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Joey Rea

School: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine/Tufts School of Medicine

Department: Veterinary Medicine/Public Health

Research Interests: Conservation and Ecology, Animal Science, Water Science & Systems, Food Systems, Public Health

TIE Affiliation

Environmental Research Fellowship


Joey will assess antimicrobial resistance (AMR) trends in Escherichia coli (E. coli) in rehabilitated harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in British Columbia. According to the WHO, AMR is one of the leading threats to global health. Many studies have established excessive AMR use in humans and livestock as major contributors to the development of AMR bacteria. Far fewer studies have evaluated AMR in wildlife. Joey will obtain serial rectal swab samples from harbor seal pups admitted to the Vancouver Aquarium rehabilitation facility to culture for E. coli and test antibiotic sensitivities. The findings are expected to reveal temporal patterns of AMR development during rehabilitation in harbor seals pups both treated and not treated with antibiotics, and how the course of rehabilitation specifically affects AMR prevalence in commensal E. coli populations.


Joey is a dual degree student at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the Tufts School of Medicine, obtaining both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Master's of Public Health. He expects to complete his studies in May 2021. Before coming to Tufts, Joey earned his B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Delaware. Joey spent a summer as a USDA intern with the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service where he assisted New England Veterinary Services in their inspection assignments. At Tufts, aside from his own studies, Joey is also a Teaching Assistant for the Cummings Surgery Lab, and a Wildlife Technician at the Wildlife Clinic to assist in care of the various admitted species. He also serves as a Class Council Officer.

Current Studies and Future Goals

When asked what he found most meaningful about his field of study, Joey responded with the following: "The multidimensional impact I can have. Vets do much more than just treat pets. We work with livestock producers, conservationists, human medical professionals, private industry, government officials, and the general public. Cross-disciplinary work is needed to solve complex problems and I'm excited to show what a future veterinarian can bring to the table".

When asked what interested him becoming a TIE Fellow, Joey responded with the following: "TIE interested me because of how many fields it was open to. Environmental stewardship is paramount in todays heavily industrialized world, and being able to bring so many different disciplines together to achieve a common goal is something that is inspiring to be a part of. I look forward to all the future discussions with my cohort".

Once he completes his studies at Tufts, Joey hopes to find a job that allows him to practice both clinical medicine and public health, likely with a federal agency like the CDC, Wildlife Service, or Veterinary Service.

Fun Facts!

When not doing school work, Joey enjoys playing in a competitive volleyball league in Cambridge, MA. He travels occasionally on the weekends for competitions.

Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones (up until season 8)

Favorite Thing You've Seen:  Sunset at the Jersey Shore

Favorite Course Taken at Tufts: Immunology

Other Fun Facts: Joey once held a skydiving license!