New Faculty Member Joins Department of Clinical Sciences

tara head shot grand canyon

Tara Myers Harrison, DVM, MPH, Diplomate American College of Zoological Medicine

Dr. Tara Myers Harrison has joined the Zoological Health faculty at NCSU as the newest member of MSM (MultiSpecies Medicine) and EAMS (the Exotic Animal Medicine service) groups in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine, NCSU.  Coming directly from an assistant professor position at the University of California at Davis, Dr. Harrison also brings her experience with northern species from over 10 years of teaching and clinical service at Michigan State University where she served on faculty in various roles and managed the health of the animals at the Potter Park Zoo.



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Dr. Tara Myers Harrison gives a wild black bear a quick physical examination

Dr. Harrison brings many talents to her new role at NCSU.  She earned her DVM from Michigan State University and holds a masters of preventive veterinary medicine earned at University of California, Davis where she worked onthe problem of infection of spotted hyenas with canine and feline viruses, working in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.   She is dual boarded, having earned diplomate status in the American College of Zoological Medicine and in the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine.

tara and tenrecs

Dr. Harrison. the Veterinary Advisor for the Tenrec SSP, holds 4 small tenrec pups.

Dr. Harrison’s species range is broad.  Her publications range across the carnivora, but include papers on rhinoceros, gorilla and even tenrecs.   She serves as the veterinary advisor for the Tenrec SSP.   From rattlesankes to ostriches, she is happy to work on any species.  She has a very special interest in the application of oncological therapeutics and diagnostics in zoological species and hopes to pursue studies to improve the application of advanced techniques to those cases.


Dr. Harrison examines the eyes of a falcon chick

Dr. Harrison’s 3 lively daughters and two able hounds  along with husband Scott accompanied her on a family expedition across the Southern route of the US this July to arrive in Raleigh, stopping briefly to take in the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.

tara and family grand canyon

Construction Pushes Forward for Design Build Project

Things are really starting to take shape over at the Wild Carnivore Facility. The team of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Veterinary students continues their push  towards a July 31st finish, with dramatic changes taking place every day.

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Students put their backs into ensuring a side post is plumb

The walls are up, giving everyone a sense of accomplishment and making it easier to visualize the what the functional husbandry building will look like and how it will benefit the Wild Carnivore Facility.  Attention to detail in the framing process is paying off in speed of progress working with very square lines.

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Roof beams are in place

Most of the walls are in place and the Architecture students working on the custom windows in the College of Design student shop are carefully crafting very special windows. Today’s schedule calls for the start of roofing and more advances in the landscaping arena as the dairy cows in J pasture look on in amusement.

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Design Build rocks!


The Landscape Architecture students’ talents shone particularly bright this week with the development of some lovely swales for erosion control, topped with river rocks. Other collections of stones and boulders are cropping up around the work site as benches, which will provide much-needed rest spots for the Design Build team and Carnivore team alike.

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Teamwork continues to be key in moving the build smoothly forward!

Framing Starts on Wild Carnivore Design Build Project

With just over 3 weeks to go, Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Veterinary students working on the Wild Carnivore Facility Design Build Project have entered the exciting phase of framing the structure of the new husbandry facility.  Weeks of design work have been followed by careful preparation of the site, including the installation of new gates created by the craftsmen of University Facilities to make sure the perimeter remains secure, and a new road designed and created by the students in the class.

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A Landscape Architect Student works on the road detail in front of the new access gates.

Then it was time to pour the footings.  One thing learned, if you are in dire need of rain, just dig some footings.  The rain will come.  Mucking the footer holes was an excellent bonding event for the students in the class.

Foundation ready to pourFooters and pilings carefully dug and positioned and ready for cement.

The logistics of working with limited access to the site called for unusual measures.  Rather than the more common approach of bringing a cement mixer to the site, students mixed and poured 217 eighty pound bags of concrete to create their foundation.  Everyone was in on the lifting, mixing and settling the concrete.   The whole pour was completed and every thing cleaned up in a half a day, a major feat.

concrete pour  3 at mixer concrete pour filling tube smTeam work conquers the foundation.

site panorama july 1Ready for the next step.

Lots of learning is going on as students of each profession help educate the others on the best way to approach the many different skill sets needed to create the project.  Some students have worked diligently in the shops at the College of Design, custom cutting and welding the steel post fittings, designing and building the windows that will be used in the project and even carefully re-planing and cutting recycled materials to keep the project on budget and on time.  Others have bent their backs on the site clearing, grading, moving materials and now framing the structure.

Learning to sawAn experienced advanced architecture graduate student instructs a willing, if modestly nervous veterinary student in the fine art of cutting posts with a super-sized circular saw.

3 professions work the dirtAn architecture student (left) and veterinary student (right) learn the fine points of getting grades and contours just right for proper drainage from the lead landscape architecture student on the project.

framing startsAnd finally the framing gets under way.  The building begins to get just a bit of form as the team accelerates towards the finish.


Niemuth Wins Evolutionary Medicine Fellowship

Dr. Jennifer Niemuth’s work on sea turtle cold stun syndrome just got a major boost with the announcement of her receipt of an Evolutionary Medicine Fellowship awarded jointly by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine.

niemuth head shotJennifer Niemuth,DVM

Evolutionary medicine encompasses any study that examines medical and health-related themes in the context of evolutionary science. The integrative nature of this emerging field looks at questions across disciplines such as epidemiology, psychology, cancer research, global health, veterinary science, and microbiology.  NESCent, sponsored by the National Sciences Foundation, has transitioned to the Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine, TriCEM.  The Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM) is a nonprofit institute exploring the intersection of evolutionary science and medicine. The center is jointly operated by Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Central University.  TriCEM is an incubator that promotes innovative developments the theory and practice of evolutionary medicine by fostering cross-disciplinary collaborations among Triangle-based scholars, physicians, public health workers, and others.

Cc from NCARIA rehabilitated Sea Turtle awaits release off shore by Coast Guard Personnel

Dr. Niemuth’s awared supports her important and outstanding evolutionary medicine exploration about the evolutionary aspects of sea turtle cold stun syndrome.  With the support she will spend this fall semester integrating methods, concepts, and data related to the pathogenesis of cold stun and its broader translational implications.