The Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center at Iowa State recently gained a new small animal internist.
Dr. Dana LeVine studied molecular biochemistry at Yale University followed by a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Cornell University in 2004. An internist specializes in internal medicine.
“I really like the community feel here,” LeVine said about Iowa State.
LeVine joins Iowa State's veterinary medical team from North Carolina.
“The big thing I appreciated here is that I’m interested in both research and clinics. A lot of institutions make you focus really on one more than another, and here they let me choose my own percentage and value both equally, which is what I wanted,” LeVine said.
LeVine will see patients as well as teach veterinary students both in lectures and during students' rounds.
“I love working with the students and seeing the light bulbs go off,” LeVine said.
In addition with teaching and seeing patients, LeVine will also continue her research on immune thrombocytopenia, a disease in which the immune system destroys platelets.
LeVine discovered her passion for hematology, a study of blood, during veterinary school working alongside Marjory Brooks at Cornell University.
“We were researching a platelet disorder in dogs, and Marjory definitely got me hooked,” LeVine said.
Brooks continues to be a mentor and friend to LeVine.
The traditional academic veterinarian is a researcher, clinician and teacher. LeVine, however, always knew her research would be a huge part of her career after an encounter with a horse named Hopper during her fourth year as a vet student.
Hopper had been diagnosed with laminitis, a crippling infection in the hooves. Horses are generally euthanized because there is no cure.
“Hopper was the most amazing patient, and the owners were incredibly dedicated. He would lie down like a dog and give you his hooves for treatment, and if he could have, he probably would have curled up in your lap,” LeVine said.
LeVine was greatly frustrated that there was a disease that they could not offer a cure for, while there were clients and patients who would have done anything to make it better.
“That solidified for me that I wanted to be a part of an academic institution and to be in research where one day we wouldn’t have to say, 'we don’t have any more to offer you,'” LeVine said.
The research LeVine will conduct also means a lot to her as she helps the veterinary medicine field grow and expand.
“Some people see veterinary medicine as a craft. They want to learn it and go out and practice it, but for me it is a science,” LeVine explained. “Every day we have a chance to make the profession better, and I want to be part of that.”
LeVine hopes to contribute to the ISU veterinary program through her hematology research, and she is also interested in helping to improve the veterinary medicine’s blood bank, so that more transfusions are possible.
“Even if I can give one animal a new treatment that can save them from being euthanized, then I will have been successful,” LeVine said.