Titans of equine health research prepare to retire

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From left, Drs Peter Timoney, Craig Carter, David Horohov and Barry Ball.
From left, Drs Peter Timoney, Craig Carter, David Horohov and Barry Ball, who are all retiring from the University of Kentucky’s Department of Veterinary Science. Images © UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment

Four equine veterinarians who have left “an indelible mark on the landscape of equine research” will be hanging up their lab coats in retirement over the next few months.

Drs Barry Ball, Craig Carter, David Horohov and Peter Timoney from the University of Kentucky’s Department of Veterinary Science, have served the international equine industry for a collective 84 years, time marked by vast scientific advancement on some of the most pressing issues facing the industry.

Daniel Howe, PhD, incoming interim chair of the Department of Veterinary Science and interim director of the Gluck Center, said: “Without question, replacing the expertise of these four eminent faculty members will be a major challenge for the Department of Veterinary Science over the next several years.”

Stuart Brown, DVM, Keeneland’s vice president of equine safety and current chair of the Gluck Equine Research Foundation Board, said the iconic footprint of Gluck as an international resource into the insight and understanding of the health of the horse rests with the quality of its esteemed faculty.

“This group of retirees leaves an indelible mark on the landscape of equine research, and we thank them for all they have done on behalf of the horse.”

The four were honored at a ceremony late last year at the university’s Spindletop Hall in Lexington, Kentucky, in front of an audience of veterinarians, equine health professionals, fellow academicians and friends. Prominent members of the equine health community talked about the impact of each of the retiring faculty members and led a toast in their honor.

Tom Riddle, DVM, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, spoke about Ball’s impact on equine reproduction research, citing his work on nocardioform placentitis as a recent example of the impact he has had on the industry.

Bob Stout, DVM, retired Kentucky State Veterinarian, toasted Carter and shared the important work in disease surveillance that the UK VDL provides to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its livestock industries.

Brown thanked Horohov for his service to Kentucky’s equine industry, his leadership of the Gluck Center over the past seven years and highlighted the Gluck Center’s recent work with a novel Rotavirus B strain discovered in Central Kentucky during the spring of 2021.

Finally, Chauncey Morris, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’, shared remembrances of his time traveling with Timoney, who he called a rock star in other countries, known as the guy who was the equine infectious disease expert. He also drew laughter from the audience by ribbing the Irish-born Timoney for eschewing casual or even business casual attire in favor of his daily suit and tie.

Barry Ball, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, Albert G Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at the Gluck Equine Research Center
Barry Ball, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, Albert G Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at the Gluck Equine Research Center

Barry Ball, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, Albert G Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at the Gluck Equine Research Center, will officially retire in February, 2022.

“Post-retirement, my wife, Heidi, and I will continue to work with horses on our Woodford County farm. I plan to continue a long-time passion for woodworking and furniture building, and we look forward to continued involvement with the equine community in Central Kentucky,” he said.

Ball is a Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists. He has received numerous awards, including the SmithKline-Beecham Award for Research Excellence, the Excellence in Equine Research Award from the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Schering-Plough Award for Outstanding Research from the World Equine Veterinary Association, the Norden–Pfizer Distinguished Teacher award from UC-Davis and the Theriogenologist of the Year award. Ball was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar at the University of Cambridge during 2004-05. He is a past chair of the International Equine Reproduction Symposium Committee, and he is a past president of the American College of Theriogenologists.

In 2010, Ball was appointed as the first Clay Endowed Chair in Equine Reproduction at the Gluck Center. His current research emphasis has been directed toward reproductive endocrinology and pregnancy loss in mares.

His research is documented in more than 200 refereed research publications. He has served as the primary mentor for 10 PhD students, six MS candidates and 17 post-doctoral or visiting scholars. He also mentored 16 clinical residents who are board-certified by the American College of Theriogenologists. Of his trainees, 10 serve as current or past faculty members in veterinary medicine in the US, Canada, Europe and South America.

Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, director of the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, director of the University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Craig Carter, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVPM, director of the UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, had originally intended to retire in mid-2021, but Covid-19 changed those plans: “I just couldn’t abandon my troops in the middle of a war,” he said. Carter now plans to phase out his retirement to a 50% involvement to help transition the leadership role to a new director and help launch a new metagenomics laboratory.

In 1985, Carter established the Department of Epidemiology and Informatics at the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and served as department head. In that role, he oversaw the design, development and implementation of two custom enterprise-wide laboratory information management systems. He conducted infectious disease epidemiological investigations and provided monitoring for confirmed livestock, companion animal and zoonotic diseases occurrences across the state. Carter established the first-ever formal relationship with the Texas Department of Health to provide awareness of zoonotic animal diseases posing a threat to human populations.

In 2005, he was recruited to UK’s Department of Veterinary Science as a professor, establishing a diagnostic epidemiology unit at the UK VDL following the first cases of Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome. In 2007, he was appointed director. In that role, he oversees lab operations, major construction projects, infectious disease research ($6 million in funded projects), manages and teaches in a cooperative teaching program with Lincoln Memorial University CVM, and chairs/serves on graduate student committees (20 since 1988).

Carter was president of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians in 2011. He was also executive director for the World Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians from 2000-2017, overseeing the planning for eight international meetings. He served as the executive director for 10 years and is the immediate past president of the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society (AVES). His research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, anti-microbial resistance, food security, electronic animal health monitoring, computer-based clinical decision support and laboratory information systems. He is active internationally, has worked closely with several OIE Committees, aiding in laboratory capacity building and other assignments in more than 40 countries in civilian and military capacities.

Carter served on active and reserve duty in the US Air Force and US Army from 1967-2009, including three combat deployments, retiring as a full Colonel (awarded the Legion of Merit).

David Horohov, PhD, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science at UK, director of the Gluck Equine Research Center
David Horohov, PhD, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science at UK, director of the Gluck Equine Research Center.

David Horohov, PhD, chair of the Department of Veterinary Science at UK, director of the Gluck Center and Jes E. and Clementine M. Schlaikjer Endowed Chair, joined the department in 2003 as the William Robert Mills Chair in Equine Infectious Disease.

His research program focuses on the immune response of horses to various infectious and non-infectious diseases. His laboratory was responsible for the cloning and sequencing of a number of equine cytokines and the development of RT-PCR assays for their detection.

One particular focus of his equine career has been around Rhodococcus equi, and the research breakthroughs in his laboratory have been instrumental in furthering our understanding of why certain horses are impacted by the disease.

Some of his ongoing work has been focused on equine safety, specifically exercise induced inflammation and its contribution to equine injury. This work is just one example of how his research has evolved when needed to serve the equine industry.

Horohov has authored or co-authored more than 160 scientific articles. He has made numerous research presentations at national and international meetings and is recognized for his expertise in equine infectious diseases and immunology. He has been the principal investigator on more than 50 externally funded research grants and contracts and the mentor of 15 graduate students and six post-doc students. He has received awards and recognition for both his research and teaching activities.

Peter Timoney, MVB (Hons), MS, PhD, FRCVS, Professor, Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science at the Gluck Equine Research Center
Peter Timoney, MVB (Hons), MS, PhD, FRCVS, Professor, Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science at the Gluck Equine Research Center

Peter Timoney, MVB, PhD, FRCVS, Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science at the Gluck Center, has been in phased retirement for the past two years.

Timoney said he plans to travel some, and that he has an interest in his chosen field that will never leave him. He plans to always be reading and learning and thinking about the challenges in his field. “For me it has always been about serving the industry and about the health and well-being of the horse,” he said.

Timoney earned his PhD from the University of Dublin in 1974 and F.R.C.V.S. from the Royal College of Surgeons, London, in 1978, both in virology. In 1979, he accepted an appointment as an associate professor in virology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Timoney returned to Ireland in 1981, assuming the position of scientific director of a planned Irish Equine Centre. Having helped establish the Centre, he returned to the US in 1983 to join the faculty in UK’s Gluck Center.

He served as department chair from 1989 to 2008 and director of the Gluck Center from 1989 to 2006.

Timoney is an internationally acclaimed expert in equine infectious diseases. His work over the years has consisted of significant research achievements as well as frequent consulting work for governmental, university and private organizations such as the USDA, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the KTA, among many others.

Timoney is an O.I.E. designated expert on equine viral arteritis, holding two of the three O.I.E. designations in the US. Among his current research interests is identifying the markers of pathogenicity among strains of equine arteritis virus that can cause abortion and establishment of the carrier state in the stallion. He serves on numerous national and international equine industry and health-related committees and is a past president of the World Equine Veterinary Association. He has authored or co-authored more than 250 scientific publications.

Timoney is an honorary life member of the World Equine Veterinary Association and his awards include USDA Secretary of Agriculture Honor Award Recipient in 2001 and 2002; induction into the Gluck Equine Research Hall of Fame in 2009; Meritorious Service Award from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture in 2012; 2017 AAEP Distinguished Educator Award, Academic; Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018; USDA Honor Award recipient in 2001 and 2002; and James J. Hickey, Jr. Award from the American Horse Council in 2018.

Article courtesy University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

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