Pamela Ruegg, DVM, MPVM, is the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s inaugural David J. Ellis Endowed Chair in Antimicrobial Resistance and Large Animal Clinical Sciences. As a tenured professor, Ruegg will lead and enhance research programs that complement College and campus-wide interdisciplinary initiatives to engage with the livestock production industry in antibiotic stewardship, One Health efforts, and sustainable animal health practices.
“Having Dr. Ruegg join our community, and for this particular chair position, is representative of the College’s work to combat antimicrobial resistance and protect food safety,” says Birgit Puschner, DABVT, PhD, DVM, dean for the College. “These threats to us all—animals, people, and the environment—are indicative of our responsibility as veterinary professionals to help preserve health in all the ways we can. Dr. Ruegg’s expertise and wide range of experience—from academia and industry to private practice—makes her an important asset for us and our work.”
Ruegg is no stranger to the University. She received her undergraduate and DVM degrees from MSU and was a student of Ellis’, who she remembers well. After completion of a residency in food animal herd health and reproductive management and a master of preventive veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Ruegg returned to MSU as an assistant professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences.
Ruegg also worked as a professor and Extension milk quality specialist in the Department of Dairy Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, she spent time in private practice and in academic faculty positions at the Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island, Canada, as well as in corporate technical service. She is active in a number of industry organizations and is a past president of the National Mastitis Council. In 2017, Ruegg was appointed chair of the Department of Animal Science at the MSU College of Agricultural and Natural Resources.
“I am excited about returning to the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine in a role that honors a professor who was truly a legend in advancing animal agriculture in Michigan,” says Ruegg. “As a former student of Dr. Ellis, I appreciated his practical approach to helping Michigan farmers care for their animals and hope to emulate that approach as I assume this role.
“This position will allow me to focus on helping veterinarians and the farmers they serve and addressing the critical issue of antimicrobial resistance and stewardship,” continues Ruegg. “This opportunity was too good to pass up as it builds on my previous research and my passion for serving animal agriculture.”
Ruegg’s professional reputation is documented through her extensive publications—more than 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts—invited national and international presentations, and robust extramural funding record. Ruegg is part of a multi-disciplinary team of scientists on a United State Department of Agriculture-funded grant project that studies how the intestinal microbiome of dairy cattle affects antibiotic resistance, a problem plaguing farms across the country. Ruegg also has received numerous awards for research and extension programs.
Ruegg’s generalized research interests are focused on the use of epidemiologic techniques to solve critical issues related to animal health and milk quality. She enjoys bridging the gap between research and practical applications on dairy farms. Ruegg also has a strong passion for and record of teaching and mentoring undergraduate, graduate, and veterinary students.
“My current research is focused on understanding the scope of antimicrobial usage and associations between routes and magnitude of usage with development of resistance in both animal populations and farm workers,” says Ruegg. “The ecosystem on farms is entwined between people and animals, and the complexity of these issues is truly reflective of the One Health approach. I am looking forward to better understanding these linkages and developing practical solutions that can be rapidly adopted by commercial farms.”
More than 90 individuals and organizations contributed to establish the David J. Ellis Endowed Chair in Antimicrobial Resistance and Large Animal Clinical Sciences to carry on the tradition of excellence in teaching, research, and service that Ellis established at MSU. Ellis was an exemplary role model for colleagues and students, as well as a trusted advisor to producers and clients. In his 30 years at MSU, he was the head of ambulatory veterinary medicine, head of the large animal veterinary clinic, head of the veterinary extension section, and chief of field investigation for the Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory, which is now known as the MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.