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News - Summer 2009 Newsletter

Mainely Progress, Summer 2009
Volume 6, Number 1

Edited by Dr. Martin Stokes

UMaine Animal Health Lab Update
In last summer’s edition of Mainely Progress we described a $5,000,000 proposal that we had submitted to the Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF) to construct and equip a new building for the Maine Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (MVDL). This was to provide state-of-the-art laboratory facilities to support Maine’s agricultural and aquatic animal industries with technology transfer and bio-analysis relative to disease control and diagnostics. A major component of this proposal was a necropsy facility that could handle large animals, such as cattle or moose, and then dispose of these carcasses that could be contaminated with pathogenic organisms. Although we were recommended for funding we did not receive an interview and were not funded.  However, we did receive very useful feedback from the evaluation panel so we modified and resubmitted our proposal in year two of the bond proposal. Initially there were more proposals seeking more funds than in year one, but many proposals rapidly fell to the wayside. We scored better in year two and this time received an interview, but to no avail, no funding. Six UMaine projects were funded by MTAF last year and four more were added to the list this year. The university is also involved as a Research and Development partner in seven other projects, totaling over $16.1 million out of the $50 million available over two years.

One of the last comments from the MTAF interview panel was that maybe there was a more appropriate place for us to seek funding for this building, which was an indirect reference to the billions of dollars of stimulus funds that are becoming available. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, the National Institutes of Health has been allocated $10.4 billion, of which $1 billion will be administered by the National Center for Research Resources for federal awards to institutions seeking to construct, renovate or repair biomedical or behavioral research facilities. Consequently, we have expanded our unsuccessful MTAF proposal to apply for a greatly expanded $15 million bio-secure facility to help fulfill our goals of clinical service, research and teaching.  We have requested support to build the Maine Center for Animal-Based Biomedical Research, Diagnostics and Technology Transfer, a high-containment research building for the study of highly pathogenic infectious diseases using terrestrial and aquatic animal models.

This building will have in excess of 23,700 square feet and will contain the only Bio-Security Level 3 and Animal BSL-3 facilities in the state. The Center will have two floors with BSL-1 and BSL-2 microbiology labs, histopathology, digital microscopy, and molecular diagnostic labs with support areas.  The ABSL-3 zone has laboratory animal housing, aquaria (including a zebra-fish lab), and a necropsy room with capacity for both small and large animals. There will also be BSL-3 level facilities for storage and bio-secure disposal of solid and liquid infectious wastes, with a suite of three BSL-3 labs with support areas. The ABSL-3 zone will include two barrier-type lab animal housing rooms, a cage wash support area, two aquatic animal housing rooms with support areas and a secure loading dock. The large animal necropsy room has an enclosed loading dock, cold rooms, support services room and a walk-in freezer.  All work areas in BSL-3 and ABSL-3 zones will be equipped with bio-containment hoods and infectious solid and liquid waste will be decontaminated by alkaline digestion of animal tissues or thermal effluent decontamination of contaminated liquids. There will also be the necessary office spaces, stairs, elevator, rest rooms, corridors, custodial and mechanical support areas.

Fixed equipment for this facility has also been requested including: the alkaline digester/effluent decontamination unit, twelve bio-containment hoods, two pass-through and one standard autoclave, two reverse osmosis water pre-treatment units, zebra fish support racks, closed-ventilation rodent cages and a cage washer, large and small hydraulic necropsy tables, a hanging rack system for large animal carcasses, three walk-in cold rooms and a walk-in freezer, a closed-circuit video/audio monitoring system for necropsy viewing, and an integrated sentinel system for bio-security and environmental condition monitoring.

This facility will help the UMaine Animal Health Lab fulfill our goals of clinical service, research and teaching for Maine’s terrestrial and aquatic animal producers and for our students who come not just from Maine but from many states around the US. These activities include our  participation in a number of service projects, such as disease surveys of “species of concern” (rainbow smelt and sturgeon) and regional lobster stocks. We are performing research in lobster health during post-capture impoundment, and developing innovative approaches to maintaining health in several species via the use of probiotics.

AVS to Be Reviewed
The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture is charged with reviewing every department of animal science in the country every five years.  This is a herculean task and AVS has not been reviewed since 2000.  We requested a review for spring 2009, but this was delayed until fall by CSREES.  We have nominated 13 colleagues from around the country, from which four will be selected by CSREES to serve on this review panel headed by a USDA team leader.  This team will review the changes that have occurred in our teaching, research and extension programs since the last review and our plans for the next five years. We are currently assembling a self-review document of our activities since 2000 that must be approved by our administration before its submission to CSREES.

May Graduates
Nineteen AVS students graduated in May and several more will have completed all requirements to graduate in August or December. Congratulations to all of you with our best wishes for the future.  Please come back to see us sometime.  Here are some of their goals.

  • Grace Carter hopes to work as a licensed veterinary technician (at Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic) until September, before moving to southern Maine to continue her education, with the ultimate goal of attending veterinary college.
  • Shayna Collins will graduate in August and is still looking for a job in Maine.
  • Carrie Doe expects to graduate in December and is planning on moving to southern Maine or back to New Hampshire.
  • Dianna Donahue will be moving back to Massachusetts with her family and hopes to find a job in the agricultural field, if not she will attend nursing school.
  • Tammy Dufour is taking the vet tech exam and hopefully working at a zoo in New Jersey.
  • Karen-Ann Ellis plans on working for a few years and then consider graduate school for animal sciences.
  • Christy Emmons will attend the University of Missouri at Columbia Vet School.
  • Abbie Futcher will be moving to Stillwater Oklahoma to attend the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.
  • Tracy L. Haskell will be working at Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor as a certified pet care technician, retail clerk, and assistant dog trainer.  Her goal is to become a certified pet dog trainer and get more involved in behavioral sciences and Search and Rescue.
  • Elizabeth Heal is currently on the “Alternate List” for Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada. If a spot does not open up I will move to Massachusetts in August in order to obtain residency, find a job, and then reapply to vet school.
  • Ashley Hill is looking into getting a teaching certificate in Florida and moving south!
  • Jennifer Johnson will be taking classes at UVM to finish her degree, then off to grad school.
  • Dawn Kirby plans to continue working at Broadway Veterinary Clinic in Bangor.
  • Megan Kirkpatrick plans to continue working as a groomer at Yankee Clipper Pet Grooming in Rockport, ME, where she has worked for eight years, to obtain grooming certification through the National Dog Groomers Association or International Pet Groomers, Inc. She will also be teaching classes part-time at Wag It, a dog training center in Lincolnville, Maine.
  • Genevieve LeClair will take classes at USM in the fall and re-apply to vet school.
  • Devon Malay will be spending the summer working on her small dairy farm in Sebec while looking for a job in the agricultural field.  She thinks she will most likely go back to school in a year for a degree in nursing.
  • Christine McAvoy will work as a police officer and dispatcher in the Old Town area.  (The editor saw Christine assisting with a traffic stop on Stillwater Avenue in June.)
  • Laura McCarthy will graduate in December and hopes to eventually own a boarding facility for cats and dogs with grooming, training, daycare/overnight care, and a therapeutic area.
  • Jen McGintee will be taking upper level biology courses to strengthen her reapplication to vet school.
  • Aimee McKeen is hoping to move to Georgia to find a job in an animal science related field, or she may go back to school to study nursing.
  • Laura Stryker plans on moving back to South Windsor, CT to become a Humane Law Enforcement Officer.
  • Sarah Turner will spend the summer working in the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Hitchner Hall before taking a year off to explore her options, which include applying to graduate school.
  • Leah White will be heading to NC for the summer as well as taking a three week vacation to Australia and New Zealand. She will apply to Washington State and the University of Idaho for graduate school, hopefully in animal pathology.

It is with considerable regret that we announce the passing of:

John ‘Jack” Goater, 1924-2009, died January 9, 2009, at a local hospital.  Jack obtained his BS in animal science at Virginia Tech and his MS from UNH.  Jack came to UMaine in 1954 as an Extension Animal Science Specialist and later became an assistant professor of animal science.  He was advisor for the university’s horse club, organized the annual horse show, directed the sheep and equine programs in 4-H, led the summer 4-H sheep and equine programs and was heavily involved in the North Country Cheviot Sheep Association.  He was one of the first four members inducted into the Maine 4-H Hall of Fame for his tireless dedication to the program.

We also learned by email that Erik M. Daly, 1975-2008, BS, AVS, 1997, DVM, UFL, 2000, died on December 5, 2008.  Erik was born in Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany, on December 28, 1975, the son of Francis Xavier Daly, Jr. and Paula Marie (Granato) Rearick. He worked as a veterinarian for the Riverside Animal Hospital in East Providence, RI.


  • Eric Daggett, BS 2002 (Forestry) was named as one of six recipients of the 2009 Young Jersey Breeder Award by the American Jersey Cattle Association. Eric worked at the Witter Farm while a student at UMaine and after graduation took over management of Orcutt Brook Farm in Derby, VT, a farm established by his grandparents. His parents had been renting the facilities to neighboring farmers until Eric graduated, at which time he brought Jerseys back to the family farm. Initially he had only 29 cows and worked at numerous other jobs to earn extra money to buy cows. He now has 100 Registered Jerseys and improved the genetic quality of his heard by purchasing old but highly scored cows whose daughters are now scored excellent or very good. Eric is a director of the Vermont Jersey Breeders Association and shows members of his herd at local fairs and shows. Well done Eric!
  • Kassandre Moulton, a Sustainable Ag major from Veazie, Maine, was named the 2009  Maine Angus Queen at the Northeast Livestock Expo at Windsor, ME on May 16, 2009.  Kassandre is a member of the UMaine Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge team.
  • Bill Fike, MS 2007 (Marine Bio-Resources) is now working at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
  • Cathy McPherson, who was in AVS in the late 1970s visited us with her husband June 22.  She noted that there had been major changes at UM.
  • Elizabeth Morse, BS 2007, has been admitted to the Veterinary College at the University of California at Davis.
  • Jennianne O’Connor, BS 2007, interviewed at three vet schools, was admitted to five, and is now in her first year at Michigan State.
  • Samantha Foster, BS 2006, is about to complete her MS in Molecular Biology at UVM.  She will be continuing her education at Cornell Veterinary College in September.
  • Jessica Walker, BS 2004, DVM Atlantic Veterinary College, Prince Edward Island, 2008 is practicing mixed (primarily large) animal medicine at Brookside Veterinary Clinic in Auburn, NY.
  • Matthew Palmisano BS 1992, DVM Summa Cum Laude Ohio State 1996, practices at the VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center in Norwalk, CT. Matt achieved diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2001. He is married with one child, Nikolas, age 3.

Please pass this newsletter to your friends and especially to any UM or AVS alumni for whom we do not have an address. If you send us their address we’ll include them in our next mailing.  Please remember to let us know when you change your address as we continue to get 20 to 30 copies returned for every issue.

Please let us know more about you.  Tell us about your experiences since graduation and about important happenings in your life that we can print in our alumni news corner. Also let us know what you would like us to include in future issues.  You can contact us most easily by email –

Our most sincere thanks to all our friends and alumni for their generous donations. Your financial support helps us expose our students to opportunities that would otherwise be impossible.

This newsletter cost about $500 to print and mail to our alumni, friends and stakeholders around Maine and New England.  If you would like to sponsor an issue your name, or the name of your company could be HERE.

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