Trainees

Samantha (Sammy) Gerb, D.V.M., 1st year Resident

Sammy is originally from Brick, New Jersey and grew up on the Jersey Shore. She completed her undergraduate degree at Delaware Valley University, where she got a B.S. in Animal Biotechnology and Conservation, with a minor in Business. She then traveled to St. Kitts to pursue her veterinary degree at Ross University, and completed her clinical year at the University of Missouri. While she always knew she wanted to be a veterinarian, she thought she would end up in general practice. Her job in college as an animal care technician sparked her love for laboratory animal medicine, and after completing a rotation with the MU CMP, she knew a career in laboratory animal medicine was in her future. After completing clinics, she moved to Mississippi to pursue a comparative medicine internship working with primarily primates. Since moving back to Missouri, Sammy enjoys kickboxing, painting, hiking, and spending time with her two cats Hercules and Noodle.

Sarah Young, D.V.M., 1st year Resident

Sarah is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Wilmington College located in Wilmington, Ohio. In undergrad, she developed a love of horseback riding and became a Kappa Delta sorority member. Before attending veterinary school, she worked as a research assistant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) in a pulmonary/ critical care laboratory. During her veterinary school education, at The Ohio State University, she worked in a variety of labs including a virology lab involving maintaining viral cultures of Porcine Delta Corona Virus, a summer research project involving Cystic Fibrosis patient airway cell immune response to Influenza A. virus, and an ASLAP Fellowship with University Laboratory Animal Resources at OSU studying oral post-operative analgesia in mice. After graduating vet school in May of 2018, she entered the Lab Animal Residency at Mizzou to pursue ACLAM board certification and an advanced degree. In her free time Sarah enjoys painting, horseback riding, throwing wheel pottery, and learning various languages.

Ryan Dashek, D.V.M., 2nd year Resident

Ryan was born and raised in Franklin, Wisconsin before moving to Madison to begin his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin. While there, he earned a degree in biology, and after graduation worked for a couple of years as a research technician in an ophthalmology lab studying glaucoma. It was there that he realized the importance of veterinary medicine in the laboratory setting, and remained at the University of Wisconsin to earn his veterinary degree. Along the way, he participated the Veterinary Summer Scholars Research Program and later earned a Master’s degree while working in an epigenetics laboratory. During his senior year at veterinary school Ryan completed a 4 week externship with the University of Missouri’s Comparative Medicine Program, where he was later fortunate enough to be accepted into a residency position. In his free time, Ryan enjoys reading, running, and taking care of his dwarf Holland lop rabbit, Camille.

Gabrielle (Gabi) Hofmann, D.V.M., 2nd year Resident

Gabi was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She received her biology degree from Wittenberg University, where she worked at a veterinary hospital and cared for laboratory reptiles and amphibians. Gabi attended veterinary school at the University of Illinois and enjoyed volunteering at the Wildlife Medical Clinic. She spent her first summer in Illinois in a research training program, helping to characterize a mouse model of ADHD. Her second summer was spent as a research fellow in a neuroscience lab at Stanford University, investigating pathologic changes in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy. Gabi and her fiancé, Brandon, have an adorable cat (Vanya) and four snakes (Orion, Koschei, Maya, and Tempi). In her free time, Gabi enjoys cooking, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.

Benjamin (Ben) Olthoff, D.V.M., 2nd year Resident

Ben was born and raised in Sioux Center, Iowa. He received an undergraduate degree from Dordt College and went on to attend veterinary school at Michigan State University. While completing his undergraduate degree, Ben first experienced laboratory animal medicine while working for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. In veterinary school, Ben became increasingly interested in research and lab animal medicine while spending two summers working with researchers investigating bovine leukemia virus and swine welfare. He decided to pursue a residency in comparative medicine after doing several externships during his fourth year of veterinary school and was accepted by the University of Missouri. Ben and his wife currently have a pet axolotl. In their free time, Ben and his wife enjoy hiking, camping, playing board games, and cheering for the Michigan State Spartans.

Catherine (Katie) Chambers, D.V.M., 3rd year Resident

Katie was born and raised in Carbondale Illinois.  She received her undergraduate degree from Murray State University in Kentucky, and completed her veterinary degree at Louisiana State University.  Katie wanted to be a veterinarian starting at a very young age, but did not develop an interest in laboratory animal medicine until after her second year of veterinary school, following a summer externship with the department of research resources for the University of Louisville where she was introduced to the lab animal profession. Following this experience she completed a 4 week externship with the University of Missouri, and was later fortunate enough to be offered a position as a resident in the Comparative Medicine Program.  Katie has 2 cats (Lucy and Molly), and 1 dog (Felicity).  In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, singing loudly when she thinks no one can hear, and playing board games.

Nick Harrison, D.V.M., 3rd year Resident

Nick was born in Morristown, New Jersey before moving to Palm Harbor Florida at 16. He stayed in Florida for college and received his B.A. in Biology from Florida State University. As an undergraduate, Nick worked in a Drosophila genetics lab were he became strongly interested in both genetics and research in general. After a year of working in a small animal practice he attending veterinary school at the University of Missouri. Maintaining an interest in research, Nick participated in 2 year of the Veterinary Research Scholars summer program, and was first exposed to laboratory animal medicine. During an externship of the Comparative Medicine Program, Nick confirmed his interest in lab animal medicine and later was given the chance to join the program at the University of Missouri. In addition to his academic interests, Nick enjoys hiking, horseback riding and traveling.

Naomi Lee, D.V.M., 3rd year Resident

Naomi was born and raised in South Korea until she was 15 years old. She briefly lived in Cambridge, England before moving to Irvine, California.  She completed high school while becoming proficient in English and went on to major in physiology/neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego in beautiful La Jolla. She then went on to Colorado State University to pursue a Master’s degree and attend veterinary school.  With the encouragement of her mentors, she first explored comparative medicine following her first year of veterinary school.  She was also fortunate to be involved in the Veterinary Scholars Summer Research Program and worked on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Comparative medicine and research were her major interests throughout veterinary school and eventually led to pursuing a residency in comparative medicine and a PhD at the University of Missouri. She is interested in studying neuroscience, muscle physiology, molecular therapeutics and gene therapy.  Naomi’s life goals include being owned by more Border Collies.  She loves working with her two wonder dogs (Dochi and Odin) and enjoys doing agility and barn hunt.

Mitch Bellrichard, D.V.M., Graduate Fellow

Mitch was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota before moving to the Twin Cities to study Evolutionary Biology at the University of Minnesota. In undergrad, Mitch worked at the Zollman Zoo in Byron, Minnesota where he met the park’s namesake, Dr. Paul Zollman.  Dr. Zollman was a former veterinarian in the comparative medicine department at the Mayo Clinic, and he introduced Mitch to the field of laboratory animal medicine. This eventually lead Mitch to veterinary school at the University of Minnesota. While in veterinary school, Mitch participated in two summer research fellowships studying stem cell osteogenesis and the role of the central nervous system in controlling blood pressure. Mitch and his wife enjoy hiking outdoors, visiting zoos and aquariums, and caring for all their pets.

Kari Chesney, D.V.M., Graduate Fellow

Kari is originally from Woodridge, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago. She completed her undergraduate degree at Illinois State University and veterinary degree at the University of Missouri. Kari knew she wanted to pursue laboratory animal medicine and research even before veterinary school. During her studies, she conducted research in mitochondrial mechanisms of cell death at Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center as well as studies of the microbiome at IDEXX Biomedical. Kari will be pursuing ACLAM board certification and a PhD. She has three cats – Tai, Navi and Blinkin. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, sewing and playing board and video games.

Megan Haney, D.V.M., Graduate Fellow

Megan is originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. She completed her undergraduate and veterinary degrees at Kansas State University and is a die-hard Wildcat fan. In undergrad, she helped with dairy metabolism research with her faculty advisor. In vet school, she participated in a summer research fellowship at Stanford University and worked in a lab studying temporal lobe epilepsy. The following summer, she completed a pathology internship at Johns Hopkins University. After graduating vet school in May 2014, she entered the Lab Animal Residency at Mizzou to pursue ACLAM board certification and a PhD. Her research interests include neurology and exercise physiology. In her free time, Megan enjoys working out, walking her pitt-lab mix, Wrangler, and going to Krav Maga classes.

Jake Moskowitz, D.V.M., Graduate Fellow

Jake was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland before receiving his B.A. in Biology from Case Western Reserve University. As an undergraduate, Jake worked in biochemistry and genetics-focused labs where he developed a strong interest in biomedical research. He also developed an interest in veterinary medicine after working with several farm species during a semester abroad in Scotland. After returning to the States, he immediately pursued his D.V.M. at the University of Missouri. Maintaining his keen interest in biomedical research, Jake participated in the Veterinary Research Scholars Program during his summers, and became involved in an epigenetics project. Through these experiences, Jake learned about the wealth of opportunities afforded by laboratory animal medicine, and was fortunately given the chance to join UM’s Comparative Medicine Program. In addition to his academic interests, Jake is a wilderness backpacking enthusiast, enjoys skiing and attending live jam and bluegrass concerts.