In Memoriam: Philip D. Koblik, DVM, MS (1948-2000)

Phil Koblik was born November 9, 1948 in Medford, Oregon and died on December 23, 2000 in Davis, California after a courageous fight against glioblastoma multiforme. Although Phil’s life was cut short, he made significant contributions in the areas of teaching, service, and research in veterinary radiology and comparative imaging.

Phil graduated from Stanford University in 1970 with a B.A. in psychology. He then attended the University of Oregon where he completed his pre-veterinary curriculum in 1973. In 1977, Phil graduated from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University and started his radiology residency program in 1978 at the University of California, School of Veterinary Medicine in Davis, California. He completed his residency training in veterinary diagnostic radiology in 1981 and passed the certification examinations to become an active Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Radiology. He was awarded a Masters of Science Degree in Comparative Pathology in 1982. His research work included first pass imaging of horses using nuclear medicine techniques with emphasis on normal cardiac systolic and diastolic indices.

Phil was appointed an Assistant Professor at Tufts University, School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Massachusetts in 1982 and served as the Head of Large Animal Radiology and Nuclear Medicine through 1985. He was then appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UCD. Phil received promotion to the rank of Associate Professor in 1989 and to the rank of Professor in the Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences in 1993.

Phil distinguished himself during his tenure at UCD in the areas of nuclear medicine and alternate imaging. He authored or co-authored over 90 scientific publications, including numerous review articles for both human and veterinary journals. He has authored or co-authored two book chapters and has presented over 27 abstracts at various scientific meetings and assemblies. Dr. Koblik was an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, American College of Veterinary Radiology, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the Society of Veterinary Nuclear Medicine, and the Veterinary CT/MRI Society.

Phil handled a number of academic responsibilities serving on various committees at Tufts University and at UCD. Phil was a member of the graduate program and research committee at both Tufts University and UCD. He encouraged and mentored numerous veterinary students, radiology residents and graduate students while at both Universities, having his greatest impact while at UCD. Phil also served on the Radiation Safety Committee, the Executive Council, and the Examination Committee for the American College of Veterinary Radiology.

The above description of Phil’s achievements falls far short of the true impact he had on the field of veterinary radiology, the individuals he mentored and interacted with and his professional friendships. Phil‘s active area of research interest during the time of his tenure and promotion involved development of a technique for portal scintigraphy which has now become a routine diagnostic test for the evaluation of patients with possible portosystemic shunts. Over the years, as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging became more widely available in veterinary medicine, Phil was at the forefront of encouraging applications of these alternate imaging modalities to veterinary patients.

While at both Tufts University and UCD, Phil impacted the lives of all he encountered. He was a motivator of individuals and enjoyed interacting with staff, interns, residents and other faculty colleagues. He was always upfront and forward about his interpretation and never hesitated to help individuals in areas of research, service, or teaching, or just lend a hand helping technical staff with their patients.

Phil was a very active individual with a love and enthusiasm for the outdoors and sports. During the time that Phil battled his brain tumor, the hardest part for him to accept had to have been the physical limitations placed on him. He was a true outdoor person, an avid cyclist, swimmer, and played basketball, softball, and tennis. He thoroughly enjoyed all sports in which he participated and was competitive in all aspects of the sports. Phil hated losing and if he lost, as was the case with his bout with brain cancer, it was never for a lack of effort on his part.

Most importantly, Phil’s greatest legacy is his family. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Kathleen, and their two children, Kristen and Kevin. Both Kristen and Kevin are accomplished water polo players and as a father, his pride for his family could be seen at all times. He loved to talk modestly about his children’s accomplishments as they succeeded in their sporting and academic efforts. Phil always promoted a balance between professional life and the family.

Phil will be greatly missed by all who interacted with him and knew him. We are sorrowed by his death and stand beside his family in remembering the great individual he was and the legacy he leaves behind. For those who are interested, an endowment has been established in honor of Dr. Phil Koblik and contributions can be made to the University of California Regents in memory of Dr. Philip Koblik and sent to Dr. Richard A. LeCouteur, Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.

Timothy R. O’Brien and Clifford R. Berry
Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 2002 43 (1), 66–67.