Schools with an Extraordinary Animal Science Faculty


Cute puppies

As vet tech courses of study to attain a degree have expanded from two-year associate’s programs to four-year bachelor’s programs in just the last ten years—not to mention the explosion of world-class veterinary programs—the number of extraordinary animal science faculty has grown to supply more refined and advanced degree pathways. Just as the human body needs specialists for different injuries, animals often require a wide range of medical attention. Additional expertise on the anatomy, pathology, behavior, and even nutrition of our pets is learned by studying at a veterinary technician institution.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts the addition of nearly 21,000 new vet tech positions between 2016 and 2026. This list includes 15 lauded and accomplished vet tech faculty have been chosen for their expertise, excellence in teaching and research, positive student reputation, publication history, and professional commitment. Three schools stood out clearly as lodestones of great and talented minds: California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, Lincoln Memorial University, and Mississippi State University.

These 15 animal science faculty continually exemplify the commitment, understanding, and expertise of their subject through years of dedicated service to their universities, students, and animal health. They have under their belts serious published works with both mainstream and expert audiences. They lead in their classrooms and outside in business, industry, and non-profit work. Their professional achievements are numerous and considerable, further signs of their mastery of veterinary medicine.

California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo, Animal Science Department

Founded in 1901, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo is a public school and one of the two polytechnic institutions in the state system. A public space grant university, Cal Poly is organized into six colleges, offering 65 bachelor’s degrees and 39 master’s degrees. Notable alumni include a former governor of California, the current CFO of Apple Inc., the creator of the Clif Bar, and numerous innovators in art, science, and engineering.

Cal Poly’s Animal Science Department takes a “learn by doing” approach. To that end, the ASD contains many live classrooms for anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, and veterinary technologist demonstrations. In terms of hands-on vet science programs, Cal Poly’s is nearly impossible to beat. The department offers students the opportunity to apply the principles of animal biology, molecular biology and other life sciences to a wide variety of domestic and foreign species, including farm animals, exotic animals, laboratory animals, and pets.

Matthew A. Burd, DVM

Dr. Matthew Burd leads equine reproductive physiology for the Animal Science Department at Cal Poly, teaching courses in equine reproduction, equine exercise physiology, and equine biomechanics. He also teaches courses in veterinary pharmacology, systemic animal physiology, and endocrinology.

Dr. Burd researches stem-cells, equine reproduction, and equine embryology. Professor Burd works closely with local businesses in the area of digital imaging collaboration.

Dr. Burd holds a BS in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin and a MS in marine science from San Jose State University’s Moss Landing Marine Lab. Also, he received his DVM from the prestigious University of California at Davis.

Fernando Campos-Chillon, DVM, PhD

Dr. Fernando Campos-Chillon is a professor of veterinary medicine at Cal Poly’s Animal Science Department, where he leads the comparative ART program, which deals with technologies of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), embryo transfer, and cryopreservation. He studies the assisted reproduction technologies (ART) of cattle and horses and teaches a variety of courses in reproductive management, reproductive physiology, and genetic analysis.

Dr. Campos-Chillon holds a PhD in biomedical sciences and DVM from Colorado State University and BS and MS degrees from Cal Poly Pomona.

Heather Harris, DVM

Dr. Heather Harris is a senior lecturer and doctor of veterinary medicine at Cal Poly, where she uses an interdisciplinary “One Health approach” to examine health trends in marine wildlife.

Dr. Harris studies population health assessment, toxin exposure, and threats to mortality of federally protected marine species. At Cal Poly, she has developed an innovative, hands-on approach to teaching marine veterinary medicine. On top of teaching, she works as a wildlife veterinarian for the NOAA Fisheries Marine Turtle Program.

Dr. Harris holds an MPVM in wildlife disease ecology from the University of California, Davis, as well as a DVM from UC Davis and a BS in environmental studies from UC Santa Barbara.

Rodrigo Manjarín, DVM, PhD

Dr. Rodrigo Manjarín is an assistant professor of animal science at Cal Poly, where he teaches veterinary medicine. Previously, he worked as a Meat Inspector in England in a small animal practice and in swine artificial insemination centers in Italy and Spain.

Dr. Manjarín’s research interests include identifying the mechanisms by which nutrients regulate lactation and muscle growth and how to improve livestock production and human health. Professor Manjarín leads an international project to introduce the Spanish Iberian pig breed to facilities at Cal Poly for study and development.

Dr. Manjarín earned an MS and PhD in animal science at MSU. He then completed a second PhD in veterinary medicine at the University of León.

Kim A. Sprayberry, DVM

Dr. Kim Sprayberry is an associate professor of veterinary medicine and veterinarian lecturer at Cal Poly. She is active in various aspects of veterinary medical journalism and has worked as an assistant editor for the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Journal of Veterinary Research. She is also co-editor for the textbook series “Current Therapy in Equine Medicine.”

Dr. Sprayberry is a certified equine internal medicine specialist and lecturer and is a frequent speaker at veterinary continuing education venues such as the AAEP annual convention and the International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care symposium. She also sits on the Public Relations Committee of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Sprayberry holds a DVM from UC Davis.

Lincoln Memorial University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Lincoln Memorial University was founded as a private, non-profit liberal arts college in 1897 and is named after Abraham Lincoln. It provides a multidisciplinary approach to the arts and sciences, with courses and degrees in everything from literature to osteopathic medicine to the theory of law. The university is accredited by SACS (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and last year, the LMU Duncan School of Law received full accreditation by the American Bar Association. Notable alumni include writer and civil rights activist Don West, philosopher Maurice Natanson, and numerous authors and poets.

LMU’s College of Veterinary Medicine was endowed in 2014 and immediately set out to distinguish itself as an outstanding veterinary medicine school. While the main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee, the CVU’s educational facilities are some 12 miles distant in Ewing, Virginia. These facilities include the DeBusk Veterinary Teaching Center, or DVTC, which is housed on 700 acres and is open to four-year students. The DVTC facilities also have a Large Animal Component, which simulates a working farm environment with a large herd of cattle, and provides a hands-on education for clinical and surgical skills in cats, dogs, cattle, horses, and sheep

Stacy Anderson, DVM, PhD

Dr. Stacy Anderson is an assistant professor of veterinary medicine and the director of large animal clinical skills at Lincoln Memorial University, where she teaches an introduction to surgery, veterinary clinical skills, anatomy, and research methods in veterinary medicine. Dr. Anderson studies large animal sciences, biomechanics, equine lameness, equine surgery, and equine emergency cases. She is currently heading up a study for the Equine Veterinary Journal.

Dr. Anderson earned her MVSC and PhD from the University of Saskatchewan, as well as a DVM from Iowa State University.

Ismael Concha, DVM

Dr. Ismael Concha is an assistant professor of veterinary anatomy at Lincoln Memorial University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he teaches veterinary anatomy. He is also a ranking member of the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists and the International Society for Plastination.

Dr. Concha researches traditional anatomical techniques and plastination techniques, with a view to better understand animal anatomy. Previously, he was a professor of human anatomy and director of the Human Plastination Lab at Los Andes University; director of the Plastination Lab at the University of Chile; and director of the Veterinary Anatomy and Animal Plastination Lab at Santo Tomas University—all in Santiago, Chile.

Dr. Concha earned his DVM from Santo Tomás University (Santiago, Chile) and obtained his master’s degree in veterinary science at Oregon State University. Also, Dr. Concha is a scientific illustrator and an artist.

Vina Faulkner, PhD

Dr. Faulkner is an associate professor of veterinary science and the master of science veterinary biomedical science program director at LMU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Formerly, she was dean of allied health sciences and an assistant professor of biology and natural sciences at Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin.

Dr. Faulkner studies experimental veterinary medicine, comparative veterinary medicine, chemical biology in animal physiology, and parasitology. She has also directed undergraduate student research at LMU in the past, as well as directing professional student research.

Dr. Faulkner holds a PhD from the University of Tennessee, an MS in parasitology from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, and a BS in biology from Mount Senario College.

Robert Gilley, DVM, PhD

Dr. Robert Gilley is an associate professor of veterinary surgery at LMU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. His postgraduate residency was in small animal surgery and he was (until last year) an associate professor of surgery at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Gilley studies advancements in bone healing and comparative orthopedics, with a goal to apply findings to better animal health. From 2002 to 2009, Dr. Gilley was an assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gilley received his PhD in comparative orthopedics and tissue engineering from the University of Minnesota. This was preceded by an MA in biology and a DVM from the University of Florida.

Bess Pierce, DVM

Dr. Bess Pierce is an associate professor of small animal internal medicine with a canine specialty and a focus in canine and feline practice. She teaches courses in veterinary medicine, anatomy, animal therapies, and zoology. She also holds a certificate in animal-assisted therapy activities and learning at the University of Denver. Dr. Pierce has studied canine sports medicine, veterinary public policy, and animal-human relationships. She also has served as a US Army Reserve Senior Veterinarian since 2013.

Dr. Pierce holds a DVM cum laude from Auburn University, where she had previously obtained an MS. She received her BS from Tulane University.

Mississippi State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

The Mississippi State University for Agriculture and Applied Science (usually referred to as MSU) is one of the state’s flagship universities. It has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation as an R1 class institution, which means that it has “Very High Research Activity.” If you’re looking to attend a school that prioritizes research, development, and the expansion of knowledge bases, look no further than MSU. Notable alumni include senators, a golden age comedian, and a number of baseball players.

MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine bases its shared learning models on the concept of community. Its faculty advances research in veterinary medicine and biomedical fields, serving the community through clinical care and cutting edge diagnostic techniques. In 2015, AVMA granted the MSU-CVM full accreditation for its veterinary programs. The college offers coursework and foci at its Animal Health Center and Department of Clinical Sciences, as well as the innovative Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine (PPM).

Caroline Betbeze, DVM

Dr. Caroline Betbeze is an associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. She was formerly an ophthalmology resident at Purdue University in addition to owning a private ophthalmology practice from 2007 to 2013.

Dr. Betbeze researches comparative ophthalmology, large and small animal ophthalmology, and ophthalmic manifestations of systemic diseases in animals. Additionally, she is an expert in animal cataract surgery and lectures on the subject.

She holds a BS and DVM from Mississippi State University and an MS from Purdue University.

Cody Coyne, DVM, PhD

Dr. Cody Coyne is a full professor of molecular pharmacology and immunology at MSU’s Department of Basic Sciences, where he teaches pharmaceutical molecular design, molecular oncology, proteomics, modification of gene transcription, and molecular pathogenesis of septic and non-septic inflammatory reactions to graduate students. He also teaches pharmacology and internal medicine to veterinary students.

Dr. Coyne studies the application of molecular biology and proteomics analyses to delineate mechanisms of disease. He also uses neoplastic conditions as an investigational basis for the molecular design of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical agents.

Dr. Coyne earned his DVM from Colorado State University, his PhD from UC Davis, and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Jennifer Gambino, DVM

Dr. Jennifer Gambino is an assistant professor of diagnostic imaging in the Department of Clinical Science at Mississippi State University, where she teaches small and large animal diagnostic imaging with a focus on minimally invasive and minimally distressing imaging techniques. Her areas of expertise include MRI and computed tomography for oncologic diagnosis.

Dr. Gambino researches advanced MRI spectroscopy for the noninvasive investigation of the molecular composition of the brain and brain tumors and disease in companion animals. This involves diagnostic imaging support across multiple imaging modalities for clinical research and cross-sectional imaging of a comparative nature.

Dr. Gambino holds a DVM from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in addition to a BA in environmental science and a general studies degree in the humanities from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Martha Pulido-Landinez, DVM, PhD

Dr. Martha Pulido-Landinez is an associate clinical professor of avian medicine in the Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine at MSU. She is also a head figure in the CVM’s Poultry Research and Diagnostic Laboratory.

Dr. Pulido-Landinez studies food safety, salmonella and campylobacter in poultry, emerging avian disease, veterinary preventive medicine, poultry health and pathology, avian medicine, and bacterial diseases of poultry.

Dr. Pulido-Landinez holds a DVM and MS from the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, DC. Colombia. She received her PhD from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil

Carol C. Vice, DVM

Dr. Carol Vice is an associate clinical professor in the CVM’s Department of Pathobiology and Population Medicine at Mississippi State University, where she teaches and researches dermatopathology, small animal surgery, equine surgical biopsy, and veterinary anatomic pathology. She has worked at the CVM for a number of years, where she has innovated in the field of dermatopathology as well as the field of small animal internal medicine.

Dr. Vice received her DVM and MS from Louisiana State University and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.


Schools that meet our criteria for designation as one with an extraordinary animal science must:


  • Offer hands-on training with an emphasis on specializations, foci, and BS programs
  • Teach a cutting-edge curriculum that integrates the latest veterinary science
  • Boast a demonstrated history of student satisfaction in academics and facilities
  • Retain a staff of credentialed, peer-reviewed, expert veterinary professors

To be marked for inclusion on our list of top-rated animal science professors, we look at the following criteria:

  • University Affiliation: Veterinary faculty on this list must currently be employed in instruction or research at an accredited university or college.
  • Professional Commitment: Together with whatever research, teaching, or leadership obligations these vet tech professors might have, some have risen to positions like faculty dean or program director, or have founded private companies to market inventions or provide veterinary care.
  • Peer Recognition: In their dedication to the science of veterinary medicine, faculty members who have set themselves apart may have received special recognition for their published work, grants or allotments for research or funding, or excellence in teaching awards.
  • Publication: In addition to having been featured extensively in peer-reviewed journals, many of the professionals on our list show publication expertise in the areas of quarterly, personal, and mainstream literature.
  • Positive Public Engagement: Some of the faculty here exemplify an outreach and public awareness perspective. They may give public lectures, publish free lessons on YouTube, work for non-profit groups, or devote their free time to charities or animal rights.
Kenneth Parker (Writer)

A graduate of the University of Oregon, Kenneth Parker is sometimes a musician and rarely a poet. His work spans copy editing, feature writing, and dissertation development.