Dr. Dickson D. Varner Honored as the Frank J. Milne Lecturer

COLLEGE STATION, TX -Dr. Dickson Varner DVM, MS, DACT, was honored by being selected as the presenter of the 2007 Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture at the 53rd Annual Convention of the American Association of Equine Practitioners in Orlando, Fla. on December 3, 2007.

The Frank J. Milne State-of the-Art Lecture showcases and honors a member of the AAEP who has dedicated themselves to a specific area of equine study. Dr. Varner was chosen as the expert regarding the stallion. His four-hour lecture entitled “From a Sperm’s Eye View – Revisiting Our Perception of This Intriguing Cell” focused on the equine male gamete, including spermatozoal structure, function and events that accompany a spermatozoan’s sojourn through the male and female reproductive tracts. The lecture was directed toward practical applications and advancements in stallion reproduction, and the accompanying manuscript detailed the cellular and molecular mechanisms relating to spermatozoal function.

Named for past president and distinguished member Frank J. Milne, this lecture series focuses on equine subjects deemed “state of the art” by members of the equine veterinary profession. Nominees are chosen by a group within the Education Program Committee of the AAEP and approved by the executive board of the AAEP.

“Dr. Varner embodies all that this award is meant to convey,” said Dr. Stuart Brown II, partner in the world-renowned equine practice, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, in Lexington, Kentucky. “He is the first to be recognized for stallion expertise with this award and we were proud to recognize him as a pioneer. His presentation was incredible.”

Dr. Varner received his veterinary degree from the University of Missouri in 1978. He also has a master’s of science in veterinary anatomy from Texas A&M University. Following graduation from veterinary school, Dr. Varner completed an internship at Castleton Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. In the early 1980s, Dr. Varner relocated to New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine to enter a residency in Theriogenology under the tutelage of Dr. Robert M. Kenney. After completing his residency in 1983, he served as a lecturer in large animal reproduction, as well as director of the Hoffman Center for Reproductive Studies and director of the Endometrial Biopsy Service, all at New Bolton Center. In 1984, he received Diplomate status from the American College of Theriogenologists (ACT). He has been on the faculty of Texas A&M University since 1986, where he is presently Professor of Theriogenology and Pin Oak Stud Chair of Stallion Reproductive Studies.

“Indeed, it was a real honor to have the opportunity to share my understanding of the trials and tribulations of a spermatozoon with so many distinguished members of the veterinary community. I sincerely hope that the lecture reached out to young veterinarians and scientists, in order that they may have the incentive to receive advanced training and focus their professional efforts to further our understanding this fascinating cell,” said Dr. Varner.

Dr. Varner is author or coauthor of over 400 manuscripts, research abstracts and textbooks. He is a member of the AVMA, ACT, Society for Theriogenology and American Society of Andrology. Dr. Varner joined the AAEP in 1979 and has since served two terms on the Reproduction Committee (the last term as chair) and as a member of the Abstract Review, Educational Programs and Equine Insurance committees.

“We are extremely proud to have Dr. Varner as one of our five theriogenologists on faculty. Texas A&M has become a pioneer in equine reproduction and we are continuing the level of excellence that Dr. Varner has helped us reach,” said Dr. Moyer, Texas A&M University Large Animal Clinical Sciences Department Head and Professor of Sports Medicine. “The Milne lecture is often seen to showcase the world expert on a given subject, and Dr. Varner is more than deserving of this distinguished recognition.”

The Texas Veterinary Medical Center at Texas A&M University has established one of the most effective and influential academic programs in equine reproduction. The basic and clinical science aspects of equine reproduction are closely integrated, thereby creating opportunities to: identify important clinical reproductive problems, use novel research technologies to investigate causes of reproductive failure and develop strategies to improve care and performance of the breeding stallion and broodmare.

All phases of equine reproduction are pursued at the TVMC. The faculty has established preeminence in areas ranging from diagnosis and treatment of reduced fertility in stallions, to preservation of semen, to development of assisted reproductive technologies for oocyte transfer.

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