Shannon Lynn Kesl Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

Shannon Lynn Kesl’s journey to becoming the Chief Scientific Officer at Veterinary Healthcare Associates (VHA) began with a passion ignited during her time studying under Dr. Dom D’Agostino at the University of South Florida. There, she explored the potential of the ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones in wound healing. After earning her Ph.D., an unexpected move to Texas, due to her husband Jason’s Army posting, serendipitously placed her near the KetoPet Sanctuary. This proximity allowed Shannon to transition her scientific acumen from academia to practical applications in veterinary medicine, primarily focusing on canine health.

Shannon recounts, “I fell in love with using science to help dogs. It wasn’t just a job; it was a calling. Every step since then, especially my move to VHA, felt like it was meant to be.” Joining VHA was a culmination of years of collaboration on various projects with Dr. Nations and the team, where Shannon’s expertise in research found a new home and purpose. “Dr. Nations and I have had this dream to have a canine cancer research center, and a little serendipity showed us it was time for it to happen.” Shannon shared she is thrilled beyond words, feeling deeply fulfilled by utilizing collective knowledge to help more pets and their families in this exciting new venture.

The warm welcome and enthusiasm from everyone at VHA have made Shannon feel right at home, fueling her belief that this is precisely where she’s meant to be. “The support and teamwork here at VHA aren’t just words; they’re actions. Everyone’s excitement about our projects makes my days here fulfilling,” she shares.

At home, Shannon’s life is enriched by the company of her three dogs: Isa, a wise 11-year-old Husky mix; Angus, a spirited 2-year-old Pittie mix; and Cadbury, a 3-month-old English Bulldog with a tough start in life, now thriving under her care.

When not immersed in research, Shannon channels her creativity into art—drawing, painting, and crafting—which also seeps into her professional life, adding a splash of color to items such as data spreadsheets. Navigating the emotional demands of veterinary science, Shannon emphasizes the importance of self-care and work-life balance. “It’s about recognizing when you need a break, whether it’s just a few minutes to walk around or a full day to recharge. VHA supports us in maintaining this balance, which is crucial for our mental and emotional health,” she explains. Her recent trip to the Galapagos Islands highlighted the seamless blend of nature and science, a reminder of the global impact of her work at VHA.

Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it and make it the life you want to live. ~ Mae Jemison, first African American woman astronaut in space
Shannon Kesl (1)
Dr. Shannon Kisl Personal (2) (1)