Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Melissa Lewis
This week’s Vet Gazette faculty spotlight is on Dr. Melissa Lewis as we continue our series of features on new Purdue Veterinary Medicine faculty. Dr. Lewis was appointed as an assistant professor of neurology in September, joining two other neurologists as part of the growing neurology and neurosurgery service in the Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In addition to overseeing the care of clinical cases and training house officers and veterinary students, she also will continue to focus on translational research related to canine spinal cord injury.
Dr. Lewis was born in Montclair, N.J. and grew up in Raleigh, N.C.. From there she went on to earn her Veterinary Medical Doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and completed a rotating internship and residency in neurology and neurosurgery at North Carolina State University, for which she achieved board certification in 2014. She subsequently remained at NC State and earned a PhD in comparative biomedical sciences in 2017.
Dr. Lewis says she was drawn to Purdue by the supportive, collegial environment and the dedication to mentorship and fostering professional growth in young faculty. Given her research interests, she also found the university-wide commitment to neuroscience and inter-departmental collaborations very appealing. So far, her favorite part about joining the PVM family has been interacting with her colleagues. “Everyone has been great since I started, and I am particularly thankful for my colleagues in #teamneuro, who have made my transition into a faculty position that much smoother,” Dr. Lewis said.
She looks forward to combining her clinical and research interests in one position and advancing her field. She also is excited to teach veterinary students and veterinary technician students and, in the process, ignite in some of them a passion for her specialty.
So far in her Purdue career, Dr. Lewis considers her biggest achievement surviving (to date) her first Midwest winter! Though she is a dedicated professional and specialist, Dr. Lewis tries not to take herself, or anything, too seriously. She says, in her free time, she has serious “conversations” about life with her dog, occasionally her cat, and the birds that frequent her bird feeder, likes to play the lottery and avoids cooking at all costs.
When asked if she has any advice for people looking to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, Dr. Lewis said, “Being a veterinarian today has so many definitions beyond the traditional James Herriot model. Seeking out any and all opportunities to experience the diversity of our field will help to guide each aspiring veterinarian’s personal path.”
When you see Dr. Lewis in Lynn Hall, please help extend a warm PVM welcome!
Writer(s): Helen Thimlar, PVM Communications Intern | firstname.lastname@example.org