Dr. Kristy Pabilonia named Director of Clinical Diagnostics for Veterinary Health System

Kristy Pabilonia
Dr. Kristy Pabilonia stands in front of the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory’s Biosafety Level 3 facility. (John Eisele/CSU photo)

From her vet school days volunteering at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, through nearly two decades of work protecting animal health, and more than a year of interim leadership, Dr. Kristy Pabilonia has been named Director of Clinical Diagnostics for the CSU Veterinary Health System of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“Not only has Dr. Pabilonia proven herself to be strong leader in the unit and to the college, she has been a steadying influence during a time of transition. Faculty and staff have been appreciative of her listening skills, problem-solving abilities and her inclusiveness,” said Dean Mark Stetter in an announcement to the college.

She is responsible for leading and administering all service-related veterinary clinical diagnostic operations, including the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories, Clinical Pathology, Clinical Immunology, and other service-related veterinary sample testing at the university.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as the Interim Director and look forward to a rewarding tenure as Director,” Pabilonia said. “I am impressed daily by the impacts of the great work done by all of the clinical diagnostics teams and look forward to working collaboratively with faculty and staff to promote animal and human health across the US and the world.”

three woman standing in the hallway of the US Congress
Dr. Kristy Pabilonia discusses veterinary issues in the halls of Congress. (AAVMC photo)

Pabilonia has been involved in advancing veterinary diagnostics on a national and international level, including coordinating laboratory capacity building projects in several developing countries and serving on the executive board of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.

She has recently led efforts that will allow the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to support the local public health community with human coronavirus test processing. resulting in mainstream media coverage as well as the Journal of the American Veterinary Association.

“Behind the scenes this required an immense amount of work and leadership on Dr. Pabilonia’s part to ensure the lab’s adherence to stringent administrative and technical regulations through collaboration with CSU’s Health and Medical Center and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,” Stetter said. “All of this was accomplished during a time of unprecedented uncertainty and stress for the health system units and the college.”

A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, Pabilonia is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She was a member of the 2013-14 class of the American Veterinary Association’s Future leaders program. In 2019, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians gave Pabilonia its Distinguish Service Award, and she serves as the association’s secretary-treasurer.

On a personal note, Pabilonia and her husband, assistant professor Brendan Podell, have fostered eight children, and were honored by the state of Colorado in 2016 for their dedication.

Kristy with a chicken on her shoulder
Dr. Kristy Pabilonia often gives talks about raising backyard chickens. (CSU photo)

Pabilonia is an expert on poultry and backyard chickens. In fact, her office in the Diagnostic Medicine Center on CSU’s South Campus is full of chicken art.

She works closely with a number of state and federal agencies on foreign animal and zoonotic disease issues. Her research interests include avian influenza virus, backyard poultry populations, Salmonella and a number of zoonotic diseases, and she teaches veterinary students and other courses through the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in 1996, and her D.V.M. (’02) and Ph.D. (’12) from CSU.

“We look forward to working with Dr. Pabilonia to ensure we are fulfilling our land-grant mission of service and research beneficial to the agriculture, animal and human health communities,” said Dr. Tim Hackett, interim senior associate dean of the Veterinary Health System.