Equine specialist appointed to boost university’s research facility

Dr Michel Vandenplas is joining Ross University's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr Michel Vandenplas is joining Ross University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Michel Vandenplas, an accomplished biologist and equine medicine specialist, has joined the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine as a senior scientist in its research department, with responsibility for establishing an enhanced research facility.
Vandenplas said he shared the vision of the Caribbean-based university’s dean, faculty, staff and students to increase research efforts at the university, focusing on tropical veterinary medicine and zoonosis.

“I will contribute to this vision through discussions with my fellow researchers and students interested in investigating veterinary research as a potential career path,” he said.

“Together, we will form a team focused on strengthening our research program, an essential requirement for our current and future graduates.”

Vandenplas comes to the veterinary school, based in St Kitts, in the West Indies, from the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, where he led research efforts focused on the role and regulation of innate immune responses in equine colic and lameness, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in horses.

He served as a molecular and cellular biology technical advisor to clinician researchers in the Departments of Large and Small Animal Medicine.

In addition to overseeing the operations of the research facilities, Vandenplas will continue his work with equine-specific innate immune responses, as compared to those of humans and other animals.

His research interests also include developing a rapid and affordable whole-blood assessment of stress and using it to monitor the progression of disease and therapy in animals.

Vandenplas grew up near Cape Town, South Africa, and received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in medical biochemistry from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. He also worked with the South African Medical Research Council Center for Molecular and Cellular Biology at the university, where he was involved in research to determine the role of gene mutations that alter the metabolism of the primary drug used to treat human tuberculosis.


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