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Lab Members

Kenneth W. Simpson, BCM&S PhD DipACVIM DipECVIM-CA
Principle Investigator

Kenny graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh University, in 1984, and gained a PhD in gastroenterology at the University of Leicester in 1988. He hopped the pond for an internship at the University of Pennsylvania (1989), and residency in small animal medicine at THE Ohio State University (1991), then hopped back as a lecturer at the other Royal Veterinary College. He fled the hostile climes of Londinium in 1995 to join the faculty at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

He is a Diplomate of the American and European Colleges of Veterinary Internal Medicine and is currently Chief of the Section of Small Animal Internal Medicine at Cornell. He is a recipient of the National Phi Zeta and Pfizer awards for research, and a past-president of the comparative gastroenterology society.

His research interests are centered below the diaphragm, with a focus on inflammatory diseases of the GI tract (including the pancreas and liver), host bacterial interactions in health and disease, and culture independent bacteriology.

Kenny lives with his wife and three children in Ithaca, NY.


Belgin Dogan, MS, PhD
Senior Research Associate

Belgin achieved her MS and PhD degrees from the Dept. of Food Science at Cornell. She conducted her MS work at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research and evaluated process options in hepatitis B surface antigen extraction from transgenic potatoes. Her PhD was focused on food spoilage characteristics of dairy bacteria and virulence determinants of Streptococcus agalactiae and Listeria monocytogenes. During her PhD she received the “Ruth and Henry Herzog Graduate Research Award” in recognition of academic excellence. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell, researching the pathogenesis of E. coli in chronic coliform mastitis. She joined the department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine as a research associate in 2006. Currently her research is concentrated on Crohn’s disease, evaluating interactions between bacteria, host genetic defects, altered enteric environment and the immune system.


Mark Rishniw, BVSc, MS, PhD, DACVIM (Internal Medicine and Cardiology)
Research Associate

Mark graduated from the University of Melbourne Faculty of Veterinary Science in 1987. He practised for 4 years and then completed 2 residency programs (Internal Medicine at Washington State University and Cardiology at University of California, Davis). Along the way he obtained a MS (physiology). After a year as a Registrar at University of Melbourne in 1996, he moved to Cornell as a Lecturer in Cardiology for 3 years. In 2000, he started a PhD (physiology and developmental biology), which he finished in 2009 (yes, he enjoyed the ride while it lasted!). Midway through the PhD, he joined the Simpson Lab as a part-time postdoctoral associate (interesting that he could be both a PhD student and a post-doc!). He has remained a small part of the Simpson Lab since that time. He spends most of his day drinking coffee and surfing the web.

Mark is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in both Internal Medicine and Cardiology. Mark's interests are clinical research, cardiology and occasionally gastro-intestinal diseases. His main function in the lab is to divert the Laboratory Director (Simpson) sufficiently to allow the rest of the staff to get stuff done. He is an amateur gene-jockey, and assists in data analysis and manuscript preparation, as well as offering opinions on topics outside of his sphere of expertise. When not in the office, he spends his time designing bicycle jerseys.


Shiying Zhang, MS, PhD
Research Associate

My research mainly focuses on elucidating the role of bacteria in inflammatory bowel disease across species, including characterizing the virulence of Adherent and Invasive E.coli (AIEC) associated with Crohn’s disease, granulomatous colitis in dogs and ileitis in murine models. Using in vitro and in vivo models, I also investigate both inter-bacterial and pathogen-host interactions through transcriptomic and metatranscriptomic analysis to identify the mechanisms of gene regulation, and metabolic responses under different conditions.  I hope these studies will shed some light on the prevention and treatment of intestinal inflammatory diseases in human and animals.


Francis Davis, BS
Research Support Staff

Francis was born and raised in the Catskills in NYS. He attended Delhi College from 1962-1964, receiving an Associates degree in Agriculture. In 1966 he obtained a BS in Sanitary Science from the University of Georgia. Francis has worked as a Research Support Specialist at Cornell University since June 1967. He retired in 1999 with 32 years of service, and became instantly bored!! Hence he returned to work with the Simpson Lab in April 1999. Francis and his wife have 4 sons, one adopted from Costa Rica and 8 grandchildren spread from Texas to Penn. Outside of work, he is an avid hunter and FISHerman!

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