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Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Cate Dolan’s excellent adventure

December 13th, 2010

Cate Dolan, class of 2012, spent eight weeks last summer at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, South Africa, evaluating the histopathology of a group of wild-captured reptiles from Magagascar. The project was part of the Biomedical Sciences Research Program, and was also sponsored by an International Veterinary Students Association (IVSA) travel scholarship. She wanted to travel outside of the United States in the summer, both to explore veterinary medicine abroad, and just to have an adventure and see a new part of the world.

She found the project through Dr. Löhr, who advised her as part of the Biomed Research Program. Dr. Löhr oversees the summer research programs, and had a few different potential opportunities for international projects. This one in particular appealed to Cate because it was in a culture that was different than anywhere she had previously traveled.

In South Africa, she was supervised by Dr. Emily Lane, the pathologist at the veterinary research center at the zoo in Pretoria. Dr. Löhr had met Dr. Lane while traveling in South Africa. “One of the ladies I worked with this summer put it nicely, ‘you are here to learn and to enjoy’ — I learned and enjoyed in many ways this summer, both while working on my research project and while out exploring South Africa.”

During her time in Pretoria, she made cross-sectional microscope slides of the chameleons, geckos, and iguanas she was analyzing, and then recorded all of the normal and abnormal histologic findings that were present on the slides. She is currently collating her data and evaluating the implications of her findings. While she was there, she also got to take part in daily activities of the veterinary pathology lab at the zoo, including post mortem examinations of a number of exotic animals (a cheetah, an antelope, a ground hornbill— an endangered bird, a boomslang — a very poisonous snake, a porcupine, etc.).

When she wasn’t working on her project, she kept quite busy playing underwater hockey with the local team and rock climbing with friends in the Mountain Club. On weekends she took trips, often to go climbing, to various parts of South Africa, including Cape Town, the Drakensburg Mountains, the Magaliesburg Mountains, Waterval Boven and Kruger National Park. Cate says, “Overall, it was a wonderful experience, and I gained a lot of knowledge both about histopathology and about the South African culture.”

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