One of the many strengths of the CMP is the sheer number of exceptional trainees. Anywhere from 10-12 veterinarians participate in the program at one time. This allows for mentoring, support and comradery between and amongst trainees who are at varying stages in their training. Trainees bring different experiences, viewpoints, strengths and knowledge to the program which allows for a rich and diverse educational experience.
Elizabeth Fiechter is a New Yorker, born and raised in Bellmore on Long Island – about a 40 minute train ride from NYC. She developed interests in research, teaching and leadership during her time in undergrad at the University of Connecticut and during a trip to South Africa. Elizabeth earned her DVM from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Her interest and motivation to pursue laboratory animal medicine grew during an LAM elective class in vet school as well as three externships during her clinical year; one of which was Mizzou’s CMP program. Her externships at the Mayo Clinic and Medtronic PRL further ignited her passion for the behavioral training and enrichment aspects of animal welfare. Her research interests include medical devices/biomedical engineering, orthopedics, stem cell and regenerative medicine, and animal behavior. During her free time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, playing piano, playing with her island dog, Achilles, going to the gym and designing tattoos.
Amy is originally from Imperial, Missouri, which is located just outside of St. Louis. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, where she majored in Biology and minored in chemistry. As her first experience with research, she volunteered in a lab studying gene regulation in filamentous cyanobacteria in the lab of Dr. Teresa Thiel. Amy then moved to Columbia, Missouri, and worked for a year as a Research Specialist at the University of Missouri, Columbia, studying motor neuron degeneration in inducible rodent models of motor neuron death under the mentorship of Dr. Nicole Nichols. Once accepted into veterinary school, she continued her studies in Dr. Nichols’ lab and participated in MU’s Veterinary Research Scholars Program (VRSP) for two consecutive summers. After graduating with her DVM and Phi Zeta Honors in 2023, Amy joined the University of Missouri Comparative Medicine Residency where she is currently a first-year resident. In her free time, Amy enjoys spending time at home with her husband Gary, her Pomeranian, and three cats. She also enjoys taking aerial skills/yoga classes at the local gym, taking care of her house plant collection, and playing video games.
Sam grew up in Frederick, Maryland where she enjoyed many an old bay blue crab. She first became interested in lab animal veterinary medicine in high school while investigating BRCA1 gene mutations in mouse models. She earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from Hood College before entering into the veterinary field as a technician for a general practitioner. After gaining experience in the field, she attended Ross University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. There she served as the University’s ASLAP chapter Vice President and volunteered as a student caretaker for the University vivarium. She completed her clinical year at the University of Missouri and externed in Dr. Aaron Ericsson’s lab studying the differences in ileal gene expression associated with the bile acid metabolites in GM1 and GM4 mice. Sam graduated from Ross with highest honors in January 2023. Afterward, she began work as a general practitioner before joining University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Residency Program. Outside of work, Sam enjoys playing soccer and video games, reading a good book, or watching TV and movies. She has two cats, Yam and Moscato. Yam is a calico with a head tilt that was rescued from the streets, and Mo is a shy Tortie who was adopted from the research colony.
Trevor was born and raised in the heart of Silicon Valley – San Jose, California. He earned a B.S. in Zoology from San Francisco State University. While at SFSU, he worked as an undergraduate researcher in an avian parasitology lab and discovered an interest in infectious disease research. However, he wanted to better understand how to lessen the burden of infectious diseases in humans, so he attended UC Berkeley to earn an MPH immediately after graduating from SFSU. He discovered the concept of One Health at UC Berkeley and realized that veterinary medicine and human health are intertwined. That recognition and his interests in zoonoses, antimicrobial resistance, and food safety led him to pursue a DVM at Western University of Health Sciences. He participated in summer research opportunities during his first two years around those interests. However, Trevor realized that laboratory animal medicine met his goals of promoting animal and human health during his third-year lab animal rotation. The year after graduation he spent some time as a general practice relief veterinarian before joining the MU Comparative Medicine Program. In his free time, Trevor enjoys spending time with his wife and son watching TV/movies and playing video games as well as playing table-top board games and fantasy football.
Maggie grew up in Americus, Georgia. During high school she developed an interest in veterinary medicine and began her undergraduate studies at Georgia Southwestern State University. Maggie continued her studies in Animal and Dairy Sciences at Mississippi State University, where she first became involved in research through their Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. During her time in veterinary school, she participated in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Summer Research Experience where she studied the effects of organochlorine pesticides on Kupffer cells and macrophages. This program first exposed Maggie to laboratory animal medicine and was influential in her decision to pursue a comparative medicine residency. Maggie then served as the president of the Mississippi State University’s Lab Animal Club and participated in several laboratory animal focused externships. Maggie went on to earn her DVM from Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine before joining the MU Comparative Medicine Program. Maggie and her husband, Jacob, have an Australian Shepherd, Pepper, whom they enjoy hiking and walking with. In her free time Maggie also enjoys playing board games and reading science fiction.
Christa Cheatham is from Martinsville, Indiana, a town just outside of Indianapolis. Her interest in veterinary medicine began when she showed beef cattle, horses, swine, and dogs in 4-H for 10 years. Her first exposure to laboratory animal medicine occurred while working as a laboratory animal caretaker at Purdue University. She then completed her undergraduate studies at Purdue University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences. She also attended Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. During veterinary school, she started the first laboratory animal club, worked for a medical device company, and interned at a contract research organization where she worked with non-human primates. She also participated in a pathology-focused study abroad program in Tokyo, Japan and completed a summer research scholars program studying blast-induced neurotrauma in rats. Consequently, she was fortunate enough to accept a position at University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Residency Program where she plans to earn a PhD and pursue ACLAM certification. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, spending time with her Siberian Husky, and taking care of her saltwater fish and coral aquarium.
James was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the United States when he was 4 years old. He grew up in southern California in an area approximately 20 minutes away from Los Angeles. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California Davis, where he worked for the UC Davis Campus Veterinary Services during his senior year. This experience ultimately led to James’ decision to pursue laboratory animal medicine. After graduating from UC Davis, James earned his DVM from Iowa State University. During veterinary school he took part in the UC Davis Students Training in Advanced Research (STARS) program and worked at the Iowa State University Laboratory Animal Resources as a veterinary student intern. In his free time, James enjoys playing video games, baking, reading comic books, and eating delicious food.
Jamie is originally from Kennett Square, PA – located an hour west of Philadelphia. He attended the Pennsylvania State University and earned an honors degree in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. His honors thesis was on the effect rumination time has on the milk fatty acid profile in Holsteins. After graduation from Penn State, Jamie earned his DVM from Texas A&M University. During veterinary school, Jamie took part in the Veterinary Medical Student Research Training Program and worked to purify murine pancreatic lipase for development of an immunoassay under Dr. Joerg Steiner in the GI Lab at A&M. As part of the program, he traveled to Germany to assist his mentor in a preclinical trial for pancreatitis treatments using a swine surgical model. This experience ultimately led to Jamie’s decision to pursue laboratory animal medicine. He completed several lab animal externships during vet school, visiting the University of Missouri twice (in person one summer and again remotely during his clinical year). His interest in research led Jamie to want to pursue a residency along which a PhD and he is grateful to have that opportunity at Mizzou. In his free time, Jamie enjoys going on hikes with his fiancé, Rori, reading Stephen King novels, and binge-watching various shows on Hulu and Netflix.
Charles was born and raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, a town just outside St. Louis. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Miami where he worked in the electron microscopy lab of Dr. Jeffrey Prince and was an avid Hurricane athletics fan. Charles then travelled back to his home state to attend Veterinary School at the University of Missouri. At Mizzou, he was a member and eventual senior scholar in the Veterinary Research Scholars Program, completing various projects on swine in vitro fertilization in the labs of Dr.’s R. Michael Roberts and Randall Prather. During his clinical years, he completed an additional research project in lab of Dr. Jerod Skyberg in which he worked with neonatal meningitis-associated E. coli. After graduating with his DVM and Phi Zeta Honors in 2020, Charles joined the University of Missouri Comparative Medicine Residency where he is currently a second-year resident, completing his Ph.D. on Brucella and innate lymphoid cells in the Skyberg lab. In his free time, Charles enjoys fly fishing, playing guitar and piano, and taking long walks with his wife, Lauren, and their dogs, Nelson and Mia.
Jessica grew up in both South Carolina and North Carolina. She first became interested in veterinary medicine at 12 years old when her guinea pig, Ginger Snap, became sick and her family took him to the local vet. Jessica earned her B.S. in Biology at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN where she was a fast pitch softball pitcher. At Rhodes College, she was introduced to laboratory animal medicine by being an animal caretaker in the biology facility. She also enjoyed working on a research project with cownose stingrays at the Memphis Zoo during her senior year. Jessica graduated from college in May of 2014 and took a job as a veterinary assistant in a small animal practice in North Carolina. She stayed there for a year before applying to North Carolina State University College of Veterinary medicine and being accepted. During veterinary school, Jessica did a Summer ASLAP fellowship with the University of Missouri, and a summer internship with Yerkes National Primate Research Center. After graduating vet school in May of 2019, she entered the Comparative Medicine Residency at University of Missouri. In her free time, Jessica enjoys hanging out with her young daughter, husband and two dachshunds. Lately, they have been enjoying baking, watching movies, and gardening.
Kevin is originally from Madelia, Minnesota where he attended Elementary and High School. He has spent most of his life in agriculture, growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota and working with beef, dairy, swine, sheep, and chickens. During elementary and high school, he was very active in FFA, 4-H, and advocating for agriculture by attending agricultural events and going on an agricultural based mission trip to South Africa. He attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota for his under-graduate studies where he earned bachelor’s degrees in Animal Science, Biology, Microbiology, and Biotechnology. It was while he attended SDSU that he decided that the field of veterinary medicine was the path he wanted to follow. While an under-graduate student, he first performed research in the SDSU parasitology laboratory studying anthelminthic resistance of Haemonchus contortus nematodes to benzodiazepine drugs in sheep and goats. This is where Kevin first became interested in research. He attended veterinary school at the University of Minnesota and spent his first and second summers studying porcine immunology and virology in the Michael Murtaugh laboratory of the University of Minnesota through the University’s Summer Scholars Program. Kevin joined the MU Comparative Medicine Program to follow his passion of research and veterinary medicine through their Laboratory Animal Medicine Internship program. Kevin enjoys spending time outdoors doing almost anything, but especially hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, hunting, skating, and skiing. He also enjoys reading and studying all aspects of history.
Emily is originally from Darien, Connecticut, but went to an all-girls boarding school in Wellesley, Massachusetts for high school. She decided to pursue veterinary medicine while at Davidson College, where she earned a degree in biology, in Davidson, North Carolina. While in college, she was first exposed to laboratory animal medicine by volunteering at the small animal research facility and helping with basic animal husbandry. After a summer at an animal diagnostics company, she realized she was interested in having a research career that could benefit human and animal health. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for veterinary school and spent her first summer conducting a feline microbiome research project in the small animal hospital’s Clinical Microbiology laboratory with the support of the NIH-Merial Summer Research Scholars Program. Her second summer at MIT’s Division of Comparative Medicine as a research fellow convinced her to consider a laboratory animal residency. She was introduced to the MU Comparative Medicine Program as a 4 week externship, and was fortunate to be offered a position in the residency program. She plans to pursue a PhD in her area of interest, microbiology and infectious disease, and get involved with promoting One Health and interdisciplinary and applied research collaborations. Emily and her husband have two energetic but elderly golden retrievers, Drover and Cleo, and enjoy spending their time goofing around with them, as well as biking and watching nerdy shows and movies.
Gabi was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She received her biology degree from Wittenberg University, where she worked at a veterinary hospital and cared for laboratory reptiles and amphibians. Gabi attended veterinary school at the University of Illinois and enjoyed volunteering at the Wildlife Medical Clinic. She spent her first summer in Illinois in a research training program, helping to characterize a mouse model of ADHD. Her second summer was spent as a research fellow in a neuroscience lab at Stanford University, investigating pathologic changes in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy. Gabi and her husband, Brandon, have an adorable cat (Vanya) and four snakes (Orion, Koschei, Maya, and Tempi). In her free time, Gabi enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.