Community, integrity, kindheartedness, grit, inspiration. These are the values that embody the purpose and vision of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo. They're among the characteristics that make West Texas what it is today. Those also are values that veterinarian Pedro Melendez shares and holds deeply. As a worldwide expert in beef and dairy cattle production medicine and nutrition, Melendez has spent the last 30 years imparting his wisdom and knowledge to veterinarians and veterinary students around the globe. Now, he will bring that experience, wisdom and knowledge to Texas.
Melendez is the newest faculty member of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine, joining a diverse collection of experts as an associate professor. He began his duties on Monday (Feb. 8).
"I am very excited to begin my academic adventure at Texas Tech," Melendez said. "Like any new veterinary school, the challenge is huge, but at the same time rewarding, because it will give me the opportunity to leave a legacy that can be remembered forever. In this sense, I am committed to thoroughly following the core values of Texas Tech, not because it is an obligation but because it is my lifestyle. These are the values that I inherited from my parents, and I will put them into practice day by day with the students, my colleagues, the staff and the entire community with which I will live."
Melendez comes to Texas Tech after spending the last three years as a clinical associate professor at the University of Georgia where he taught courses in population health, discussing published veterinary research and new research developments as well as management approaches and current issues in the diagnosis of disease and health maintenance on domestic and wild animal populations.
While at Georgia he also served in a graduate appointment in animal and dairy sciences at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine as well as a graduate appointment in animal sciences at Colorado State University.
Prior to his time in Georgia, Melendez served on the faculty at the University of Missouri in Columbia, focusing on dairy production and food animal medicine. Dairy production medicine and cattle nutrition have also been his focus in teaching stops at the University of Florida and the University Santo Tomas in Chile.
"I hope I can bring new ideas to Texas Tech that can help me interact positively with everybody, because I have a gregarious personality," Melendez said, "Teamwork is my slogan, and I am sure it is the spirit of all at Texas Tech."
His goal at Texas Tech is to connect with the practitioners as well as owners and managers of local dairies to help teach students and collaborate on applied research. Melendez also hopes to establish a service laboratory for the diagnosis of metabolic diseases, metabolic profiling and nutritional monitoring to support the labor of bovine practitioners and nutritionists.
"An important component of our mission is to support the sustainability our nation's livestock industries," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "Animal agriculture has been at the heart of Texas since its inception. The two are interwoven in the fabric of what and who we are. Animal agriculture helps drive the state's economy, and the School of Veterinary Medicine is located at the epicenter of this industry. The insights and expertise Dr. Melendez brings adds to the vibrancy of our school and the region. He also brings a worldview that makes us all better."
Melendez is a member of the American Board of Veterinary Medicine, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the American Dairy Science Association.
He earned his bachelor's degree in veterinary science and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Chile, and his master's and doctoral degrees in veterinary science from the University of Florida. He also served his residency in food animal reproduction and medicine from Florida. He earned his board certification in dairy practice from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2019 and served seven years in general bovine medical practice upon earning his veterinary degree in 1990.
"Dr. Melendez brings a national and international background in dairy production medicine to our school," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for academic and student affairs. "He has years of experience and a passion to help the dairy industry. He is not only committed to helping the region but also will incorporate international continuing education and engagement. I look forward to his work with our dairy community, with it being one of the largest milksheds in the country."