New Faculty Focus: Nate Van Asselt


Nathaniel (Nate) Van Asselt


Assistant Professor in Radiation Oncology


Downers Grove, Illinois

Educational/professional background:

Undergraduate BS at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana; DVM at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in Grenada; rotating small animal internship at VCA Aurora in Aurora, Illinois; Radiation Oncology residency at University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine

What is your field of research, and how did you get into it?

Tracking tumor movement during radiation treatments. I got into this field because we were lucky enough to obtain a tumor tracking platform called Synchrony on our new radiotherapy machine.

What attracted you to UW-Madison?

First, the people. Virtually everyone that I have met at UW-Madison has been friendly and eager to work together towards a similar goal of improving the quality of veterinary care that we are able to provide.

What was your first visit to campus like?

Thankfully I have had many ‘first visits’ to campus, as I have done much of my training here. I am happy to say each time I was greeted by a friendly face.

Favorite place on campus?

Undoubtedly the Terrace.

This is a unique point in time, as we’re returning after more than a year of pandemic. What do you most look forward to?

I continue to feel safer and safer at work because I know that my colleagues have similar values regarding safety.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.

Although my research doesn’t easily apply to the Wisconsin Idea, I do feel that my goal as an educator is to provide our students with not only the knowledge that they need to be successful but also the tools to navigate the sometimes mentally challenging realm of current-day veterinary medicine.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties, now that we can attend them again?

X-rays and gamma rays, both of which are used in veterinary radiation oncology, are defined by their origin. X-rays are man made whereas gamma rays are produced by radioactive isotopes. Both can produce high- and low-energy electromagnetic waves.

Hobbies/other interests:

First, my family. I have a wife and two-year-old son as well as two dogs. I am happiest when we are at the zoo and my two-year-old runs past the cool animals in order to ride the train. Second to that would be music, outdoor activities such as hiking and camping, movies and TV shows, and finally video games.

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