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College of Veterinary Medicine Remembers Dr. Nancy Cox

By Janet McCoy, 334/844-3698,

Auburn, Alabama —

Dr. Nancy Cox, director emeritus of the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Scott-Ritchey Research Center, died Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, following a lengthy illness.

Cox is being remembered by colleagues for her professional achievements and her warm and gentle spirit. A memorial service will be held Monday, Aug. 4, in Auburn.

Cox’s career embodied the principles of One Medicine, training as a faculty member at the University of Alabama-Birmingham before joining Auburn University, where she was a faculty member for more than 29 years at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine. While at Auburn, she also was director of the Scott-Ritchey Research Center, an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research program with a mission to conduct translational research to improve the health of dogs and cats and to communicate these findings to the clinical and scientific communities to facilitate their application.

Cox earned a bachelor’s degree and DVM from Texas A&M University. She interned at the Auburn University Small Animal Clinic, receiving her master’s degree from Auburn in 1975.

She was a small animal practitioner in Greenville, S.C., before joining the faculty of the Department of Comparative Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham as a clinical laboratory animal veterinarian. She served as director of the Experimental Animal Resources Program prior to entering a pathology training program jointly administered by UAB and Auburn University.

Dr. Cox was named a Fellow, Infectious Disease Training Grant at UAB, in 1984 and received her Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology (1987) from UAB.

Dr. Cox joined Auburn University in 1985, as a neuro-pathologist in the Scott-Ritchey Research Center. She served a stint as interim director of the Institute for Biological Detection Systems (now the Canine Detection and Research Institute.)

While a professor in the Department of Pathobiology, she taught veterinary neuroscience, nervous system and research problems in neuropathology. She mentored more than 15 Ph.D. students and more than 15 master’s students in neuropathology and comparative pathology.

Her extramural-funded research included 25 projects totaling $4.5 million, and focusing on:

  • Comparative pathology of inherited neurologic diseases of cats;
  • Contraceptive vaccine development- dogs, cats, feral swine;
  • Stem cell therapy; and
  • Gene therapy for inherited neurologic disease (GM1 and GM2 gangliosidoses).

She served a number of academic organizations, including president and other leadership roles of the Auburn Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; president and other leadership roles in Phi Zeta Epsilon Chapter; the Tay Sachs Gene Therapy Consortium; Women in Science and Engineering College of Veterinary Medicine’s Admissions and Standards Committee for 11 years, including three years as chair; and director of the Neurologic and Muscular Diseases Program at Scott-Ritchey.

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