Heidi L. Reesink, VMD, PhD, DACVS-LA

Department of Clinical Sciences

Diplomate - American College of Veterinary Surgeons—Large Animal
Associate Professor, Section of Large Animal Surgery

Reesink Laboratory

Department of Clinical Sciences
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
930 Campus Road, Box 32
Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: 607-253-3100  Equine/Nemo Farm Animal Hospital

Email: heidi.reesink@cornell.edu

Research/Clinical Interest

Research: Pathophysiology, epidemiology and treatment of orthopedic disease—osteoarthritis and fracture.   

Osteoarthritis—The Reesink laboratory is actively investigating how synovial fluid glycans and glycoproteins, including lubricin and hyaluronic acid (HA), are altered in osteoarthritis (OA) and traumatic joint injury.  The aim of this work is to understand how lubricin and HA synergistically enhance joint lubrication, mitigate inflammation and promote cartilage health, with the ultimate goal of developing novel therapeutic strategies for OA. 

Fracture—The Reesink laboratory is examining the pathophysiology of fetlock fractures in racehorses through quantitative CT imaging and bone quality assessment.  Long-term goals of this work are to develop clinically relevant methods of assessing fracture risk in equine athletes and to determine what epidemiologic factors are associated with increased fracture risk.

Clinical: Equine and farm animal orthopedic surgery; equine sports medicine and lameness.

Education and Training

  • 2016     Cornell University, PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences
  • 2012     Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Surgeons-Large Animal
  • 2008-2011     Cornell University, Residency in Large Animal Surgery
  • 2007     University of Pennsylvania, VMD (Summa Cum Laude)
  • 2003     Iowa State University, BS in Zoology (Honors)


Dr. Reesink received her veterinary medical degree (VMD) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007.  She came to Cornell for a large animal surgery residency from 2008-2011 and worked part-time as an Emergency Surgeon from 2012-2016 while completing her PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences.  She was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences in 2016.

Dr. Reesink is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons with clinical interests in equine and farm animal orthopedic surgery, sports medicine and lameness.  She is interested in translating novel research discoveries, including regenerative medicine and lubricin therapy, to equine clinical patients with musculoskeletal disease.  Her laboratory investigates the pathophysiology, epidemiology and treatment of osteoarthritis and racehorse fractures.

In her free time, Dr. Reesink enjoys outdoor activities, including running, cycling, and horseback riding.


pubmed    Please select the PubMed link for a list of Dr. Reesink's publications.

  • Fasanello DC, Su J, Deng S, Yin R, Colville MJ, Berenson J, Kelly C, Freer H, Rollins A, Wagner B, Rivas F, Hall AR, Paszek MJ, Reesink HL. Hyaluronic acid synthesis, degradation and crosslinking in equine osteoarthritis: TNF-α-TSG-6-mediated HC-HA formation. Arthritis Res. Ther., 2021 Aug 20;23(1):218. doi: 10.1186/s13075-021-02588-7. PMID: 34416923.
  • Noordwijk, KJ, Qin R, Diaz-Rubio ME, Zhang S, Su J, Mahal LK, Reesink HL. Metabolism and global protein glycosylation are differentially expressed in healthy and osteoarthritic equine carpal synovial fluid. Equine Vet J. 2022 Mar;54(2):323-333. doi: 10.1111/evj.13440. Epub 2021 Mar 18. PMID: 33587757. PMCID: PMC8364562.
  • Watkins AR, Reesink HL. Lubricin in experimental and naturally occurring osteoarthritis: a systematic review. Osteoarthr. Cartilg. 2020 Oct;28(10):1303-1315. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2020.05.009. Epub 2020 June 3. PMID: 32504786.
  • Shurer C, Wang Y, Feeney E, Head S, Zhang V, Su J, Stark M, Bonassar L, Reesink HL, Paszek M.  Stable recombinant production of codon-scrambled lubricin and mucin in human cells.  Biotech Bioengin. 2019 Jun;116(6):1292-1303. doi: 10.1002/bit.26940. Epub 2019 Mar 8. PMID: 30684357.
  • Cresswell EN, McDonough SP, Palmer SE, Hernandez CJ, Reesink HL.  Can quantitative computed tomography detect bone morphological changes associated with catastrophic proximal sesamoid bone fracture in Thoroughbred racehorses? Equine Vet J. 2019 Jan;51(1):123-130. doi: 10.1111/evj.12965.  PMID: 29758110.

Honors and Awards

  • 2022     World Veterinary Orthopedic Congress (WVOC), Best Clinical Equine Podium Presentation
  • 2021     Zoetis Award for Veterinary Research Excellence, Cornell University
  • 2020, 2021      Harry M. Zweig Research Incentive Award, Cornell University
  • 2020-2022       NIH Loan Repayment Award, NCATS, Extramural Clinical Research
  • 2017     Phi Zeta Clinical Manuscript Award, Cornell University
  • 2016     Dante and Sharon Ferrini Award for Veterinary Thoroughbred Horse Racing Studies
  • 2015     Kappa Delta/Orthopaedic Research Society Travel Award
  • 2014     Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, Storm Cat Career Development Award
  • 2011-14     NIH T32 Comparative Medicine Training Grant
  • 2010     American College of Veterinary Surgeons, 2nd Place, Outstanding Large Animal Surgical Resident Research Presentation Award

Professional/Academic Affiliations

  • AAAS/Program for Excellence in Science

  • American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP)

  • American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS)

  • American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS)—Chair-Elect of Research Committee

  • AOVet North America

  • Clinical and Translational Science Award One Health Alliance (COHA)—Steering Committee

  • Cornell University—Program for Achieving Career Excellence (PACE)

  • Hospital for Special Surgery—Center for Advanced Materials and Engineering in Orthopedics (CAMEO)

  • Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS)

  • Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS)—Preclinical Models Section Member

  • Veterinary Orthopedic Society (VOS)