David Steffen

David Steffen, professor, UNL School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Work willingly whatever you do, as though you are working for the Lord. -- Col 3:23

Faculty Profile


Dr. Steffen provides top quality pathology services to researchers across campus and clients statewide. Dr. Steffen also serves as faculty section head for quality assurance and accreditation in the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center. In addition to bovine pathology and research interest, Dr. Steffen also has a strong interest in feline diseases and works closely with local specialist to investigate difficult cases.

Dr. Steffen is a national resource for investigating genetic and congenital disorders in cattle. His research for industry has contributed to over 65% of the genetic disorders tested for commercially in beef cattle and several disorders in dairy cattle. His current research projects will add three new disorders to the list.

Dr. Steffen collaborates with many UNL scientist on studies in viral pathogenesis including BVDV, PRRS, SIV, and Zika. Dr. Steffen has collaborated on proprietary studies with local industry on viral and bacterial vaccines in cats, dogs and cattle leading to licensure or expanded label claims for products. Dr. Steffen also provides pathology support for comparative biomedical research on immune pathogenesis of cardiac and neurologic diseases.


  • Ph.D., Kansas State University, 1991
  • D.V.M., Iowa State University, 1987
  • B.S. in Animal Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1983
  • Board Certification, American College of Veterinary Pathologists, 1993

Professional Responsibilities and Activities

  • Associate Editor: Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigations (12 years) (10/1996 - 10/2013)

  • Partial List:
  • AAVLD (American Association Of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians) Executive Board, 01/2005 - 01/2007 (3 years)
  • AAVLD Executive Committee, 2007-2010 (4 years)
  • AAVLD President, 2009
  • AAVLD Pathology Committee (23 years)
  • AAVLD- Constitution and Bylaws Committee (15 years)
  • AAVLD Publications Committee (15 years, chair 6 years, Web editor 5 years)
  • School of Veterinary Medicine Peer review committee Chair 2019-2022
  • UNL Academic standards committee (2010-2017)
  • Faculty Senate Executive committee (2014-2017)
  • School of Veterinary Medicine and biomedical sciences various search committees and curriculum committee.


Refereed Journal Articles 2021 (4)

Recent Publications:

Lasrado N, Gangaplara A, Massilamany C, Arumugam R, Shelbourn A, Rasquinha MT, Basavalingappa RH, Delhon G, Xiang SH, Pattnaik AK, Steffen D, Reddy J. Attenuated strain of CVB3 with a mutation in the CAR-interacting region protects against both myocarditis and pancreatitis. 2021 Jun 14; Sci Rep. 11(1):12432. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-90434-w. PMID: 34127684.

Lasrado N, Arumugam R, Rasquinha MT, Sur M, Steffen D, Reddy J. Mt10-CVB3 Vaccine Virus Protects against CVB4 Infection by Inducing Cross-Reactive, Antigen-Specific Immune Responses. 2021 Nov 10 Microorganisms.;9(11):2323. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms 9112323. PMID: 34835449.

Al-Khudhair A, Null DJ, Cole JB, Wolfe CW, Steffen DJ, VanRaden PM. Inheritance of a mutation causing neuropathy with splayed forelimbs in Jersey cattle.2021 Dec 23: J Dairy Sci. S0022-0302(21)01053-5. doi: 10.3168/jds.2021-20600. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34955244

Alexa M Barber, Alyssa Helms, Riley Thompson, Brian K Whitlock, David J Steffen, Jessica L Petersen, Whole-genome sequencing to investigate a possible genetic basis of perosomus elumbis in a calf resulting from a consanguineous mating. December 2021 Translational Animal Science, Volume 5, Issue Supplement_S1, , Pages S1–S5,

2020 (6)

Renae L Sieck 1, Anna M Fuller 1, Patrick S Bedwell 2, Jack A Ward 2, Stacy K Sanders 2, Shi-Hua Xiang 3, Sichong Peng 4, Jessica L Petersen 1, David J Steffen Mandibulofacial Dysostosis Attributed to a Recessive Mutation of CYP26C1 in Hereford Cattle 3Genes (Basel). 2020 Oct 22;11(11):1246. doi: 10.3390/genes11111246. PMID: 33105751

Basavalingappa RH, Arumugam R, Lasrado N, Yalaka B, Massilamany C, Gangaplara A, Riethoven JJ, Xiang SH, Steffen D, Reddy J. Viral myocarditis involves the generation of autoreactive T cells with multiple antigen specificities that localize in lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs in the mouse model of CVB3 infection. Mol Immunol. 2020 Aug;124:218-228. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2020.06.017. Epub 2020 Jun 29. PMID: 32615275

Chaudhari J, Liew CS, Workman AM, Riethoven JM, Steffen D, Sillman S, Vu HLX. Host Transcriptional Response to Persistent Infection with a Live-Attenuated Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Strain. Viruses. 2020 Jul 28;12(8):817. doi: 10.3390/v12080817. PMID: 32731586

Helms AB, Thompson RE, Lawton S, Petersen JL, Watson A, Sula MJ, Steffen D, Whitlock BK. Uterine Torsion Dystocia Complicated by Perosomus Elumbis in an Angus Calf Associated with a Consanguineous Mating. Case Rep Vet Med. 2020 Feb 10;2020:6543037. doi: 10.1155/2020/6543037. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32095313

Book chapters (4)

Barletta, R., Steffen, D. J. (2013)(2022). Mycobacterium. In Veterinary Microbiology., D. Scott McVey, Melissa Kennedy and M. M. Chengappa (Ed.), (3rd ed., pp. 270-278).(4th ed.) Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.

Huston K, Saperstein G and Steffen DJ Visible Trait Defects in Cattle in Mendelian inheritance in cattle 2000, EAAP Publication No. 101, 2000, Wageningen Press, Wageningen, Netherlands


  • Steffen, D. J. (Principal Investigator), Bequest, "American Simmental Association - Congenital defects quality assurance consulting. American Simmental Association $2,500
  • Reddy J, Kievit F. Steffen D.,Trained Immunity in the Prevention of Viral Myocarditis and Pancreatitis, DHHS-NIAID, Federal, Award Number: 1 R21 AI166773-01 Ag Research Division (IANR) Awarded: 12/12/2021 Awarded Period: 11/01/2021 - 10/31/2022 Award amount, $217,570
  • Petersen, J. (Principal Investigator), Steffen, D. (Investigator), "Hereford Genetics," Sponsored by American Hereford Association, $13,450 (2019 - 2020).

    Increased funding in 2020 for MFD investigation of additional $13,620 extended funding to 2021.
  • Barletta, R. (Principal Investigator), Steffen, D. (Investigator), Topliff, C., "NE1201 Mycobacterial Diseases of Animals: Development and Testing of a Safe and Effective One-health DIVA Vaccine against Bovine Tuberculosis and Johnes Disease," Sponsored by Internal IANR, $330,553 (2017 - 2022)
  • Reddy, J. (Principal Investigator), Steffen, D. (Investigator), Kidambi, S., "Vaccine for Coxsackievirus Strains," Sponsored by American Heart Association, Associations/Foundations, $300,000. (2018 - 2021).
  • Reddy, J. (Principal Investigator), Steffen, D. (Investigator), Kievit, F., "TCR Transgenic Mice," Sponsored by DHHS-NIAID, Federal, $183,198 (2020)
  • Steffen, D. (Principal Investigator), "Angus Genetics QA," Sponsored by American Angus Association, Associations/Foundations, extension to 2023 balance $13,330

Awards and Honors

  • 2019 - E.P. Pope award AAVLD North America highest award for National contribution to advancing veterinary diagnostic medicine
  • 2019 - Co-author J Vet Diagn Invest best manuscript award 2012 Award from UNL parents association for positive impact on students
  • 2009 - Industry Service Award, Awarding organization: American Red Angus Association: Recognition of untiring research and contributions towards Improving the reliability of Red Angus genetics


4040 East Campus Loop North
Lincoln, NE 68583-0907


100% Service

Research Areas

  • Pathology
  • Veterinary Diagnostics

Professional Interests

  • Infectious diseases pathogensis immunopathology and inherited diseases of cattle
  • Provide anatomic pathology clinical services to veterinarians, livestock producers and animal owners statewide and continuing education presentations related to animal diagnostics, and inherited diseases

Professional Society Memberships

  • American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians