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Surgeon to be next UW-Madison vet research dean

August 15, 2011 By Chris Barncard

Longtime professor Dale Bjorling has been named associate dean for research and graduate training at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Bjorling, professor of small animal surgery and member of the Department of Surgical Sciences since 1985, has a strong background in both facets of his new role, according to Daryl Buss, dean of veterinary medicine.

“He understands funding and research from the perspective of a principal investigator and as a department chair for more than 20 years,” Buss says. “He has also been very involved as a mentor and educator, leading two grants that have supported veterinary medicine students training to become researchers for the last seven years.”

Bjorling earned his veterinary degree at the University of Illinois, and trained at the University of California-Davis and the University of Georgia. He was elected president of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2009, and serves on UW–Madison’s Athletic Board.

Veterinary researchers are always searching for funding, according to Bjorling.

“In that, we’re like almost any other unit on campus,” he says. “The school has been very fortunate in our numerous collaborations with investigators on campus. We need to continue to work on those partnerships, as well as acquiring and replacing shared equipment.”

Bjorling would like to add to the options afforded graduate students by bolstering training for veterinarians specializing in the care of research animals.

“There’s a need both locally and nationally for laboratory animal medicine, and we have an ideal situation here with the range of research programs and our veterinary school,” says Bjorling, whose own lab is working on the mechanisms of pain in bladder infections. “It is a fairly specific discipline. Labs have some unique needs because of the very nature of research and the varying types of animals common to their work.”

Bjorling’s appointment follows the retirement of comparative biosciences professor Mary Behan.

“Mary has been a superb faculty member and — in recent years — an administrator,” Buss says. “She was very engaged at the campus level in shared governance, and has been a terrific contributor not just to the school, but the UW–Madison community as a whole.”