Justin Brown’s contribution to veterinary medicine goes far beyond treating dogs and cats. He is currently working with avian influenza virus, and he is also investigating wildlife diseases to help prevent their transmission to humans and other animals. He graduated summa cum laude from UNC-Wilmington with a bachelor of science degree in biology. Four years later, he received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and was class valedictorian. In 2004, he received the Wildlife Disease Association scholarship for academic and research accomplishments and was selected as a Morris Animal Foundation Science Fellow. Today he is completing a Ph.D. in veterinary pathology while working at UGA’s Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study.
Bishop Denis J. O'Connell High School
Ph.D. in veterinary pathology
D.V.M., Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
B.S., Biology, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
University highlights, achievements and awards:
The highlight of my career thus far has been the opportunity to work on my current research project with avian influenza virus. It is an exciting subject, and I feel our findings will make an important contribution to what is known about the biology of this virus. As a veterinarian, this project is ideal because the results impact the health of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. In addition, it really has been a privilege to work with so many great scientists on this project.
In addition to my research, part of my graduate training involves being a wildlife disease diagnostician at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS). This is a cooperative agency based at the College of Veterinary Medicine here at UGA. We provide diagnostic support to state and federal wildlife biologists during investigations of wildlife disease. Diagnostic duty is exciting, and you never know what to expect on a given day. Cases range from sick and dying tadpoles to raptors to deer. Most cases usually require a post-mortem examination and looking at the tissues microscopically. In addition, a variety of other tests can performed here at SCWDS or at the vet school to determine the cause of sickness or death. Once we have a diagnosis we work with the biologists to determine what, if any, actions can be taken to resolve the problem. I really enjoy the problem-solving and satisfaction that being a wildlife disease diagnostician provides. It is a great complement to the research aspect of my graduate program.
I chose to attend UGA because...
SCWDS has a one of the best graduate training programs in the nation for wildlife diseases. When I met the faculty and heard about the research they were conducting the decision was easy. In addition, I immediately loved Athens and knew it would be a great place to live.
My favorite things to do on campus are...
...going for a run and taking my dogs down to Lake Herrick for a swim.
When I have free time, I like...
...to stay outside as much as I can. I enjoy running, swimming, fishing, and hiking. I still can’t get over how nice the weather stays year-round here in Georgia.
The craziest thing I've done is...
...permed in my hair during veterinary school. During my second year, my classmates and I were all pretty stressed about exams and needed a good laugh. At the time, my hair was past my shoulders, and I needed a haircut BAD. I decided if I was going to cut it anyway, a perm was just what we all needed. I didn’t think it would work, but believe me IT DID! I liked it enough to keep it for a week or two, just long enough to get my school ID picture retaken.
My favorite place to study is...
...at home. I don’t have Internet or TV to distract me.
My favorite professor is...
...David Stallknecht. He has an amazing ability to approach problems from unique perspectives. Dr. Stallknecht has a gift of making extremely complex topics easy to understand. In addition, he maintains balance between family, hobbies, and job, which I truly respect. He is a great teacher, mentor, and boss.
If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...
...Holly Moore, because she is smart, caring, and funny. I want to spend every afternoon with her which is why she is my fiancee.
If I knew I could not fail, I would...
I think I am supposed to say something like “create world peace.” But, to be honest, if I knew I could not fail, I would enter the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk contest. I’m 5’7 and have a 2 inch vertical leap, so that would be pretty amazing.
After graduation, I plan to...
...tease my dad by saying that I am going back for a couple more years of school. Then I will probably satisfy his wish and get a job!