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Passionate about pathology

  Mary Boone  

Gary Knutsen ’69 could retire—but his passion won’t let him.

A veterinary pathologist by training, Knutsen has spent most of his professional life testing the efficacy and safety of drugs in animal models before they’re used in human clinical trials. Now that the human genome has been decoded, Knutsen is optimistic the process by which drugs are developed and tested will become better, quicker and cheaper.

“How can I not be excited about that?” asks the Mount Vernon native.

Knutsen put his biology and education degrees to work during a teaching and coaching stint at Marion (Iowa) High School. During a trip to Iowa State University to visit Bill Fuller ’67, a former Ram football teammate who was attending veterinary school, Knutsen realized his enthusiasm for veterinary medicine.

“I remember going through some of Bill’s veterinary physiology and harmacology texts and thinking how interesting they were. But I knew I didn’t want to be a practitioner—I wanted to be a researcher.”

After earning his master’s and doctorate degrees at Iowa State, Knutsen did physiopathology research of infectious diseases for the Army at Fort Detrick, Md. In 1981 he started his own company, Pathology Associates Inc. (PAI). Over the ensuing two decades, Knutsen has seen his company grow significantly, and be sold twice, to Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) in 1995, and to Charles Rivers Laboratories in 2001.

Knutsen continues to consult for both SAIC and PAI, and he’s started a new business, Landmark Asset Management, specializing in the systematic trading of managed futures contracts.

Knutsen and his wife, Gail, live in Naples, Florida. They have three sons: Gunnar, 27, Sean, 30, and Bradd, 36, and two grandchildren.

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