Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) today announced the launch of four research centers created to support the university’s mission to provide students with a research-informed educational experience.

The launch of each center follows a successful period of strategic planning and the recruitment of internationally recognized experts to lead the centers. Under the leadership of Dr. Elaine D. Watson, dean of RUSVM, the university’s faculty and administration have refined RUSVM’s research vision.

“RUSVM is positioned to play an important role in the challenges facing veterinarians in the mid-21 st century: food security and emerging infectious diseases,” said Watson. “These new centers are a critical component of our mission to educate the next generation of veterinarians, while improving the health of people, animals and the environment in the Caribbean region and beyond.”

Watson added that RUSVM, with its campus located in St. Kitts, West Indies, is in an environment rich in research opportunities. “Tropical countries are particularly vulnerable to emerging and re-emerging infectious agents due to climatic and environmental changes, increased international travel, drug resistance, and geographic position,” she said.

See below for an overview of the research centers and directors:
  • The One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine explores a variety of research methods, from the laboratory to the field, to investigate issues concerning emerging infectious diseases; viral diseases; bacterial, parasitic and neglected endemic zoonotic diseases; and vector-borne diseases.

Director: A. Lee Willingham, BSc, DVM, PhD, worked at the World Health Organization’s Special Program for Tropical Diseases Research and Training based in Geneva, Switzerland where he managed international research looking at the impact of environmental and climate change on vector-borne diseases.
  • The Center for Integrative Mammalian Research focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of diseases and the effects of therapies. Research programs through the center include anesthetics and pain management, animal models, immune regulation and reproduction.

Director: Sean Callanan, MVB, CertVR, MRCVS, PhD, FRCPath, DiplECVP, has focused much of his research on feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is recognized as a model for HIV infection in humans. His pioneering work includes collaborations with Trinity College Dublin on the evaluation of novel therapies for human neurodegenerative disorders.
  • The Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health focuses upon applied research, renewed advocacy, educational outreach and training, and evidence translation towards best practices and policy change as a fundamental basis for surveying and managing the health of populations, communities, and ecosystems.

Director: Charles E. Rupprecht, VMD, MS, PhD, is the former head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s rabies program and one of the founders of the Global Alliance for Rabies Control.
  • The Center for Research and Innovation in Veterinary and Medical Education promotes scholarly activity that encourages creativity and innovation in teaching and learning.

Director: Carmen Fuentealba, DVM, MSc, PhD, research experience includes the study of spontaneous diseases of public health importance, with particular emphasis on liver and kidney pathology.

About Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM), founded in 1982, is committed to preparing students to become members and leaders of the worldwide public and professional healthcare team and to advancing human and animal health (One Health Initiative) through research and knowledge exchange.

RUSVM offers postgraduate masters, PhD and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) programs accredited by the St. Christopher & Nevis Accreditation Board ( The DVM program holds accredited status from the American Veterinary Medical Association ( The RUSVM Veterinary Clinic is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (

RUSVM is a part of DeVry Education Group (NYSE: DV). For more information about RUSVM, visit

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