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Dirk Vanderwall: Chief of Veterinary Medicine’s Section of Reproduction at New Bolton Center
April 14, 2009, Volume 55, No. 29



Penn Veterinary Medicine is proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Dirk Vanderwall to chief of the Reproduction Section and director of the Hofmann Research Center for Animal Reproduction at New Bolton Center. “Penn Vet is honored to have Dr. Vanderwall head our Large Animal Section of Reproduction. Dr. Vanderwall brings an extraordinary level of expertise and visionary academic leadership to this position,” said Dr. Gary Althouse, chief of Clinical Studies. As the chief of reproduction and director of the Hofmann Center for Animal Reproduction, Dr. Vanderwall will provide leadership in enhancing the department’s role within the School and University, integrate core activities of the department, develop new and promising areas of research and teaching and work with other department chairs in furthering the mission of the school.

Dr. Vanderwall was recognized in 2005 as the world’s top veterinarian specializing in animal reproduction by the American College of Theriogenologists. The honor followed his success in producing three mule clones in 2003 as part of a University of Idaho (UI)–Utah State University team. Prior to coming to Penn Vet, Dr. Vanderwall was at the UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. During his 10 years there, he was part of the team that produced the world’s first equine clone, the mule Idaho Gem, in 2003.

Dr. Vanderwall’s research interests include addressing problems pertinent to sub-fertile older mares and innovative clinical applications and reproductive techniques. “My primary research priority at Penn Vet will be sub-fertility in older mares from two standpoints. One area of investigation I would like to pursue is why older mares have overall declining fertility. It will involve a TVA (transvaginal follicle aspiration) procedure for collecting eggs from mares, which is a direct link into studying egg quality in older mares. I will be collaborating with researchers at Penn Vet to look at egg quality in mares, comparing young mare and older mare egg quality and differences that might be contributing to the higher embryonic loss rate in older mares. Parallel with that will be clinical application of the follicle aspiration procedure with sub-fertile-aged mares in which embryo transfer has been unsuccessful. Now we have the ability to collect the unfertilized egg from the aged sub-fertile mare that can’t become pregnant herself and inseminate the egg in a young fertile recipient mare. This is a clinical technique I plan to offer with the Section of Reproduction at Penn Vet,” said Dr. Vanderwall.

An upstate New York native, Dr. Vanderwall received his associate’s degree from the State University of New York and baccalaureate’s degree with distinction from Cornell University. While pursuing veterinary studies at Cornell in 1983, Dr. Vanderwall met Dr. Gordon Woods, who would be his mentor and colleague at UI. Dr. Vanderwall earned his DVM in 1986 and then earned a doctoral degree in animal physiology in 1992 from UI. He continued his post-doctoral studies at the University of Kentucky for two years. From 1994 to 1999, he worked for Colorado State University as assistant professor and clinical specialist focused on equine reproduction before joining the UI faculty in 1999 as assistant professor in the department of animal and veterinary science. In 2005 he was appointed to the position of associate professor.


Almanac - April 14, 2009, Volume 55, No. 29