Kennett takes the helm in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences

November 03, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Mary Kennett, professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named interim head of the department, effective immediately.

Also the director of the university's Animal Resource Program, Kennett succeeds Vivek Kapur, who is now associate director for strategic initiatives in the Penn State Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

Kennett joined Penn State in 2001 as associate professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences and director of the Animal Resource Program, which provides animal care and veterinary support to more than 20 departments, five colleges and about 250 investigators with approximately 400 active animal care and use protocols.

As director of this program, Kennett manages budget and operations and supervises a staff of 32, including veterinarians, veterinary and animal care technicians, facility managers and office staff. She serves as Penn State's institutional veterinarian and oversees the veterinary care for laboratory and agricultural animals and wildlife in more than 25 facilities at University Park and other Penn State locations.

Her primary research interest is the pathogenesis of infectious disease. This research currently focuses on the pathogenesis of respiratory infections and the specific immune responses involved in clearing bacteria from the upper and lower respiratory tract.

Her other interests include rodent pathology, laboratory animal resource management, comparative medicine, animal behavior and well-being, and the preventative and clinical veterinary care of research animals.

From 1993 to 2001, Kennett held several positions at the University of Missouri, including molecular biology fellow, laboratory animal medicine resident, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, and acting/assistant director of the Office of Laboratory Animal Medicine.

Previously, she taught at Walla Walla Community College in Walla Walla, Wash., Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wash., and Walla Walla College in College Place, Wash. She also was a veterinarian in private practice.

Kennett received a bachelor's degree in veterinary science and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University. She also earned a master's degree in biology from Walla Walla College and a doctorate in veterinary pathobiology from the University of Missouri.

She is active in several professional organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, the American Society of Laboratory Animal Practitioners and the C.L. Davis Foundation for the Advancement of Veterinary and Comparative Pathology.

The mission of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences is to seek and disseminate new knowledge related to animal health and human well-being and to apply new biomedical and biotechnological knowledge to solve practical problems affecting animal agriculture and agricultural productivity.

The department offers undergraduate programs in veterinary and biomedical sciences; immunology and infectious disease; and toxicology, as well as a graduate program in pathobiology. Faculty members in the department also participate in intercollege graduate degree programs in immunology and infectious disease and in molecular toxicology.

More information about the department is available online at

  • Mary Kennett, professor in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015