Raphael Malbrue: New Attending Veterinarian and Director for the Center for Comparative Medicine
The University of Virginia has hired Dr, Raphael (Ralph) Malbrue to UVA as the new Attending Veterinarian and Director for the Center for Comparative Medicine. He started at UVA in May 2023.
Malbrue was previously the Associate Director of the Animal Resources Core for the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He was also the director for their postdoctoral residency training program and was an adjunct assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
He earned a B.S. in Animal, Poultry, and Veterinary Sciences and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University, and an M.S. in Biomedical and Veterinary Medical Sciences from Louisiana State University. Malbrue has extensive research and clinical experience and serves as a Captain in the US Army Veterinary Corp Reserve.
Malbrue plans to start a residency program at UVA to help train veterinarians to become board-certified laboratory animal veterinarians. In addition, he is focused on continuing to grow technical support services for researchers and laboratories at UVA. There is a shortage of qualified veterinarians for this work, and UVA will lead the way to address that shortfall with his new program.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Ralph Malbrue to UVA. We look forward to working with him to strengthen our research infrastructure, building upon the excellent foundation established by Dr. Sandy Feldman over the past two decades.,” said Melur “Ram” Ramasubramanian, the vice president for research. “We are eager to have UVA help lead the way in growing the number of laboratory veterinarians as well.”
To additionally support the growth of research and to ensure the best care for the research animals at UVA, the Center for Comparative Medicine plans to also hire two assistant directors.
The current Director, Dr. Sandy Feldman will continue to work with the CCM team through the end of June 2023.
Q & A with Ralph Malbrue:
Q: What was attractive to you about joining the University of Virginia?
R.M.: The University of Virginia is an institution with a strong history and reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and public service. Throughout my career I’ve been committed to these same core values and goals. Having the opportunity to join and be part of an academic community whose mission is to advance knowledge and serve the world was simply an opportunity that I could not pass up as a veterinarian working in research.
Q: How do you hope to address the lab veterinarian shortage with your new residency program at UVA?
R.M.: Since UVA is such a diverse research academic institution, it allows for an excellent training ground for the next generation of laboratory animal veterinarians. They will be equipped to work in a variety of research sectors (i.e., academia, government, industry). Our goal for UVA’s Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency Program is to produce well-rounded veterinary specialist that not only will be competent in daily clinical & regulatory responsibilities, but also be positive influencers in their communities. In fact, to highlight and never forget this goal, we’ve decided to name the program in honor of Dr. Sanford Feldman (The Sanford H. Feldman Laboratory Animal Medicine Residency Program at University of Virginia).
Dr. Feldman has dedicated over 30 years to the field, has been a champion for helping to improve DEI initiatives, has mentored several laboratory animal medicine professionals, and served as an advocate for research animals. Dr. Feldman will still be affiliated with the program in a mentorship-instructor capacity. Our goal is to carry on his legacy through the work and mission of our program. It is also important to note that this program will be the very first of its kind in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia (which continues to highlight the need). We want to partner with several neighboring institutions within the DMV [DC, Maryland and Virginia] area.
Q: What are other projects or initiatives you hope to accomplish at UVA?
R.M.: Our team within the Center for Comparative Medicine (CCM) will be working on numerous projects and initiatives to advance research efforts at the University. A few of the primary items will include:
- Advocating and showcasing UVA’s commitment to animal welfare and major contributions to the world through translational biomedical research
- Enhancement of technical support services and training for researchers (serving as extension of their laboratories)
- Development of a centralized zebrafish facility
- Enhancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within CCM and research community
- Agile and innovative methods to combat financial challenges & burdens for researchers in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research
Q: How has your time in the Army Veterinary Corp Reserve influenced you as a vet?
R.M.: Serving our country has been one of my greatest honors. The US Army truly teaches you the value and importance of integrity, public service, teamwork, and self-sacrifice. I’ve learned patience, effective communication strategies, and honestly just how to get things done in a timely fashion. Many times as an Army officer you are presented challenges and must quickly learn how to accomplish the mission even in the harshest of conditions. These skills and experiences have had a significant positive influence on me as a veterinary professional.
Q: What else would you like for the community to know about you and what can they expect from you (your style of working with the community, etc.)?
R.M: I really want the UVA community to know they can expect that I will continue to be my authentic self and proudly serve this institution. I love to get out into the community and develop strong lasting relationships. This position also means a lot to me and my family. Our daughter Violet is the beneficiary of translational research and alive today because of clinical trials, so you can start to understand my intimate commitment to biomedical research and the extraordinary work being conducted by scientists at UVA. This is more than a job. It’s a lifelong passion, and I hope to give the same positive outcomes I was awarded to other families with similar experiences with a loved one.