Dr. Keith Poulsen, Director
Dr. Keith Poulsen has been the Director of the WVDL since 2018. Additionally, he holds a joint appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Medical Sciences Department at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine and is active in teaching large animal internal medicine. Dr. Poulsen is actively involved in the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association (WVMA), American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD). Dr. Poulsen’s interests focus on cattle health, zoonotic infectious diseases and global health.
Dr. Poulsen is a Wisconsin native and earned a BS in Biochemistry (2000) and DVM (2004) at the University of Wisconsin. He interned at North Carolina State University in the Food Animal Medicine and Surgery Program prior to returning to Wisconsin for his residency in Large Animal Internal Medicine and earned diplomate status from ACVIM in 2008. Following clinical training, Dr. Poulsen earned a PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences from the University of Wisconsin in 2012. He spent two years at Oregon State University as a faculty member in Large Animal Internal Medicine and returned to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the School of Veterinary Medicine in 2014.
Dr. Nicole Aulik, Section Chief – Microbiology
Dr. Nicole Aulik, now in her ninth year at WVDL, was named the Section Chief of the Microbiology lab in March of 2018. She also holds a second appointment with the Department of Pathobiological Sciences in the University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Aulik is a Wisconsin native who earned a BS in Medical Microbiology and Immunology and Molecular Biology (2005) and her PhD in Microbiology (2010) at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She spent three years as a faculty member at Winona State University followed by a position as a Microbiology Manager for a pharmaceutical company. Dr. Aulik’s research focuses primarily on bovine respiratory disease and bovine Salmonellosis, with a focus on the interaction between the microorganism and the innate immune system as well as environmental contamination and retrospective studies.
Dr. Philip Bochsler, Diagnostic Pathologist
Dr. Phil Bochsler is in his 22nd year at the WVDL, joining the staff in July of 2001. After serving as the WVDL’s Director for two and a half years (named director in June of 2015), Bochsler returned to his passion – diagnostic pathology – at WVDL in 2018. Prior to taking over as director, Bochsler was the Section Chief of the WVDL’s Pathology Department for 14 years. After graduating from Washington State University with his DVM, he spent two and a half years in mixed animal practice in both Oregon and Washington before entering a combined Ph.D. and residency program in pathology at Cornell University. He subsequently worked at the University of Tennessee as a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine in diagnostic pathology and teaching, while also performing research on the immunological responses of cattle to toxin from Gram-negative bacteria. Before moving to Madison and the WVDL, he earned two awards for teaching excellence at Tennessee, serving as Director of the Pathology Resident Training Program and the Director of Anatomic Pathology Service. Prior to taking over his new role as Director at WVDL in July of 2015, Dr. Bochsler served as the Section Chief of Pathology, Chemistry and TSE testing. In addition, he was an active pathologist and taught at the School of Veterinary Medicine where he currently remains a Clinical Professor. His interests and expertise span a large number of animal species and an array of diseases.
Dr. Ryan Breuer, Diagnostic Case and Outreach Coordinator
Dr. Breuer joined the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL) staff in August of 2019, accepting a dual appointment as a Diagnostic Case & Outreach Coordinator (WVDL) and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). He is from a diversified, rural farming community in southeast Wisconsin with a background rich in dairy cattle experiences. He completed his BS degree from Marian University in 2008, and his DVM degree in 2012 from the UW – SVM with a special focus on food animal and bovine medicine. Breuer then practiced food animal medicine (primarily bovine) for two and a half years in Wisconsin. In 2015, Breuer joined Iowa State University Extension and Outreach (ISUEO) as a Dairy Field Specialist in northwest Iowa where he consulted with numerous dairy producers in the region, participated in field research related to transition dairy cow practices and lead educational programing in the areas of calf care, dairy reproduction, and dairy beef management operations. Breuer then joined the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine in the Food Animal & Camelid Hospital for a residency training program in Food Animal Internal Medicine. During his residency, Breuer worked with an array of food and fiber producing species as well as continued his interest in bovine neonatal health and disease prevention investigations. He recently completed his training this past July. Breuer is excited to be part of the team at the WVDL and UW SVM. He looks forward to serving the Wisconsin animal production producers, veterinarians, agribusiness leaders, and stakeholders, along with instructing veterinary students in his assigned capacities.
Dr. Betsy Elsmo, Diagnostic Pathologist
Dr. Elsmo joined the WVDL staff in August of 2017, accepting a dual appointment as a Diagnostic Pathologist (WVDL) and Clinical Instructor at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM). She earned both her bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology (2008) and her DVM (2013) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her residency in Anatomic Pathology (2013-2016), was a joint appointment at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine and Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, where she specialized in wildlife pathology. Her special interests include infectious disease, wildlife health and avian pathology.
Dr. Maggie Highland, Diagnostic Pathologist and Section Chief – Pathology
Dr. Highland joined the WVDL on June 1, 2022, to serve as the Pathology and Professional Veterinary Services Section Head and as a Diagnostic Pathologist. Dr. Highland received both her B.S. (School of Pharmacy, 1997) and DVM (2006) from UW-Madison. She completed 2 years of anatomic pathology residency training at the University of California-Davis (2006-2008) then returned to Wisconsin to complete 2 additional years of residency training as the Milwaukee County Zoo and Wildlife Anatomic Pathology Fellow (2008-2010). Following her anatomic pathology residency training, Dr. Highland completed a Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Disease as a USDA Ph.D. trainee within the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology within the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University (2010-2016), then stayed in Pullman, WA for 3 years serving as a USDA-ARS Veterinary Researcher, specializing in small ruminant infectious diseases (2016-2019).
Prior to arriving back to her home state of Wisconsin in June 2022, Dr. Highland served as a diagnostician and necropsy laboratory section head within the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. She maintains a strong interest in small ruminant health and disease processes, particularly infectious disease processes and immunology.
Dr. Hsu has been with the WVDL since December of 2000. Prior to her work here, she spent six years at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where she conducted fish health inspections throughout the state of Wisconsin and performed microbiology and pathology diagnostic work. She earned her DVM from the National Taiwan University (1985) before coming to the United States to pursue graduate studies, specializing in fish diseases at Cornell University, receiving her PhD in 1993. Dr. Hsu is a certified Fish Pathologist with the American Fisheries Society. Her interests include work in the development of diagnostic assays for aquatic bacterial and parasitic pathogens. Dr. Hsu has also been actively involved in the training of aquaculture veterinarians in Wisconsin. In addition, she has participated in inter-laboratory studies directed by FDA-CVM on the standardization of antimicrobial tests for fish pathogens and worked on collaborative projects with other fish testing laboratories on the improvement of diagnostic tools.
Dr. Ailam Lim, Section Chief – Virology
Dr. Ailam Lim became the WVDL’s Section Chief of Virology in August of 2018. She holds a second appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Pathobiological Sciences in the University of Wisconsin- Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Lim was born and raised in Malaysia, before moving to the United States in 2000. She earned BS in Microbiology (1995) and MS in Molecular Virology (1998) degrees from the University of Malaya; and spent several years of post-graduate work on Dengue virus research at the University of Malaysia Sarawak, on the Island of Borneo. She earned her PhD in Pathobiology (2010) at Michigan State University. From 2001, she spent 15 years working at the VDL at Michigan State University, her primary role being in molecular assay development. She held the position as Virology Section Head at Breathitt Veterinary Center for two and a half years prior to coming to the WVDL. Dr. Lim has broad interests in emerging infectious diseases, zoonotic and vector borne diseases for livestock and companion animals, with her primary focus on advancing molecular diagnostic assays.
Dr. Andrea Pohly, Diagnostic Pathologist
Dr. Andrea Pohly joined the WVDL Pathology Team in August of 2020. She was born and raised in Cleveland, OH and received her BS in Biology (2012) from Kenyon College before moving to Illinois to pursue her DVM. She attended the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for both veterinary school (Class of 2017) as well as her residency in anatomic pathology. She completed her combined residency-master’s program in June of 2020. Her master’s thesis focused on documentation of Snake Fungal Disease in Lake Erie water snakes, which furthered her interest in wildlife diseases and population health. She is currently owned by an energetic yellow lab mix named Toula, which occupies much of her free time. She is new to the Madison area and is excited to explore all of the cool outdoor hotspots that Wisconsin has to offer.
Dr. Sockett grew up on a dairy farm in Southern Ontario, Canada and graduated from veterinary school at the University of Guelph in 1981. After graduation, he successfully completed internship and residency programs in large animal medicine and surgery at the University of Minnesota and Colorado State University, respectively. He obtained his PhD degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. Dr. Sockett has authored over 100 articles on infectious diseases of dairy cattle in scientific and lay journals. Currently, he works as a veterinary microbiologist/epidemiologist at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
Dr. Holly Taylor, Diagnostic Pathologist
Dr. Holly Taylor is the WVDL’s full-time pathologist at the Barron Lab. She grew up in Pennsylvania on a beef farm. Dr. Taylor earned her B.S. in Animal Bioscience (minors in ‘Poultry & Avian sciences’ & ‘Wildlife & Fisheries science’) from Penn State University (2009) and went onto obtain her DVM degree from the University of Tennessee (2013). Taylor completed her anatomic pathology residency at the University of Missouri Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (2016). Her specific interests are bovine infectious diseases and poultry pathology. She enjoys exploring the area with her daughter (Taylor) and son (Wesson). She is an avid crossfitter and also enjoys hiking, boating and attending local fairs.