The objective of the proposed program is to provide veterinary students with an opportunity to engage in hypothesis-based biomedical research during the formative stages of their careers. Veterinarians have much to contribute to scientific discovery in medical disciplines, in that an education in veterinary medicine is inherently broad-based and comparative. Veterinary students are trained to integrate medical information from a variety of sources encompassing the full array of animal species, using problem solving and comparative approaches to evaluate disease pathogenesis and therapeutic strategies from molecular mechanisms through intact animal clinical features. As such, an education in veterinary medicine provides a broad foundation upon which to develop specific scientific expertise. Helping veterinary students discover this synergy and enhancing their interest in biomedical research is the goal of the current training application. The program will center on the trainee working full-time in a research laboratory, conducting experiments with the guidance and direct supervision of a faculty mentor. Disciplines represented by participating Cornell University faculty include infectious diseases, genetics, physiology, cancer biology, reproductive biology, toxicology, and food safety. Supporting sessions will include seven research information modules delivered in a small group discussion format Module topics include: 1) cell and molecular biology, 2) genomics and proteomics, 3) transgenic animal models, 4) comparative animal-based biomedical research, 5) infectious diseases and food safety, 6) experimental design and statistical analyses, and 7) laboratory animal medicine and comparative pathology. Students will also complete a graduate course focused on ethics and the professional responsibilities of research scientists. The duration of the training period will be one year and five veterinary students will be enrolled each year. It is anticipated that most students will elect to enter the program following completion of their second year in the veterinary curriculum. Based on past experience, most of the students will have had research exposure previously, many as participants in one of the College of Veterinary Medicine's summer research programs. In addition, all students are required to have outstanding academic credentials. Combining excellent academic performance and an aptitude for research with a focused training program is expected to produce students who will sustain an interest in research throughout their careers as veterinarians and thereby make important and unique contributions to medical research across species.
(provided by applicant): By virtue of the requirements of their profession, veterinarians are broadly trained in comparative medicine. Such training provides them with the ability to translate medical information obtained from a variety of animal species to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in humans, particularly diseases caused by specific genetic mutations or the transmission of infectious agents via food or contact with infected animals. The training program we propose will enable veterinary students to develop sophisticated research skills that can be used in combination with their clinical expertise to significantly improve biomedical research and public health.