dr Sue VandeWoude, a Colorado State University distinguished professor and world-renowned veterinary virologist, has been named the next dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
She will step down from her current position as the director of the CSU One Health Institute and begin her new appointment leading US News and World Report’s No. 3 ranked veterinary college in the nation on Aug 16.
Sue VandeWoude has been a researcher at CSU for two decades.
“Sue is a gifted scholar and leader who has pursued a path of academic and research excellence at CSU for more than three decades. This has prepared her for this important role,” said Provost and Executive Vice President Mary Pedersen. “Sue has great passion for the influential and impactful work of CVMBS and has witnessed first-hand the evolution of its standing as a world leader in veterinary medicine. She will work hard to carry forward and advance the college’s exceptional reputation and success.”
VandeWoude will be the 11th dean and first woman to hold the position since CSU launched its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program in 1907.
“CVMBS’ greatest assets are the amazing faculty, staff, students and administrators who dedicate their energies to the pursuit of scholarly excellence, discovery and education on a daily basis,” VandeWoude said. “As dean, I will focus my energies on recognizing and facilitating this excellence, and building a community that practices respect, innovation, humility, inclusion and service.”
Colorado State University Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology professor Susan VandeWoude, center, discusses research with Erick Gagne and Basak Aslan. Photo courtesy CSU
VandeWoude grew up on a farm in Virginia, where she participated in 4-H, raising chickens, pigs, ducks and beef cattle – and spending many happy hours with the barn cats.
After earning her undergraduate degree at the California Institute of Technology, she went on to the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine for her DVM, and completed her postdoctoral training in comparative medicine at Johns Hopkins University, and is board-certified in laboratory animal medicine. She first came to CSU in 1990 and has held leadership positions for the past 15 years, including as the CVMBS associate dean for research from 2011-19.
Sue VandeWoude’s research has focused on studying infectious diseases impacting cats.
As a faculty member in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, she specializes in studying infectious conditions affecting cats, including feline immunodeficiency virus, which can leave animals vulnerable to other infections.
VandeWoude was named the director of the CSU One Health Institute in 2020 and collaborated on research related to the impacts of urbanization on wildlife, disease spillover between domestic animals in wildlife and disease ecology – topics that were at the forefront of the conversation during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
Last year, VandeWoude was the principal investigator on a team that received $12.5 million from the National Science Foundation to explore the fundamental details about microbes that live in the air, or the aerobiome, and how it is impacted by fires, pandemics and dust storms.
In addition to her research, VandeWoude has used her leadership roles to help make CSU a welcoming campus – something that was recognized by her peers with the 2019 CVMBS Diversity and Inclusion Award and 2020 CVMBS Collaboration Award.
“I hope to contribute to a culture that is a rewarding, exciting, and fun place to work and learn, where we advance critical knowledge contributing to the health of animals, people and the environment,” VandeWoude said.
In addition to serving as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tasmania, VandeWoude has earned a long list of national awards, including the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges Excellence in Research Award; Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award; and American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine Comparative Medicine Scientist Award.
She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2019 – one of the highest honors for scientists in the country.
“Frankly, it speaks to the quality of our faculty that the very best, most qualified candidate to lead one of the world’s top programs in veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences came from here at CSU,” said Interim President Rick Miranda. “Sue is unquestionably one of the world’s most respected researchers and educators in this arena, as well as a seasoned academic leader.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have her at the helm and look forward to even greater success under her leadership.”