Dr. Katrina Mealey and adorable Collie
2018 Woman of the Year
Dr. Katrina Mealey is Washington State University’s 2018 Woman of the Year. The award recognizes women who create social change, increase equality for all, and build community in countless ways. Mealey is a professor and the Richard L. Ott Endowed Chair in Small Animal Medicine and Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU. She is a distinguished scholar, leader, and mentor as well as an avid marathon competitor in the United States. A prolific researcher, Mealey has published over 90 scientific articles and authored chapters in five different books.
One of Mealey’s most notable contributions to the veterinary field in the last decade was the discovery of a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1) which makes dogs prone to life-threatening drug reactions. Before this discovery, veterinarians could not predict which dogs could potentially die after administration of drugs. Not only did Mealey discover the mutation of MDR1, she developed a genetic test to detect the mutation before a drug is prescribed that could cause an adverse reaction. Through the MDR1 test, Mealey, WSU, and Mars Petcare developed a partnership to advance animal health. Their collaboration is a great example of how private industry and a public institution can channel academic research and discoveries into commercial distribution that benefits all involved. Her MDR1 patent is one of the top five income-generating technologies developed at WSU, generating royalties of approximately $1.5 million. But equally important is the end consumer, which in this case, is the family dog.
Mealey also launched the Washington State University Program in Individualized Medicine (PrIMe), in which researchers optimize drug therapy for individual patients, and faculty share their expertise via education and outreach activities for veterinarians, breeders, and pet owners. This has established WSU as the preeminent institution in veterinary pharmacogenetics.
As a highly sought after mentor, Mealey has mentored high school, undergraduate, graduate, and professional veterinary students as well as faculty including women and minorities from the United States, Sweden, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, and Canada. One of her nominators stated “As a female surgeon in one of the veterinary fields still dominated by males, it has been of extra value that mentorship has been provided from a woman.” Mealey’s additional accomplishments include two other U.S. patents, one Australian patent, and six European patents. She also earned several prestigious awards including Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, Newbery Teaching Scholar, Life Science Innovations Northwest “Women to Watch” and the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, to name a few in a long list of recognition.
Mealey received her undergraduate degree in pharmacy from the University of New Mexico, her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Colorado State University, and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.