PROFILE: Olga Gonzalez, DVM, diplomate ACVP

by | Nov 1, 2022 | Health Profile, Nov/Dec 22, STEM, To Your Health | 0 comments

Olga Gonzalez

Olga Gonzalez, DVM, diplomate ACVP

Professor, Veterinary Pathology | Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Dr. Olga Gonzalez is one of the few people who knew as a child the career she wanted to pursue – and actually did it.

“I didn’t have a Plan B or C,” says Dr. Gonzalez, a professor of veterinary pathology at Texas Biomedical Research Institute and the Southwest National Primate Research Center. “Plan A was to go to veterinary school.”

After studying biology at the University of Puerto Rico, she got into her first-choice vet school at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Plan A, success! But, she was open-minded about what to specialize in.

Undergraduate research in a parasite lab had sparked her interest in pathology – looking for hard evidence that explains the causes or progression of diseases. This often involves hours at the microscope analyzing razor-thin tissue slices.

“Once I start doing it, I don’t feel time passing by,” Dr. Gonzalez says.

She was drawn to pathology because it provides definitive diagnoses. “In the end, it’s what you see in the tissues. That’s where you answer all the questions: Why was the animal sick? Why wasn’t it responding to treatment? How did a vaccine work?”

At Texas Biomed, Dr. Gonzalez helps answer those questions about various diseases to improve animal and human health, including COVID-19. She gathered and analyzed data to explain how SARS-CoV-2 behaves in different parts of the body. She was among the first to see what this looked like in multiple primate species, and how the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine neutralized the virus during preclinical trials.

“It was surreal,” Dr. Gonzalez says. “I was blessed to be in the right place at the right time.”

She encourages young women interested in veterinary medicine to explore different options the career offers. “There’s a lot of flexibility,” she says. But, since there is so much school, start Plan A as early as possible.

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Olga Gonzalez, DVM, diplomate ACVP
 
Professor, Veterinary Pathology
 
8715 W. Military Dr. | San Antonio, TX 78227-5302
 
(210) 258-9400
 
Txbiomed.org

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