Barnes inducted into Avian Pathologists Hall of Honor

John Barnes, who has had a wide-ranging impact in field of poultry medicine and influenced generations of veterinarians for more than three decades at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine, has been inducted into the American Association of Avian Pathologists hall of honor.

Barnes, a professor of poultry health management, arrived at the CVM in 1982 to help establish its poultry medicine program, a year after the school first opened. Barnes has been instrumental in training nearly 100 students in the program while also focusing on solving health problems in poultry.

Hall of honor inductees, “are outstanding examples of avian medicine professionals who have given their time and talent for the betterment of the AAAP and the profession,” according to the organization. Oscar Fletcher, poultry health management professor and former CVM dean, was inducted last year as part of the hall of honor’s inaugural class.

“To be appreciated and asked to join the icons of the poultry industry who are in the AAAP hall of honor was humbling, but at the same time a great honor,” Barnes said.

During a tenure as president of the AAAP, Barnes initiated the organization’s acceptance of international members. He is a charter member of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians and his numerous honors include the AAAP’s Phibro Animal Health Excellence in Poultry Research Award and the North Carolina Poultry Federation Distinguished Service Award.

“The honor comes at the conclusion of my professional career that has spanned 47 years, 35 of which have been at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine,” said Barnes, who plans to retire next May. “It is the culmination of my lifelong effort. In many ways it seems like closing a final curtain.”

Born in Sydney, Australia, Barnes moved to the United States with his mom shortly after World War II and grew up near Kansas City, Mo. After earning both s bachelor’s degree in agriculture and a DVM from Kansas State University, he joined the school’s faculty, teaching pathology and launching research on poultry diseases.

“That has been the guiding principle throughout my entire career. Any success I may have derives from the success of my students.”

While at KSU, he traveled with other faculty to Zaria, Nigeria, to help establish a veterinary school at Ahmadu Bello University. While there he finished his Ph.D., a study of avian spirochetosis, a severe bacterial disease that’s leading cause of death in village poultry.

After returning to the United States, Barnes joined the faculty at Iowa State University, where he taught poultry diseases, studied pathology and started research on respiratory diseases of turkeys before coming to the CVM.

While teaching at the CVM, Barnes’ research projects have included comparing human ovarian cancer to that in chickens and turkeys. investigating muscle and viral diseases in chickens, and studying Poult Enteritis Mortality Syndrome, an intestinal disease affecting young turkeys that has significant economic ramifications for states like North Carolina with a large turkey industry.

During Barnes’ time at the CVM, the poultry health management program has become internationally recognized, dedicated to solving problems affecting the North Carolina poultry industry, including the onset and spread of diseases, and providing an array of clinical services. Those trained in the CVM program have gone on to hold influential positions in the poultry industry, government agencies and universities.

“I constantly strive to do the best I can and to be of service to anyone who would like my help,” Barnes said. “My mentor, Dr. Frank Ramsey, told me the best way to repay him was to, ‘do for others what he had done for me.’

“That has been the guiding principle throughout my entire career. Any success I may have derives from the success of my students.”

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine