Big Orange. Big Ideas. They’re fueling UT Knoxville on its journey to become a Top 25 public research university. Here are two faculty members who are bringing big ideas to life in the classroom, through their research and through community service.
“There are lots of things I enjoy about my work,” said Fry, an associate professor and section chief for the clinical pathology in the Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Biosciences in UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “I get to do lots of different things: I’m involved in diagnostic pathology, teaching, directing a clinical laboratory, and research–often in the same day. I get to work with faculty and staff who are excellent at and passionate about what they do.”
Jim Thompson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, said Fry is “a wonderful faculty member, dedicated teacher, mentor, and collaborator.
“His intellectual curiosity and drive to understand medical biology and physiology make him a star in teaching students, interns, residents, and practicing veterinarians. His educational touch extends far beyond Tennessee and includes institutions across our nation and around the world.”
A faculty member since 2003, Fry said he chose to work in pathology because it intersects clinical medicine and basic research.
“I love the problem-solving aspect of clinical pathology and enjoy diagnosing and understanding how things work,” he said. “Even though I don’t see patients, I’m very connected to clinical cases and feel like an important part of the clinical team here.”
In recent months, Fry has been trying to establish a collaboration among researchers at UT and a university in Chile who work in the areas of wildlife pathology and conservation medicine.
“It has the potential to open up new areas of investigation and funding opportunities for faculty and broadened educational opportunities for graduate and professional students from both universities,” he said.
In addition to his extensive research and spending time in his lab, Fry is passionate about teaching his students and inspiring young minds.
“The main things I try to impart to my students are to have high expectations of themselves and to remember that we are here to help them, to challenge them, and support them, but they are the ones who are primarily responsible for their education,” he said.
Fry’s clinical and research areas of interest include hematology, diagnostic cytopathology, and regulation of iron metabolism. He has served on the editorial board of the Veterinary Clinical Pathology Journal and currently serves as general chair of the board certification examination committee of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists.
Fry received his veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998. He spent a year in mixed animal practice and a year doing graduate research before completing his residency in clinical pathology at the University of California Davis.
Reza Seddighi’s love for animals began after he got his first childhood pet, a puppy, in his hometown of Shiraz, Iran.
“My existing extreme interest in medical sciences gradually grew toward veterinary medicine with my repeated visits to the veterinary clinic and observing the vet’s everyday challenges in dealing with animals, each with a different personality and disease condition, each requiring a different treatment approach,” Seddighi said.
His passion fueled him through veterinary school and inspired him to move to the U.S. Seddighi said he came to UT because it is one of the strongest residency programs in veterinary anesthesiology in the country.
Seddighi is an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the UT College of Veterinary Medicine in the departments of both large and small animal clinical sciences. He is involved in research and clinical services, as well as teaching veterinary students and residents in veterinary anesthesiology.
“Fortunately, UT provides a great environment for collaboration and has a good foundation for performing research in different areas in anesthesiology,” Seddighi said.
He is currently involved in more research projects than he can talk about in one sitting, acting as primary investigator or collaborating on nearly a dozen projects.
In addition to his own work, each year he acts as a research mentor to residents in anesthesiology and pain management who must do peer-reviewed research. He’s currently helping three residents start, perform, and finish their own research projects.
“I must acknowledge the involvement of other faculty; I cannot do any of my work without the help of everyone,” Seddighi said. He works closely with the vet school’s anesthesiologists, two of whom work in small animal sciences and one who works with large animals.
Seddighi said he believes research improves a person’s understanding and makes them a better teacher.
When he is not in the research lab, Seddighi embraces the order and chaos of the cases that come through the animal hospital.
“The challenges become even more exciting and rewarding when there is the chance to share them with students and trainees and to see the joy of learning in their faces. I could not have asked for a better life.”
Seddighi is a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and is certified in veterinary medical acupuncture and advanced cardiac life support. His clinical activities primarily include anesthesia clinical services, management of acute and chronic pain, and acupuncture in companion animals as well as equine and farm animals.