Board of Directors

Dr. Alan Nixon – Chair

Dr. Nixon is the Director of the Comparative Orthopaedics Laboratory at Cornell University. Dr. Nixon obtained his veterinary degree from the University of Sydney in 1978 and completed a surgical residency and research degree at Colorado State University in 1983. After five years in the Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Florida, Dr. Nixon moved to New York in 1988 where he is currently a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cornell University. Dr. Nixon’s research includes joint pathobiology and cartilage repair with growth factor gene-enhanced chondrocyte and stem cell transplantation techniques, genetic characterization of OCD in animals and man using microarray expression studies, and clinical application of growth factor recombinant proteins and gene therapy for improved joint, tendon, and bone repair.

Dr. Jennifer Barrett – Immediate Past Chair

Dr. Barrett is the Theodora Ayer Randolph Professor of Equine Surgery at Virginia Tech’s Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center. She received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Cornell University in 2002 and a doctorate in molecular and cell biology from Yale University in 1999. Dr Barrett completed her internship in equine medicine and surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky and her residency in equine surgery at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Her orthopedic postdoctoral research position was at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Barrett joined the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center’s faculty in August 2007 and achieved Diplomate status through the American College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2008 and the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2013. She is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, the Veterinary Orthopedic Society and the Phi Zeta Honor Society. She is a founding director of the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association and currently serves as Chair. Her research interests include tendon, ligament, and cartilage healing, stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies, and tissue regeneration. She established the Regenerative Medicine Service at the EMC, which offers stem cell treatment and platelet rich plasma therapy to patients at the EMC and beyond. Her clinical interests include lameness, diagnostic imaging, orthopedic surgery, and emergency surgery.

Dr. Scott Hopper – Treasurer

Dr. Hopper is a 1993 graduate of the University Wisconsin – Madison School of veterinary medicine. Following veterinary school Dr. Hopper completed an internship at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. The internship was followed by an equine surgical residency at Washington State University where he also obtained his Masters of Science in Veterinary Science. After a year of clinical instructorship Dr. Hopper returned to Rood & Riddle where he is currently a surgeon and partner.

Dr. Thomas G. Koch – Secretary 

Dr. Koch received his DVM degree from the Veterinary College in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2000. He then worked in mixed practice before completing a one-year rotational internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Ontario Veterinary College in 2001-2002. Following this, he returned to Denmark to work for one year as an equine practitioner. In 2003, he returned to the OVC to become a resident in large animal medicine. He completed his residency in 2005, and has since been doing his PhD studies in Biomedical Sciences at the OVC on the topic of equine stem cells from umbilical cord blood.

Dr. John Peroni

As a clinician, Dr. Peroni has treated a number of horses with musculoskeletal problems amenable to regenerative approaches including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and platelet-rich plasma. Dr. Peroni has focused on the use of transduced MSCs in bone formation using an ovine fracture model, as well as the immunomodulatory effects of equine bone marrow-derived MSCs as part of an investigation into the use of allogenic stem cells for therapeutic purposes. His research includes the development of immune responses following exposure of equine lymphocytes and monocytes to allogenic MSCs in attempt to understand the relations between these cells and the immune system.

Dr. Doug Herthel

Dr. Herthel received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of California at Davis in 1971, completing an internship there in equine surgery the following year. In 1972, he and his wife established the internationally recognized Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Calif. to provide advanced diagnostics and therapy and to carry out his extensive research. Dr. Herthel has perfected methods for the management of colics, colic exploratory surgery, crushing type sutures for intestinal anastomosis, and colon resection in horses suffering from severe torsion. Dr. Herthel has developed an orthopedic laboratory and has created unique orthopedic devices, modified from human applications, for specific surgeries and post-operative support. He has shared his innovations with the profession in numerous articles in equine journals and textbooks on equine surgery. Dr. Herthel pioneered equine stem cell treatment in 1995, and has furthered his research by developing the Alamo Pintado Center for Biological Medicine, focusing on autologous bone marrow-derived equine stem cell therapy, as well as advancing the role of nutrition in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Susan W. Volk

Dr. Volk, VMD, PhD, Diplomate ACVS, is a board-certified veterinary surgeon, seeing clinical surgical appointments, performing surgery at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and teaching small animal surgery to veterinary students. Her clinical interest focuses on cutaneous wounds and reconstruction with specific expertise in regenerative medicical therapies. She has a specific interest in cell-based therapies and hopes that her research focus in this field will lead to the development of novel approaches to improve healing of various organs/tissues in veterinary patients as well as humans.

Dr. Kurt Hankenson

Dr. Hankenson is currently the Associate Director of the Laboratory for Comparative Orthopaedic Research at Michigan State University. A former equine veterinarian, he began his independent research career at the University of Michigan in 2002 as a faculty member in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories. In 2006 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania in the School of Veterinary Medicine, where he became the inaugural holder of the Dean W. Richardson Chair for Equine Disease Research in 2012. He has a long standing interest in musculoskeletal dysfunction and repair. In particular his laboratory explores the molecular and cellular basis for mesenchymal stem cell osteoblast differentiation and translates these findings to clinical bone regeneration.  He received his DVM from the University of Illinois (1992), an MS from Purdue University (1997) and his PhD from the University of Washington (2001).

Dr. Tracy Lehman Webb

Tracy attended The Ohio State University to obtain her doctor of veterinary medicine degree (1998). She then completed a clinical internship in small animal medicine and surgery (1999) and a residency in small animal emergency and critical care (2003) at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Following completion of her residency, Tracy was selected as a trainee at Colorado State University for a National Institutes of Health T32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (2004). Tracy received a K08 Clinical Investigator Award from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease in 2007. Tracy finished her thesis work on the modification of the innate immune response during feline immunodeficiency virus infection and received her Ph.D. in Pathology (Immunology) in 2008. Tracy is currently working as a Research Scientist at CSU in the Clinical Sciences Department of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Her many research projects focus on two main areas: regenerative medicine/stem cell therapy and biology, and cardiovascular disease.


Conference Committee Members

Dr. Natanya Nieman

Dr. Nieman, DVM, is the resident veterinarian for Winstar Farm, a large breeding and racing operation based in Versailles, Kentucky. She earned her veterinary degree at Ohio State University and completed an internship at Peterson and Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala, Florida. After her internship, she worked in private practice at Woodford Veterinary Clinic in Versailles, Ky., and has been at Winstar Farm since 2002. In 2010, Winstar Farm won the Kentucky Derby with Supersaver and the Belmont Stakes with Drosselmeyer and stands such prominent stallions as Distorted Humor, Tiznow, and the up-and-coming Bluegrass Cat. Dr. Nieman is responsible for the day-to-day treatment of horses in both the racing and breeding operations. Her main area of interest is the utilization of new technologies to treat lameness and injuries.

Dr. Sean Owens

Dr. Owens, DVM, Diplomate ACVP, Assistant Professor, is a veterinary graduate of Colorado State University. Following an internship in small animal medicine and surgery, he completed a fellowship in small animal transfusion medicine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Animal Blood Bank. Dr. Owens completed his residency training in clinical pathology at UC Davis in 2004, and worked as a clinical pathologist with IDEXX Reference Laboratories, Inc., for two years prior to returning to UC Davis. His research interests include stem cell cell compatibility issues, blood banking, and transfusion medicine.

Dr. Allison Stewart

Dr. Allison Stewart completed a combined equine surgery residency and master’s degree in 1999 at Cornell University. She was a surgeon in private practice for two years before going back into a university practice. Dr. Stewart is currently an assistant professor in equine surgery at the University of Illinois. Her current research has been focused on the use of tendon, bone marrow, and muscle-derived progenitor cells for tendon and joint repair.