The mission of our Veterinary Medical Student Research Training Program (VMSRTP) is to introduce veterinary medical students from across the nation to the biomedical research environment, facilitating trainees to discover research as an attractive career option. Our NIH T35 renewal application will continue to attract, recruit, train and encourage the development of veterinary medical trainees toward becoming NIH R01-level biomedical research scientists by performing hypothesis-driven short-term research projects. During the summer program, the VMSRTP trainees will be facilitated in learning how to identify quality in research publications, how to recognize excellence in research programs, what to expect from a quality research program, and how to choose a mentor for research career development. There is a significant need for new scientists trained in research methods with an appreciation for comparative biomedical sciences. Veterinarians, by virtue of their training in health and disease, are comparative health professionals. Their training prepares them for an understanding of species commonalities and differences in disease: a necessary competence for understanding, developing and working with animal models of disease. The VMSRTP at Texas A&M University provides first- and second-year veterinary students a 12-week immersion into significant aspects of a research career. Students conduct their own research project under direction of a faculty mentor, write a research proposal, and present their results in the form of a manuscript, poster and slide presentation. The trainees are exposed to other aspects of comparative biomedical and translational research through field trips to research programs at regional medical schools and hospitals. Trainees are also active participants in journal clubs. All trainees receive training in the Responsible Conduct of Research, emphasizing the ethical and humane use of animals in research, scientific misconduct, mentor-mentee relationships, responsible data management, conflict of interest, conflict of interest, and more.
Significant participation of veterinary scientists in biomedical research is important to advances in public health and biomedical research, because of their training in health and disease of multiple species. The Veterinary Medical Student Research Training Program encourages veterinary students to enter research careers by immersing them in a focused 12-week program comprised of major aspects of a research career.
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