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Faculty and Staff

Developmental Biologist Becomes Head of NC State Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Michele Battle
Dr. Michele Battle is the new head of the Department of Molecular Biological Sciences at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Michele Battle, formerly a professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is the new leader of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences.

“Dr. Battle has been recognized for her research, teaching and mentoring, as well as for her involvement with graduate student mentorship and encouraging diversity within the STEM fields,” says Dr. Kate Meurs, dean of the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine. “Additionally, she’s internationally known for her research in gastrointestinal biology and disease. She will be an outstanding addition to the college.”

Battle has worked previously with NC State scientists and researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University as part of the Center for Gastrointestinal Biology and Disease, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Battle’s research lab, which she will move to NC State, focuses on studying how tissues develop, specifically the processes that govern how the linings of the esophagus and stomach form, in an effort to better understand and treat esophageal and gastric cancers.

Battle says her new position at NC State will allow her to take advantage of the community of research available at Research Triangle Park, Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State, but equally important will be the opportunity to mentor a greater number of students and faculty members as a department head.

“One thing I love is mentoring,” Battle says. “I really have loved seeing my students, for example, move on and grow into their careers. As a department head, I’ll have an opportunity to mentor on a larger scale, from undergrads to faculty, so that was really appealing to me, to be able to bring my experience to the table and help develop the careers of students and help faculty move into the places they want to be, to be able to help them with resources and making connections.”

While at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Battle received the college’s Outstanding Graduate School Educator award several times. She also currently serves as the chair of the Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology section of the American Gastroenterological Association.

“At the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, there is a great deal of overlap and integration of researchers, clinicians and teachers fostering a collaborative environment that, from my perspective as a researcher, will give me opportunities to grow my program and to have a much more seamless integration with clinical researchers that wasn’t as easily available in a medical school,” Battle says.

The Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences offers Ph.D. programs through the College of Veterinary Medicine and interdepartmental NC State graduate programs that include anesthesiology, clinical nutrition, pharmacology and radiology specialties.

Through the MBS department, students can concentrate on subjects such as immunology and infectious disease. The department boasts a large number of research programs that are making critical inroads in animal and human medicine, addressing critical biomedical, agricultural and biological issues.

“Our research is comparative medicine, meaning that our knowledge of disease and normal biology in our animal patients often brings a lot of insight into human diseases, and Dr. Battle has actually seen the benefits of that comparative medicine aspect and how it has helped in the study of gastrointestinal diseases,” Meurs says. “I know she is very excited to be a part of our program and to see how natural animal diseases in our animal patients can be used to advance human health.”

Dr. Barb Sherry had been serving at NC State since 1989.

Battle succeeds Dr. Barb Sherry, who became head of the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences in 2018 and retired last year after serving at NC State since 1989. Her research, funded federally for decades, focused on viral infections and the protective response they induce in cells, particularly those in the heart. 

“I’m so thankful for all the amazing work that Dr. Sherry has done for so many years on behalf of the college,” Meurs says. “I am particularly grateful for her leadership of the MBS department, especially in my first year as dean. We will greatly miss her, but we’re excited for her to have new opportunities and adventures with her family, particularly her young granddaughter. We’re looking forward to staying in touch.”