This application represents the first competitive renewal of our veterinary student-targeted pre-doctoral T32 training program (see "PA-01-138"), called the "Yearlong Exposure to Advanced Research" (YEAR) Program at the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine (hereafter referred to as the "School"). The YEAR Program is designed to enhance animal-oriented, hypothesis-based biomedical research training opportunities for individuals pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. The purpose of the program is to help ensure that highly trained comparative medical scientists will be available to meet the growing needs for principal investigator-directed and collaborative research in animal-based, biomedical research. With matching funds from the School, this unique training program provides full financial support to 3 veterinary students annually to engage in a one year period of supervised research, effectively adding a 5th year to their 4 year professional education and training. With participation by a team of 35 NIH-supported faculty mentors in 11 graduate groups and 13 Research Centers focused on 19 research themes from 7 departments across 2 schools (Veterinary Medicine and Medicine), the fundamental goal of the YEAR Program is to introduce veterinary students with an interest in biomedical research at a formative stage of their veterinary medical science education to pursue training in research careers. The best and brightest veterinary students, especially women students and those from under-represented minorities, have been sought after from across the nation to participate in the YEAR program. During the first 2 years of the program, 5 DVM students have been appointed trainees, all of whom have elected after completing the YEAR Program to pursue their PhD degree concurrently while in veterinary school. At the time of this grant submission, we have thus far received applications from 4 candidates (all women, 1 Hispanic) for 3 training slots in the third and final year of funding. Thus, in 3 short years, we will have utilized our T32 YEAR Program to seek, recruit, convince, and catalyze a new generation of veterinary students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, to embark on advanced scientific research training. In so doing, continued funding of the YEAR Program will help to ensure that highly trained comparative medical scientists will be available to meet the growing needs for principal investigator-driven and collaborative animal-based, biomedical research. Numerous recent National Academy of Sciences reports have warned of the consequences to the nation's health of the lack of research-trained veterinarians with the unique expertise of animal-based science education and disease training who are engaged in the nation's biomedical research enterprise. The objective of this application is to 1) encourage more veterinarians to participate in or support biomedical research, and 2) to prepare more veterinary students for careers in biomedical research.
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