The Veterinary Research Scholars Program (VRSP) is an intensive research-oriented experience that provides talented veterinary students an initial exposure to biomedical research with the ultimate goal of attracting graduate veterinarians into biomedical research careers. The specific goals of the program are to provide select veterinary students with: 1) mentored research experiences in the laboratories of outstanding biomedical scientists at Kansas State University;2) the opportunity to experience the critical thinking processes inherent to grant writing and hypothesis-driven research, the methodologies involved in the design and execution of scientific experiments and clinical trials, and the ethical issues underlying the responsible conduct of biomedical research;3) the opportunity to interact with and learn from biomedical scientists and veterinary research scholars from other universities and research institutions during the course of the program and at the national research symposium and 4) an awareness, appreciation, and understanding of scientific career opportunities available to graduate veterinarians in biomedical research. The VRSP provides student exposure to research career options by providing a mentored laboratory research experience along with workshops, journal clubs, safety and compliance training, networking/collaboration and presentation of research topics at various professional venues. The renewal application requests programmatic support for 12 weeks of summer support for seven predoctoral NIH-funded VRSP students per year for the next 5 years. The NIH-funded VRSP students are primarily involved in research projects with a focus on comparative medicine. Additional funds procured from Merial Animal Health, Morris Animal Foundation, and the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine provides support for an additional group of research trainees (the number of students varies between 4 and 8).
There is a critical, national need for veterinarians to be engaged in biomedical research in order to promote and sustain public health. Veterinarians are uniquely trained as comparative biologists and are therefore well- suited to meet these societal needs. This program will provide select students with an intensive research- oriented experience directed towards attracting veterinary students into biomedical research careers.