LSU Vet Med honors faculty and alumni with research awards

April 17, 2024

Ogundle and Dugas

Associate Professor Olalekan Ogundele receives the Zoetis Award of Research Excellence from Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Tammy Dugas.

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine highlighted its research and bestowed awards at a research reception on April 3. Tammy Dugas, PhD, associate dean for research and graduate education, served as mistress of ceremonies. Dean Oliver Garden, BVetMed, PhD, FHEA, FCPP, FRCVS, DACVIM, DECVIM-CA, welcomed the award recipients and guests.

Olalekan Ogundele, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences (CBS), received the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence. Zoetis presents an honorarium and inscribed plaque to a faculty member who has excelled in veterinary medical research during the past two years. Dr. Ogundele’s research investigates synaptic mechanisms that govern network excitability and rate coding in brain areas that control complex behaviors. He has developed several advanced research methods that encompass cellular and systems neuroscience research. Of note, in vivo, neural recording methods permit concurrent behavioral assessment and neural recording from multiple brain regions. Dr. Ogundele joined the faculty of LSU Vet Med in July 2017.

Charles Lee, PhD, professor in CBS, received the School of Veterinary Medicine Faculty Distinguished Scholar Award. An honorarium and inscribed plaque are presented to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine through research and/ or scholarly activities. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying sensory processing in normal and diseased states. His research also addresses how alterations to these central sensory pathways manifest in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Lee joined the faculty of LSU Vet Med in May 2011.

Britta Leise, DVM (LSU 2002), PhD, DACVS, associate dean for staff and faculty advancement  and associate professor of equine surgery, received the Andrew Lackner Mentoring Award. This mentoring award honors the memory of Andrew Lackner, DVM, PhD, former director of the Tulane National Primate Research Center, and his dedication to the training of DVM scientists. Dr. Lackner was known as a strong supporter of veterinary research and a dedicated mentor to a number of DVM students, graduate students, and junior faculty. The Mentoring Award recognizes outstanding research mentors to DVM students who participate in the Summer Scholar’s Program and is presented to the faculty mentor at the annual Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day, which highlights the Summer Scholars research. Dr. Leise’s research focuses on inflammatory conditions in the horse, which includes sepsis and systemic inflammatory response syndrome, laminitis, osteoarthritis, and wound healing. She mentors veterinary students, interns, and residents in the LSU Vet Med Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. Leise joined the faculty of LSU Vet Med in October 2015.

LSU Vet Med also recognized two Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients. This award recognizes alumni of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine for outstanding professional and personal achievements. Any graduate from Louisiana State University is eligible for the award. Candidates are recognized for their accomplishments in veterinary medicine or science and/or contributions to the community through public service. The 2023 recipients are Judy Pawlusiow, DVM, MS (LSU 1992), DIPACVIM (SAIM), founder of Advanced Veterinary Mobile Diagnostics; and Cyril Clarke, BVSc (RSA), PhD (LSU 1987), DACVCP, executive vice president and provost of Virginia Tech. Both Drs. Pawlusiow and Clarke attended the event, and Michael Graziano, MS (1981), PhD, bestowed the awards. Dr. Graziano was the first student to receive a graduate degree from LSU Vet Med, and he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2022. A third recipient, Jay Addison, DVM (LSU 1983), veterinary practice owner, was honored for his Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association Winter Meeting in January 2024.

Michael McGee, PhD, received the School of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Dissertation Award. He received his PhD in August 2023 in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences. His dissertation was entitled “Tissue Resident Regulatory T Cells and Immunopathology During Influenza Infections,” and his mentor was Weishan Haung, PhD, associate professor. Dr. McGee is now a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Huang’s lab at LSU Vet Med.

Brandy Malbrough received the School of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Thesis Award. She received her MS degree from the Department of Pathobiological Sciences in August 2023. Her thesis was entitled “Evaluating Vaccine Management Strategies for Edwardsiella ictaluri infections in Zebrafish (Danio rerio),” and her mentor was John Hawke, PhD (1996), professor emeritus of veterinary microbiology and parasitology. Malbrough is currently a diagnostic specialist at LSU Diagnostics (the Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at LSU Vet Med).

About LSU Vet Med: Bettering lives through education, public service, and discovery

The LSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 33 veterinary schools in the U.S. and the only one in Louisiana. LSU Vet Med is dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of animals and people through superior education, transformational research, and compassionate care. We teach. We heal. We discover. We protect.