New Faculty Focus: Neil Christensen
Title: Assistant Clinical Professor, School of Veterinary Medicine.
Hometown: Corowa, New South Wales, Australia
Educational background: Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology – Radiation Oncology; Fellow – Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists; Member – Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists; Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc), The University of Sydney, 2008.
Background: Clinical Instructor of Radiation Oncology at UW–Madison; Resident in Radiation Oncology at UW–Madison; Resident in Medical Oncology at Small Animal Specialist Hospital in Sydney; Intern in Medical Oncology at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital in Sydney
How did you get into your field of research? My field of research is clinical oncology. This means I investigate oncology (cancer) interventions and outcomes. I got into this field as I enjoy the problem-oriented approach to patient therapy. Oncology in the veterinary world is rapidly evolving as more and more frequently, veterinary patients with spontaneous tumors are proving to be excellent models to study similar diseases in humans. This means that reasearchers are collaborating to study cancer in dogs to learn how to treat cancer in people.
What attracted you to UW—Madison? UW—Madison is world renowned for veterinary oncology both for treatment and research.
What was your first visit to campus like? I visited UW Madison first as a medical oncology resident. I spent a month with the oncology team as really enjoyed it. Madison is a wonderful city, it’s easy to get around and friendly to cyclists. There is also a great bar and restaurant scene.
Favorite place on campus? Picnic point.
What are you most enjoying so far about working here? I have been here for almost 5 years. I really enjoy the collaborative relationships we have for research with members of the UW Carbone Cancer Center.
Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how. Oncology at the UWVC is always moving forward and always investigating new therapies and ideas. We are always searching for innovative ways to treat our patients and in doing so learn more about cancer in general.
What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties? We treat our patients to the same standard and with the same equipment which is used for radiation therapy in human hospitals. We employ a radiation physicist full time to ensure our standards of radiation delivery are equivalent to the human field. Many of the tumors we treat are actually curable, while for others we can significantly improve quality of life.
Hobbies/other interests: I enjoy running and watching movies. I recently obtained a motorcycle which has opened up Wisconsin in a way I had not previously experienced. This is a beautiful state, especially once you get off the interstates and see all that the small-town communities have to offer.