About the Department

Penn State's hub for animal and human health and biomedical knowledge.

Welcome from the Department Head

It is my pleasure to reach out to you as both the head and a longtime member of this great department. I began my career at Penn State in the late 1990s, when the department was still called "Veterinary Sciences," and have had a front-row seat to the transformative changes this department has experienced since.

Should you choose Penn State, your time here with us will immerse you in the realm of animal health, pre-vet, cancer research, gut health, infectious diseases, molecular nutrition, biomedical informatics, and molecular toxicology. Our current 500+ undergraduate students are focused in three majors--Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Immunology and Infectious Disease, and Pharmacology and Toxicology--and their studies have a renewed emphasis on veterinary extension and medicine, infectious diseases, molecular pathogenesis, developmental biology, carcinogenesis, nutritional immunology, and molecular pharmacology in the classroom, in the lab, and on the farm. I encourage you to explore these options or consider our brand-new minor in One Health! We also have a long history of training graduate students as part of our departmental Pathobiology graduate program. Our faculty lead training grants in addition to actively participating in other graduate programs in Molecular and Cellular Integrative Biosciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Physiology, and Nutritional Sciences. 

The department has a lot of exciting and new things happening! The Animal, Veterinary, and Biomedical Science (AVBS) Building is replacing the 52-year-old Henning Building, opening up 105,000 square feet of premium space to foster collaboration and innovation, which will be a new and stimulating learning environment for our students and faculty, bringing everyone together on Ag Hill.

Our faculty are highly trained researchers who specialize in zoonotic diseases and therefore have put COVID-19 research on the front burner, and their research will be part of what shapes our collective future and health. We also work closely with several institutes at Penn State, most notably the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Penn State Cancer Institute, Institutes of Energy and the Environment, Social Science Research Institute, and the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, on many interdisciplinary projects that examine real-world problems and provide innovative solutions. These connections also provide us easy access to the state-of-the-art instrumentation that assists our students in collecting high-quality data.

Our alumni have landed in professional schools, graduate schools, federal government, and pharmaceutical/biotechnology companies with their Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences degrees. Our current students are part of clubs and national organizations that allow them to connect with alumni and explore diverse areas of interest, helping to guide them toward successful careers. Our award-winning advisers are also happy to connect with you, and I highly encourage you to reach out to us during orientations or college fairs wherever possible. I welcome you to visit Penn State and our department within the College of Agricultural Sciences to learn more about us. You can also find some of the latest news and day-to-day activities on our social media pages. Together, #WeAre Penn State!

K. Sandeep Prabhu, Ph.D.
  • Department Head

Department Strategic Plan

The department has recently completed the 2020-2025 strategic plan. Within this plan lists the department's goals, objectives, and plan for current and future student engagements and success which also aligns with the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of VBS is to create and disseminate new knowledge related to the impact of environmental factors on animal and human health and well-being. We will apply such knowledge to improve health, food safety, and security, and environmental stewardship and resilience.

Vision Statement

The department will lead in the development and application of science-based new knowledge pertaining to the effects of the environment on animal and human health through excellence in basic and applied interdisciplinary research, state-of-the-art diagnostics, and extension outreach and research activities.  VBS will be universally recognized for excellence in teaching and training the next generation of scientists, and animal and human healthcare professionals. We will continue to proactively respond to emerging challenges locally and globally in areas of integrated health with an emphasis on immunology and infectious disease, molecular toxicology and carcinogenesis, molecular diagnostics, agriculture and food systems, pre-harvest food safety, antimicrobial resistance, and animal welfare. VBS will act with integrity in accordance with the highest academic, professional, and ethical standards to evolve our learning to stimulate sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship, while fostering diversity and inclusivity.

Latest News

May 10, 2021

Schmitt receives Research Innovators Award from College of Ag Sciences

Anthony Schmitt, professor of virology, is the 2021 recipient of the Research Innovators Award, given by the Office for Research and Graduate Education and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

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May 3, 2021

Penn State researchers are applying decades of expertise toward the development of complementary COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

From almost the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, the world waited anxiously for a vaccine, the safeguard that would enable a return to normal life. Researchers around the world eagerly picked up the challenge. Penn State scientists have been active among them from the earliest days. Drawing on the knowledge, skills, and technologies they have developed over their careers, and taking advantage of infrastructure built for the purpose, teams of experts around the university moved rapidly to face the crisis.

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April 30, 2021

Dr. Adrian Barragan Chosen As the 2021 Recipient of the Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award

We are thrilled to announce that our own Dr. Adrian Barragan has been chosen as the recipient of Dr. William Henson Diversity Achievement Award by the Diversity Coordinating Council within the College of @agsciences. This award recognizes Dr. Barragan for his distinctive and outstanding teaching, research, extension or creative work that advances diversity in the College. Dr. Barragan gives back to our students and our community in a number of ways, from translating all papers, reports, workshops and webinars from English to Spanish, to being an advisor to the @pennstateprevetclub. Congratulations Dr. Barragan!

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April 27, 2021

Tyler Fuller, IID Major, was recently accepted into the Primary Care Scholars' Program

Tyler Fuller, IID Major, was recently accepted into the Primary Care Scholars' Program at the PSU Hershey College of Medicine. Although the program is virtual this year, He will be virtually shadowing various physicians, growing his understanding of diverse practice environments, & gaining insight into the life of a medical student. The 3 week program also includes guidance on applying to medical school as well as information about residency training from the admissions committee for Hershey. Overall, the point of the program is to grow leaders that will understand & promote the importance of Primary Care in addition to serving in underserved areas. Congratulations Tyler!

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