Alumna Christina Osborne takes on a new role as director of animal care

Donna McKinnon - 6 July 2023

headshot of Christina posting in a mountain landscape

As a graduate of the animal sciences program in the Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, Christina Osborne is thrilled to return to her alma mater as the director of animal care, a role that draws upon two decades of work as a veterinarian and educator.

Calling it a ‘full circle moment’, Osborne says this new role is an opportunity to support ground-breaking agricultural and biomedical research, while also building on the faculty’s educational tools to promote optimal animal welfare.

Welcome (back) Christina!

What brought you to the U of A?

I completed my BSc Agriculture (major in Animal Sciences) in 2001 at the University of Alberta and then went on to complete my DVM at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, SK in 2005. My veterinary career has included working with both livestock and companion animals in both private practice and academia. I have also had opportunities to practice outside of Canada (Phoenix, Arizona and New Zealand). Overall, I am very proud to be a U of A graduate, and this is where my career path began!

As an undergrad student at the U of A, I had the opportunity to work as a summer research student at the Cross Cancer Institute, as well as on the South Campus for a couple of summers (many years ago!) working with sheep and cattle. This helped to introduce me to the world of research early on in my career, and I am so very elated to be returning back to the U of A as director of animal care for ALES. It really is a full-circle moment! I am honored to be in the position to promote animal welfare while supporting some of the cutting edge research that is happening currently at the U of A.

What drew you to study animals?

I have always had animals in my life. I grew up spending a lot of time on my grandparents' farm, where they had cattle, chickens and pigs. I was also lucky enough to grow up surrounded with many animals at home, including cattle, horses, and of course, cats and a dog. I have been incredibly lucky to have some amazing veterinary mentors along the way that have always fostered and encouraged my interest in veterinary medicine. I always knew that I wanted to become a veterinarian. That never waivered once throughout my life.

What excites you most about taking on this new role for ALES?

The role of director of animal care for ALES is a very exciting opportunity to be able to promote animal welfare and veterinary ethics, while contributing to and supporting the ground-breaking agricultural and biomedical research that is happening at the U of A. I am so excited to be able to work with such an exceptional animal care team, including the other five veterinarians and many registered vet techs and animal care staff at other animal facilities at the university, who are all extremely passionate and dedicated to ensuring optimal animal welfare and care.

Although it’s early days, as you understand it, what are the expectations for this position and what do you hope to bring to the role?

This is an incredibly unique veterinary role that bestows the great responsibility of ensuring the highest welfare and care for our ALES research animals, while supporting the advancement of human and animal medicine, agriculture and biomedical sciences. I believe that it is a distinct privilege to be able to use animals for research, and myself, along with the University Animal Policy and Welfare Committee (UAPWC), the Livestock Animal Care and Use Committee will ensure that ALES research animals receive the highest standards of care.

Education is also a large part of this role and it is something that I am very passionate about. I hope to utilize my previous instructional and veterinary experience to further develop and expand our educational tools to promote optimal animal welfare, care and use here at the U of A.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised right here in the Edmonton area.

What do you do for fun, outside of work?

Anything to do with the outdoors and nature! Camping, hiking, fishing, gardening, cross country skiing. I love to cook and try new cuisines. Travel and experiencing other cultures is also a large part of my life. I love music, theatre and the arts.

snowy mountain landscape with Christina hiking