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OVC Professors Awarded U of G Research Leadership Chairs

Two Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) researchers have been recognized by the University of Guelph for their research excellence and innovation. 

Drs. Dorothee Bienzle, in OVC’s Department of Pathobiology, and Jan Sargeant, in OVC’s Department of Population Medicine, were recently announced as Research Leadership Chairs. 

Created by the U of G's Office of Research and the Office of the Provost, the Research Leadership Chairs program recognizes research excellence of well-established faculty who have proven records of distinguished and sustained scholarly work with significant national and international recognition. 

Dr. Dorothee Bienzle, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph“This program underscores the University of Guelph’s commitment to champion and celebrate life-improving discovery,” said Dr. Shayan Sharif, OVC Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies. “As established researchers in their respective fields, Drs. Bienzle and Sargeant’s ongoing work exemplifies the robust and innovative approach to discovery at OVC.” 

A Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Veterinary Pathology from 2005 to 2015, Bienzle has established research programs focused on better ways to diagnose and treat inflammatory lung diseases such as asthma in horses, the host response to infection with the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and designing better diagnostic tests for cancer in companion animals.

More recently, Bienzle has also studied COVID-19-causing coronavirus infections in companion animals. She is working with Pathobiology colleague Dr. Scott Weese to examine what risk COVID-19 in humans poses to their pets, and whether the pets become ill. The study includes cats, dogs and ferrets in which at least one human household member has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or has had a positive test result.

“Dr. Bienzle is an exemplary leader in her field, serving as president of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, advising on international classification and prognosis in veterinary oncology, and serving as a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Evaluation Group member, among other achievements,” said Sharif. “She is held in high esteem by her colleagues, particularly for her dedication to equity, diversity and inclusion and her caring mentorship of junior colleagues, research personnel and students.”

Dr. Jan Sargeant, Ontario Veterinary College, University of GuelphIn addition to her expertise as a veterinary scientist, epidemiologist and food safety expert, Sargeant is recognized as a global leader of systematic reviews and of reporting guidelines in animal health, animal welfare and food safety.

She co-led development of thę STROBE-Vet and REFLECT statements– the first reporting guidelines for observational studies and clinical trials in veterinary medicine - enhancing accessible, transparent animal research results and improving quality of information for therapeutic decision-making and data use in risk assessment and disease modelling.

Under her leadership as founding director from 2007 to 2019, the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses at the U of G, grew from the concept stage to the collaborative centre it is today.

In 2017, Sargeant was inducted as a Fellow with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). CAHS Fellows are world-renowned leaders and innovators who have a history of outstanding performance in the academic health sciences in Canada.

“In her multiple leadership positions including president of the Association of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine and founding director of the highly successful CPHAZ, Dr. Sargeant has worked tirelessly to advance One Health at the University of Guelph,” said Sharif. “Her exemplary contributions to her field have been further recognized by her recent election to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.”

Recipients of Research Leadership Chairs hold the title for three years. Each college will hold up to two Research Leadership Chairs.

Read more about the U of G Research Leadership Chairs on the U of G website.