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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Veterinary Science – Combined Clinical Microbiology Residency

Faculty working with Students: 26
Students: 3
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 100%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall Rolling Deadline
  • Spring Rolling Deadline
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • 7.0 IELTS Minimum score
  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 80 TOEFLI Minimum score
  • Letters of recommendation

Degree Description:

The program’s research and training programs are focused in the immunology, epidemiology and host-pathogen interactions at the molecular level of bacterial, parasitic, and viral infections of animals and humans. The academic research environment is enriched by integration of the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology, the School of Molecular Biosciences, the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health (, the Washington State University Animal Health Research Center and the USDA-ARS Animal Disease Research Unit. Dissertation research is carried out under the direction of a highly collaborative research faculty internationally recognized for infectious disease research and who are experienced in mentoring trainees within state-of-the-art laboratories funded by federal agencies including NIH, NSF, USAID, and USDA, non-profit research foundations such as The Wellcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other federal, state, regional, and private institutions and organizations.

The residency training occurs within the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL), a full service veterinary diagnostic laboratory staffed by faculty of the Departments of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology and Veterinary Clinical Sciences. WADDL has 3 primary facilities, a primary full service laboratory in Pullman, an Aquatic Health laboratory in Pullman and an Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory branch in Puyallup. The laboratories are accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD), WADDL is one of 12 founding members of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network , and one of the 9 veterinary diagnostic laboratories that serve as a reference lab in the Laboratory Response Network for Bioterrorism. Specialized sections in aquaculture, bacteriology, molecular diagnostics, parasitology, serology, and virology ensures that residents develop a strong background in all aspects of clinical microbiology, including detection and diagnosis of emerging and zoonotic pathogens. Additional information about WADDL is available at

Training occurs under the direction of ACVM-certified microbiologists and is enriched by faculty with expertise in infectious diseases, including zoonotic agents and emerging pathogens. The rich and diverse case load provides direct experiential learning and is supported by specialized infectious diseases seminars.

Overview of the Graduate Program: Training is tailored to the individual’s background and career goals, with the proviso that a strong basic sciences foundation is indispensable in preparation for disease research. Core knowledge is advanced through regularly scheduled research seminars, special research seminar series, and through directed readings with the Graduate faculty. Mentored laboratory research is the most critical part of the training and the strength of our program. This is the primary mechanism by which the philosophy of research is imparted to new scientists. Together the major professor and graduate student trainee develop a directed course of research. Throughout the training period, all graduate students attend weekly research seminars where faculty and trainees present recent results. The goal of trainee participation in these seminars is exposure to critical analysis of data, experimental design and discussion of research significance. Trainees are expected to conduct original research leading to a significant contribution to knowledge in the trainee’s area of emphasis and culminating in publication in leading international scientific journals. This publication is required for and constitutes the PhD dissertation. The final PhD examination is preceded by a public presentation of the research, attended by the faculty, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, followed by an oral examination.

Admission Requirements:

DVM (or equivalent professional degrees; e.g.VMD, BVSc, BVM)

Student Learning Outcomes:

All graduates will be able to:

  1.  Develop practical gross and microscopic pathology skills, including the skills needed to prepare for sitting the American College of Veterinary Pathologists board examination
  2.  Develop skills in comparative anatomic pathology and diagnostic medicine leading to the ability to judge the relative importance of laboratory findings, and summarize all diagnostic  information into a concise and valuable report.
  3.  Develop written and verbal skills appropriate for communicating lesion descriptions and disease processes in a timely and professional manner appropriate for diagnostic and research  laboratories.
  4.  Develop the work management skills necessary for competent, efficient completion of service, teaching and research responsibilities, often simultaneously.

Student Opportunities:

The training incoprpoates full residency training in an AAVLD accedited laboratory.

Career Opportunities:

Academic, state and national laboratories, biotechnology companies.

Career Placements:

Direector of Laboratory, Professor, Chief Scientist

Faculty Members:

Bankhead, Troy, PhD

Research Interests

Genomics & genetics; Immunology & infectious disease; Vector-borne disease

Besser, Thomas Eugene, DVM, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Research Interests

Safety microbiology, E. coli O157:H7, neonatal enteric disease.

Bose, Santanu, PhD

Research Interests

Immunology & infectious disease; Respiratory viruses; Virology

Brayton, Kelly A, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Research Interests

Genomics & genetics

Broschat, Shira Lynn, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Bioinformatics, machine learning, data analysis, data mining for microbiology applications

Call, Douglas Ruben, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Research Interests

Mechanisms that lead to the emergence, amplification, persistence and dissemination of antibiotic resistance in food animal production systems.

Celli, Jean, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Molecular mechanisms of Brucella abortus modulation of host cell functions.

Davis, William C, Ph.D.

Haldorson, Gary, DVM, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Veterinary anatomic pathology

Hines, Stephen A, DVM, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Jasmer, Douglas Philip, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Molecular and cellular aspects of host/parasite interactions and parasite biology

Knodler, Leigh, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Salmonella-intestinal epithelial cell interactions.

Knowles, Donald Patrick, DVM, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Research Interests

Research is primarily collaborative and focused on testing hypotheses which define parameters of tick-borne disease transmission and pathogenesis.

Li, Hong, DVM/PhD

Mealey, Robert Hamilton, DVM, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Nicola, Anthony, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Cell biology of virus-host interactions, herpesviruses, viral entry, membrane fusion, envelope glycoproteins, viral pathogenesis

Noh, Susan Marite, DVM, PhD

Research Interests

Vector-borne disease; tick-pathogen-host interaction; vaccine development

Omsland, Anders, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Biology of bacterial obligate intracellular parasites, virulence, metabolic capabilities, and regulation of bacterial morphological transitions

Palmer, Guy Hughes, DVM, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Prieur, David J, DVM, PhD

Research Interests

Genetic diseases of animals, especially those that are spontaneous models of similar human genetic diseases.

Shah, Devendra Hansraj, BVSc, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Research Interests

Food and water-borne bacterial diseases; avian infectious diseases.

Snekvik, Kevin Roy, DVM, PhD

Serves as: chair of graduate committee

Suarez, Carlos Esteban, Ph.D.

Vadyvaloo, Viveka, Ph.D.

Research Interests

Arthropod-borne zoonotic infectious diseases, including the etiological agent of the bubonic plague, Yersinia pestis.

Contact Information:

Sue Zumwalt
402 Bustad Hall
Pullman, WA 99164-7040