The need to establish a highly-qualified and diverse research work force in the biomedical and clinical sciences is well-recognized nationally. In doing so we must enlist the most talented individuals in the research and health care enterprise. The objective of the proposed training program is to contribute to the research workforce by providing research training to graduate veterinarians. The rationale for targeting veterinarians for research training is that they possess a uniquely-informed perspective from which to advance the various fields of biomedical research. This stems from the comparative approach that is used in veterinary medical education, as well as in the practice of veterinary medicine. Furthermore, the educational depth and diversity acquired through the veterinary education that our trainees will have upon entering our research training program provides a strong science and medical knowledge base upon which to build. The proposed research training program will be at the postdoctoral level, as trainees will hold a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM or equivalent) degree. Funds are requested for 3 trainees and trainees are expected to be in the program for 3 years. The training will take place in the form of PhD level graduate education in the Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology graduate program, in which trainees will conduct original research that will form the basis of a PhD dissertation. Traditional graduate education will be augmented with specific activities that will bolster trainees'readiness for research careers. Trainees will have the option of selecting as mentors (major advisors) a wide array of faculty trainers with nationally recognized expertise in respiratory diseases, cancer, neuroscience, inflammation, genetics, and enteric and infectious diseases.
Proposed is a plan to provide research training to veterinarians who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research. Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to advance public health as they have in-depth training and knowledge in 1) food safety and security, 2) zoonotic disease (those that are transmitted between animals and humans) recognition and control, and 3) animal models of human diseases. With the additional research training that will be acquired through this program, these veterinary-scientists will be ready to conduct research that will address the various public health challenges facing the nation and make significant contributions throughout their careers.