Dr. John Rossmeisl of Blacksburg, Va., associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, recently received the Zoetis Award for Research Excellence at the college’s 25th Annual Research Symposium.

Established in 1985 as the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, the Zoetis award is a nationally recognized honor for a faculty member at each veterinary school in the United States. The award seeks to “foster innovative research, on which the scientific advancement of the profession depends, by recognizing outstanding research effort and productivity.”

Rossmeisl, a faculty member in the college’s Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences and the neurology section chief at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, has an international reputation for his expertise in the clinical management and research of brain tumors in dogs.

“Dr. Rossmeisl’s research brings cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic technologies to our veterinary patients,” wrote Dr. Greg Daniel, head of the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, in his nomination letter. “In doing so, he is advancing both human and veterinary medical science.”

Described as a “role model for the college as a clinical scientist,” Rossmeisl has established partnerships with Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering and Wake Forest University’s School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences to develop new and improved therapeutic approaches for managing high-grade “gliomas” — malignant  brain tumors with limited treatment options. He and his colleagues have identified novel receptors that are only present in brain cancer cells and completed a clinical trial on the use of electrical fields to deliver cancer-fighting medication past the blood-brain barrier.

Rossmeisl is currently overseeing a clinical trial on the use of convection-enhanced delivery, a type of targeted chemotherapy, to treat gliomas in dogs. His research uses spontaneous cases of the brain tumors, which are more common in dogs than humans, and is a translational model for the human disease.

In addition to his research activities, Rossmeisl teaches neurology to third- and fourth-year veterinary students and has won several teaching awards within the college.

“Dr. Rossmeisl is widely considered one of the best clinical neurologists in the country, and his experience enhances the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s reputation among our referral base,” Daniel wrote. “He is an intelligent and driven individual and is one of those rare faculty members who excels in all three missions of the college: teaching, research, and service.”

To date, Rossmeisl has been the author or co-author of 70 peer-reviewed publications and 11 book chapters. He has given 68 scientific presentations in a variety of regional, national, and international venues, including France, Slovenia, Chile, Italy, and Great Britain.

Rossmeisl received his bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University. He also completed a master’s degree in biomedical and veterinary sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and is board-certified in both neurology and small animal internal medicine by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Written by Michael Sutphin.
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