Zoetis 2022 Distinguished Teaching and Research Excellence Winners Named

Dr. Vilaplana and Dr. Curtiss

Dr. Federico Vilaplana Grosso and Dr. Roy Curtiss.

Dr. Federico Vilaplana Grosso and Dr. Roy Curtiss were recently named as the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s winners of the 2022 Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award and the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence, respectively.

Vilaplana, a clinical assistant professor of diagnostic imaging at UFCVM, received the 2022 Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award, which is given to educators in recognition of their character and leadership qualities as well as their outstanding teaching abilities.

“Dr. Vilaplana’s teaching style is one of incredible energy, positivity and humor, which is complemented by his deep knowledge and broad experience in the discipline of diagnostic imaging,” said Dr. Chris Adin, chair of the college’s department of small animal clinical sciences, in which Vilaplana has his academic home.

Adin noted that Vilaplana is an integral part of the veterinary curriculum at UF, providing hands-on experience in an area that becomes a core skill for the vast majority of the college’s graduates. He also has received the highest average student evaluation scores for three consecutive years in the college’s largest department. Vilaplana’s contributions to education have also extended into the area of resident training.

“He is a bright star in a field that struggles to recruit and retain faculty to teach the discipline of diagnostic imaging, and he is making a significant contribution to turning that trend around,” Adin said.

Curtiss, a professor of One Health in the department of infectious diseases and immunology with a joint appointment in the department of comparative, diagnostic and population medicine, received the Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence. This award is given to recognize researchers whose innovative studies have advanced the scientific standing of veterinary medicine.

Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001, Curtiss has had a long and illustrious career in molecular biology, microbiology and immunology research.

“His 415 publications spanning a 65-year-long career in research typify his many contributions to human and animal medicine,” said Dr. Julie Moore, his primary department chair, adding that Curtiss’s career began with characterization of the genetics of Escherichia coli. Ahead of his time, he was among the first to write of the benefits and hazards of genetic manipulation of microorganisms.

“He recognized early on the importance and potential power of genetic manipulation of bacteria for medicine and advocated for leveraging this tool toward development of bacterial strains as vaccines,” Moore said, adding that Curtiss’ interests in recombinant avirulent Salmonella for orally delivered vaccines began in the early 1980s.

Over the decades, Curtiss has perfected the technology for generating attenuated bacteria to use as live, attenuated vaccines and has applied it to a broad array of human and veterinary pathogens, from Helicobacter pylori to Zika virus to Salmonella enterica. To date, his work has led to five licensed vaccines for poultry.

Congratulations to them both!

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