New Faculty Members
This fall, the MU College of Veterinary Medicine welcomes one new faculty member to the Department of Biomedical Sciences and 10 new members to the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (VMS).
Shawn Bender, PhD
Shawn Bender, PhD, is the newest biomedical sciences faculty member. In addition to being an assistant professor in the department, Bender has an appointment as a research health scientist at the Truman Veterans Hospital.
Bender earned a PhD in physiology at Ohio University before coming to the CVM as a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical sciences. In 2011, he joined the MU School of Medicine as a research assistant professor in the Department of Medicine.
Bender’s primary research interest is understanding the mechanisms underlying coronary blood flow regulation and what contributes to the impairment of coronary blood flow regulation in obesity and diabetes. His research utilizes cell culture and molecular techniques, tissue culture techniques and whole animal experiments, allowing an integrative approach to hypothesis testing.
In addition to research, Bender’s duties will include teaching veterinary pharmacology.
“I’m a detail-oriented person who enjoys science, so academic research was a pretty natural fit,” he said. “I enjoy the process of discovery in research and how unexpected or paradoxical results often end up being the most exciting. I also enjoy sharing my passion about science with students and engaging them with real-world applications of what they’re learning.”
Megan DuHadway, DVM
Megan DuHadway, DVM, has joined VMS as a clinical instructor of small animal emergency and critical care.
DuHadway earned her doctor of veterinary medicine degree at MU. She then completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at North Carolina State University and a residency in emergency and critical care medicine at Michigan State University.
DuHadway said she was happy to return to MU.
“It’s exciting to see some of the changes that have been made,” she said, such as updated buildings and technological equipment.
Her duties will involve predominantly clinical work with some research and teaching responsibilities. In addition to working with patients, DuHadway is excited about the opportunity to work on the forefront of research and teaching.
“I like working with the next generation of veterinarians,” she said. “I’m excited to work with students, interns and residents. I love the collaborative approach at universities.”
DuHadway has three pets: a Newfoundland, a fox terrier and a cat. In her free time she enjoys being active, especially running and hiking, and she is hoping to devote time soon to planning her wedding and learning to cook.
Colleen Koch, DVM
As a veterinarian, Colleen Koch, DVM, loves that each day brings new challenges and opportunities to help her patients. She is joining VMS as a resident in veterinary behavior at the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care facility in Wentzville. She works with patients who exhibit problematic behavior to identify the causes and develop behavior modification programs. She sees a variety of species, including dogs, cats, horses, birds and pigs.
“I love helping owners reconnect with their pets and animals, helping to re-establish their bond and improve their relationship,” she said. “Relieving the suffering that the animal is feeling results in an improved quality of life for everyone.”
Koch earned her DVM at the University of Illinois, where she later completed the executive veterinary program. A graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, Koch is pursuing a residency program that leads to board certification in veterinary behavior through the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.
“It is my hope to not only help my patients but also educate owners and other animal care professionals to identify individuals in their care that need appropriate behavior intervention early — ideally, keeping these pets in their homes, facilitating medical and husbandry needs in such a way that is stress- and fear-free for everyone,” she said.
Koch co-owns Lincoln Land Animal Clinic in central Illinois with her husband, who is also a veterinarian. She has two daughters and two dogs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading, gardening and photography.
Jill Luther, DVM, MS
Jill Luther, DVM, MS, loves the tangible nature of surgery.
“You can often see immediate improvement in a patient’s quality of life following a surgical procedure,” she said.
Luther, who has joined VMS as an assistant teaching professor of small animal surgery, said the ability to influence future veterinarians drew her to pursuing an academic career.
“The people who have made the most impact in my life were those mentors who saw the potential that I could go out and make a difference,” she said. “I want to perpetuate that mentorship ripple effect.”
Luther completed her DVM, MS and a residency in small animal surgery at MU. Before returning this fall, she worked as an associate surgeon at Midwest Veterinary Referral Center in Chesterfield.
“When I made the decision to return to an academic career, it made sense to go back to an institution I already knew and respected,” she said. “There are many exciting things going on in the CVM and in general at MU. Of course, my husband and I both love Columbia and are excited to raise our family here.”
Luther’s primary responsibility will be training students, interns and residents in soft tissue surgery. Her interests include minimally invasive surgical techniques, hepatobiliary surgery and oncologic surgery.
Luther’s family includes her husband, two children, a cocker spaniel and two cats.
Charles Maitz, DVM, PhD
Charles Maitz, DVM, PhD, has joined VMS as an assistant professor of radiation oncology. He holds a joint position with the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiology and the International Institute of Nano and Molecular Medicine.
“My favorite thing about radiation oncology is that it is sort of a hybrid of biology and engineering, where we have the ability to use state-of-the-art equipment and technology to directly treat cancer,” Maitz said. “It is the ability to be constantly learning and staying on the cutting edge of discovery that draws me to radiation oncology.”
Although a portion of his time will be devoted to clinical work, Maitz will spend most of it continuing his research on boron neutron capture therapy of cancer.
He earned his DVM at MU before completing a residency in radiation oncology and a PhD in radiochemistry at MU.
“I like to think that this makes me a good example of the Mizzou Advantage,” he said. “Not only does my research and training cross between the veterinary school, the medical school, the MU Research Reactor and the Department of Chemistry, but I am also a home-grown product of the University of Missouri.”
In addition to being appointed the chapter adviser of the Beta Beta Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity at MU, Maitz recently passed his certifying exam to become a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiologists in the subspecialty of radiation oncology.
Hans Rindt, PhD
Hans Rindt, PhD, has joined VMS as a research associate in the Comparative Internal Medicine Laboratory.
His duties will be split between research with Associate Professor Carol Reinero, DVM, PhD, and with Associate Professor Jeff Bryan, DVM, PhD. Reinero’s research focuses on feline asthma, and Bryan’s addresses oncology, including efforts to identify how spontaneous tumors arise and ways to treat them.
Rindt will have the opportunity to work with residents, veterinary students and undergraduates in the lab, something he said he looks forward to.
“It’s gratifying to see how someone picks things up and develops interest in research,” he said.
Rindt said he enjoys the hands-on work of doing experiments, optimizing protocols and even “failing miserably and trying again.”
Rindt completed a PhD in biology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Before joining VMS, he worked for nine years at MU as a research assistant professor at the CVM, first in the laboratory of biomedical sciences Professor Richard Tsika, PhD, and later in the laboratory of veterinary pathobiology Professor Christian Lorson, PhD.
In addition to reading, Rindt loves cats. He volunteers and fosters cats for Columbia animal rescue organization Second Chance.
Joshua Schaeffer, DVM
Joshua Schaeffer, DVM, has joined VMS as a clinical instructor of food animal medicine and surgery.
Originally from near Oregon, Missouri, Shaeffer grew up on a small family farm.
“I have lived in Missouri my whole life and am very proud of our state,” he said. “I enjoy that my job plays a role — usually small — in supporting the diverse and successful Missouri agriculture.”
Schaeffer’s new position involves collaborating with students on veterinary farm calls to provide care at both the individual and herd levels, including sick animal work, outbreak investigations and herd health. He said he enjoys training students and finds fulfillment in watching them enter into productive practice. In addition, he appreciates the ability to help producers increase their productivity and profitability while providing safe quality products.
“This is not only for them, but for our state and country as well,” he said. “American agriculture is a key component to our national security.”
Schaeffer’s main interest is swine health and production, and he is interested in developing herd health and biosecurity plans.
“This is an excellent way to prevent disease and increase the profitability of the operation for the producer,” he said.
Schaeffer completed his veterinary education, a rotating food animal internship and a production medicine residency at MU. He recently finished coursework at the university for a master of public health degree.
Eva Ulery, DVM
For as long as she can remember, Eva Ulery, DVM, has been interested in working with animals. As a first-grader, she discovered a kitten in her aunt and uncle’s barn and carried him home in her pocket to keep him warm. In high school and college, her teachers fostered her interests in biology and medicine.
“Becoming a veterinarian was an easy decision for me,” she said.
Ulery has joined VMS as a clinical instructor in community practice and shelter medicine.
She earned her DVM at Iowa State University, interned in Connecticut and then worked as an associate veterinarian in Connecticut and Chicago.
Ulery said her teaching goals involve empowering students and preparing them for small animal general practice. Her interests include dentistry, medicine and spaying and neutering.
Allison Wara, DVM
Allison Wara, DVM, was first drawn to veterinary medicine because of her love for animals and science.
“Although my love for animals was my initial motivator, I have since found this profession very rewarding because of the opportunity to also help people,” she said.
Wara has joined VMS as a clinical instructor of veterinary nutrition. She will direct the new ReNu Clinic, a combined nutrition and rehabilitation/physical therapy clinic for the treatment of companion animal obesity and to optimize patient outcomes after surgery or illness.
As the director for the ReNu Clinic, Wara will coordinate day-to-day activities with other specialty services and establish clinic protocols. She also will be involved in the clinical instruction of third- and fourth-year veterinary students, nutritional consulting for internal and external cases, clinical practice and research.
Her research interests include feline diabetes and obesity in canines and felines.
Wara earned her DVM at Atlantic Veterinary College in Canada and completed a residency in small animal clinical nutrition at MU.
She has a 3-year-old female Greater Swiss Mountain Dog named Regan and two cats that she said have finally managed to forgive her after an 18-hour car ride from Ottawa. In her free time she enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, hiking and skiing, as well as visual arts such as painting and drawing.
Dorothy Whelchel, DVM, MS
Dorothy Whelchel, DVM, MS, has joined VMS as an assistant teaching professor of equine medicine.
Whelchel, who has been riding horses since age 11, said she became interested in veterinary medicine in high school after her horse had an episode of colic that required surgery.
“As I watched the veterinary specialist evaluate my horse, take him to surgery and ensure his recovery, I was amazed by the whole process,” she said. “I think this was the moment I knew I wanted to pursue a career as an equine veterinarian.”
Originally from Atlanta, Whelchel earned her master’s and DVM degrees at the University of Georgia in Athens, where she completed a residency in large animal medicine. Before coming to MU, Whelchel worked in private practice in South Carolina for three years as an equine ambulatory practitioner and equine internal medicine specialist. She is board-certified in large animal internal medicine by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
As an assistant teaching professor, Whelchel’s duties will include teaching fourth-year veterinary students on their clinical rotations, caring for sick horses in the equine clinic and providing routine care for ambulatory clients. Her clinical interests include equine infectious diseases, respiratory diseases, endocrine diseases, cardiology and neonatology, as well as ambulatory medicine.
In addition to riding horses, Whelchel enjoys bike riding and hiking.
Jennifer Willcox, DVM
Jennifer Willcox, DVM, a clinical instructor of oncology in VMS, always knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. It was during an internship, however, that she discovered her love for working in oncology.
Willcox earned her DVM at The Ohio State University. After internships in California and Florida and a bone marrow transplant fellowship at North Carolina State University, she completed her residency in medical oncology at North Carolina State University. She is board-certified in oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
Willcox’s duties primarily will involve clinical work, though 25 percent of her time will be devoted to research and teaching. Her clinical interests include lymphoma and leukemia, and her research interests include translational medicine and clinical trials.
Although Willcox mostly has lived in urban areas, she’s excited about living in Columbia and calls it “a neat little gem of a town.” In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, yoga and gardening and hopes to learn to play the guitar soon. She has a cat named Theo Huxtable.
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