Kelly A. Metcalf Pate, DVM, PhD, the Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine. Dr. Metcalf Pate is a veterinarian-scientist with expertise in virology, platelet immunology and the development and refinement of animal models of human disease. She received her B.A. through the University Professors Program at Boston University, obtained her D.V.M. from Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, and pursued both veterinary specialty training in laboratory animal medicine and her Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Prior to joining M.I.T., she was faculty at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she facilitated the development and refinement of animal models of HIV pathogenesis as a chair of the Center for AIDS Research Cure Scientific Working Group, and oversaw the research training programs for veterinarians and veterinary students and founded the J.H.U. summer Veterinary Scholars Research Program and the summer Laboratory Animal Fellowship. Dr. Metcalf Pate serves on multiple national committees, including as Chair of the Animal Welfare Advisory Board for Morris Animal Foundation and as an Ad Hoc Specialist for AAALAC International.
James G. Fox, DVM, MS, DACLAM, is a Professor and Founding Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine and a Professor in the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine. He is a Diplomate and a past president of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, past president of the Massachusetts Society of Medical Research, past chairman of AAALAC Council, and past chairman of the NCCR/NIH Comparative Medicine Study Section. He also is an elected fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America and the American Gastroenterology Association. Professor Fox is the author of over 625 articles, 80 chapters, 3 patents and has edited and authored 15 texts in the field of in vivo model development and comparative medicine. He has served on the editorial board of several journals and is a past member of the NIH/NCRR Scientific Advisory Council. He has received numerous scientific awards including the AVMA’s Charles River Prize in Comparative Medicine, the AALAS Nathan Brewer Scientific Achievement Award, the AVMA Excellence in Research Award, the ACLAM Award for Scientific Achievement, the Pravin Bhatt award for research excellence and the AALAS Griffin Award. He has been studying infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract for the past 40 years and has focused on the pathogenesis of Campylobacter spp. and Helicobacter spp. infection in humans and animals. His laboratory developed the ferret as a model for both campylobacter and helicobacter associated disease as well as the first rodent model to study helicobacter associated gastric disease including gastric cancer. Dr. Fox is considered an international authority on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of enterohepatic helicobacters in humans and animals. He is largely responsible for identifying, naming, and describing many of the diseases attributed to various Helicobacter species; most notably their association with hepatitis, liver tumors, inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer in mice. His laboratory most recently has described the pivotal role that Helicobacter spp. play in the development of the gallstones in mice fed a lithogenic diet; thus linking this finding to his earlier description of Helicobacter spp. associated chronic cholecystitis and gallstones in Chilean women, a population at high risk of developing gallbladder cancer. He also has had a long-standing interest in zoonotic diseases as well as biosafety issues associated with in vivo models. His past and current research has been funded by NIH and NCI, as well as by private industrial sources, for the past 40 years. He has been the principal investigator of an NIH postdoctoral training grant for veterinarians for the past 29 years. He consults nationally and internationally with government, academia and industry. In 2004 Professor Fox was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Hilda “Scooter” Holcombe, DVM, PhD, DACLAM, is the Associate Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine. She received her PhD in immunology from NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine after graduation from veterinary school, followed by postdoctoral training at UCLA and Yale University. After 12 years in research focusing on mucosal immunology, Dr. Holcombe completed the postdoctoral program in Comparative Medicine at MIT. She has worked as a laboratory animal veterinarian in the US and England in academic and industry settings. She currently has clinical responsibilities for rodents at the Koch Institute, serves as a reviewer of animal care and use protocols, and contributes to the didactic and research training of veterinary postdoctoral fellows. Her current research focuses on mouse models of Helicobacter pylori and enterohepatic Helicobacter spp.
Susan Erdman, DVM, MPH, DACLAM, is an Assistant Director and Chief of Clinical Resources within the Division. She completed the postdoctoral training program in Comparative Medicine at MIT and received a Master’s degree from Harvard in 1992. She also serves as a PI or co-PI on several NIH and DOD supported grants. Her research focus is roles of inflammatory disease in cancer and the role of probiotics in promoting health. Along with Dr. Marini, she coordinates the training schedule and seminars for the postdoctoral trainees.
Niora Fabian, MS, DVM, is a Research/Clinical Veterinarian in DCM and the Giovanni Traverso lab at MIT. Dr. Fabian received her veterinary degree at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, where she also received a master’s degree in Veterinary Medical Sciences. Dr. Fabian completed her postdoctoral training in laboratory animal medicine at DCM in 2021. Prior to this, she completed an internship in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center, and has practiced avian and exotic medicine for several years in Massachusetts. She currently provides clinical support and collaborates on various projects within the Traverso lab, including drug delivery devices in animal models. Dr. Fabian also provides care and research support for the diverse species at MIT, ranging from pigs, rabbits, zebra finches, and non-human primates. Dr. Fabian’s primary research interests are infectious diseases, animal model development, and performing studies that support evidence-based medicine to improve animal care and welfare.