Doctors of Veterinary Medicine (DVMs) are uniquely qualified to conduct biomedical research in the field of comparative medicine using animal models. Unfortunately, the majority of DVMs do not pursue research careers, partly due to the lack of research training opportunities. Consequently, there is a critical shortage of veterinarian with research backgrounds conducting biomedical research across the nation. This competing renewal proposal for our Animal Model Research for Veterinarians (AMRV) program, which was first funded in 2006 and will expire in July 2011, will train veterinarians to become world-class researchers and will encourage them to pursue a research career after training. By taking advantage of the research strengths of faculty mentors at Virginia Tech, the AMRV program will continue to train veterinarians in areas including animal models of immunology and inflammation, environmental medicine, virology and bacteriology, nutrition and obesity, and genomics. We will continue to recruit from all 28 veterinary medicine colleges throughout the nation including Tuskegee University and the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM), which ranked 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the percentage of enrolled underrepresented students. A total of 6 new DVMs will be recruited over the next 5-year funding period of the program. In addition, one trainee in our existing AMRV program will continue his third year of training during the first year of the competing renewal. We will recruit one new trainee in year 1, two new trainees each in years 2 and 3, and one new trainee in year 4 of the program. No new trainee is requested in year 5. Trainees will have the option of entering either an MS or PhD program in Biomedical and Veterinary Science (BMVS) at VMRCVM but we will advocate for the PhD track. Mentors will be selected on the basis of their commitment to student training, their cutting-edge research programs, and their ability to secure NIH and other major funding. Opportunities for trainees to work at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the new Virginia Tech Carillion School of Medicine will increase opportunities for studying animal models of human diseases. A unique feature of this program will be a visit to NIH, USDA, and other agencies in the Washington, DC area so that trainees can understand the breadth of research career opportunities available to them. We have successfully administrated our current T32 AMRV program and completed essentially all that we originally proposed during the past 5 years. Thus, renewal of this AMRV program will provide continuity for the current trainees in the program and will enable VMRC to continue to help train the next generation of veterinary biomedical scientists.
Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to conduct biomedical research using animal models, but relatively few go into this field of work due to a lack of research training opportunities. This competing renewal proposal is to continue our NIH-funded Animal Model Research for Veterinarians (AMRV) program that aims to rectify this situation by enrolling veterinarians in a Master's or Ph.D. program that equips them with the fundamentals of conducting hypothesis- driven, cutting-edge biomedical research using state-of-the-art technologies and encourages them to enter into a career in research.
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