Texas A&M Alumnus Receives First Mark L. Morris J. Investigator Award
Posted January 29, 2016
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Dr. Kathryn Meurs, an alumnus of the
Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences (CVM), was awarded the Morris Animal Foundation’s Mark L.
Morris Jr. Investigator Award. Meurs received the award based on
her work in the genetics of cardiac disease in companion animals.
As a leader in the field, she has identified the genetic roots of a
number of cardiac diseases in dogs and cats. The award is the first
of its kind and focuses on the most common source of canine heart
disease—canine mitral valve disease.
Meurs, who currently serves as professor and associate dean for
research and graduate studies at North Carolina State University,
said support from the award will help further her research team’s
efforts in identifying genetic variations that lead to mitral valve
disorder in dogs. Additionally, this research could be used to
create genetically based treatments and preventions.
“I firmly believe that once you really understand a disease
etiology, you can most effectively develop treatments for the
primary disease and gradually remove, or at least reduce, the
disease prevalence in the population,” Meurs said.
Meurs completed a Ph.D. in genetics and a cardiology residency
at Texas A&M University. Additionally, she holds a DVM from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also completed a small animal
rotating internship at North Carolina State.
“I think that Mark would be both pleased and honored that Dr.
Meurs will be the first recipient of this award,” said Dr. Bette
Morris, Morris Animal Foundation board trustee, and wife of the
late Dr. Mark Morris Jr. “Mark would recognize the importance of
understanding the etiology of heart disease as a first step toward
preventing the occurrence of the disease and improving
“As a graduate student, Kathryn combined high energy with high
integrity, being extremely productive without taking shortcuts,”
said Dr. James Womack, distinguished professor at the CVM and
Meurs’ Ph.D. advisor. “She was the perfect person to bridge the
basic science of genetics in my lab with the clinical sciences of
Dr. Matt Miller and other clinical advisors. It is obvious that she
has continued to excel as a scholar and international leader in the
study of cardiac diseases in companion animals. I feel extremely
honored to have perhaps played a small role in the early stages of
her distinguished career.”
Megan Palsa, firstname.lastname@example.org, 979-862-4216, 979-421-3121
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