Roger Cook

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After leaving school, I studied Veterinary Science at Sydney Uni on a traineeship with NSW Agriculture, and on graduation was a government field veterinary officer at Goulburn for five years. This work involved investigating flock and herd disease problems in commercial livestock (cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry) as well as regulatory and disease eradication (bovine TB, brucellosis) work. In 1972 I commenced a graduate assistantship in the Department of Pathology at Michigan State University, where I worked for the next five years, completing a PhD as well as obtaining a ticket saying that I had passed the exams of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. On returning to Australia, I was OIC of the Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Wollongbar (on the north coast of NSW) from 1978-1992. I currently work in this laboratory as a diagnostic pathologist.

My professional interests include some inherited diseases of animals that are models of human diseases, and diagnosis of animal diseases exotic to Australia, (most recently BSE ie mad cow disease). I am on the Board of Examiners of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists, and am involved in assessing training programs for veterinary pathologists in Australia. With the wind-back in government services in recent years, the number of government veterinary laboratories in Australia has decreased, but more seriously, the career and training opportunities for pathologists to replace us old timers have declined during the past 20 years. However, the recent foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK, and the continuing problems with BSE (mad cow disease) and variant human CJD (caused by the BSE agent) in Europe have sent a wake up call to politicians and others that Australia needs to maintain an effective animal disease surveillance and diagnostic capability, as such diseases can have major economic and human health impacts. So I am hopeful that we will now start training some replacements!

I married Ruth McKay in 1968 (a NSGHS old girl, pharmacist and very good sort) and we are still pushing things along together. We have three children: Amanda (28) a fine Arts graduate (Uni of Syd) who manages a commercial art gallery in Sydney, Brett (22) in 4th year Biomed Eng at UNSW, and Michal (16) our younger daughter who has just finished a one-year student exchange in Italy and will be in Year 11 next year. We have enjoyed raising our children in the smallish community of Alstonville (4000+) NSW, which fortunately has an excellent state high school where all our children have had good academic opportunities, and a well-rounded secondary education.