Laboratory Animal Medicine Faculty
Kerith Luchins, DVM, DACLAM
Residency Program Director, Director of Rodent Clinical Services, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Kerith Luchins was born and raised in Chicago and attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis and then obtained her veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 2008. After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Luchins participated in a companion animal medicine and surgery rotating internship at the Louisiana State University. She then completed a laboratory animal medicine residency program at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. She received her board certification in laboratory animal medicine in 2012 while working as a clinical veterinarian at the Tulane National Primate Research Center. She served as a senior clinical veterinarian in the Research Animal Resource Center, which serves both Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College. She joined the Animal Resources Center at the University of Chicago as a clinical veterinarian in 2015. She enjoys training research staff, veterinary students, post-doctorates, and technicians and has an interest in neurology and clinical veterinary research.
George Langan, DVM, DACLAM
Associate Dean of Research Resources, Attending Veterinarian, Professor of Surgery
George Langan received his B.S in Zoology from Southern Illinois University and then attended the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine where he received his D.V.M. in 1996. After graduation he worked in a small animal and exotic private practice in Boston, Massachusetts. He subsequently entered the laboratory animal medicine residency program at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. After successfully completing his residency, he was hired by The University of Chicago, Animal Resources Center, in 1999 as a Clinical Veterinarian in the Large Animal Surgical Clinic and Instructor in the Department of Surgery. In 2000, he was promoted to the Chief of Rodent Clinical Services, overseeing the Rodent Barrier Facilities at the University. He assumed the role of Attending Veterinarian in 2001 and was selected as the Director of the Animal Resources Center in 2003. In 2016 he was promoted to Associate Dean of Research Resources, managing both ARC and the Office of Shared Research Facilities. Dr. Langan was board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in 2002 and promoted to Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery in 2003. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2007 and Professor in 2015. He is an active member of many veterinary and laboratory animal medicine organizations.
Betty Theriault, DVM, DACLAM
Director of Gnotobiotic Research Animal Facility, Professor of Surgery
Dr. Betty Theriault is a veterinarian with over thirty years of experience working with animals in a variety of settings and across a broad spectrum of species. Upon completion of her B.S. in Biology at San Diego State University in California she was admitted to the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis where she earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree in 1996. Following her veterinary training, Dr. Theriault completed a Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Internship at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Theriault was subsequently recruited by Dr. Jeffery Bluestone to The University of Chicago to pursue her research interests in transplantation immunology. She completed a two year research study during 1997 – 1999 focused on T-Cell co-stimulation and tolerance in a non-human primate model of islet cell transplantation. Interested in gaining additional experience in the private practice setting, Dr. Theriault left the university for five and a half years where she practiced as a veterinary associate at a private small animal practice in the Chicagoland area. Dr. Theriault returned to The University of Chicago in 2005 as a clinical veterinarian in the Animal Resources Center and in 2006 embarked upon developing the University of Chicago’s Gnotobiotic Research Animal Facility (GRAF), which has since experienced steady growth and success and is presently one of the largest academic institution germ free facilities in the nation. Initially developed to support the research of a few scientists at the University, the gnotobiotic program currently supports the work of a multitude of Principal Investigators with research interest interrogating the role of the microbiome at the intersection of health and disease. Her work focuses on assisting researchers develop animal models of human disease and adapting technologies to unique applications. She has been primary or co-author to publications spanning a diverse range of models and species. Dr. Theriault was Board Certified by American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in 2010. She is a Past President of the Chicago Branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science, current President of the newly revitalized Association for Gnotobiotics and also President of the International Association for Gnotobiotics.
Marek Niekrasz, DVM, DACLAM
Director of Surgery & Large Animal Services, Professor of Surgery
Dr. Marek Niekrasz earned his veterinary degree from the University of Agriculture, Wroclaw in his native Poland. During years 1981-1984 he practiced veterinary medicine in 2 practices in Denmark, 2 practices in Poland, and as a member of the Polish Army for 1 year after graduation. In 1984 Dr. Niekrasz left Poland and immigrated to the United States. In 1985, he was employed by the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, OK and in 1986, began training as a laboratory animal veterinarian. During his residency he got involved with a renowned transplantation/xenotransplantion surgery team led by Dr. David Cooper. Dr. Niekrasz completed his laboratory animal medicine training and became Clinical Assistant Professor in Pathology, Clinical Veterinarian for the Animal Resources Program, and Co-Investigator, Surgeon and Anesthesiologist on more than a dozen grants studying xenotranplantation, primarily using swine and baboons. In 1995, Dr. Niekrasz was recruited by Northwestern University where he became involved with all aspects of animal facility management and was Assistant Director of Surgery and Large Animals. In 2001, Dr. Niekrasz attained Board Certification by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Niekrasz’ publication record includes 32 scientific journal articles, primarily in transplant medicine, three book chapters and a contribution to the pre-print review of a popular reference known as the “Guidelines for the Care and Use of Mammals in Neuroscience and Behavioral Research”. In 2004, Dr. Niekrasz joined the University of Chicago as Assistant Professor of Surgery and was subsequently promoted to Associate Professor of Surgery (2012) and Professor of Surgery (2016). He has been a contributing member of the Association of Primate Veterinarians and was elected by his peers to the Vice-President post in 2015 and is currently APV President (2017-18). At the University of Chicago he teaches formal classes in the Animal Models of Human Disease course and a variety of orientation/resident training seminars. He provides surgical/anesthesia support for large animal researchers and is responsible for clinical services in ARC Clinic. He has been invited to speak at many US (APV, ACLAM, AVMA) and international (Japan, China, UK, Poland) conferences.
Allison Ostdiek, DVM, PhD, DACLAM
Associate Director of Large Animal Clinical Services, Assistant Professor of Surgery
Dr. Allison Ostdiek did her undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota and obtained her veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 2010. She completed a comparative medicine residency at the University of Missouri in 2013 and a PhD in pathobiology in 2014. Her research was primarily in vascular biological repair materials. After graduation she joined the University of Chicago’s Animal Resources Center in 2015 as a clinical veterinarian in the Large Animal Surgical Clinic. Dr. Ostdiek was board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in 2017. In 2018 she became a Principal Veterinarian at Medtronic’s Physiological Research Laboratory where she helped further biomedical technology through her role as a surgeon and animal care veterinarian. In 2020 she re-joined the University of Chicago as the Associate Director of Large Animal Clinical Services. She is interested in large animal surgery, anesthesia, and analgesia.
Darya Mailhiot, DVM
Darya Mailhiot was born in Chisinau, Moldova and moved to Chicago in 1992 with her family. She grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. She obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and then obtained her veterinary degree from Michigan State University in 2016. Dr. Mailhiot worked in a GLP laboratory in toxicology research at the University of Illinois at Chicago from 2011-2014. She also worked on characterizing the role of calcium regulation in pancreatic β-cells in Dr. Louis Philipson’s laboratory in 2014 at The University of Chicago. Dr. Mailhiot completed the laboratory animal medicine residency program at The University of Chicago in 2019. During her residency, she worked in Dr. Jill de Jong’s laboratory on a hematopoietic screening project and characterization of α-catulin in zebrafish. She has since joined the Animal Resources Center as a clinical veterinarian. She is interested in behavioral and clinical veterinary research.