Basseterre, St. Kitts– Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) announced the appointment of Dr. Sean Callanan as director of postgraduate studies, who will oversee RUSVM’s first postgraduate degree programs focused in research. RUSVM has been awarding veterinary medicine degrees since 1982 and will now expand its programs to include master’s and doctoral degrees.
The new degree programs provide opportunities for students with science or veterinary educational backgrounds to specialize in global issues related to human-animal interactions, such as diseases that transfer between species. Courses of study include wildlife conservation and tropical animal health. Students will benefit from the school’s location in St. Kitts, an island in the West Indies, where they will be able to work with animals that live in a wide range of ecosystems.
“My intention is to ensure strong mentorship, equip students with the ability to problem solve and encourage their curiosity to pursue complex research questions,” Dr. Callanan said. “I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to lead this new initiative in a school that is currently establishing itself as the leading animal-health research and training institute in the region.”
Dr. Callanan completed his degree in veterinary medicine at the University College Dublin in his native Ireland and received his Ph.D. degree and pathology training from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He has a strong interest in neuroscience and is well known for his discovery and characterization of a new neuroinflammatory disorder in Irish greyhounds.
Much of Dr. Callanan’s research has focused on feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which is recognized as a model for HIV infection in humans. His early work revealed that within weeks of infection, FIV can cross the blood-brain barrier; once the virus infects the brain it can avoid drug therapies and multiply unchecked. His pioneering work also includes collaborations with with Trinity College Dublin on the evaluation of novel therapies for human neurodegenerative disorders.
Dr. Callanan is currently the president of the European College of Veterinary Pathology, which promotes high standards within the specialty in Europe by accrediting veterinary pathologists through examination and by providing continuing professional development.
“The launch of these new postgraduate degrees significantly extends the opportunities we provide to our veterinary students – both in terms of projects for students on veterinary course, and in the ability to register for dual-degree programs,” said RUSVM Dean Dr. Elaine Watson. “RUSVM’s Caribbean location opens up many research opportunities in areas that are popular with prospective students, such as conservation medicine and tropical animal health. The appointment of Dr. Callanan as the programs’ first director brings an eminent veterinary pathologist to the school, who has a wealth of experience in supervising postgraduate students.”