Valberg Named MSU’s Mary Anne Mcphail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine

Stephanie Valberg has been named the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Valberg’s new position begins November 1, 2015.

“Dr. Valberg is an international leader in understanding and managing equine neuromuscular disorders,” said Dan Grooms, chairperson of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences. “Her experience in establishing collaborative relationships with specialists across the health sciences will play an important role in driving the research, teaching, and clinical missions of the department and the college.”

The overarching goal of Valberg’s research is to define the basis for neuromuscular disorders in horses, develop accurate, minimally invasive diagnostic tests, and optimal methods for preventing or managing these diseases.

Valberg’s work in equine muscle disease has transformed equine clinical practice. Her research has led to the discovery of previously unknown muscle disorders, identification of their genetic basis, and development of nutritional strategies to minimize muscle pain. She also developed the first feed for horses used to treat “tying up,” or exertional rhabdomyolysis, which refers to muscle stiffness and pain after exercise. She also was a member of the team that sequenced the equine genome.

Valberg’s studies have included collaborations with epidemiologists, nutritionists, geneticists, neurologists, endocrinologists, biochemists, and physiologists.

“As a clinician scientist, one of the most important parts of my research is collaboration,” said Valberg. “The breadth of expertise in the health sciences at MSU will be important to my work—I don’t always know who I’m going to collaborate with until we start to get a research problem.”

Valberg comes to MSU from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. As a professor in the Department of Clinical and Population Sciences, she established the Neuromuscular Diagnostic Laboratory and directed the University of Minnesota Equine Center from 2003 to 2013.

She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College and her PhD in equine exercise physiology from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. She is board certified in large animal internal medicine and veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation.

Valberg is also an active horsewoman and is currently training Cajun, a 7-year-old Warmblood for three-day eventing, a triathlon competition of dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

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