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May 8, 2024

Kimberly Dodd recommended as dean of MSU College of Veterinary Medicine

Kimberly Dodd has been recommended to serve as the new dean of Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, effective Aug. 1. Pending board approval, Dodd will succeed Douglas Freeman, who has served as interim dean since April 2023.

Kimberly Dodd
Kimberly Dodd. Courtesy photo.

A veterinarian and virologist with extensive expertise in emerging infectious diseases, Dodd earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in population biology from the University of Virginia. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and doctorate in comparative pathology from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis.

Dodd is currently the director of the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, or VDL, one of the country's premier veterinary diagnostic laboratories. As VDL director, she oversees its operations and revenue of approximately $20 million; in 2023, she secured an additional $3 million in United States Department of Agriculture funding to support building new diagnostic capabilities at the VDL. She provides administrative leadership to support the VDL’s diverse contributions to animal health through diagnostic testing, consultations with clinicians and partnerships with diverse stakeholders.

The VDL is vital to supporting disease surveillance and outbreak response, and the laboratory’s faculty and staff work with national, state and local officials to investigate and counter threats like highly pathogenic avian influenza, bovine tuberculosis, chronic wasting disease and West Nile virus. Under Dodd’s leadership, the VDL has redirected its focus to leading-edge technologies, with active engagement with researchers across MSU and beyond. Due to these initiatives, the VDL was selected to serve as the Midwest representative in a new nationwide partnership with USDA to enhance diagnostic capabilities for early detection of emerging diseases.

“Internationally recognized as an expert in laboratory diagnostics and outbreak response for emerging infectious diseases, Dr. Dodd is a champion for the critical role veterinary professionals play in protecting public and animal health locally, nationally and globally,” said MSU Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko. “Her breadth and depth of experience in scientific administration, research, academic partnerships, and government and industry relations will serve her well as the next leader of the College of Veterinary Medicine.”

Before joining MSU, Dodd was director of the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, or FADDL, on Plum Island in New York, an international reference laboratory for high-consequence animal diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever. In this role, she worked with colleagues across USDA, state animal health officials and commodity groups to develop national priorities and policies. While at FADDL, she established and directed the $12.5 million National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility Scientist Training Program as well as the facility's Laboratorian Training Program in partnership with Hispanic-Serving Institutions. In recognition of her executive and scientific leadership, Dodd was the first person in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to be appointed to the USDA Senior Science and Technology Service by the Secretary of Agriculture.

Prior to FADDL, she served as senior scientist at Metabiota, a company dedicated to enhancing international laboratory and surveillance capacity, primarily in Central and West Africa. Her interest and passion for disease prevention and response led to a guest researcher position in the Viral Special Pathogens Branch at the Centers for Disease Control, where she developed and patented a novel vaccine for Rift Valley fever virus. During and after her time at the CDC, she played an active role in CDC field laboratory responses to filovirus outbreaks, most recently for the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2014.

Driven by an unwavering belief in the transformative potential of veterinary medicine, Dodd is committed to fostering an inclusive, dynamic and supportive environment for students, staff and faculty. One of her top priorities is to empower the faculty, staff and students to implement innovation to advance the college’s mission: learn, discover, heal and protect. She is passionate about education and creating an academic community in which all members of the team — students, faculty and staff — can fulfill their professional goals. She seeks to foster an environment in which students come for a great education and leave with confidence, lasting connections and a network of support that allows them to launch fulfilling careers.

“Veterinary medicine is a profession uniquely situated to have broad, positive transdisciplinary impact, and MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine is in a strong position to be a leader in building diverse collaborations to tackle global challenges and promote the profession,” said Dodd. “One of my mentors instilled in me that it is a rare honor to be part of a veterinary college; it is a privilege to learn and to teach. I am honored to be recommended as the next dean of the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine.” 

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