Meadow Brook History

The Meadow Brook Farm Animal Chair was endowed by a $2 million gift from the Matilda R. Wilson Fund. The Meadow Brook Farm Animal Chair in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences focuses on enhancing and ensuring the health, nutrition, and wellbeing of farm animals—some of Matilda Wilson's lifetime goals. The chair is named after her beloved farm, Meadow Brook.

Healthy farm animals benefit people because they are less likely to have infectious diseases and have reduced need for medical treatment, such as antibiotics that could subsequently taint the food supply. The MSU Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences is responsible for the health and wellbeing of horses, cattle, sheep, and swine. It teaches large animal veterinarians, expands knowledge through research, and applies research through clinical work and outreach.

Together with the Meadow Brook Immunobiology Laboratory, Dr. Sordillo focused on developing solutions to control mastitis in dairy cattle by investigating the interaction between nutrition and immunology during times of increased susceptibility to disease.

Lorraine Sordillo

Dr. Lorraine M. Sordillo joined the MSU faculty in January 2004. She was the first to hold the Meadow Brook Farm Animal Chair. Sordillo received her PhD in bovine immunology from Louisiana State University. After that, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Animal Science Department at the University of Tennessee, and from there, joined the immunology group of the Veterinary Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan. She spent most of her professional career at Pennsylvania State University in the Veterinary Science Department.

Sordillo's broad research area was bovine mastitis. This is a common and devastating disease of cows and a costly problem to the dairy industry. The specific focus of Sordillo's research was to better understand the interaction between the bovine mammary gland and infectious agents that cause mastitis. Her goal was to find ways to enhance the natural immunity of the mammary gland during times of increased susceptibility to mastitis.

Sordillo’s research resulted in more than 100 papers in the refereed scientific literature. She wrote numerous chapters in books and monographs, and served as the primary advisor to 25 graduate students and on the advisory committees of many more.

She held 5 patents for products related to bovine immunology or immunology research, and was awarded more than $7,000,000 in support of her research efforts from a variety of sources including industry contacts, the United States Department of Agriculture National Resources Inventory, and the National Institutes of Health. Sordillo served on many national committees, and received several national awards for her research, including the Agway Inc. Young Scientist Award and the West Agro Award, each presented by the American Dairy Science Association; the Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist Award, presented by the American Association of Veterinary Immunologist; and the Pfizer Award for Veterinary Research Excellence. Her research skills included many cellular and molecular techniques, and she had the ability to apply the rapidly expanding technologies of molecular biology and genomics to the disease problems of farm animals.

Sordillo passed away on September 10, 2021.