Dr. Joelle Fenger has a dual role at Ethos Veterinary Health as a locum Medical Oncologist and an Associate for Ethos Discovery, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization devoted to delivering innovations that will improve the outcome for pets and humans afflicted with complex medical problems. Her interests and goals are to leverage the comparative oncology approach to extend early preclinical findings into more translational applications in companion animals with cancer and address unmet needs surrounding the clinical care for pets suffering from cancer.
Dr. Fenger received her DVM degree from the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and completed a 1-year intensive small animal medicine and surgery internship at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine (OSU-CVM). She completed a combined Medical Oncology Residency and PhD training program in Comparative and Veterinary Medicine at OSU-CVM. Her doctoral degree involved characterizing the landscape of microRNA dysregulation in canine mast cell tumors and osteosarcoma and their contribution to the metastatic phenotype in cancer cells. Dr. Fenger is a board-certified Medical Oncology Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Upon completion of her PhD, Dr. Fenger joined the faculty at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine as an Assistant Professor-Tenure Track in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences. Her research laboratory focused on understanding the contributions and consequences of microRNA dysregulation in canine and human sarcomas and preclinical evaluation of novel therapeutic interventions and agents for osteosarcoma. In her role, Dr. Fenger helped foster collaborative research partnerships with clinicians and scientists at the OSU Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and the OSU-CVM with the overarching goal of understanding pathogenesis of bone cancer and identifying more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapies. During her time at OSU, Dr. Fenger served as the OSU-CVM Medical Oncology Residency Training Program Director, was a member of the OSU-Comprehensive Cancer Center Translational Therapeutics Program and served as the Faculty Lead for the Comparative and Translational Oncology Signature Program at the OSU-CVM.
Dr. Fenger joined Ethos Veterinary Health and Ethos Discovery in 2021 and has maintained a strong connection to the field of veterinary oncology and animal health. She continues to be an active clinician in her role as a locum Medical Oncologist within Ethos referral oncology practices. She remains committed to enhancing the dissemination of scientific knowledge more broadly to the veterinary oncology community and serves on the Scientific Education Committee for the Veterinary Cancer Society. She is the author of textbook chapters and numerous scientific articles and has been recognized for lecturing nationally and internationally.
As veterinary clinician-scientist, Dr. Fenger appreciates the complexity of cancer and recognizes that in order to truly overcome challenges that exist with respect to improving therapies and outcomes for cancer patients, it is necessary to leverage a ‘team approach’ that includes input and ideas from clinicians, scientists, and pet parents. As a pet owner, Dr. Fenger understand the positive impact that our companion animals have on human lives and seeks to find ways to enhance the quality of life for all pets. While cancer is a leading cause of death in both people and pets, Comparative Oncology has established that many cancers in companion animals such as bone and brain cancers share similar biology, behavior, and clinical responses to those observed in human cancers. Thus, some clinical trials that involve pets with cancer not only provide benefit for animals, either by giving them access to promising new therapies or by learning something new that can help other animals, but also help people with cancer.