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Faculty and Staff

3 Veterinary Medicine Stars Named as University Faculty Scholars

Dr. Ben Callahan, Dr Margaret Gruen and Dr. Santosh Misra

Representing each of NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s three departments, faculty members Benjamin Callahan, Margaret Gruen and Santosh Mishra have been named to this year’s class of NC State University Faculty Scholars.Callahan is an assistant professor of microbiomes in the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, Gruen is an associate professor of behavioral medicine in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Mishra is assistant professor of neuroscience in the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences. 

Launched in 2012, the University Faculty Scholars program recognizes outstanding academic achievements and teaching, service and scholarship contributions. Honorees carry the title through their NC State employment. Scholars are nominated by individual colleges and reviewed by senior faculty.

Callahan leads a lab focused on studying the ecology and evolution of microbial communities, with particular interest in the development of novel methods for characterizing and analyzing natural communities. He also is looking at the role adaptation plays in shaping patterns of biodiversity and ecological characteristics such as resilience to invasion.

“I appreciate this honor,” Callahan says. “Recognition from the community you work in suggests you are doing something right.”

Gruen is an expert in animal behavior, chronic pain, welfare, cognition and anxiety. Most recently she helped lead a study on the relationship between engagement with the impossible task, cognitive testing and cognitive questionnaires in a population of aging dogs printed in the Frontiers of Veterinary Science.

“I am so honored to have been selected as a University Faculty Scholar,” Gruen says. “NC State is a very special place, and I have been incredibly fortunate in the amazing relationships and collaborations I have been able to build here. It is because of these relationships and opportunities that I have had the chance to conduct the research that was recognized by this award. I am so grateful to be part of a culture that values and promotes collaboration, and I am thrilled to join the impressive list of scholars who have been selected for this honor.”

In Mishra’s lab, he is investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying chronic itch and possibly pain in mice and trying to determine the degree to which specific mechanisms of itch are conserved across mammalian species. 

“I feel truly honored and humbled to be named University Faculty Scholar,” Mishra says. “The College of Veterinary Medicine has allowed me to fulfill my dreams, and I am so fortunate to be at NC State University. I want to acknowledge and thank everyone behind this, starting from my lab, mentors, colleagues, leadership and support systems in the college and at the university and, last but not least, my lovely and supportive family and friends. Without them, it would not have been possible.”

CVM professors are regularly named University Faculty Scholars. Last year’s class included Michael Nolan, associate professor of radiation oncology and biology. 

Other previous CVM honorees are Liara Gonzalez, assistant professor of gastroenterology and equine surgery (2021); Cristina Lanzas, associate professor of infectious disease, and Casey Theriot, assistant professor of infectious disease (2020);  Lauren Schnabel, assistant professor of equine orthopedic surgery (2019);  Ke Cheng, the Randall B. Terry Jr. Distinguished Professor in Regenerative Medicine, and Troy Ghashghaei, professor of neurobiology (both in 2016); Jody Gookin, FluoroScience Distinguished Professor in Veterinary Scholars Research Education and professor internal medicine (2015); Sid Thakur, director of global health at the CVM and NC State (2014); and Nanette Nascone-Yoder, associate professor of developmental biology.