Auburn University Program Overview
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ACVP Training Program Overview

Name of Institution: Auburn University
Address: Department of Pathobiology
166 Greene Hall
Auburn University, AL 36849-5519

Program Coordinators and Emails:
Clinical: Dr. Beth Spangler,
Anatomic: Dr. Jey Koehler,

Resident Representatives and Emails:
Clinical:  Anatomic:
Dr. Jordan Towns,
Dr. Maria Naskou,
Dr. Brittany Madere,
Dr. Emily Brinker,
Dr. Fabio Brum Rosa,
Dr. Charles Talbot,
Dr. Ji-Hang Yin,

Prerequisites Beyond DVM:
Graduation with a DVM or equivalent degree from an AVMA accredited school, or evidence of similar training.


Program Information:
Program  CP AP Combined MS/PhD
Program Options Combined program with graduate school leading to an MS or PhD Combined program with graduate school leading to an MS or PhD Graduate school leading to an MS or PhD is currently required, unless otherwise specified 
Full Time Residents 3 5 8
Typical # of years for completion MS 3 years
PhD 5-7 years
MS 3 years
PhD 5-7 years
MS 3 years
PhD 5-7 years
Money to go to one (1) meeting/year Yes Yes Yes
Money for books and supplies No No No
Independent research/publication required for program completion? Yes Yes Yes

Residents are currently expected to enroll in the graduate curriculum. In the future, there may be the option to complete residency training without a concurrent graduate degree. Areas of research emphasis within the department are diverse, and include parasitology, cancer biology/therapeutics, platelet disorders, avian diseases, retroviral diseases, molecular therapy, stem cell biology/gene therapy, neuropathology, and fish diseases. Opportunities for outside rotations are provided.


Case Load:

 Small Animals Large Animals Exotic/Zoo Animals Lab Animals
Anatomic Pathology 80%  20% 1% 0%
Clinical Pathology 50%  50% 1% 0%


Required Coursework for Specific Programs:
 MS 30 credits total, including 6 credits in 2 of 3 core areas such as Biochemistry, Statistics, Biophysics and Molecular biology. Remaining credits are chosen from electives & research.
 PhD 60 credits total, including 12 credits of core courses, as described for the MS degree program. Additional credits are chosen from electives & research.
 AP Examples of elective graduate courses include Advanced Clinical Pathology I & II, Immunology, Epidemiology, Mechanisms of Disease, Diagnostic Pathology, Surgical Pathology, Diagnostic Oncology and Molecular Genomics
 CP Examples of elective graduate courses include Advanced Clinical Pathology I & II, Immunology, Epidemiology, Mechanisms of Disease, Diagnostic Pathology, Surgical Pathology, Diagnostic Oncology and Molecular Genomics


Other Opportunities:

  • Residents receive support for attendance at outside training opportunities, including the CL Davis DVM Foundation training courses (gross pathology, descriptive pathology, lab animal pathology, etc.) and are encouraged to attend workshops offered during the ACVP Annual Meeting. Dr. Koehler is currently course director and lecturer on microscopic descriptive techniques for the CL Davis Descriptive Veterinary Pathology course.
  • Many established collaborations exist both within the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, and extending to include the Auburn University main campus, the State Diagnostic Laboratory and the Scott Ritchey Research Center.
  • A weekly slide conference focused on anatomic pathology utilizes JPC and other conference materials, in-house cases and occasional guest moderators. Weekly case-based rounds for Anatomic Pathology include anatomic pathologists from both the Department of Pathobiology and the TBS State Diagnostic Laboratory. Weekly case-based rounds for Clinical Pathology are often attended by members of the Anatomic Pathology group.
  • Board prep rounds in Clinical Pathology include interpretation of hematology, cytology and chemistry cases, including case write-ups in a style appropriate for the exam.
    Other specialty rounds encourage discussion of cases by individuals from varied specialties, and include gross pathology rounds, oncology rounds, neuropathology rounds, clinical pathology journal club and much more!
Percentage of Time Spent in Activities - Clinical Pathology:

Service  Teaching  Seminar/Courses  Research  Other 
Year 1 60-70 5-10 30 10  
Year 2 20-40 15 30 15-35  
Year 3  10-15 15-20  20-30 25-45  
Year 4 variable variable variable >50  


Percentage of Time Spent in Activities - Anatomic Pathology:
Service Teaching Seminar/Courses Research Other
Year 1 40-50 10 30 10-20
Year 2 35-40 15 30 15-35
Year 3 10-15 15-20 20-30 25-45
Year 4 variable variable variable 50-60

The goal of the combined residency/graduate training program at Auburn University is to provide residents with a strong foundation in both diagnostic pathology and basic research. The intended outcome of this experience is successful completion of the ACVP board examination, with sufficient research experience to facilitate any chosen career path.

Our program is strengthened by collaborative efforts involving faculty members at the CVM with researchers located both on the main campus at Auburn University and at other institutions. Resident participation in research is encouraged, and if a period of study or research at another institution will enhance the training of our residents, those efforts are supported by our department. Our residents are also encouraged to form connections with residents and faculty at other institutions through participation in the annual Southeastern Veterinary Pathology Conference, held in Tifton, GA, and the annual ACVP/ASVCP meeting. This facilitates the exchange of knowledge and ideas between different schools.

Work at our school is enhanced by specific resources available within the College of Veterinary Medicine, including virtual microscopy (slide scanning/image analysis), flow cytometry/FACS, multispectral imaging, laser-capture microdissection, transmission electron microscopy and in vivo imaging (CT, MRI and bioluminescence). The Thompson-Bishop-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory is located adjacent to the CVM, and there is close collaboration and sharing of facilities between our department and that laboratory. Necropsy of animals from the Auburn University Teaching Hospital is completed by our residents and faculty using facilities at the State Diagnostic Laboratory, and shared necropsy rounds occur on a weekly basis. In addition, pathologists from the State Diagnostic Laboratory often participate in Anatomic Pathology rounds held in our department. This allows the extensive sharing of case materials, information and expertise, and enables a broader interpretation of the material through exposure of both residents and faculty to differing training environments.

There is excellent integration of the residency programs in anatomic and clinical pathology. Elective opportunities and the distribution of time spent in diagnostic services and research are flexible; program structure for each individual is tailored to match resident interests and program needs. Residency training is designed to qualify the resident for board certification by the ACVP. Collegiality and a productive, interactive work environment are a top priority.

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