László Hunyadi spent a decade benefiting human health before seeing his sights on a successful career in veterinary medicine.
László Hunyadi was destined for a career involving large animals, even if it took a little while to realize it.
After a decade working in human health, Hunyadi decided to turn his attention to animals, particularly horses. Now, he will have the opportunity to pass that dedication to animal health on to the next generation of veterinarians in Texas.
Hunyadi is one of the newest faculty members of the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, joining the school as a professor of large-animal medicine. He began his duties on April 1.
"I am so excited to join Texas Tech," Hunyadi said. "This is my dream job."
Hunyadi joins Texas Tech after serving on staff at Equine Sports Medicine & Surgery (ESMS) in Weatherford, Texas where he served as the medicine section chief and was responsible for the intensive care unit for both adult and newborn animals.
With the School of Veterinary Medicine also drawing on expertise from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo, the addition of Hunyadi and his diverse background was a no-brainer.
"László has such a rich and diverse background," said John Dascanio, senior associate dean for the School of Veterinary Medicine. "He will add to the program in so many ways. The students, staff and faculty will benefit from his expertise and his life experiences. He will be central in developing and delivering the curriculum, and he will help our students both in the classroom and in clinical settings to gain the confidence to effectively diagnose and treat difficult medical cases in large animals."
A native of El Paso, Hunyadi's work with horses was established as he grew up right next to a hub of equine activity known as Sunland Park Racetrack, where his father was a thoroughbred jockey.
Initially, however, Hunyadi pursued a career in human health. After earning bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biochemistry from New Mexico State University, he moved to Connecticut to work for Bayer Pharmaceutical as a medicinal chemist. During this time, he also was a Ford Foundation Scholar at Yale University and earned his master's degree in organic chemistry.
At Bayer he was the lead chemist involved in designing novel treatments for Type 2 diabetes patients. From Bayer he went on to be a lead chemist at Rib-X, a biopharmaceutical company where he developed antimicrobials that target important bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
But the desire to impact animal health drew him to veterinary medicine. So, after almost a decade working in human health, Hunyadi enrolled in veterinary school at Cornell University. He volunteered every summer with the Rural Area Veterinary Services where he served Native American reservations by providing veterinary care and client education seminars. He also was involved in various research projects at Cornell and was awarded the clinical excellence award in internal medicine from Pfizer Animal Health (now known as Zoetis).
He served his residency at the University of California-Davis where he was involved in several research programs and published multiple articles in pharmacology and emerging diseases in horses.
"He is like the proverbial unicorn in that he has the rare mix of private clinical practice experience, he is an outstanding basic and applied researcher, and he relates to the area, our communities we serve and our values," said Guy Loneragan, dean of the Texas Tech School of Veterinary Medicine.
Associate dean Britt Conklin said Hunyadi's versatility will be vital in educating future large-animal veterinarians, drawing on his experience at ESMS.
"He delivered truly outstanding clinical care for his patients," Conklin said. "He will have a great impact on so many through teaching, scholarship and service. He will continue his important lines of research into better tests for diagnosing respiratory pathogens in horses, evaluating innovative treatments for equine asthma and developing best practices to deliver high-quality veterinary medicine in underserved areas."
Hunyadi joins Dascanio, Conklin, Loneragan, professor of surgery David Dutton and assistant professor Bethany Schilling on the faculty for the School of Veterinary Medicine. Additional faculty members will begin in April with a series of faculty to be added over the summer and fall.
About the School of Veterinary Medicine
Thanks to the generosity of Amarillo and communities across Texas, and the commitment of legislators from around the state, the Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo, established in 2018, is working to enroll its first class in the fall of 2021, pending approval by the AVMA Council on Education.
The School of Veterinary Medicine will recruit and select students with a passion to practice and succeed in small, agricultural and regional communities and utilize a curriculum focused on the competencies and skills necessary to be successful in practices that support these communities. Texas Tech's innovative and cost-efficient model partners with the wider community of veterinary practices across the state to provide clinical, real-world experiential learning.
In June, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the biennial state budget, which appropriated $17.35 million for the School of Veterinary Medicine in Amarillo that will go toward operational needs in order to get the school up and running. The appropriation included language directing Texas Tech to move forward in establishing the school.
Donors and civic leaders have pledged more than $90 million toward infrastructure, construction and scholarships for the School of Veterinary Medicine on the site of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo.