John Rossmeisl, DVM, MS
Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Professor
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences

About John Rossmeisl's research

The Veterinary and Comparative Neuro-oncology Laboratory (VCNOL) is a translational research group whose primary mission is to develop more-effective methods for the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumors affecting companion animals and humans. The group's research focuses on the following:

  • Understanding how brain cancers form;
  • Creating new ways to deliver therapeutic agents to the brain;
  • Developing devices and techniques that can control cell functions; and
  • The design and conduct of clinical trials in companion animals with brain cancer.

To achieve our goals, VCNOL clinician-scientists and researchers work in partnership with a group of world-renowned collaborators with expertise in a broad range of allied fields, including biomedical engineering, cancer biology, comparative pathology, immunology, medical physics, medical and radiation oncology, neurosurgery, and radiology. Although our priority is the study of brain tumors, our discoveries and related technologies have broader applications for the treatment of cancer, as well as for the management of neurological diseases, such as epilepsy, movement disorders, stroke, and traumatic brain injury.

Research themes

  • Canine spontaneous brain tumor translational disease model
  • Precision medicine for brain tumors: Molecularly targeted therapeutics (MTT)
  • Minimally invasive cellular ablative techniques
  • Novel systems for drug delivery to the brain

Lab members


Headshot of John Robertson.

John L. Robertson, VMD, PhD
Research professor, Veterinary Pathology and Biomedical Engineering


Headshot of Jonathan Hinckley.

Jonathan Hinckley
Laboratory Specialist and Manager

Mindy Quigley

Mindy Quigley
Clinical Research Coordinator

Graduate students

  • Josefa Garcia, DVM; CONICYT Scholar (Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica Y Tecnológica de Chile), PhD candidate 2021-present
  • James May, DVM, PhD candidate, 2022-present

Undergraduate students

  • Joy Adler, Virginia Tech, clinical neuroscience, research assistant, 2017-present
  • Taylor Duncan, Virginia Tech, biological systems engineering, research assistant, 2015-present

Former Students

  • Brittanie Partridge, DVM, PhD; American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) diplomate; Ph.D Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences 2017-2022
  • Rebecca Weiske, DVM; graduate research assistant, 2018-2021
  • Yukitaka Kani, DVM; CONICYT Scholar (Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica Y Tecnológica de Chile), PhD Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, 2018-2022
  • Montana Loveday, DVM; graduate research assistant, 2021-2022
  • Richard Shinn, DVM, MS; American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Neurology) diplomate; resident, neurology/neurosurgery, 2016-2019
  • Deepinder Sidhu, DVM; American College of Veterinary Surgery (SA) diplomate, graduate research assistant, 2015-2017, NIH/Merial Summer Veterinary Research Scholar, 2015
  • Jamie King, DVM, MS; American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Neurology) diplomate; resident, neurology/neurosurgery, 2014-2017; MS, veterinary medical science, 2014-2017
  • Elyse Olechnowicz, DVM; graduate research assistant, 2015
  • Samantha Emch, DVM, MS; American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Neurology) diplomate; resident, neurology/neurosurgery, 2012-2015; MS, veterinary medical science, 2012-2015
  • Thomas Rogers-Cotrone, DVM, PhD; American College of Veterinary Pathology diplomate; graduate research assistant, 2013
  • Courtney White, DVM; graduate research assistant, 2013
  • Paulo Garcia, PhD; post-doctoral researcher, 2010-2012; PhD, biomedical engineering, 2007-2010
  • Ashley Wilkinson, DVM; MS; American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (SAIM) diplomate, graduate research assistant, 2012
  • Theresa Pancotto, DVM, MS; American College of Veterinary Medicine (Neurology) diplomate; resident, neurology/neurosurgery, 2008-2011;  MS, veterinary medical science, 2008-2011
  • Francois-Xavier Liebel, DVM; European College of Veterinary Neurology diplomate; graduate research assistant, 2007
  • Johnny Randy Cross, DVM; American College of Veterinary Medicine (Neurology) diplomate; graduate research assistant, 2007
  • Michael Higgins, DVM, MS; American College of Veterinary Medicine (Neurology) diplomate; resident, neurology/neurosurgery, 2003-2006; MS, veterinary medical science, 2003-2006


Dr. Rossmeisl and the VCNOL are proud members of the National Cancer Institute's Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium (CBTC). Dr. Rossmeisl also serves on the CBTC steering committee.

  • John Daniel Bourland
    We work with Dr. Bourland to develop stereotactic radiosurgical (Gamma Knife) protocols tailored for the treatment of brain tumors affecting dogs and cats.
  • Rafael Davalos
    Working with Rafael Davalos, the inventor of irreversible electroporation (IRE), and his team, we have pioneered the use of IRE for the treatment of brain tumors.
  • Waldemar Debinski
    In collaboration with the Debinski lab, we have generated novel cytotoxic agents that target cell surface proteins, IL-13Rα2 and EphA2, that are expressed on the majority of canine gliomas but are not present in normal canine brain tissue.
  • Peter Dickinson
    We collaborate with Dr. Dickinson on the molecular genetic characterization of canine brain tumors, and the development of convection-enhanced delivery platforms for treatment of diseases of the brain.
  • Robert Gourdie and Zhi Sheng
    We collaborate with Drs. Gourdie and Sheng to define the molecular and genetic features of malignant gliomas in order to identify novel pathways that can be exploited for drug development.
  • Akiva Mintz
    We work with Dr. Mintz to develop targeted diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals and stem cell therapeutics with applications for use in the treatment of brain cancer.
  • Christopher Rylander
    With the Rylander lab, we have developed novel catheter systems to perform Convection Enhanced Delivery more precisely and efficiently. Collectively, our technical advancements are designed break down the technical barriers that have historically been associated with the CED procedure.
  • Amanda Taylor
    Dr. Taylor and the VCNOL partner to develop and refine minimally invasive neurosurgical techniques and technologies, and Dr. Taylor is a co-investigator on our P01 project, "Maximizing Local Access to Glioblastoma.”
  • Scott Verbridge
    Together with the Verbridge lab, we use three dimensional engineered tumor microenvirmonents as a modeling system to develop and test new treatments for brain cancer.
  • Boo Radley Foundation
    The Boo Radley Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation established to benefit humans and canines through funding canine brain cancer research and clinical trials.

Rossmeisl Laboratory in the news

  • October, 2022, "Using MRI-guided CED to Treat Glioblastoma: From Dogs to Humans" (Children's Brain Tumour Drug Delivery Consortium)
  • Sept. 30, 2022, "Sick as a dog: how understanding canine diseases will save human lives" (Nature Medicine)
  • March 18, 2022, "Interdisciplinary team wins grant to develop drug for brain cancer" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Jan. 13, 2022, "Emily's Brain Tumor" (
  • July 21, 2020, "Improving the outlook for brain tumor patients" (Veterinary Practice News, Canada)
  • June 11, 2020, "Virginia Tech veterinary neurologist helps establish shared 'life history' of brain cancer in dogs and people" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Feb. 10, 2020, "Finding a cure for dog's brain cancer may help us find a cure for ourselves" (Science Daily)
  • Nov. 21, 2019, "Man’s Best Cure: VT scientists lead the way in cross-species cancer research" (WFXR News)
  • Oct. 24, 2019, "Veterinary college’s clinical trials advance cancer care in pets and people" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Oct. 11, 2019, "Virginia Tech Campaign Kickoff" (VT Giving video, 50:00 mark)
  • Sept. 6, 2018, "Medical Trials Using Dogs Show Promise for Brain Cancer" (ACVIM NewsFlash)
  • Aug. 27, 2018, "Experimental brain cancer treatment for dogs could one day help humans" (CBS News and MSN)
  • July 1, 2018, "Research on dogs with brain cancers may help their human friends" (The Roanoke Times)
  • May 2, 2018, "Julia M. Ross, the Paul and Dorothea Dean of Engineering, presents the State of the College" (Virginia Tech College of Engineering video, 14:10 mark)
  • April 24, 2018, "Veterinary college's John Rossmeisl named the Dr. and Mrs. Dorsey Taylor Mahin Professor" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Jan. 29, 2018, "How Canine Brain Cancer Studies Could Help Humans, Too" (American Veterinarian)
  • Dec. 7, 2017, "Canine Brain Cancer Treatment May Help Humans" (Radio IQ/WVTF)
  • Nov. 6, 2017, "Grant puts research team on track to treat brain cancer" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Oct. 23, 2017, "Cancer researchers at WFU receive $9 million grant" (The Dispatch)
  • Oct. 16, 2017, "Cancer treatment shows promise in dogs, maybe people" (W-USA9 News)
  • Oct. 12, 2017, "Brain tumor treatment for dogs may soon be used in human patients" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Aug. 4, 2017, "Biomedical engineering research points to a new strategy for glioblastoma treatment" (Virginia Tech News)
  • July 24, 2017, "Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute teams converge on strategies to defeat McCain’s form of brain cancer" (Virginia Tech News)
  • June 4, 2017, "At a year, AVMA database amassing clinical studies" (JAVMA News)
  • Feb. 27, 2017, "AKC Canine Health Foundation Awards First Research Grant Through the Comparative Brain Tumor Consortium" (American Kennel Club)
  • Feb. 17, 2017, "Virginia Tech researcher receives CAREER Award to seek new paradigms for treating aggressive brain tumors" (Virginia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics)
  • Sept. 10, 2016, "Tenacious terrier beats brain cancer" (Virginia Tech Radio)
  • Nov. 24, 2015, "Scott Verbridge and Rafael Davalos describe novel tumor treatment" (Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences)
  • Nov. 24, 2015, "Research team describes novel tumor treatment" (Medical Xpress)
  • Summer 2015, "Cancer Under Attack" (Virginia Tech Magazine)
  • Summer 2015, "Summer research program offers unique experiences for veterinary students" (Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine news)
  • January 5, "Going viral: Targeting brain cancer cells with a wound healing drug" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Nov. 3, 2014, "New tool Vascular Enabled Nanosecond pulse reversibly opens the blood-brain-barrier" (SciGuru Science News)
  • Nov. 3, 2014, "New technology shows promise for delivery of therapeutics to the brain" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Oct. 10, 2014, "Veterinary college establishes Collaborative Research Network for clinical trials" (Virginia Tech News)
  • Aug. 12, 2014, "Focal blood-brain-barrier disruption with high-frequency pulsed electric fields" (Science Daily)
  • May 5, 2014, "Veterinary neurologist works to improve brain cancer treatment for both pets and people" (Virginia Tech–Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences)
  • April 8, 2014, "Dr. John Rossmeisl honored with 2014 Zoetis Award for research excellence" (Virginia Tech News)
  • May 12, 2013, "2013 TechConnect Innovation Awards: Fiberoptic Microneedle Device for Convection-Enhanced Thermochemotherapy of Malignant Glioma" (TechConnect World)
  • May 12, 2013, "TechConnect Innovation Awards" (Virginia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics)
  • March 21, 2012, "Heel-ing tumors" (Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech)
  • Feb. 1, 2012, "Translational research targets gliomas" (DVM360)
  • Dec. 16, 2011, "Translational medicine turns Virginia Tech's innovations in the life sciences into clinical solutions" (Virginia Tech News)
  • April 29, 2011, "VBI hosts first annual Cancer Symposium" (Virginia Biocomplexity Institute)
  • Sept. 26, 2009, "Veterinary researcher studying brain tumors" (The Practice Solution)
  • April 24, 2008, "Grant awarded to veterinary neurologist" (The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech)
  • June 20, 2008, "Veterinary college professor, students receive awards during recent national symposium" (Virginia Tech News)
  • March 31, 2008, "Veterinary college researcher st" udying brain tumors in people and animals" (Virginia Tech News)