Dr. María José Navarrete Talloni

Dr. María José Navarrete TalloniDr. María José Navarrete Talloni

Dr. María José Navarrete Talloni (M.P.V.M. ‘06) is living the dream. She holds a tenure-track position in her chosen field, has lived all over the world and now lives in paradise, and has done this all while starting a family. Originally from Chile, Dr. Navarrete Talloni is an assistant professor of anatomic pathology at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, located in St. Kitts in the West Indies.

How did she get there? She credits her success to her passion for pathology, building a strong network, and being open to different opportunities – all things strengthened by her time in the MPVM program.

After earning her D.V.M. from Universidad de Chile, Dr. Navarrete Talloni met UC Davis Professor Emeritus Dr. David Hird while networking at an academic conference, who encouraged her to apply to UC Davis’ M.P.V.M. program. The chance encounter led to a rich opportunity to make lifelong friends and build an international professional network that continues to support her professionally and personally to this day.

“Every person teaching us was great,” Dr. Navarrete Talloni said. “They had all these great stories and experience. They are really humble, easy-going, and you get to know all these cool professors — the ones who have written the books.”

The M.P.V.M. degree gave her a solid foundation to build on, and after completing the program she knew that she wanted to continue in academic medicine. She started looking for funded Ph.D. programs in pathology, keeping an open mind about different types of pathology and diseases to work on. She was awarded the Marie Curie Fellowship to study neuropathology at Tierärztliche Hochschule in Hannover, Germany. While her prior work had not focused on neurological diseases, she decided to give the field a try and quickly found that she loved it. As a bonus, she got to live in Europe, experience German culture, and learn German.

“If you want to pursue academia, you have to be passionate about what you do,” Dr. Navarrete Talloni said. “Be patient and open-minded. In science, things don’t always work out. Think outside of the box and don’t get disappointed.”

When it came time to go on the job market, the network she had created along with her flexibility and international experience were the keys to getting an academic job. She was also delighted to find that the M.P.V.M. program was well-known in the veterinary field outside of the United States.

“I wasn’t looking for a job, but I was looking for different opportunities,” she said. Within six months she had her first academic job as an assistant professor of animal pathology at Universidad Austral de Chile. In 2019 she, two little daughters and her husband, Dr. Luis Pablo Hervé Claude (M.P.V.M. ’06) packed up and moved again, landing in sunny St. Kitts.

Throughout all the international moves, she kept in touch with UC Davis classmates and professors, who visited her abroad and collaborated on the research.

Looking back on her own experience, she urges students to get the most out of their time in the M.P.V.M. program. “It’s not just the contents of the program, but the whole experience of the program. The environment is international, and you have really cool professors and great classmates,” she said.