Dr. Harm HogenEsch

Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, IN | DVM 1984, Utrecht University (Netherlands) | PhD 1989, University of Illinois | Board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists

My Story

I was one of those kids who loved animals and wanted to become a veterinarian from the time I was six years of age. I was a Junior World Wildlife Ranger growing up. However, during my high school years I became interested in the sciences and I entered veterinary school thinking that I would pursue a career in research rather than clinical practice.

My Struggles

I had a great experience in veterinary school in Utrecht. Although I knew that I would not go into clinical practice, I enjoyed both the basic subjects and clinical experiences. I became increasingly interested in pathology and I did a research project on the pathology of glaucoma in dogs. In my senior year, my pathology professors suggested that I should apply for graduate positions in the US in order to pursue further training in pathology and a PhD. I applied to seven pathology training programs and was rejected by all of them. I had already started to make changes to my career plans when I saw an advertisement in the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association from the graduate program of the University of Illinois. I decided to apply one more time, and they accepted me! I am grateful to the Department of Pathobiology at UIUC for giving me this opportunity.

My Heroes

My parents were both school teachers who were very dedicated to their job and their students. They stimulated my interests in animals and science and worked hard to allow me to fulfill my dreams. I had wonderful professors in vet school and my PhD mentor was very supportive throughout my graduate training.

My Typical Day

My typical day starts with walking my dog for 45 minutes or so. I spend a fair amount of time at work in meetings with other faculty and colleagues in other colleges across campus. I relish the opportunity to meet and work with faculty in other disciplines. They often have such a different perspective and I learn a lot from them. I enjoy helping and advising students and junior faculty and seeing them succeed. I make sure to check in with my students and other personnel in the lab each day, and I try to carve out some time to write papers and grant proposals although much of that is done in evenings and on weekends.

My Stressors

The biggest stressor is trying to solve complex problems that involve several people or stakeholders. These consume a lot of time and the solutions are often not satisfactory to everyone involved. Being respectful, giving everyone a chance to voice their opinion, and being transparent in the decision process goes a long way in dealing with such problems. In general, I “de-stress” by spending time with my family, walking my dog and by working out a few times a week.

My Why

My training in veterinary school has given me a broad perspective and foundation for life long learning. In my job as a professor, as I prepare for lectures, read literature, talk with colleagues and listen to seminars, I learn new things every day. Veterinary medicine gives me a unique perspective on biomedical research throughout my career. I aim for my research to have a positive impact on both human and animal health.

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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