Dr. Phillip Nelson


Dr. Phillip Nelson is a professor of immunology and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Western University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Nelson served as acting head of the Department of Small Animal Medicine, Surgery, and Radiology at the Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine before serving as associate dean of Mississippi State University’s (MSU’s) College of Veterinary Medicine for more than 10 years. At Western, he served as executive associate dean for the college’s pre-clinical programs prior to becoming dean in 2007.  

During his career, he has developed and delivered courses in clinical diagnostics, clinical skills, internal medicine, immunology, ethics, and clinical medicine among others.

His research interests and activities focus primarily on FeLV and FIV infections in cats as biological models for human HIV and the development of lymphocytic immunity in the dog and cat.

Dr. Nelson is the author of numerous articles, papers, and presentations that address topics ranging from his research interests to topics of interest for minority candidates that might be interested in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Nelson has received numerous awards for teaching, research, and service to the community. He has played a leadership role and also spoken and published widely on diversity issues within the veterinary profession and veterinary medical education. For several years, he served as chair of the AAVMC’s Multicultural Affairs Committee and also as program chair for the association’s Iverson Bell Symposium, which promotes diversity in academic veterinary medicine. He has been very active in the AAVMC’s advocacy efforts and is the recipient of the AAVMC’s 2016 Senator John Melcher, DVM Leadership in Public Policy Award.

He earned his BS degree in biology from Jackson State University, his DVM from the Tuskegee Institute, and a PhD in veterinary sciences, with an emphasis in immunology, from North Carolina State University.