A $3 million gift received by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine will go toward expanding research and teaching in veterinary orthopedic surgery at the university and improve veterinary care and education for companion animals in India.
The gift is from the Tata Group, a worldwide business conglomerate based in India. In 2008, Chairman Ratan Tata was searching for a professional facility for surgical care for pets when he was referred to professor Michael Conzemius at the university in St. Paul. Tata’s experience with the care and services at the veterinary center led him to work with Trevor Ames, College of Veterinary Medicine dean, on how the same type of care might benefit in India.
The gift will help create an endowment supporting small animal orthopedic surgery and to establish the Tata Group chair in orthopedic surgery, held by Conzemius. A professor of surgery at the college since 2006, he leads a research team that is internationally recognized for basic and clinical research in elbow replacement systems, gait analysis and the genetics of ligament injury and repair.
This work has also led to greater understanding of the postoperative effects of rehabilitation and improvements after canine surgery, and optimizing techniques for use of canine adult stem cells. Conzemius has pioneered an animal model for understanding human orthopedic conditions such as those affecting the hip joint.
Funds from the endowment will provide additional support for faculty conducting research in these areas. The gift will also advance veterinary education in India by creating the university’s first formal exchange program with the Karnataka Veterinary School in Bangalore, in which veterinary students and veterinarians will come to the University of Minnesota to be trained in advanced techniques in veterinary medicine and surgery, according to the university.