The faculty of the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine and Science is composed of laboratory animal specialists, comparative pathologists, research scientists and regulatory specialists. Currently, six of the faculty are board certified by the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and three are board certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathology or the European College of Veterinary Pathology.

Each postdoctoral fellow is assigned to a member of the program faculty who will serve as a mentor. Fellows meet with their mentors monthly to discuss their progress. Each clinical rotation is supervised by a faculty member or a senior management staff member to ensure that fellows meet the established goals for the rotation.

Faculty

Leslie Lynn Diaz, DVM, MPH

Dr. Diaz is a research associate and the Assistant Director of the Rockefeller University’s Comparative Bioscience Center. She is a graduate of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Minnesota. She completed her postgraduate training in laboratory animal medicine at the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine and Science, a partnership between Memorial Sloan Kettering, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Rockefeller University. She became a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine in July 2015.  Dr. Diaz has experience with a wide range of animal species, including rodents, aquatics, reptiles, primates, and farm animals. She enjoys teaching, and her special interests include anesthesiology, aquatics, and high-level biocontainment.

Odessa Giardino, MS, CVT, RLATG

Ms. Giardino is head of Education and Quality Assurance for the Research Animal Resource Center (RARC), which serves both Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Ms. Giardino received her MS degree in biology from Montclair State University, and is a board-certified veterinary technician and a laboratory animal technologist certified by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). Ms. Giardino is active in AALAS at the national and local levels, serving as committee vice-chair and on the board of trustees, respectively. Ms. Giardino has extensive experience in the development and implementation of training programs and regulatory compliance in laboratory animal science. She has primary responsibility for monitoring institutional compliance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations and provides regulatory and training support to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees at Weill Cornell and Memorial Sloan Kettering. Her special interests include research into models of neuropathology and drug metabolism, and the development of novel surgical models.

Christine Lieggi, DVM

Dr. Lieggi is the Associate Director and Head of Veterinary Services in the Research Animal Resource Center, which serves both Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Lieggi received her veterinary degree from Michigan State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in laboratory animal medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 2005. Dr. Lieggi has experience with a wide range of animal species utilized in the biomedical research setting, including rodents, fish, primates, canines, and farm animals. She enjoys teaching, and her special interests include the management of pain and distress in the research setting and biosecurity and standardization of the zebrafish research model.

Neil S. Lipman, VMD

Dr. Lipman is the Director of the Center of Comparative Medicine and Pathology, which serves both Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and serves as Co-Director of the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine and Science. Dr. Lipman holds faculty appointments as a professor of veterinary medicine in pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell and as a Laboratory Member in the Immunology Program of the Sloan Kettering Institute. He received his veterinary degree from the University of Pennsylvania and training in comparative medicine from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Lipman has been a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 1988. Over the past 24 years, Dr. Lipman has also held various animal resource program service and academic appointments at the University of Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Brown University. His research and subspecialty interests include animal facility design and management, endocrinological disorders of laboratory animals, rodent caging systems, and the in vitro production of monoclonal antibodies

Heather R. Martin, DVM

Dr. Martin is a Senior Clinical Veterinarian in the Research Animal Resource Center, which serves both Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Martin graduated from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2006, going on to complete her postdoctoral training  at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her board certification from the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (ACLAM) in 2012. Dr. Martin has a diverse background in laboratory animal medicine and science, with experience in both academia and industry. Her background and continued interests include cancer therapeutics, gastrointestinal bacterial diseases, toxicology, and preclinical research.

Sébastien Monette, DMV, MVSc

Dr. Monette is a comparative pathologist for the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology and the Genetically Engineered Mouse Phenotyping Service. He holds faculty appointments as an Assistant Laboratory Member in the Sloan Kettering Institute’s Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, and as an assistant professor of comparative pathology at the Weill Cornell Medicine. He received his veterinary degree from the Université de Montréal and completed a residency program and master’s degree in veterinary anatomic pathology at the University of Saskatchewan. He has been a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists since 2003. Prior to arriving at the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology, Dr. Monette acquired extensive experience in diagnostic surgical pathology, with an emphasis on oncologic and ophthalmic pathology, during his five years as a staff pathologist at the Animal Medical Center. His research interests have included the development and application of diagnostic and prognostic methods for animal tumors, the phenotypic characterization of new genetically engineered animal models, and the radiologic-pathologic correlation of novel minimally invasive tumor ablation modalities.

Andrew Nicholson, DVM, PhD

Dr. Nicholson is the Director of Animal Subjects Research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Director of Animal Welfare Assurance at Weill Cornell Medicine. He serves as the Chairman of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Weill Cornell (IACUC) and as the Vice-Chairman of the IACUC at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Dr. Nicholson holds faculty appointments as an associate research professor of comparative pathology at Weill Cornell and as an Associate Laboratory Member in the Immunology Program of the Sloan Kettering Institute. He received his veterinary degree from Michigan State University, training in veterinary pathology from the University of Florida, and his PhD degree from the Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University. For the past 20 years, Dr. Nicholson has studied cardiovascular disease and macrophage scavenger receptors using murine models of atherosclerosis with support from the National Institutes of Health.

Lee-Ronn Paluch, BVSc

Dr. Paluch is a senior clinical veterinarian within the Research Animal Resource Center, which serves both Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell. She holds a faculty appointment as an assistant laboratory member within the Sloan Kettering Institute’s Cancer Biology and Genetics Program. Dr. Paluch received her bachelor of veterinary science degree (DVM equivalent) from the University of Melbourne in Australia in 2008 and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in 2012 in the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine and Science, a partnership between MSK, Weill Cornell Medicine, and the Rockefeller University. A diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 2015, she has broad experience in the field working with a variety of animal species used in research, including rodents, aquatic species, reptiles, rabbits, ferrets, cats, dogs, sheep, swine, and nonhuman primates. After a period of international work, Dr. Paluch returned to the CCMP in 2015, where she enjoys teaching and working in an academic setting. Her interests include anesthesiology, pre-clinical animal models of cancer, and laboratory animal welfare and ethics.

Alessandra Piersigilli DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVP

Dr. Piersigilli is a comparative pathologist in the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology (LCP) and the Genetically Engineered Mouse Phenotyping Service and an assistant professor of veterinary medicine in pathology and laboratory medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Piersigilli received her masters degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Camerino in Italy and her PhD degree from the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, also in Italy, specializing in experimental pathology and validation of animal models for evaluating medical devices. Following her doctorate, she worked as a toxicologic pathologist in the pharmaceutical industry and in contract research organizations. She subsequently completed a residency in anatomic pathology at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and became a diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Pathologists in 2013.  Prior to joining the LCP, she served as comparative pathologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, also in Switzerland, and was a lecturer at the University of Bern. In 2015, she co-founded the first Swiss platform of comparative pathology. Her professional interests include cancer biology and validation of animal models for studying human disease.

Rodolfo J. Ricart Arbona, MLAS, DVM

Dr. Ricart serves as a senior clinical veterinarian in the Research Animal Resource Center, which serves both Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He received his master’s degree in laboratory animal science from Hahnemann University School of Medicine. He obtained his veterinary degree at The Ohio State University. After graduating from veterinary school he completed a small animal medicine and surgery internship at Oradell Animal Hospital. Dr. Ricart completed a postdoctoral fellowship in laboratory animal medicine and science at the Tri-Institutional Training Program in 2009. He received board certification in laboratory animal medicine in 2010 while working at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. His interests include animal models in neuroscience, colony health management, and large animal anesthesia.

Ravi Tolwani, DVM, PhD

Dr. Tolwani is Associate Vice President and Director of the Comparative Bioscience Center at The Rockefeller University. Dr. Tolwani received his DVM degree from Auburn University, his PhD degree in molecular and cellular pathology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and his MS degree in management from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He has been a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 1995. Prior to arriving at Rockefeller, Dr. Tolwani was an associate professor and attending veterinarian at Stanford. His research has focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of plasticity of the nervous system using mouse models of neurological disease.

Julie R. White, DVM

Dr. White serves as a comparative pathologist for the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology and the Genetically Engineered Mouse Phenotyping Service. In addition, she is head of the Clinical Pathology Division of the Laboratory Animal Research Center’s Diagnostic Laboratory at The Rockefeller University. Dr. White provides clinical and anatomic pathology support to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, and Rockefeller investigative staff as well as quarantine and diagnostic services. She received her DVM degree from Louisiana State University and completed an internship in small animal/exotic medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center. She completed postdoctoral training in veterinary anatomic pathology jointly at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, and received board certification in veterinary anatomic pathology in 2003. Dr. White has extensive experience with pathology associated with population medicine and exotic animals, which she acquired in her four years as an associate pathologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. Her professional activities include numerous abstracts and presentations at international meetings.

Felix R. Wolf, Dr. med. vet, FVH, PhD

Dr. Wolf is Deputy Director of the Center of Comparative Medicine and Pathology, which serves both Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Wolf holds faculty appointments as an associate professor of veterinary medicine in microbiology and immunology at the Weill Cornell, as a Laboratory Member in the Immunology Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute, and as an associate professor in comparative medicine at Yale University. He received both his veterinary degree as well as his PhD degree from the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and postdoctoral training at Yale. Dr. Wolf has been a diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 1998 and was a founding diplomate of the European College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. Dr. Wolf has 23 years of experience in laboratory animal medicine. His research and subspecialty interests include pathogenesis of rodent viruses, health monitoring, biocontainment, and biosecurity in general.


Learn more about the Tri-Institutional Training Program in Laboratory Animal Medicine & Science.