I can't remember a time when animals haven't been a major part of my life. I grew up in a family that loves pets and cherishes wildlife and open spaces. My dream was to become a veterinarian and treat sick animals, especially horses, but when I got to college, I realized that wasn't going to work for me- I wanted to think a bit bigger. I started working in an infectious disease laboratory right about the time that West Nile virus was speeding across the U.S., and I was terrified that such a deadly disease could befall my beloved horses. When I got the opportunity to work with the people who ultimately developed and licensed the first equine West Nile vaccines, I knew I'd found my calling. Fifteen years later, and armed with a PhD in Microbiology and a DVM, my passion to help animals by developing and testing vaccines has led me to where I am today. So many infectious diseases are transmitted between humans and animals, and I believe we must find ways to protect all species from disease, not just those in our homes and backyards. Furthermore, by finding ways to prevent infectious diseases in wildlife, we can protect them not only from illness but from being destroyed as a means to prevent spread to humans. Sustainable practices for disease mitigation are my passion, and my goal in starting this experiment.