Who We Are


ACI’s success is largely based on its dynamic, interactive network of board-certified veterinary specialists and progressive primary care veterinarians throughout the US and Canada.

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ACI Oncology Network     |     ACI Ethos Network     |       ACI Dermatology Network

ACI is best known for its network of board-certified veterinary oncologists.  These doctors are experienced in the care of veterinary cancer patients using state-of-the-art conventional treatments and novel investigational therapies. The best treatment option is defined through the vet’s experience and his or her knowledge of the individual goals of an owner whose pet has been diagnosed with cancer.

In 2013, ACI developed its network of board-certified veterinary dermatologists.  Similar to the oncology network, this group of investigators is well trained in study conduct and enjoys offering cutting edge treatment options.

More recently, ACI partnered with Ethos Veterinary Medicine to begin work with board-certified specialists in internal medicine, critical care and pain management.

ACI will convene an ad hoc network of veterinary specialists in surgery, cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, regenerative medicine and inflammatory and metabolic diseases, studying conditions that are complex in themselves and often overlap in an aging pet population.

ACI’s network of primary care veterinarians works in various multi-doctor hospitals across the United States. This group of interested clinicians and support staff provide access to the primary care population and provide advanced care options for medical and preventative strategies.

All ACI Network clinics have been pre-qualified and trained to work on clinical trials.


Margie Bell

Director of Biostatistics and Data Management

For nearly 30 years, Margie has been providing statistical support and data management for clinical trial data. She has worked on Phase 1, Phase 2, Phase 3 and post-marketing studies in both human and animal health. She was the primary statistician for several products recently approved by the CVM. Margie received her MS in Mathematics with an emphasis in Probability and Statistics from Northern Illinois University.

Margie joined ACI in April of 2019. Her primary responsibilities include the successful coordination and execution for all projects involving biostatistics and/or data management, including management of all aspects of EDC systems. Margie’s extensive experience and knowledge provides our clients with the security to know that their data and analyses will be produced accurately and in a timely manner.

When not busy analyzing data, Margie also enjoys hiking, running and golfing. Margie lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with her husband and black Labrador retriever, Ellie.

Christine Costello

Data Manager

Christine received her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining ACI, Christine was an animal technician in the intensive care unit at Sobran. Christine served as an oncology technician and ACI site coordinator with The Oncology Service in the DC area and joined ACI in 2011 as a Data Manager. Christine is involved in many aspects of data management, including developing and maintaining databases for clinical studies, maintaining quality controls in ACI’s data capture processes, and managing and creating studies in EDC systems. She works remotely from Chesapeake, Virginia where she lives with her husband, their orange tabby, Cheddar, and their black labrador, Rocky.

Dina DiVirgilio

Senior Quality and Compliance Manager

Dina received her BS in Small Animal Science from Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA.  She started out in the pharmaceutical industry, first conducting biopharmaceutical/pharmacokinetic animal model studies, and then monitoring animal health clinical trials. Dina joined ACI in 2012. She is primarily responsible for the quality of the studies being conducted and ensures that ACI and its professional network are compliant with all applicable SOPs, protocols, and industry regulations.  Ranging from early phase to pivotal studies, Dina has had the ideal experiences needed to ensure high quality conduct across a multitude of study settings.

Dina lives in New Jersey with her husband, dog, and three cats. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with her dog, watching tennis, spending time with her nieces and nephew, and volunteering at her local animal rescue.

Marissa Farbo, CVT

Study Monitor

While attending the University of Hartford, Marissa explored multiple areas of human medicine and received a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science. Upon graduation, she elected to pursue her lifelong interest in veterinary medicine at Becker College and received her Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology.

Leaving New England for warmer weather, Marissa worked at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolina’s as an oncology technician for two years. Upon returning to her home state of Massachusetts in 2007, Marissa worked as a certified oncology technician and ACI site coordinator at the New England Veterinary Oncology Group.

Marissa joined ACI in 2016 as a consultant and is now one of ACI’s trial monitors.  She is responsible for monitoring ongoing clinical trials for data accuracy and integrity in accordance with industry regulations. Marissa’s exposure to ever changing work environments has allowed her to adapt, prioritize and effectively manage multiple projects. In addition, her time spent as a study coordinator allows her to understand the process and challenges of on-site data collection.

Marissa lives in Central Massachusetts with her husband and two cats, Cisco and Salem. Outside of working, you can find Marissa spending time with family, outside enjoying the seasons, practicing yoga and traveling.

Stacy Hall


As the daughter of small business owners, Stacy grew up in a bagel and Italian bread bakery. Stacy graduated from the University of Delaware with a BS in Finance and minors in Economics and Biology. Stacy has continued to support the growth of small businesses throughout her career and has chosen to work for employers that share many of the same values she learned from a young age. Stacy relocated to the DC metro area in 2001. She has lived in Fairfax, VA since 2011.

Stacy has worked with ACI since 2002 and officially joined the ACI team in January of 2010. Stacy previously worked for 9 years as a public accountant and is very happy to be working in the private sector. She is responsible for the day-to-day financial business administration of ACI. She handles most financial aspects for the studies including budgeting, study estimates and payments to ACI sites.

Stacy loves most water sports and is happiest when she is spending time with her loving husband, two energetic sons and her very loyal dog, Abby.

JT Means

Project Manager

JT received his BS in Biology at Indiana University before moving to Washington, DC to pursue a career in veterinary medicine as a technician. JT specialized in oncology and acted as the site coordinator for numerous clinical trials. He joined ACI as a project manager in 2015, and now works remotely from his hometown of Columbus, OH. His responsibilities and expertise include the setup, training and ongoing management of clinical trials. JT lives with his wonderful wife, two energetic sons and two extremely lazy pugs. His hobbies include losing hearing at metal concerts, getting lost on weekend jogs, supporting a failing professional hockey team and curating his ever-growing insect collection.

Stephen Palmer

Clinical Operations Manager

Stephen received his bachelor’s degree in Business with a Project Management Concentration from the University of Phoenix. He is also a Registered Technologist in Radiography as well as Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiography. After pursuing a career in radiography, Stephen started working as a Clinical Research Associate in human trials in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry. He has spent the majority of his career as a Project/Study Manager for early stage through late phase (i.e., pivotal) studies. He made the transition to Animal Health in 2015 and joined ACI in 2019.

Stephen is responsible for oversight and operational management of ACI’s clinical programs, which includes leading study teams and managing the day-to-day business of the company’s key relationships with vendors and service providers.

Stephen works remotely from his home in Oakland, CA, where he lives with his family, including a beloved Golden Retriever. He enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, biking, the arts, gardening, and sports events. He is most passionate about traveling internationally.

Tony Rusk, DVM

Chief Operating Officer

Tony received his BS in Biology at Ball State University in Indiana and DVM from the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. He completed his internship in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Friendship Hospital for Animals in June 2000. Tony has practiced clinical veterinary oncology for more than 15 years. As part of his clinical work, Tony has served as investigator on oncology clinical trials including 2 pivotal trials.

Tony joined ACI in 2001 as Director of Clinical Trials and became VP of Clinical Affairs in 2005. Tony was selected as COO in 2016.  Tony has served as medical director for more than 40 pivotal and non-pivotal clinical trials and has been instrumental in the design and implementation of more than 80 trials. Tony’s experience in clinical practice and clinical research provides a valuable perspective on product development and the need to leverage scientific, clinical and regulatory endpoints while ensuring the safety of pets enrolled in trials.

Outside of work, Tony enjoys spending time with his 2 sons and lovely wife.  Tony has 1 dog and 2 cats.

Kristen V. Khanna, PhD, MBA

President and CEO

Kristen completed her PhD at the University of Minnesota and received post-doctoral training in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.  She completed an MBA at Johns Hopkins in 2005.

Prior to joining ACI, Kristen worked with several biotech companies in the areas of external relations, business development and strategic planning. She has actively served as ACI’s President and CEO since 2009.  Kristen loves the blend of scientific advancement and business strategy that is ACI’s work and she is continuously inspired by the human-animal bond.  Kristen’s family includes her husband, ACI founder Dr. Chand Khanna, their two children and a Danish-Swedish farm dog, Odin. She loves all things related to food, books and tennis and particularly enjoys her involvement in data management for her kids’ sports teams.


Dr. Douglass Oeller is a licensed veterinarian with extensive FDA regulatory experience. During fourteen years of service with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Oeller held a variety of positions in both the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation and the Office of Surveillance and Compliance. He was awarded “Master Reviewer” status by FDA peer review in 2001 and was selected as a Team Leader in 2004, the role in which he served until 2007.

Dr. Oeller’s FDA experience includes: product development planning, review of safety and efficacy protocols and data submissions, labeling issues, Freedom of Information summaries, BIMO inspections, promotion and advertising, and adverse event analysis.

Ethos Veterinary Health is the result of the merger of four specialty hospital groups that have worked closely together over the past eight years: IVG Hospitals in New England, Premier Veterinary Group in Chicago, Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital in Denver and Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego, in California. In April 2016, Ethos was pleased to welcome Peak Veterinary Referral Center to our network.  Ethos core values are: collaboration, continuous development, innovation, integration, quality
 and teamwork.  Its team consists of individuals coming together to create a culture that goes beyond the care of animals.

Established in 2004, Kingfisher International Inc. is a veterinary contract research and consulting company in the Greater Toronto Area. KFI conducts GLP/GCP, regulatory and exploratory research for the pharmaceutical, biologic, and medical devices industries worldwide.

Medrio offers an integrated eClinical Software as a Service (SaaS) platform with a fully hosted Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system that drastically reduces study timelines and costs by putting study managers in control of their studies. By enabling studies to be built completely online without the need for any custom development, Medrio eClinical software allows studies to be ready in days instead of weeks. Medrio has been used successfully in Phase I-IV trials, registries, and other clinical studies by a number of leading contract research organizations (CROs), as well as biopharmaceutical and device companies. Founded in 2005, Medrio is headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area.