New faculty: Dr. Jennifer Bloodgood
The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has recently welcomed many new faculty members to our academic departments and hospitals, each one bringing a unique set of skills and experience that enriches our college every day. In this Q&A series, you'll get to know their interests, expertise and more.
Dr. Jennifer Bloodgood, assistant professor of practice, Department of Public and Ecosystem Health
Q: What has been your academic/career path leading up to Cornell?
Growing up, I loved the outdoors and learning about nature, so majoring in wildlife biology at Clemson University felt like a perfect fit. During undergrad, I was excited by research and ended up working in a lab studying the effects of pesticides on amphibians. My interest in wildlife health had begun. I stayed on at Clemson as a master’s student studying the effects of climate change on bald eagle egg-lay dates. From there, I worked as a technician for a few years in the wildlife health field. I spent time at the University of Georgia on an avian vacuolar myelinopathy project and at North Carolina State University in an aquatic animal epidemiology lab, and then at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences as a veterinary assistant. My experiences in these positions solidified my passion for research and a desire to go to veterinary school and led me to pursue a dual Ph.D.-D.V.M.. I completed my PhD in Integrative Conservation, a program designed to give students experience collaborating across disciplines with the recognition that complex conservation challenges require integrative solutions. My research focused on nutrition in rehabilitating green sea turtles and the perceptions people who visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Center had regarding wildlife rehabilitation. After completing my Ph.D.-D.V.M., I worked at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama as the Research Veterinarian for the AL Marine Mammal Stranding Network before joining The Cornell Wildlife Health Lab.
Q: What drew you to Cornell Vet?
I was drawn by the opportunity to join the dedicated, passionate group of scientists at The Cornell Wildlife Health Lab and to make a difference in the field of wildlife health.
Q: What is your academic area of expertise?
As both a wildlife veterinarian and biologist, I have a broad interest in free-ranging wildlife health and disease. I have particular interests in pathology, infectious disease, and the interface of human and wildlife health.
Q: What drew you into this area? Any specific experiences, mentors, influences that helped guide you?
I have been influenced and guided by so many wonderful mentors over my career including advisors, lab mates, coworkers, and friends in undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary school and life in general. I have my Dad to thank for my love of the outdoors and my initial jump into the wildlife field. Dr. Bill Bowerman was my advisor during my master’s degree at Clemson University and sparked my initial interest in the wildlife health field. Dr. Dan Dombrowski and Shane Christian at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences influenced my decision to pursue a dual Ph.D.-D.V.M. And I thank Dr. Sonia Hernandez for being my advisor and an incredible mentor through both my Ph.D. and veterinary school at the University of Georgia.
Q-What past professional work are you most proud of and why?
My work at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. I worked as a veterinarian and researcher with the AL Marine Mammal Stranding Network, responding to all marine mammal strandings for the state. The work was both demanding and rewarding. We successfully responded to the first documented live, large whale stranding and first mass stranding in the state during my time there. The team there is incredible, and I was very proud to work with them.
Q-What about your academic work are you most excited about and why?
I am most excited to collaborate with an interdisciplinary group of ecologists and veterinarians to tackle wildlife health questions, because I want to be part of such a team and use my background to advance our understanding of wildlife health.
Q-What impacts or applications do you hope to see your work have on the world, human/animal/planetary health?
Wildlife health is an integral part of human, animal, and planetary health. By supporting The Cornell Wildlife Health Lab, I hope to contribute to research and outreach that supports their mission to promote the health and sustainability of wildlife populations.
Q-What questions are you looking to answer next/areas you plan to explore?
I am excited to jump into a variety of projects with the Wildlife Health Lab!
Q-What’s something most people don’t know about you?
I love to travel and experience new cultures.
Q-What’s the best part of your job?
That every day is different. Wildlife health is such a vast field – there are always new questions to answer, new species to study, and new people to work with.
Q-What’s the most challenging part?
Wanting to answer so many questions! It’s easy for the best part to also be the most challenging part, but I enjoy the challenge.
Q-What are the benefits of working at CVM? At Cornell?
I look forward to working with the supportive, dedicated, collaborative community at Cornell!