top of page


Principle Investigator

Heidi Reesink, VMD, PhD, DACVS-LA
  • Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery


Heidi is an Associate Professor of Large Animal Surgery at Cornell University with clinical interests in orthopedic surgery and sports medicine.  She received her veterinary degree (VMD) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007, followed by residency and PhD training at Cornell prior to joining the faculty in 2016.  She is board-certified in large animal surgery by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS). 


Heidi is interested in understanding the pathophysiology of joint disease and advancing 'One Health' therapeutic design and interventional strategies aimed at restoring cartilage health, improving comfort, and prolonging joint longevity and patient mobility.  She also investigates the pathophysiology of fetlock fractures in racehorses with the goal of identifying risk factors for injury.


Current Lab Members

Matthew Thomas, BS, Research Support Specialist

Matthew received his B.S. in Integrative Neuroscience from Binghamton University in 2019. While there, he served as an undergraduate assistant on multiple research projects, ranging from microbial biofilms to alcohol related brain damage. He joined the College of Veterinary Medicine as a laboratory manager for the Delco lab in the fall of 2019 and led a research project investigating mitochondrial content in extracellular vesicles. Matthew joined the Reesink lab as a technician and research support specialist in the fall of 2023.


PhD Students

Erica Secor, DVM, MS, DACVS-LA, PhD Candidate

Erica is a PhD Candidate in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) graduate group. She earned her undergraduate ('09) and DVM ('13) degrees from Cornell before leaving Ithaca for an equine internship, followed by an equine surgery residency and master's degree. Erica spent 4 years working as an equine surgeon in private practice prior to returning to her alma mater in 2021 to pursue PhD training. Erica is investigating the role of the immune system in the development and progression of equine osteoarthritis (OA) and exploring diagnostic techniques and therapeutic interventions for early OA.  

Outside of the lab, Erica enjoys trail running, horseback riding, and cooking.

Sydney Womack, BS, DVM/PhD Combined Degree Candidate

Sydney is a Combined DVM/PhD Degree Student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) PhD program and DVM programat Cornell University. She earned her BS in Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Carolina in May of 2021, prior to starting vet school in the fall. She joined Dr. Reesink's lab as a PhD student in 2023. She is working on pain measurement in rodent models of osteoarthritis, mechanisms of fibrosis in post-traumatic osteoarthritis, and joint sepsis. She is particularly interested in translational/comparative research and is interested in pursuing laboratory animal medicine post-graduation.


Outside of lab, Sydney enjoys hiking, rock-climbing, and playing her bassoon.


DVM Research Fellows & Surgery Residents

Matthew Woodman, DVM, Research Fellow

Matt earned his DVM at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatchewan in 2022, followed by a 1-year rotating internship at the Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists hospital in Elmont, NY.  Matt joined the Reesink lab in July of 2023, and he is working on characterizing proteoglycan 4 (PRG4)/lubricin in equine tenosynovial structures and evaluating the efficacy of PRG4/lubricin for joint disease. 

Garett Pearson, DVM, LA Surgery Resident

Garett earned his DVM at the Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island in 2018, followed by internships at Littleton Equine Medical Center and Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists and a research fellowship at Cornell.  He is currently a 3rd year Large Animal Surgery resident at Cornell, and his research projects have focused on equine synovial sepsis diagnostics and antimicrobial resistance.

DVM Students

Collin Gier
Allison Dwinnell
Matt Woodman Headshot_edited.jpg
IMG_3728 2.jpg


Isabella Cervero
Ashley Schiller

Lab Alumni

Postdocs & DVM Research Fellows

Bridgette Peal, DVM, DACVS-LA
Erin Cresswell, PhD
Amanda Watkins, VMD, DACVS-LA
Kira Noordwijk, BVSc
McKenna Caspers, DVM
Machiel Ysebaert, DVM
Marshall Colville, PhD

Surgery Residents

Lauren Luedke, DVM, DACVS-LA

Lauren's resident research project investigated bone microdamage and fracture toughness in horses with proximal sesamoid bone fracture.  She is currently an Assistant Professor of Equine Surgery & Lameness at Colorado State University.

PhD Students

Yuyan Wang, PhD

Yuyan received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2023 for her thesis work, "Lubricin in post-traumatic osteoarthritis, from naturally occurring disease to recombinant therapeutics."  Yuan was co-advised by Heidi Reesink and Matt Paszek and is currently pursuing postdoctoral research in pharmacology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

DVM Students

Ella Pittman, DVM
Christina Moore, DVM
Morgan Stark, DVM
Albert D'Agostino, DVM
Joshua Berenson, DVM
Nicholas Ruocco III, DVM
Claire Read, DVM
Mana Okudaira, DVM
Bianca Ruspi, DVM
Diana Fasanello, DVM
Brittany Papa, DVM


Jacqueline Inglis
Julie Tan
Caroline Wollman
Rachel Gagliardi
Rose Yin
Katherine Caracappa
Emily Costello
Siyu Deng
Aneri Patel
Emma Wagner

Danqiao (Lina) Yu
Phoebe Ilevbare
Taidhgin Keel
Sydney Schurer

Esther Abaraoha
Kevin Chen
Jonathan Gao
Melanie Valencia
Michael Peek
bottom of page