Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences adds five new faculty members

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Adrian Barragan and Hayley Springer have joined Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences as extension veterinarians and research associates, Troy Sutton and Molly Hall as assistant professors and Tamer Sharaf El Din as clinical assistant professor.

"We're very pleased to be able to add some outstanding new people to our department," said Gary Perdew, John T. and Paige S. Smith Professor in Agricultural Sciences and interim head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. "These additions reflect the University's commitment to outstanding research, teaching and extension in the veterinary and biomedical fields."

Barragan, a native of Argentina, holds a master's degree and a doctorate in veterinary preventive medicine from Ohio State University and a doctor of veterinary medicine from the University of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In Argentina, he practiced as a beef cattle veterinarian at feedlot facilities before moving to Colorado, where he worked as a veterinarian and researcher on an organic dairy farm. His research focuses on the development of new technologies to improve farm record-keeping systems, assessment of methods to accurately identify animals in pain, evaluation of pain-management strategies, and identification of treatment strategies to improve reproductive performance in dairy cows with common reproductive tract anomalies such as endometritis and repeat breeder syndrome.

In his role with the Veterinary Extension and Applied Research Team, Barragan will serve the agricultural community and consumers by improving animal health and well-being, farm profitability, public health, and food safety and quality. In addition to integrated extension and applied research activities, he will conduct field investigations to help Pennsylvanian livestock producers and veterinarians troubleshoot animal health problems.

Springer currently is pursuing her doctorate in pathobiology from Penn State, having previously earned a master's degree and doctor of veterinary medicine from Iowa State University. She earned a bachelor's degree in animal bioscience from Penn State.

A member of the Veterinary Extension and Applied Research Team at Penn State, she also has worked in the animal health industry, as an independent dairy consultant and as a veterinarian for dairy cattle and other animals.

In her current role, Springer develops materials to educate producers, veterinarians, consumers and industry professionals about animal health, antimicrobial resistance, public health, biosecurity and the Food Safety Modernization Act. She also conducts research on antimicrobial resistance in agricultural operations to aid in the development of antibiotic stewardship programs.

Sutton holds a doctorate in experimental pathology and laboratory medicine, a master's degree in experimental medicine and a bachelor's degree in animal biology from the University of British Colombia in Vancouver, Canada.

Before joining the Penn State faculty, he was a visiting fellow at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Maryland. In 2016, he was selected for a Fellows Award for Research Excellence at the National Institutes of Health.

Sutton's work at Penn State focuses on the transmission of animal disease, specifically influenza viruses, including highly pathogenic avian influenza. His research includes animal models, airborne transmission, the evolution of pandemic influenza viruses and development of live-attenuated influenza vaccine platforms.

Hall is returning to Penn State, having earned a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University in 2015. She also holds a master's degree in neuroscience and education from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in human development from Cornell University.

Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Hall worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Jason Moore, director of the Institute for Biomedical Informatics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her research examines human genetics, the exposome, genetic and gene-environment interactions, and precision medicine. The Hall laboratory investigates the genetic and environmental underpinnings of human disease by integrating genetic and exposure big data, with the goal of enriching the understanding of the mechanisms leading to disease and providing methods to identify those most at risk for adverse health outcomes.

Sharaf El Din obtained pathology training, including a doctorate in veterinary medicine and an avian pathology residency, at the University of Minnesota. He also holds master's and bachelor's degrees in veterinary science from Zagazig University in Egypt.

Prior to arriving at Penn State, he worked as a research scientist at Newport Laboratories (Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health-US) in Worthington, Minnesota, performing diagnostic research, next-generation sequencing and vaccine development. He also completed an externship in food animal pathology at South Dakota State University and served as a contracting veterinary pathologist for Veterinary Diagnostic Pathology LLC, in Fort Valley, Virginia.

Sharaf El Din's work in avian pathology at Penn State includes performing clinical diagnostic pathology services, conducting diagnostic research, teaching and serving as an outreach veterinarian.

To learn more about the department, visit http://vbs.psu.edu.

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Last Updated October 10, 2017