Sridhar Veluvolu, VMD, DACVIM (Oncology)
This is the latest in a series of interviews with Board-certified veterinary specialists of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) to share insights, knowledge and expertise about career opportunities, growth and development. Today we hear from ACVIM Oncology Diplomate Dr. Sridhar Veluvolu.
Dr. Sridhar Veluvolu graduated from New York University in 2013 and went on to work for the sport-for-development non-profit organization "Grassroot Soccer," where he helped educate children about HIV/AIDS in Alexandra, South Africa. Dr. Veluvolu earned his VMD from PennVet in 2018, after which he took a small animal rotating internship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sridhar completed his residency in medical oncology at the University of California-Davis and became a Board-certified medical oncologist in 2022. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he focuses on Ewing sarcoma with an emphasis on the mechanistic pharmacology of chemotherapeutics and molecular targeted therapies.
What inspired you to become a Board-certified veterinary specialist?
I became interested in oncology during my first year of vet school. At first, I was drawn towards the team in the oncology department at Penn - they were incredibly warm and welcoming when I shadowed and spent time as a student-nurse. I was hooked when I started to learn more about the science behind the treatments I was seeing in the clinic and the potential for translational research with the med school down the street.
Are there any resources or pieces of advice that helped you along the way? Is there any advice you would specifically give to job seekers?
I made it my goal from the start to get as much in-person experience as possible. There is always a way – even during something as busy as vet school, internship, or residency – to carve out time to experience things you think you may enjoy. Affording yourself these opportunities is a surefire way to end up doing something you love rather than doing something just for the sake of it.
Is there a story or experience that stands out in your mind that reaffirmed your decision to work in specialty veterinary medicine?
My favorite patient during residency long outlasted our expectations for his disease. Although his success story ultimately did come to an end, he reminded me that it is possible to beat the odds (or literature); and it is our responsibility as specialists to ask “why?” and “how?” to inform treatment for patients in the future.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I am currently a post-doctoral researcher at a children’s hospital. I study Ewing sarcoma and intend to return to the clinic at a 25% commitment in 2023 while I continue my benchtop position.
What do you consider one of your career successes? How did you achieve it?
My greatest success (or perhaps fortune) is that I have always had a great team to work with – mentors, colleagues, and mentees alike. Obviously, you can’t always determine who you work with, but spending the time before starting a new position to learn whether you gel with the team is crucial to ensure success.
What do you consider a challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
I can’t say I’ve been faced with any overwhelming challenges during my career to be honest. I’ve had a family that loves me, mentors that have gone out of their way to help me, friends that support me, and a partner that stands beside me – all these people have been invaluable to help me achieve my career goals.
What impact has the ACVIM had in shaping your career?
The ACVIM has provided me an extensive network of mentors without whom I would not be where I am today. Since I started vet school, all my mentors have been members of the ACVIM (probably because I don’t like blood…which quickly ruled out surgery and pathology as careers) and they have each helped me develop as a professional in a unique way.
Finally, what is something unique about your career, or career path?
My experiences have allowed me to pursue training in the basic science of oncology and pharmacology outside of the confines of a structured degree program. I don’t exactly know where my career will end up just yet, but I can at least say that I’ve loved every step I’ve taken so far. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Learn more about the ACVIM and its members here.