Kelly Metcalf Pate, Assistant Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, will become MIT’s new Director of Comparative Medicine (DCM) on March 1. Metcalf Godfather will replace James Fox, who has been DCM’s director for more than four decades.
At Johns Hopkins, Metcalf was the godfather’s associate director of academic education for the veterinary research training programs in the Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathology. She also started and directed the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program, a summer research program for veterinary students. In her research laboratory, she studies how platelet cells interact with other immune cells in viral infections such as HIV and cytomegalovirus.
“My core passions are teaching and research,” says Metcalf Pate, who will also move to the Faculty of Biotechnology. “I look forward to continuing to work with apprentices and veterinary students and continue to conduct research that will not only answer the unknown questions of platelet immunology, but will also help us find better ways to work with animal models.”
The DCM includes more than 175 researchers, animal care and veterinary technicians, veterinarians, and administrators who oversee animal care at MIT. Its mission includes maintaining animal health as well as conducting biomedical research and training students in research and veterinary medicine.
“I am delighted to welcome Kelly as our new DCM Director. She brings a strong research program, enviable management skills, a collaborative nature and lots of ideas on how DCM can add even more value to our researchers, ”said Maria Zuber, Vice President Research at MIT.
Metcalf Pate says she was drawn to MIT by the collaborative spirit she observed among DCM staff. “It was very inspiring to see how motivated everyone was with the research and the scientific process and how much everyone clearly worked together as a team,” she says.
Originally founded in 1975 as a department for laboratory animal medicine, the department was renamed in 1980 to take account of the growing commitment to research and teaching. Fox has led the division since its inception, and under his direction, the DCM has significantly expanded MIT’s medical research program, adding new facilities for animal care and research on campus.
“It has been a privilege and an endless array of opportunities to work with countless faculties, staff and students over the years with the common goal of doing sound science and always looking after the care and welfare of the animals in which they are It is used to fulfill this stated mission and promote this important mandate for the students enrolling in MIT, ”says Fox.
Metcalf Godfather, who will be Dorothy W. Poitras Associate Professor of Biotechnology at MIT, plans to maintain and expand the structure Fox has built over the past 45 years.
“I am honored to inherit such an amazing legacy and team in DCM. Dr. Fox has built something at MIT that is second to none when it comes to providing excellent care for the animals in collaboration with the research teams. It also benefits from the strong support from leadership and the MIT community, for which I am grateful. I hope that during my own time as a director I can keep this and build on it, ”she says.
She noted that DCM researchers already have extensive collaborations with other departments around MIT, and she hopes to expand those collaborations and expand DCM’s research and education partnerships with other institutions in the Boston area.
One of their longer term goals is to explore the possibility of establishing a center that focuses on “refinement research” – the practice of studying how animal models are used to maximize both data quality and animal welfare.
Joining the MIT community is kind of a homecoming for Metcalf Godfather, who grew up in Massachusetts and received her BA from Boston University in 2003. She also holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a DVM from Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“I am very excited to have Kelly Pate accept the position of director of DCM with a permanent faculty position in BE,” said Fox. “Kelly embodies the tradition of the Johns Hopkins Veterinarians by being committed to conducting world-class, peer-reviewed research, being an avid mentor and teacher, and having crucial responsibility for leading a vital, centralized campus-wide animal resource program. It will undoubtedly promote, enhance and perpetuate the tradition of excellence that has become DCM’s hallmark. “