have significantly impacted the ability of the VDC to provide valid test results for Nebraska livestock producers that would be accepted by other state, federal, and international agencies.  In 2012, the Nebraska legislature appropriated $45.6 million for construction of a new veterinary laboratory and required that $4.15 million be raised from other sources.  Extramural funding for the VDC has been secured through the donations from private individuals, companies, Nebraska's agricultural commodity groups and various Nebraska livestock industries, particularly the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association.  The new VDC will address emerging bio-containment and bio-terrorism issues associated with livestock production and public health.  Improvements in diagnostic service and bio-security coupled with increased capacity for instruction, research, and public health initiatives will be employed in the new lab. Initial architectural plans for construction of the new building are scheduled to be presented to the Nebraska Board of Regents on October 31, 2014. Construction documents will be developed between November 3, 2014 and March, 2015. Bidding for construction of the new building is targeted for March, 2015, with construction to begin in April or May, 2015.  Building completion and occupancy is scheduled for June, 2017.

November 4 Update - The NU Board of Regents approved the final design plans for the new Veterinary Diagnostic Center at their October 31st meeting. Work will begin on developing construction documents.