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5 Questions

with Peggy Danneman, Senior Staff Veterinarian, The Jackson Laboratory

Q: Was becoming a veterinarian something you wanted to do as a child?

A:I always loved animals, but veterinary medicine was not viewed as a career choice for women back then. Because I liked science, I considered graduate school or medical school as more realistic options. It wasn't a straight path after that, and I didn't end up going into vet school until eight years after I graduated college.

Q: When people think of vets, they usually think of pets. How did you get into lab animal medicine?

A: I went into private practice first, and I loved working with the people and their pets and other animals. But I'd taken a lab animal course in vet school and was very interested in it, so I went back for a residency in lab animal medicine at the Pennsylvania State University Medical Center. There's so much variety in lab animal medicine—everything from farm animals and monkeys to exotic rodents (like degus and naked mole rats), birds and fish—and there are a lot of teaching opportunities.

Q: Naked mole rats? Have you worked with any other unusual animals?

A: When I was at Penn State I worked as a consultant at a zoo. So yes, there are a lot of interesting stories from that time. (Watch the video on this page to hear them.)

Q: How did you come to the Laboratory?

A:I worked at universities for about 12 years, doing my own research and teaching. I heard about the Lab for my entire career and I'm fascinated by genetics, so I came here to work in 1997. And I always wanted to live in Maine and enjoy the outdoors.

Q:You're obviously very active. Do you participate in the JAXfit program?

A: Yes, I enjoyed the Big Bears to Little Bears program last year. I work out a lot, but the chance to work with a personal trainer was terrific.