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Dr. Angela Pillatzki named head of the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and Director of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory

Angela Pillatzki

The South Dakota State University Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences welcomes Angela Pillatzki as the new department head and director of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL).

As department head, Pillatzki will oversee the daily operations of the ADRDL and Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences while working with faculty and staff to enhance and develop service, research and teaching.

Pillatzki has been serving in an interim role since February 2022, following the retirement of former department head and ADRDL director Jane Christopher-Hennings. With 22 years of working in veterinary diagnostics and pathology, she brings an abundance of experience to her new roles. 

“I am excited to have Dr. Angela Pillatzki leading the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences,” said Joseph Cassady, South Dakota Corn Endowed Dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. “Her wealth of experience and enthusiasm will enable the faculty, staff and students to accomplish their goals.”

Pillatzki is a 1995 graduate of the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After working in clinical practices in Rapid City, and central Minnesota, Pillatzki joined the ADRDL team in 2000 as a post-doctoral pathology fellow. She served as a diagnostic pathologist until joining the staff at Iowa State University in 2008. Returning to the ADRDL in 2014, Pillatzki worked as a pathologist and faculty member before accepting the department head position.

At the ADRDL, Pillatzki worked as the case coordinator and pathologist with cases focused on diagnostics, primarily in food-producing animals, in addition to wildlife and companion animals. 

With an extensive background in research, Pillatzki has collaboratively worked on projects with investigators from multiple institutions focused on infectious diseases in animals with an emphasis on viral pathogenesis, immune mechanisms of disease and prevention, development of novel vaccines and characterization of emerging diseases. Recently, she has begun to work more on infectious disease in bison, while also collaborating with another researcher on a mouse model of human colon cancer. 

“I hope to help the department develop and expand connections with stakeholders to fulfill the tripartite mission of the department and ADRDL, which includes service, research and teaching,” Pillatzki said. “I want to encourage and enable faculty, staff and students to achieve their potential while promoting a shared vision, fostering teamwork and acknowledging dedication.”

Pillatzki is a board-certified veterinary anatomic pathologist by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists and a 2008 recipient of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) and Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) Fellowship in Anatomic Pathology which was co-sponsored and supported by the Charles River Laboratories, Pfizer and Legacy Wyeth Research. 

“I look forward to the opportunity to impact the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences in a positive and meaningful way,” Pillatzki said. “It is the dedicated and caring faculty, staff and students that make SDSU a great place to work.”