Monkeys, and stingrays and turtles… oh my! These are just some of the animals Dr. Jamie Torres, our new director of veterinary care, has had the pleasure of working with over the course of her career. As an integral part of the Aquarium family, Dr. Jamie will continue leading the veterinary staff, and the Aquarium as a whole, into a bright future full of innovation, compassion and care.
Want to get to know Dr. Jamie a bit more? Read all about her below!
Where are you from?
I grew up in Phoenixville, the suburbs northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Degrees? And from what universities?
I have a BS in biology and wildlife and fisheries ecology from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. I got my DVM at the University of Minnesota.
What are some notable roles you held before coming to the Aquarium?
I was an associate veterinarian with the Audubon Nature Institute at the Aquarium of the Americas, veterinary fellow at the National Aquarium and medical director at Pender Exotics Veterinary Center in Fairfax, Virginia.
What’s a fun fact most people are surprised to learn about you?
I wanted to be a paleontologist when I grew up.
What inspired you to pursue a career in conservation work?
Honestly it was a gradual decision. I wanted to be able to promote animal health, welfare and conservation, and veterinary medicine seemed like a logical choice to achieve those goals.
What’s your favorite animal?
Longhorn cowfish! They have incredibly social personalities and make excellent patients.
What’s your favorite career memory so far?
We responded to an out-of-habitat dolphin stuck in a pond in western Louisiana following Hurricane Laura. Despite losing their homes and most of their possessions, the entire neighborhood was so worried about this animal. Thankfully, we were able to successfully relocate the animal back to the Gulf of Mexico. It meant so much to these people that we answered their call for help. It was a powerful and humbling reminder to me about how much people truly care about wildlife and the work that our institutions do everyday.
Can you tell us about a time when you were innovative with your veterinary care?
At the Audubon Nature Institute, one of our elderly penguins had severe osteoarthritis, and we ran out of medical options to control his discomfort. However, I had literally just met a veterinarian at a local continuing education event whose specialty was acupuncture. She agreed to come to the aquarium and perform regular acupuncture for our penguin, who responded very positively. We were able to give this animal another full year of pain-free life with monthly acupuncture.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with anyone from veterinary history, who would it be?
I would love to meet Dr. Nancy Jaax, the veterinarian on the front lines of the first Ebola outbreak in the United States.
What animal are you most excited to work with here at the Aquarium?
I can’t possibly choose one. All of them!
What is one subject you could talk about for hours on end?
Infectious diseases and epidemiology. Infectious organisms are fascinating!
What are you looking forward to most about being in the Lowcountry?
Being close to the beach!
Published April 29, 2022