Year in Review: A Message From Dean Dana Zimmel

Dr. Dana Zimmel
Dr. Dana Zimmel, dean of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine

Dear Friends,

What a year it has been! Over the past several months, it has been our pleasure to share with you some of the exciting things that are happening at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. We’ve brought you stories and meaningful updates through our new UF Achievers newsletter and our UF Vet Med Voice series on topics ranging from clinical breakthroughs and innovative research to an unprecedented collaboration with one of the world’s premier equestrian centers to advance patient care. Although the stories we’ve shared represent only a snapshot of the work we’re doing to advance the profession of veterinary medicine and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s Power of Together strategic plan, we hope they have given you some insight into the passion that drives us — and the spirit that moves us.

Here is a recap of some of the programs and developments we’re proudest of.

New UF Veterinary Hospital at World Equestrian Center:

  • In May, we opened a 40,000-square-foot hospital facility at World Equestrian Center in Ocala, a premiere equestrian venue, as part of a strategic alliance aimed at better serving WEC visitors with animals in need of veterinary care. The UF Veterinary Hospital at WEC will provide state-of-the-art care focused on sports medicine and diagnostic imaging to elite equine athletes, and primary and urgent care to small animals. Animals from Ocala and the surrounding area will benefit from the venue at a time when the demand for veterinary services is at an unprecedented high.

Shelter Medicine:

  • The UF Shelter Medicine program is a leading influencer in a growing field and has gained national recognition for the UF College of Veterinary Medicine through its multi-pronged approach to improving animal welfare through teaching, research, community outreach and patient care. We also offer three robust shelter medicine clerkships aimed at helping our veterinary students hone their surgical skills to be day-one ready for practice after graduation.


  • A new $10 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is enabling Dr. Rhoel Dinglasan, a professor of infectious diseases, and his team to investigate COVID severity in some countries relative to others. In July, the CDC’s Southeast Regional Center of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease, led by Dr. Dinglasan, received an additional $10 million in renewed funding to continue its work for another five years.
  • Leveraging strengths in zoological medicine, virology and microbiology, our UF veterinary researchers discovered a new bacteria strongly associated with death in gopher tortoises, a crucial species because their burrows provide shelter for more than 350 other creatures living in their habitat. These findings will be of interest to veterinarians, wildlife biologists and those involved in rehabilitation of gopher tortoises, and could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of the long-living reptiles.

Clinical highlights

  • Stan Kim, an associate professor of small animal surgery, and his team conducted the first canine total ankle replacement surgery in Florida on a dog.
  • Our emergency and critical care specialists were able to save an English Springer Spaniel with rare botulinum poisoning, after the dog spent 30 days in UF’s ICU.

Our UF Vet Med Voice podcasts have provided direct updates from faculty working across disciplines. From working to help horses with heaves and adding to knowledge about manatee die-offs in Florida, innovative pain management, kidney, diabetes and infectious disease research, advances in 3D printing across species and the use of artificial intelligence in dairy cattle health, we’ve brought you the latest from our experts. We plan to keep doing so, and encourage you to continue to tune in at our UF Achievers website.

As we look to the future, expect to hear more about our inroads in the prevention and treatment of animal diseases through the use of artificial intelligence. Thanks to a partnership between UF and NVIDIA, who have invested $50 million in UF innovation in AI, our CVM researchers will be able to apply supercomputing and machine learning to solve today’s problems with tomorrow’s technology.

We appreciate all of your support!


Dana N. Zimmel, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.I.M. (large animal)
Professor and Dean