Dr. Martha Frances Dalton, DVM – Alumna Spotlight
Assistant Clinical Professor, Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Hometown: Corinth, MS
BS in Biological Science (2011)
Dr. Martha Frances Dalton is an anatomic veterinary pathologist who attended Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine (2012-2016) and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi (2011). Veterinary pathology, which involves postmortem examinations of animals, was a good fit for her inquisitive and investigatory nature. She did a pathology residency at the University of Georgia (2016-2019) and is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. She received additional training in wildlife pathology at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. This training further honed her experience in infectious disease diagnosis and disease transmission at the interface of wildlife and domestic stock. She has presented pathology cases and related research at regional and national meetings, such as those for the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians and American College of Veterinary Pathologists. Presentation topics have included Feline Leukomyelopathy, a mysterious neurologic disease affecting bobcats and Florida panthers. Dr. Dalton has numerous manuscripts published in peer-reviewed journals. In one such manuscript, she investigated ocular pathology in animals naturally infected with rabies virus. Dr. Dalton is currently an assistant clinical professor for the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She was selected to be in the inaugural group of 40 Under 40 awardees from the UM Alumni Association in recognition of her successful career.
Why did you decide to major in biology?
I’ve always been a very curious person, and I enjoy understanding why things have evolved to be the way they are. My biology coursework exposed me to a wide breadth of the numerous subjects that fall under “biology.” That way, I could learn a little bit about a lot of things, and then dig deeper on what piqued my curiosity.
What were some highlights from your undergraduate years?
My favorite memory from Ole Miss is the year I conducted field research to satisfy my requirements to graduate as a Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors Scholar. During a shark biology course under Dr. Glenn Parsons, I pondered that perhaps my honors project could involve one of my favorite subject matters since childhood: sharks. The honors college and biology department let me “choose my own adventure,” and I spent the year with Dr. Glenn Parsons collecting data on shark bite force in the Gulf Coast.
What is the value of studying biology in today’s world?
Biology is a comprehensive major that covers many arenas. Whether you are more interested in conservation of an endangered bird species, or want to be involved in public health and epidemiology, biology will lay the groundwork for any of these careers.