A faculty member in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech has been awarded the 2016 AAVP-Merial Distinguished Veterinary Parasitologist Award by the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists (AAVP), the organization’s highest honor.

Anne Zajac, professor of parasitology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, is the first female recipient of this award, which recognizes the outstanding contributions of an association member to the advancement of veterinary parasitology. Previously, Zajac received the association’s 2008 Distinguished Service Award and served as its first female president from 2001-2002. She has also authored two editions of the standard diagnostic manual Veterinary Clinical Parasitology in conjunction with the organization.

Zajac received her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Michigan State University in 1982 and her doctorate from The Ohio State University in 1986, before joining the veterinary college later that year. She recently co-authored a paper in Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases examining the prevalence of deer ticks carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the organism responsible for Lyme disease, in Southwest Virginia’s New River Valley.

“Dr. Zajac is well-known for her work with small ruminant parasites and has published numerous scientific articles and book chapters over many years,” said Karen Snowden, professor and associate department head of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University. In addition, Snowden explained that Zajac “shows strong evidence of collegiality and collaborative work …”

Zajac was formally presented the award at the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists annual meeting held in early August in San Antonio, Texas. As the recipient, Zajac had an opportunity to present at the meeting and have her biography featured at the event.

Written by Kelsey Foster, a master’s degree student in the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

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