Q&A with resident Dr. Christine Haake

Dr. Christine Haake will complete her residency in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology Residency in the summer of 2025. Her residency has allowed her to handle a variety of interesting veterinary cases, in addition to assisting with research projects on various species, ranging from moose to smallmouth bass.

She recently took some time to discuss her experiences at WSU.

Why did you decide to complete your doctorate at WSU?

I completed my veterinary degree at UC Davis, and a few of the faculty and graduate students I worked with during vet school there had come from WSU. They had great things to say about the WSU anatomic pathology program and faculty and strongly encouraged me to apply here.

What has been your favorite thing about WSU?

The people! The faculty and the other residents in particular, but really almost everyone I’ve met here at WSU and in Pullman have just been such kind, welcoming people that have really made me feel supported and surrounded by friends.

What about WSU has surprised you the most?

I grew up in L.A., and Pullman is by far the smallest town I’ve ever lived in; I was a little worried about whether I’d like it, but I actually love it a lot. Winter always seems to last forever, and the weather is confusing to me sometimes, but it’s a beautiful place to live, and I’ve really loved exploring around this little corner of the Pacific Northwest.

What kind of research and other projects have you done as a resident?

As a resident, we get a ton of interesting cases, and we have a lot of freedom to work on extra projects focused on whatever we’re interested in. While cats and feline medicine will always be closest to my heart, I’ve loved getting to see and learn about a variety of species in this program, including wildlife, small and large animals, as well as reptiles, amphibians, and fish. So far, I’ve worked on a couple of wildlife projects with Dr. Kyle Taylor, including a case report on a malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) outbreak in mule deer. Most recently, our paper on the geographic distribution and neuropathology of E. schneideri in moose in Idaho was accepted by the Journal of Wildlife Diseases; Elaeophorosis is a really interesting and exciting parasitic infection of moose and other wild ungulates. My current research project involves evaluation of mortality in a wild smallmouth bass due to largemouth bass virus (LMBV) infection. We are currently examining LMBV as a potential cause of mortality in this animal using full genome sequencing, in situ hybridization for detection of viral nucleic acids in formalin fixed, paraffin embedded tissues, and electron microscopy.

How have your mentors helped you?

All of the pathology faculty here at WSU – including my mentorship committee of Drs. Chrissy Eckstrand, Kyle Taylor, and Ryan Oliveira – are phenomenal teachers and wonderful people, and all have taught me important diagnostic and technical skills on the necropsy floor as well as how to describe and interpret gross and histopathologic changes. I chose my mentors not only for their brilliance as diagnosticians, but also for their unwavering kindness and support, for always making that extra effort to teach me and make sure I’m learning and understanding, and for encouraging me to make the most of every learning opportunity I get throughout this program.

What do you hope to do after your residency?

Following completion of my residency and board certification in anatomic pathology, my goal is to pursue a PhD focusing on fundamental mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis, and ultimately join the faculty at a school of veterinary medicine, where I can combine my interest in diagnostics and research.