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Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer awards first fellowship

The Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer in the College of Veterinary Medicine has awarded The Speaker Mike Hubbard Fellowship in Cancer Research at Auburn University to graduate student Farruk Kabir.

As the first Mike Hubbard Fellow in Cancer Research, Kabir will continue his research in the Molecular Genetics Laboratory studying the mutations that cause breast cancer. 

“Mr. Kabir’s ultimate goal is to contribute to the advancement of genetic studies of breast cancer, focusing on defects in genes that normally suppress cancer cell growth and on recently discovered small regulatory RNA molecules that can also suppress cancer growth,” said AURIC Director Bruce Smith. “He is pursuing his work by studying breast cancer in dogs, a disease that is nearly identical to breast cancer in women.” 

The endowed fund was created to provide support to an outstanding student pursuing a doctoral degree in cancer research. The offices of the associate deans for research in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Harrison School of Pharmacy also contributed to the fellowship which provides one year of stipend support. The fellowship is renewable for up to three years; however, renewal is competitive, and demonstration of progress toward the graduate degree and continued work in cancer research is required.

A native of Bangladesh, Kabir earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Dhaka. Upon graduation, he joined the prestigious International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh, an international health research organization which addresses critical global health concerns.

In 2009, he was admitted to the Cellular and Molecular Biosciences interdisciplinary graduate program at Auburn University. He is currently enrolled in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. R. Curtis Bird, director of the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, is Kabir’s research mentor.

The College of Veterinary Medicine launched AURIC as a new initiative aimed at accelerating cancer innovation from the laboratory to the clinic in March 2012. The initiative embodies “One Medicine” – the concept that sees human and animal health as a single field where discoveries in one species advance health in both species. The Speaker Mike Hubbard Fellowship in Cancer Research at Auburn University was named for Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn who was instrumental in establishing AURIC.

“Tiger” recovering from cataract surgery

War Eagle VI has regained her eagle eye. Surgeons at Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine removed a cataract from the golden eagle in mid-December.

In the month since the surgery, recovery has gone well for the eagle also known as Tiger, who at 33 has surpassed the average age for her species.

"The decision to perform surgery in Tiger was a difficult one because cataract surgery has not been performed in many eagles, and especially one of her age," said Dr. Jamie Bellah, head of the Department of Clinical Sciences and director of the Southeastern Raptor Center. "We were unsure what the visual outcome would be.  In the weeks following the surgery, Tiger has healed very well and appears to have regained vision on her right side.  Before cataract removal, she would not respond to people and objects on her right, and would turn her head to look with her left eye.  Now she is very aware of anything approaching her on her right side. We are very pleased with Tiger's results."

Compared to the one that was removed, the left cataract has been developing very slowly.

Removing the cataract required a team of veterinary ophthalmologists and anesthesiologists. Dr. Katie Diehl and Dr. Meredith Voyles led the surgical effort, and Dr. Jacob Johnson was the anesthesiologist.

"The ophthalmic surgery and the anesthesia are technically difficult, and our veterinary specialists and staff did an exceptional job caring for her," Bellah said.

Tiger was on her feet the evening of the surgery and has since been flying in her aviary as recovery continues.

In the weeks to come, Raptor Center educators hope to have Tiger back in front of audiences interested in learning about birds of prey and wildlife conservation.

"We do hundreds of shows each year and display many, many birds," said Raptor Education Specialist Marianne Hudson, "but the one most people ask about and are familiar with is Tiger. She has been a big part of this university for a long time."

Tiger, who is also known as War Eagle VI, came to Auburn in 1986 and was the first of Auburn's eagles to fly freely in Jordan-Hare Stadium. At the Georgia game in November 2006, she made her last stadium flight and is now "retired." Golden Eagle Nova was then inaugurated as War Eagle VII.

NOTE: For downloadable images of Tiger and a video, to

Junior classroom dedicated in memory of Dr. Bill Crum

On January 11, the College of Veterinary Medicine held a recognition event in honor of Dr. J.B. “Bill” Crum (1925-2003). The college, along with the Crum and Peterson families, dedicated the junior classroom in the Overton educational wing in memory of Dr. Crum, a 1946 graduate.

While at Auburn, Dr. Crum was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Psi veterinary fraternity, Blue Key Honor Society, and Spade honorary.

Upon graduation, Dr. Crum served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, and married his college sweetheart Betty McLaughlin (Auburn 1949).

Dr. Crum founded the Bartow (Florida) Animal Hospital in 1949 and was recognized as one of the most influential large animal veterinarians in the state of Florida. He served as mayor of Bartow for many years and was involved in numerous charitable and philanthropic activities in south central Florida.

Dr. Crum lived a life devoted to others and he made a positive impact on all who met him.

In recognition of a life well lived, his wife Betty, his sons Stephen and John, his daughter Sharon, and his son-in-law Bruce Peterson dedicated the classroom in his honor. 

Boshell Diabetes Research Day is March 1

Auburn University holds the sixth annual Boshell Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases Research Day on Friday, March 1, at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, bringing together experts from around the U.S. to present current topics related to diabetes and the role of obesity in its development.

The meeting features research presentations throughout the day and evening.

  • Morris White, Harvard Medical School professor of pediatrics and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will talk about hepatic insulin resistance and metabolic disease in the keynote presentation. White investigates the molecular basis of insulin signal transduction to understand the pathophysiology of diabetes and other disorders, including obesity, and cardiovascular and retinal diseases.
  • Anthony Ferrante, Dorothy and Daniel Silberberg Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University, will speak on the role of macrophages (cells) in obesity and weight loss.
  • Auburn University football great and two-time Super Bowl champion Kendall Simmons is the banquet speaker.  After leaving Auburn in 2002, Simmons was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, or in his case, type 1.5 or LADA – latent autoimmune diabetes in adulthood. Today Simmons travels the country promoting diabetes awareness, research, and advocacy.

Registration for Research Day is $75 for Boshell program members and $125 for nonmembers.  Students and postdoctoral fellows may attend at no cost. 

The evening banquet with Kendall Simmons is open to the public, but seating is limited.  Tickets are $35 per person.  For information, a meeting schedule, and to purchase tickets online, visit

CVM Orientation

New employees who attended the orientation session in December were:

  • Andrew Hopkins, raptor specialist, Southeastern Raptor Center, Clinical Sciences blond
  • Kayla Schuran, large/small animal technician, Clinical Sciences
  • Jill Narak, assistant professor, Clinical Sciences
  • Randy Darnton, clinical veterinary fellow, Equine Source Plasma Project

Employees attending the January orientation session were:

Front row -

  • Melaney Jones, research assistant, Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology
  • Stephanie Ostrowski, associate professor, Pathobiology
  • Alyssa Reed, surgical services technician, Clinical Sciences

Back row -

  • SeungWoo Jung, assistant professor, Clinical Sciences
  • Kelly Foltz, large/small animal technician, Clinical Sciences

January 2013

Upcoming Events

Feb. 7

  • Effective Communication for Health Care Professionals
  • 6 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Overton Auditorium

Feb. 16-17

  • Managing the Oncology Patient Together

Feb. 25

  • American Red Cross Blood Drive
  • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Overton

March 1

  • Boshell Diabetes Research Day
  • Hotel at Auburn University

April 1-4

  • Research Week
  • Various Locations

April 4-6

  • 106th Annual Conference

April 20

  • Open House

Ya-Xiong Tao edits third book published by Academic Press

Ya-Xiong Tao, an associate professor of physiology in Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, has edited a third book in the well-known series Progress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science published by Academic Press, an imprint of Elsevier. Reviews in the volume "G Protein-Coupled Receptors in Energy Homeostasis and Obesity Pathogenesis" summarize current status in studies of a number of G protein-coupled receptors that were shown to be promising targets for obesity treatments.

Obesity is an epidemic with enormous health, economic and social burdens. Current drugs for obesity treatment are far from ideal in terms of efficacy and side effects. For more information, visit the Elsevier Store website.

Pathobiology resident receives scholarship award

Joanna Hyland, a graduate teaching assistant and a resident in anatomic pathology in the Department of Pathobiology, is the recipient of the Charles Louis Davis, D.V.M. Foundation Student Scholarship Award. The American College of Veterinary Pathologists presented Dr. Hyland the award in December at its annual meeting in Seattle, Washington. The award is given to a resident or graduate student of an institutional member who has displayed superior scholarship, leadership, research ability and/or diagnostic skills. 

Joanna Hyland is shown with Dr. Calvin Johnson who is head of the Department of Pathobiology and an ACVP diplomate.

Research Week returns April 1-4

Research Week: the time of year when Auburn University recognizes students, faculty, departments, schools, and others for their cutting-edge scholarly and creative research activity. Its mission is to bring together diverse groups of constituencies to share and further scholarly and creative research work and highlight some of the best innovations.

  • To participate, graduate students had to submit and an abstract by Feb. 1. All other participants must register by Feb. 15.

For information, registration, a schedule of events, and promotional materials, visit Research Week 2013.

CVM Fitness Program

  • Reduces the risk of developing diabetes
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones
  • Promotes psychological well-being

. . . three reasons to begin an exercise program and three of many reasons to become an active participant in the college’s fitness program. Open to faculty, staff, and spouses, CVM program activities can be tailored to fit your needs. Katherine Bledsoe is the program coordinator. For more information see the brochure and class schedule.

Blood drive Feb. 25 in Overton Lobby

An American Red Cross blood drive will be held Monday, Feb. 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Overton Common Area Lobby. A photo ID or donor card is required to donate. All volunteer donors will be entered into a drawing to win a $1,000 home improvement gift card. For more information, go to the website

Retirement reception held

Elizabeth Whatley, lead medical technologist in the Department of Pathobiology’s Clinical Pathology Laboratory, retired Dec. 31. She had served 32 years at Auburn University with 30 in the College of Veterinary Medicine. At her retirement reception on Dec. 18, Elizabeth said she looks forward to spending time with her family and her church family, and to extending her ministry with them. 

Congratulations to...

  • Dr. Tekla Lee-Fowler (Clinical Sciences) and her husband Brandon on the birth of their daughter, Avery Jade Fowler, who was born Dec. 21 (7 lbs., 10 oz., 19.5 inches). 
  • Dr. Sara-Louise Newcomer (Clinical Sciences) whose title was changed to assistant clinical professor in community practice. Dr. Newcomer will also play a major role in the development of instructional components of clinical communication and teaching the subject within the professional curriculum. 
  • Dr. Ellen Behrend (Clinical Sciences) who has been appointed to the Morris Animal Foundation’s Small Animal Scientific Advisory Board. As a board member, she will join other elite animal health scientists who donate their time to review hundreds of requests for animal health study funding received each year. 


The college has launched a Fan Page on Facebook. Search for "Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine."

You must be a Facebook user to view our page. To post CVM news, upcoming events, honorary awards, grant awards, etc. (with photographs), please send your information to Tara Lanier.

Veterinary Medicine Tweets News

Make the College of Veterinary Medicine part of your Twitter feed. Keep up to date on the latest information and events by following the college @AuburnVetMed on Twitter. On Facebook search for “Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.”


Did you get married, have a baby, win a teaching award, receive a grant for a study, publish your work in a professional journal, or, do you have immediate family serving in the U.S. Military? @the CVM is a monthly e-newsletter for faculty and staff and we would like to hear from you! Please send information to, 105 Greene Hall.

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