I guess I really began my education when I entered a Master's program in Widlife Biology. I have always been devoted to wildlife and the environment, so this was a natural place for me to end up. My thesis at the time focused on diseases of white-tailed deer, and I developed a deep fascination for the interactions of infectious agents and parasites with their respective hosts. Because I was so interested in the pathogenesis of these diseases, I entered veterinary school as a pathway to additional training in pathology. After completing a pathology residency and a PhD in microbiology, I went to work for the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS) in Athens, Georgia. That was an important job with wonderful constituents. However, I wanted to spend more time teaching, so after ten years at SCWDS I took a faculty position at UC Davis. I currently teach undergraduates, veterinary students, and pathology residents. I also receive necropsy and biopsy cases (particularly of nondomestic species) and I continue to conduct research in infectious diseases of wildlife.
The marriage of my interests in wildlife diseases and a concern for wild populations has led me along diverse pathways of study. However, a common theme has been the protection and optimal management of wild populations. Given the ever increasing anthropogenic changes in our environment, this has sometimes been a challenge. A critical step in effecting a positive change is knowledge about the problem. However, sharing that knowledge with the public so that they better understand the impacts of our (human) activities is just as important.