University of Kentucky Appoints New Veterinary Science Chair and Gluck Equine Research Center Director

The UK Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment appoints Brett Sponseller to lead the Veterinary Science department and Gluck Equine Research Center. His wife, Beatrice, joins the team as a clinical professor in the department.

 By Holly Wiemers

The University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) announces the appointment of Brett Sponseller as the new chair of the Department of Veterinary Science and director of the Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center. Sponseller starts Aug. 1.

“I am excited to join the UK Veterinary Science Department. They are the ‘best of the best,’ which makes leading this outstanding team such an honor,” Sponseller said. “I look forward to collaborating with the world-class faculty, staff and students and to serving the equine community.”

Sponseller’s wife, Beatrice, also an equine veterinarian, will be joining the faculty to support the Equine Science and Management undergraduate degree program. She will also oversee the clinical care and welfare of UK’s equine research and teaching herds.

The Sponsellers have been deeply rooted in the equine industry spanning several decades. The duo have been equine clinicians and researchers for nearly 30 years and Thoroughbred breeders for more than 20 years.

“We are thrilled to have the Sponsellers at UK. They appreciate the unique opportunities available in the horse capital of the world and we anticipate they will make many lasting contributions,” said Nancy Cox, UK vice president for land-grant engagement and Martin-Gatton CAFE dean.

Sponseller earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University, completed an internship in private practice with Equine Medical Associates in Edmond, Oklahoma, and completed a residency in large animal internal medicine with an equine emphasis from the University of California, Davis. He earned his doctorate in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Iowa State University.

Sponseller was an inaugural founder of the Equine Internal Medicine Service at ISU in 2003. Since, he has also maintained an extramurally funded research focus in equine infectious diseases, including those caused by Rhodococcus equi, equine infectious anemia virus, equine herpesvirus-1 and Clostridioides difficile.

His teaching portfolio includes didactic equine internal medicine, veterinary virology with graduate and professional students and equine internal medicine as a clinical rotation. Sponseller has mentored several residents that presently specialize in equine medicine in the Central Kentucky area.

“On behalf of our Gluck Equine Research Foundation, it is a great pleasure to welcome Dr. Brett Sponseller as the next Director of the Gluck Center. With his distinguished background in both clinical and research endeavors dedicated to equine veterinary medicine, he offers a unique perspective for leadership of this world class research facility and its faculty that will undoubtedly resonate with stakeholders from the equine industry whom we seek to serve,” said Stuart Brown, Gluck Equine Research Foundation Board chair, vice president of equine safety with Keeneland and longtime Central Kentucky veterinarian.

“We look forward to his leadership and guidance of this program and future collaborations in service of our mission to advance the health and wellbeing of the horse.”

Sponseller plans to extend the legacy of excellence in equine research at the Gluck Center by interfacing directly with industry stakeholders including breeders, trainers, veterinarians and owners. Strong partnerships will help address the pressing health and welfare issues facing horses and the equine industry. By collaborating closely with these key groups, Sponseller wants the research conducted at the Gluck Center to be directly relevant and beneficial to the equine community.

Sponseller plans to leverage the state-of-the-art facilities and resources available at UK, including a world-class veterinary diagnostic laboratory and a team of renowned faculty specializing in critical research areas. He envisions a proactive approach to research that advances scientific knowledge, translates into practical solutions and improves care approaches for horses.

He is committed to enhancing educational programs and expanding outreach initiatives to disseminate and communicate new findings and best practices. Sponseller’s goal is to equip veterinarians, breeders and trainers with the latest knowledge and techniques in equine health and management.

Sponseller also plans to advocate for increased funding and support for equine research, recognizing the importance of sustained investment in advancing the field. Attracting new talent to UK’s Veterinary Science Department and fostering a vibrant academic environment where innovation and excellence can thrive will be top priorities for him.

“I anticipate a fruitful and exciting future characterized by groundbreaking research, strengthened industry ties at home and abroad. I look forward to continuing our shared commitment to improving the health and welfare of horses,” Sponseller said.

Beatrice Sponseller earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. Her pursuit of knowledge then led her to the Gluck Equine Research Center, where she conducted research for her German doctoral degree in the laboratory of John Timoney, emeritus professor world renowned for his equine infectious disease research.

Following this foundational research, Beatrice Sponseller expanded her expertise through a post-doctoral research fellowship at UC Davis, focusing on large animal infectious diseases. She complemented her research with practical clinical training in equine and large animal medicine at UC Davis, broadening her understanding of veterinary practice.

In 2001, she achieved certification from the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, specializing in equine veterinary medicine, after completing a rigorous residency program at ISU. Her residency provided advanced skills and knowledge in equine internal medicine and emergency care, setting a solid foundation for her career.

With more than 25 years of experience in equine internal and emergency medicine at the ISU Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, Beatrice Sponseller has made significant contributions to the field, including collaborative clinical research and discovery. For the past decade, she also engaged in routine equine ambulatory work at the ISU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Teaching has been a cornerstone of her professional journey, with a strong emphasis on clinical teaching and the development of clinical courses for veterinary students in their senior year. For Beatrice Sponseller, this dedication to education has been pivotal in shaping future generations of veterinarians. She looks forward to applying her expertise in clinical practice and teaching.

To learn more about the Gluck Equine Research Center and Veterinary Diagnostic Lab at Martin-Gatton CAFE, visit and

The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization with respect to education and employment and authorization to provide research, education information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.