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Hepatitis B Research Pioneer Dr. Bud Tennant Leaves Behind a Distinguished Scientific Legacy

Dr. Tennant was a great scientist, a man of valor who will be missed by the hepatitis community

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (November 2016)- Bud C. Tennant, DVM, a pioneer in developing the woodchuck animal model for the study of hepatitis B, and distinguished member of the Hepatitis B Foundation’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board and former James Law Professor of Comparative Medicine from the University of Cornell, College of Veterinary Medicine, passed away on November 16. Dr. Tennant leaves an enormous scientific legacy of contributions to advancing the science and medicine of hepatitis B, for which he was publicly recognized with the prestigious Baruch S. Blumberg Prize by the foundation at its annual Crystal Ball in April of this year.

bud tennant for web

Dr. Bud Tennant

“Humanity owes a tremendous debt to Dr. Tennant for his pioneering work in hepatitis research, which has been among the most important in the field,” said Timothy Block, Ph.D., co-founder and president of the Hepatitis B Foundation and its research arm, the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute. “We are proud that he served on our Scientific Advisory Board since his years of dedicated research have made it possible for us to envision a world without hepatitis B.”

Dr. Tennant's work with hepatitis B infection in woodchucks led to the development of the first and only animal model successfully used to definitively identify potential and approved therapeutics for hepatitis B.While on the faculty of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, he was contacted regarding a new virus infecting woodchucks that was closely related to the human hepatitis B virus (HBV). He was instrumental in identifying, testing and maintaining a colony of woodchucks for use in HBV research, in conjunction with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the NIH. Over the next 31 years, the woodchuck model was used on nearly every drug licensed by the U.S. FDA for hepatitis B treatment and for most of the HBV drug candidates.

"He was a great scientist and a man of valor and impeccable honesty and full of insight. We did a lot of great things together over the last 20 plus years," said Raymond Schinazi, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology at Emory University, and member of the Hepatitis B Foundation Scientific and Medical Advisory Board. "The hepatitis community and I will miss him greatly."

In 2013, Dr. Tennant retired from the University of Cornell, College of Veterinary Medicine, and his legendary woodchuck colony was transferred to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in Buffalo, NY. He continued to consult at RPCI and with other academic and commercial laboratories on the use of the woodchuck animal model in antiviral drug development and on viral causes of liver cancer.

Dr. Tennant served as President of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and was a recipient of its Robert W. Kirk Distinguished Service Award; was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge and Visiting Professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine; and served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Division of Basic Surgical Research. He also served on the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Hepatitis B Foundation for 18 years.

A celebration of Dr. Tennant’s life will be held at Kendal at Ithaca, New York, on January 28, 2017 at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family has graciously requested that donations may be made in Dr. Tennant’s memory to the Hepatitis B Foundation, 3805 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18902.

The full obituary is available at

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to, read our blog at, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at or call 215-489-4900.