Vice President, Animal Health
With more than 30 years of clinical veterinary experience, Dr. Bill Van Bonn strengthens the aquarium’s established animal care and health expertise, overseeing its diverse aquatic medicine initiatives as well as furthering innovative veterinary science. Dr. Van Bonn specializes in preventive medicine and enhanced clinical veterinary services for aquatic animals, with a focus on marine mammals. He works with Shedd’s animal health team to incorporate cutting-edge techniques and state-of-the-art equipment that provide a holistic approach to care for Shedd’s 32,000 animal residents.
In addition to providing top-quality care to animals at Shedd, Dr. Van Bonn has applied his expertise in animal health to saving their counterparts in the wild. In his rehabilitation work at the aquarium, Dr. Van Bonn capitalizes on the vast experience he gained as director of veterinary services at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, Calif., where he treated and rehabilitated more than 1,000 rescued marine mammals each year, including sea otters, seals and sea lions. While at TMMC, he was directly involved in the medical care of Cruz, a California sea lion pup blinded by gunshots, rescued from a California beach, and given a permanent home at Shedd in 2012.
Dr. Van Bonn is a past president of the International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine. He is a founding member of the American Association of Human Animal Bond Veterinarians and a past invited member of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Association’s Ethics and Governance Committee. He has authored numerous scientific articles and abstracts, and contributed chapters to several books throughout his career. His most recently published paper in the journal Science analyzes the effects of algal neurotoxins on the spacial memory of sea lions. Dr. Van Bonn has adjunct assistant clinical professor status at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, as well as an adjunct faculty appointment at Michigan State University, a position that provides him access to the High Performance Computing Center, which will aid Shedd Aquarium’s analysis of microbiome data.