Vet med alumnus named associate vice president for research and innovation
David Schabdach will join Virginia Tech as an associate vice president for research and innovation, serving as the attending veterinarian and directing the university program for laboratory animal resources in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation.
In his role, which he begins on Jan. 7, Schabdach will advance excellence in research and instruction by providing oversight and direction to ensure the highest standards of well-being and care of animals across the university. His team will also support education and training of faculty, staff, and students in the humane care and use of animals.
With the integration of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in July, Virginia Tech became part of an elite group of land-grant universities with comprehensive programs that include agriculture, life sciences, fish and wildlife, veterinary medicine, biomedical, and health sciences research.
The appointment of Schabdach as associate vice president shows Virginia Tech’s strong commitment to the growth of its health science and technology campus in Roanoke as well as the continued expansion of leading research and education programs in Blacksburg, Leesburg, and at Agriculture Research Extension Centers across the commonwealth.
Schabdach comes to Virginia Tech from the University of Pittsburgh, where he is senior executive director and attending veterinarian of the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources and clinical professor of veterinary medicine. Prior to his past eight years in academia, he spent 18 years with progressively increasing responsibilities as a laboratory animal veterinarian at two major pharmaceutical companies.
One of his goals at Virginia Tech will be to expand the university’s current AAALAC accreditation beyond veterinary medicine, to include all programs that use animals in research and instruction. This well-recognized and highly regarded international association promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.
“Program-wide accreditation shows that an organization is fully committed to upholding the highest standards of animal care that go well beyond the minimum required by law,” said Schabdach, who is a member of the AAALAC Council on Accreditation. “It is recognized worldwide as a commitment to excellence that is also important in recruiting top faculty, researchers, and graduate students.”
Schabdach received a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia, and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, as a member of the college’s second graduating class. He worked as a small animal veterinarian before entering the laboratory animal medicine field.
After obtaining a master’s degree in laboratory animal medicine from Penn State’s College of Medicine, Schabdach joined Bristol-Myers Squibb as a staff veterinarian. He subsequently held several positions with Pfizer (formerly Wyeth) until he took his first academic position as director and attending veterinarian for the University Laboratory and Animal Resources Department at Temple University. He is an American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine Diplomate and a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Biomedical Research and the Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research.
“We are delighted that Dr. Schabdach is returning to Virginia Tech to lead the division that is responsible for ensuring the health, welfare, and humane use of animals in research and teaching,” Mayer said. “He brings a wealth of experience from his time in industry and academia and his service to AAALAC International. We look forward to working with him to advance our strategic plan for research that involves animals.”
The position at Virginia Tech intrigued Schabdach because it provides him with the opportunity to return to his alma mater during a time of significant investment and growth in programs that involve animals in research and teaching. He sees his role as one that supports these university programs and facilitates external partnerships and collaborations.
“We’re here to help animal-based science and teaching navigate the often complex world of regulatory and ethical issues involved with the humane care and treatment of animals,” Schabdach said.