Dr. Doug Morck receives Order of the University of Calgary

UCalgary’s head veterinarian recognized for life-long commitment to animal welfare

The university’s head veterinarian prefers to stay in the background and far away from the limelight, but today, Dr. Doug Morck, DVM, PhD, will be on stage in his scarlet, gold and blue PhD gown to receive the Order of the University of Calgary for his lifelong commitment to the ethics and care of animals in teaching and research.
“It's actually pretty amazing. I didn't really know that much about the award until the chancellor gave me a phone call and I looked it up,” says Morck a joint professor at UCVM and the Faculty of Science. “It's quite the honour. There are some pretty amazing people who have received this.”

Morck’s many achievements include leading the development of the university’s Statement on Animal Care, helping create the Animal Research and Education Unit to oversee animal use and serving on all the university's animal care committees. He also helped draft the Alberta’s Animal Protection Act. His decades on campus started with a BSc in Cellular and Microbial Biology in 1983 and a PhD in 1991. In 1992 he became an adjunct faculty member and later a professor in the Faculty of Science. He was also a founding faculty member at UCVM.  
 

Dr. Doug Morck receives Order of the University of Calgary

Dr. Doug Morck, recipient of the Order of the University of Calgary

“This is a great day as one of our outstanding colleagues is honoured for his dedication to animal care and well-being,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. “Doug is a truly passionate veterinarian, educator, researcher, mentor, and animal welfare leader.”

As head veterinarian in the Animal Research and Education Unit in the Office of the Vice President of Research, Morck oversees a group of about 100 people that monitor any animals used in any research in any faculty.  “There are seven veterinarians, including myself, that provide the oversight and evaluate animals on a daily basis,” he says. “Registered vet techs and others check the animals every day, feed them, water them, all that kind of stuff. It's not something we advertise a great deal in the university, but it's a really important unit.”

The unit, which is at arm’s length from every faculty, also organizes animal care committees and ethics reviews around any use of animals in research or teaching on campus. “This institution has always taken matters about animal welfare and our care for the animals incredibly seriously,” he says “It comes from the top of the institution as well as all of the efforts from the bottom.”

Over the years Morck has seen, and welcomed, more regulations over animal care in research and teaching. And he’s also happy to see a shifting attitude among scholars that rely on animals for their research. “It's not just regulation,” he says. “It's creating the kind of culture around our science that really considers animal welfare. I think we've done that. It's a community now that really cares about animal life.”

“This is a great day as one of our outstanding colleagues is honoured for his dedication to animal care and well-being,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. “Doug is a truly passionate veterinarian, educator, researcher, mentor, and animal welfare leader.”

Receiving the Order of the University of Calgary is the latest in a long list accolades and awards for Morck, whose research includes bacterial pathogenesis, antimicrobial resistance and bacterial biofilms. “It's always nice to feel like you're making a difference,” he says. “Some of those awards had to do with the science that I have been involved with in my lab. But most of them centre around the animal care world and things I've done to try and help the university out. So that feels pretty good.”