William Van Bonn

William Van Bonn

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Adjunct Associate Professor


Vice President of Animal Health, Shedd Aquarium (Retired)

Bill Van Bonn's Shedd Profile

Biography: Dr. Bill Van Bonn was raised in, on, and around the lakes, ponds and rivers of the state of Michigan. He graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University in 1986. Following graduation he was employed at an equine referral surgical practice in Southeastern Michigan where he initiated an arthroscopic surgery service. While still in private practice his aquatic interests led him to enrollment in the inaugural Envirovet program an intensive, in-residence short course in aquatic animal medicine and environmental toxicology, directed by Dr. Val Beasley of the University of Illinois.

In 1991 Bill was commissioned into the US Army Veterinary Corps and assigned duty at the US Navy’s Marine Mammal Program in San Diego. He spent four years on active duty followed by support as a civilian spending almost 15 years with the program where his last position was Managing Veterinarian for Research and Advanced Clinical Technologies. His military awards include the National Defense Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. In 2005 Dr. Van Bonn accepted the Position of Senior Director for Animal Health at the John G Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. There he provided oversight for the preventive medicine program to over 25,000 individual animals of over 2,500 species. In May of 2009 he joined the staff of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA where he spent just over three years as Director of Veterinary Services and Staff Veterinarian before returning to Shedd Aquarium as Vice President for Animal Health.

His duties, responsibilities, and professional interests are focused on preventive medicine and enhanced clinical veterinary services for aquatic animals with a marine mammal focus. He is Past President of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine, a founding member of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians, and has authored numerous scientific articles, abstracts, and several book chapters. Bill enjoys working closely with students. He is founding faculty of Marvet, a short course in marine veterinary medicine. He holds Adjunct Assistant Clinical Professor status at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and serves as client mentor under a master agreement with the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University.

At Shedd he oversees the A. Watson Armour III Center for Animal Health and Welfare and is Principal Investigator for the Aquarium Microbiome Project.