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People & Places

People & Places

Dr. Mark Flint

Dr. Flint is Head of the Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. In close collaboration with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds this program aims to train residents and veterinary students in conservation medicine. Mark is also Director of Vet-MARTI and an Adjunct Senior Fellow in the School of Veterinary Science at The University of Queensland.

Since 1995, he has conducted wildlife and marine research and investigations in Australia and the USA and continues to lead active research programs in both countries.

Dr. Flint's research areas focus on identifying prevalent and emerging diseases in marine and freshwater animal species as they relate to environmental and commercial stressors. The overarching theme to his investigations is to identify anthropogenic and natural pressures that will impact on the survivorship of species and health of the ecosystem. He takes a multi-species approach to this investigation concentrating on fauna that offer potential as a sentinel of ecohealth for their environmental niche. He is widely published on these topics in continuing education, journals and book chapters.

Dr. Jaylene Flint

Dr. Flint is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine at The Ohio State University. She is a marine biologist with over a decade experience working with sea turtles, sirenia and crocodilians. Before completing her PhD through The University of Queensland, she worked for state departments of the environment in Queensland and Florida as well as not for profit conservation facilities. She is also a qualified secondary school teacher in science and marine biology.

Jay’s research focuses on interfacing with stakeholders and field collection of data to create large scale databases and generate predictive models. The outputs guide rehabilitation centers, administrators and first responders in the management of strandings and other mass morbidity issues post catastrophic environmental events. Her interests include threatened species conservation, education and research and how these disciplines can be better combined to understand ecosystem health and mitigate negative environmental impacts.

Dr. Vanessa Hale

Dr. Hale is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine and also serves as part of the Infectious Diseases Institute at The Ohio State University. Her research examines the role of the gut microbiome in infectious diseases with the goal of understanding how the microbiome shapes disease susceptibility and pathogenesis in both humans and animals, including wildlife. She evaluates disease processes within the context of environmental factors such as diet, toxin exposures, and habitat (e.g. wild vs. captive, urban vs. rural). The overarching goal of her work is to identify ways in which we can manipulate the microbiome in order to prevent or treat disease. Hale Lab Website: http://u.osu.edu/hale.502/

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is an international leader in conservation medicine with more than 70 projects in 30 countries examining the conservation and/or restoration of critical species and habitat. In-staff expertise in primate conservation and marine ecosystem restoration has resulted in a positive global impact.

Along with Ohio State and The Wilds, the Zoo is an equal partner in the ACZM-accredited Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health residency program offered through the university. Mentored by Drs. Randy Junge, Priya Bapodra-Villaverde and Katie Seeley, residents receive world-class training in conservation medicine. These clinicians and adjunct faculty within CVM also lecture veterinary students in zoological medicine and offer competitive veterinary externships.

The Wilds

The Wilds is an international leader in conservation medicine being one of the largest conservation facility in North America tackling the restoration of several key species locally and around the world. In-staff expertise in veterinary management of large herds in large pastures, primate conservation, exotic hoof stock and pachyderms has helped secure The Wilds as a globally important conservation site.

Along with Ohio State and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Wilds is an equal partner in the ACZM-accredited Zoo and Wildlife Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health residency program offered through the university. Mentored by Drs. Jan Ramer and Priscilla Joyner residents receive world-class training in conservation medicine. These clinicians and adjunct faculty within CVM also lecture veterinary students in zoological medicine and offer competitive veterinary externships.

Dr. Jessica Heinz (3rd-Year Zoo Resident)

Dr. Heinz graduated from the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2016.  Afterwards, she interned as a Small Animal Rotating Intern Veterinarian at VCA Shoreline/Norwalk Veterinary Referral and Emergency Centers in Shelton, Connecticut from 2016-2017and as a Zoo Intern Veterinarian Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington from 2017-2018. Prior to acceptance into the residency program, she worked as a Temporary Veterinarian at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio. Her research interests lie endangered species physiological abnormalities and habitat interactions with in the eastern Hellbender species as well as disease screening and blood collection for native turtle species.

Dr. Emily Vincent (1st-Year Zoo Resident)

Dr. Vincent received her veterinary degree from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2019 and then completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at University of Illinois in 2020. She was the Harlan Family Veterinary Intern at the Indianapolis Zoo from 2020-2021. Her previous research projects have included a field study of free-ranging domestic cats, an echocardiology study of prairie rattlesnakes, and a health assessment of wild freshwater turtles. Upon her return to Ohio State, Dr. Vincent is interested in exploring the effects of anthropogenic influences on free-ranging wildlife and ecosystem health.

Brittany Fischer (PhD student)

Brittany is a PhD student studying aquatic ecosystem health and welfare. Her research is focused on assessing the sustainability of harvesting strategies of public aquariums with inclusion of alternatives to wild collection, such as aquaculture, and their ecosystem impacts. Prior to beginning her program, Brittany obtained undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University working with the Center for Human-Animal Interactions Research & Education (CHAIRE). Her thesis research was the development of a longitudinal welfare approach using behavioral observations and hair cortisol production, working specifically with the ambassador cheetahs at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.


 

Past Students/Residents

Dr. Andrea Aplasca (3rd-Year Zoo Resident)

Dr. Aplasca graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017 and then completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery in New York City, NY.  Prior to veterinary school, Dr. Aplasca worked as a licensed veterinary technician for the Wildlife Conservation Society, and she completed a Master’s degree in biology and ecology at Fordham University.  Her thesis focused on the population genetics of endangered species and implications for wildlife conservation. She has also studied disease and environmental contaminants in free-ranging wildlife, and she joins the residency program with a special interest in anthropogenic impacts on ecosystem and wildlife health.

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