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Veterinary Medicine professor leading global anatomy group


BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 3, 2006 – Walk into any veterinary college instructional laboratory and you're likely to see bones, lots of bones. Anatomy has been a platform discipline in medical education for centuries.

"Structure and function are sort of the basis upon which the other clinical sciences are built," said Dr. Larry Freeman, of Blacksburg, Va., an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology (DBSP) at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, noting that technological advances in non-invasive imaging such as CT, MRI and others have had a huge impact on the world of structural anatomy.

Helping his profession keep abreast of those changes and working to maintain the integrity of international nomenclature systems that standardize terminology in veterinary anatomy are important parts of his job as President of the World Association of Veterinary Anatomists.

His international organization presides over the affairs of about 300 scientists associated with several regional and national organizations, including the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists, the European Association of Veterinary Anatomists, the Japanese Association of Veterinary Anatomists and the recently created Asian Association of Veterinary Anatomists.

In addition to fostering the general advancement of that branch of the medical sciences, the group is tasked with making sure that a standardized anatomical nomenclature exists for veterinary anatomists in countries around the world.

The veterinary anatomical body of knowledge is parsed into three main categories, according to Freeman. These include a macroscopic domain - or gross anatomy; a microscopic domain- or histology; and a developmental domain - or embryology.

That task of standardizing the nomenclature is principally accomplished through the work of the International Committee on Veterinary Gross Anatomical Nomenclature, the International Committee on Veterinary Histological Nomenclature, and the International Committee on Veterinary Embryological Nomenclature, said Freeman, whose term as president runs from 2003-2008.

The World Association of Veterinary Anatomists publishes on-line and print versions of the Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria, which is a collection of terms associated with gross anatomy and structure; the Nomina Histologica, which includes terminology related to microscopic anatomy; and the Nomina Embryologica Veterinaria; which focuses on embryology.

Freeman, another Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine professor, and a graduate student recently attended the XXVI Congress of the European Association of Veterinary Anatomists in Messina, Italy, where they presented papers and participated in the program.

Freeman co-chaired the scientific session of oral papers on neuroanatomy and presented a paper, co-authored with Ms. June Mullins of the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, entitled "Angioarchitecture of the root of the bovine penis." Freeman also presided over a meeting of the World Association of Veterinary Anatomists held in conjunction with the European Association meeting.

Dr. Tom Caceci, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, co-chaired a poster session and presented two papers, "Gestational stages of microvasculature of the caprine caruncle "and "Immunolocalization of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the caprine placenta, correlated with mRNA expression."

Claudio Gutierrez, a current Ph.D. student of Dr. Steven Holladay, an associate professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, presented a paper, entitled "Cardiovascular changes in 17-day-old fetuses of type 1 diabetic mothers using a mouse model." co-authored with Drs. Terry Hrubec, Renee Prater, Bonnie Smith, Larry Freeman, and Steven Holladay.

The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.