Washington State University was the first NIH supported training program in veterinary pathology. To date, the program remains one of the largest and most successful programs in training pathologists for leadership positions in academia, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, and government institutions. The program combines anatomic pathology residency training leading to eligibility for American College of Veterinary Pathologist (ACVP) certification coupled with state-of-the-art training in biomedical research leading to the PhD.
The Department's research and training programs are focused in immunology, epidemiology and host-pathogen interactions at the molecular level, and pathogens include bacterial, parasitic, and viral infections of animals and humans. Trainees develop a strong background through coursework in biochemistry, bioinformatics, cell biology, disease pathogenesis, immunology, molecular genetics, and statistics. Dissertation research is carried out under the direction of a highly collaborative internationally recognized research faculty who are experienced in mentoring trainees within state-of-the-art laboratories funded by NIH, USDA, Morris Animal Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, and additional international, federal, state, regional, and private institutions and organizations. This academic research environment is enriched by integration with the USDA-ARS Animal Disease Research Unit, the Washington State University Animal Health Research Center, and the School for Global Animal Health.
Residency training occurs within the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL), a full service veterinary diagnostic laboratory staffed by faculty of the Departments of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and Veterinary Clinical Sciences. WADDL has 3 primary facilities, a primary full service laboratory in Pullman, an Aquatic Health laboratory in Pullman and an Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory branch in Puyallup. The laboratories are accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), WADDL is one of 12 founding members of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (funded through USDA/APHIS), and one of the 9 veterinary diagnostic laboratories that serve as a reference lab in the Laboratory Response Network for Bioterrorism (funded through the Centers for Disease Control). This ensures that residents develop a strong background in all aspects of laboratory medicine, including detection and diagnosis of emerging and zoonotic pathogens. The faculty includes 10 ACVP- and ACLAM- certified pathologists with training focused on close interaction among faculty and trainees. The high level surgical biopsy and necropsy case loads provide direct experiential learning and are supported by specialized pathology seminars. More than 90% of trainees in the past 10 years have attained ACVP certification. Additional information about WADDL is available at www.WADDL.vetmed.wsu.edu.
Although the program is rigorous, the dual training leading to the PhD in combination with ACVP certification prepares trainees for leadership positions in academia, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, and national and international laboratories. Trainees are very competitive for these positions. Of the 19 most recent residents, 12 hold academic faculty positions, 2 are pathologists in the biotechnology or pharmaceutical field, 3 are pathologists with state or national laboratories and one is employed at a private veterinary diagnostic laboratory and one is in a post-doctoral fellow in Comparative Pathology.