Professor Emeritus of Histology and Electron Microscopy; Director of the Microscopy Laboratory at Oklahoma State University; Chair of the University Animal Care and Use Committee
Dr Ownby, a native of Mississippi, obtained her B.S. and M.S. from the Univeristy of Tennessee in Zoology where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in Veterinary Anatomy and Electron microscopy while conducting research in the laboratory of Dr. Anthony T. Tu. She joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University in the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1974 where she became Full Professor in 1984. In 1990, she was appointed Regents Professor for excellence in research and was reappointed twice. Her primary responsibilities at OSU were teaching Histology to Veterinary Medicine students, teaching graduate courses in cell biology and electron microscopy, conducting research in snake venom and antivenom, directing the central electron microscope laboratory and chairing the University Animal Care and Use Committee. She also served as Head of the Department of Physiological Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine for 6 years, Coordinator for the College of Veterinary Medicine’s graduate program in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences and Chair of the Graduate Faculty at OSU. She retired her faculty position in 2006 to travel more widely, to focus on learning the art of pottery and to spend more time at her cabin in the mountains of northern New Mexico.
Dr Ownby received a 5-year NIH Research Career Development Award in 1984 for her work on snake antivenom. She was a visiting professor at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom; the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France; and the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland and the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda, Maryland. She served as a consultant to the World Health Organization on the production of antivenom, and she was an invited speaker at international meetings in China, Singapore, Brazil, Germany, France, Italy and England. Her research on snake venom and antivenom has been funded by grants from the NIH and has resulted in numerous original publications as well as several review articles, book chapters and one book.
Dr Ownby served on the Editorial Board of three international journals in the field of snake venom research, including Toxicon. She served as the President of the International Society on Toxinology, is a founding member of the Pan American Section of the International Society on Toxinology and served as its President from 1984 until 1996. She has served as External Examiner for Ph.D. students in Sweden, Israel, Costa Rica and Australia. Dr. Ownby received the Smith Kline Beecham Award for Research Excellence in 1992 and the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Graduate Teacher in 1999 at Oklahoma State University.
Dr Ownby established the central Microscopy Laboratory for Oklahoma State University in 1977 and served as Director until 2016. She has obtained funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and private foundations for equipment for this Lab totaling over 3 million dollars. She is a founding member of the Oklahoma Microscopy Society and has served the Society as President three times and as Co-editor of the Newsletter from four times over the years.
On a personal note, she has been married to James D Ownby for 51 years with whom she has raised two daughters and several cats. She now has two grandchildren, Scarlett who is 6 years old and Ethan who is 1.5 years. In 2009, she and Jim built a log cabin in New Mexico and she joined the Chama Valley Humane Society as a Board Member. She is now President after serving several years as Secretary to the Board. In 2016, she moved with husband Jim to Albuquerque, New Mexico to be closer to her two daughters and grandchildren. She continued her pottery activities, building her third studio, and joining the statewide New Mexico Potters and Ceramic Artists Association, for which she now serves as Secretary of the Board. She enjoys traveling, wildlife photography, doing pottery and rescuing animals with the humane society. But most of all, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends.