Rob and Roxann Bilger (pictured in the center) are the guardians of several cats. After one of their beloved cats, Lilly (pictured at left), developed chronic enteropathy, Rob and Roxann realized that the current state of knowledge in feline gastroenterology is painfully lacking. As a result, they decided to partner with the GI Lab in creating two endowed chairs.
Dr. Jonathan Lidbury (pictured at right), who has been with the GI Lab for many years and who has developed a program in small animal hepatology, has been named the Rob and Roxann Bilger Chair in Feline Hepatology. Together with other team members, he will further investigate liver diseases in cats. One of the first projects will be focused on investigating the role of hepadnavirus in chronic
hepatobiliary disease in cats. Hepadnavirus is a virus very similar to human hepatitis B virus and has only recently been identified in cats by investigators in Australia. The impact of this new virus on feline hepatobiliary disease in the USA is poorly understood to date.
Recently, Dr. Lidbury and his team were joined by a new graduate student from Taiwan, Dr. Min-Chun Chen, who will work on this project. We would like to thank Rob and Roxann for their generous support of such important research.
—Jörg M. Steiner, Director of the GI Lab