PVM Alumna Kelly Metcalf Pate to steer MIT’s Division of Comparative Medication

Friday March 12th 2021

Dr. Kelly Metcalf Pate of the 2007 DVM class will lead MIT’s Comparative Medicine division. (WITH Photo / Parisa Zarringhalam)

The next big leap for Purdue Veterinary Medicine graduate Kelly Metcalf Pate (PU DVM 2007) came on March 1 when she took on the role of director of MIT’s Comparative Medicine Division. Dr. Metcalf Pate is a specialist in platelet immunology and veterinary medicine and succeeds Dr. James Fox, who is retiring after 45 years of service. In connection with her new position, Dr. Metcalf Pate also joins the faculty of the Department of Biotechnology.

Dr. Metcalf Pate most recently served as Assistant Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she also served as the Assistant Director of Academic Education for the Veterinary Research Education 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. Her research has focused on how platelets interact with other immune cells during viral infections such as HIV and cytomegalovirus.

“My core passions are teaching and research,” said Dr. Metcalf Godfather in a Feb.25 article by Anne Trafton in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology publication, MIT News. “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 Comparative Medicine division 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’m very excited to welcome Kelly as our new DCM director,” said Maria Zuber, MIT vice president of research. “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.”

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. Dr. Fox has led the department since its inception. Under his direction, the DCM has significantly expanded MIT’s medical research program, adding new facilities for animal care and research on campus.

Dr. Metcalf Godfather, Dorothy W. Poitras Associate Professor of Biotechnology at MIT, told the MIT News publication that she plans to expand the structure that Dr. Fox has built, maintained, and expanded 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. “

Dr. Metcalf Pate 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 Dr. Metcalf Pate, who grew up in Massachusetts and received her BA from Boston University in 2003 before enrolling at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, where she graduated from DVM in 2007. She also received her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“I am delighted that Kelly Pate will take on the position of director of DCM with a permanent position on the faculty in BE,” said Dr. 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. “

Click here for the full MIT News article on Dr. Metcalf Godfather Display.

Anne Trafton, MIT News Office, and Kevin Doerr | pvmnews@purdue.edu

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