Obituary – Dr. Yan Ghazikhanian


Dr. Galestan Yan (Yan) Ghazikhanian, a notable figure in veterinary medicine and an anchor of warmth and hospitality, peacefully passed away in his home in Sonoma, CA on July 29, 2023, at the age of 86. He left an indelible mark on both the professional community, and more importantly, the lives of those who knew him.

Born on April 21, 1937, in Andimeshk, Iran, Dr. Yan's drive for academic excellence took him from a small town to the University of Tehran, where he earned his DVM at the top of his class. His academic achievements did not stop there; a scholarship brought him to the United States, where he pursued his MS and PhD degrees in Microbiology and Comparative Pathology at the University of California, Davis. Since 2008, Yan was a Charter member and Diplomat of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.

Professionally, Dr. Yan's dedication was evident in his work. Dr. Yan worked at USDA/APHIS/VS between 1972 and 1974 where he directed a mobile laboratory in Riverside, CA. This lab participated in eradicating Velogenic Viscerotropic Newcastle Disease from the Southern California poultry industry.

Dr. Yan joined Nicholas Turkey Breeding Farms (NTBF) in 1974 as staff veterinarian. He spent 33 years of his career with Nicholas and retired as Vice President and Director of Veterinary Medicine in 2007. Even after retirement, Dr. Yan served as a retained consultant with Aviagen Turkeys (formerly known as NTBF) as a member of the technical team. During his career with NTBF, Dr. Yan researched and coordinated the eradication of the following avian mycoplasmas from Nicholas primary breeding stocks: M. meleagridis, M. synoviae, and M. iowae. He also completed the eradication of several salmonella species including S. arizonae and S. reading, which improved turkey health and performance.

Dr. Yan received many awards during his tenure with Nicholas and was inducted into AAAP Hall of Honor in 2016. Dr. Yan has traveled widely in the USA, Europe and South America visiting turkey companies, attending to customer technical needs in turkey health management. His ability to work with customers to help them identify issues and develop solutions, all with his unique and charming style, has been a tremendous asset to the industry. Dr. Yan’s knowledge and years of experience has also made him a popular speaker and he has been honored to give numerous technical presentations at industry trade and scientific association meetings around the world. Dr. Yan has authored and co-authored many technical articles published in scientific journals and trade periodicals. Notably, he co-authored the chapter on M. meleagridis in the 8-11 editions of Diseases of Poultry.

Dr. Yan served on the boards of both AAAP and ACPV and served as AAAP President (1998-1999). He leaves a legacy to the AAAP with the establishment of the Galestan Yan Ghazikhanian (Yan) Poultry Scholarship since 2019. He is remembered not only for his contributions to poultry medicine, but for the warmth, love, and energy he shared so freely.

Source: AAAP Hall of Honor and AAAP Website
Obituary newsletter article by Aviagen turkeys: