Pedro Villegas, avian virology specialist and professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, was awarded the 2007 Phibro Animal Health for Excellence in Poultry Research Award last month for his contributions to global poultry health.

Dr. Villegas, a Colombia-born professor at the Athens-based university since 1977, received the award in Washington during the 50th anniversary celebration of the American Association of Aviation Pathologists held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

For 30 years, Dr. Villegas has consulted poultry companies worldwide on protecting their livestock with vaccines and procedures he has developed that help to stop the spread of poultry disease or mitigate its effects.

Dr. Villegas holds four patents, including one for a vaccine that has proven effective in controlling a specific poultry disease in various countries and for which he received UGA’s 1999 “Inventor Award.”

Sine 1983, Dr. Villegas has chaired the UGA & Colombian Association of Avian Veterinarians’ International Seminar on Avian Pathology, which is held every four years at UGA and draws specialists from the Americas, Asia and Europe.

He is an inductee in the Latin American Poultry Hall of Fame, has served as president of the Latin American Veterinary Poultry Association and received an honorary doctorate from the Complutense University of Madrid, becoming the first veterinarian to receive that university’s highest honor in its 500-year history.

In addition to his work at UGA, Dr. Villegas serves as acting director of the veterinary microbiology program and director of the diagnosis and avian diseases program of the Colombian Agricultural Institute, as well as faculty member at the National University and Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia. He is also an honorary professor at the University of Peru and the University of Tolima in Colombia.

Dr. Villegas is a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists and a charter diplomat of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians. He has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Avian Diseases since 1985, directing its English-to-Spanish translation. He has directed the master’s and doctoral degree programs of 33 graduate students since 1992.

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